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In January 2017, Governor Walker announced “Wisconsin Works for Everyone,” a welfare reform package expanding upon initiatives enacted by Governor Tommy Thompson in 1996.

Like Governor Thompson’s W-2 initiative, this reform package is based on the fundamental principle that work is dignifying and connects individuals to society and its values. It reforms public assistance programs to provide support and services that help individuals establish a healthy lifestyle and find not only jobs, but family-supporting careers. And it includes improvements to ensure programs serve as springboards to self-sufficiency, not just mechanisms for alleviating material hardship.

Wisconsin is leading on welfare reform. We know our state’s benefit programs need better leadership than Washington’s bureaucrats and believe we can produce better results for taxpayers if we can make decisions here in Wisconsin. 

On June 7, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services submitted a waiver amendment application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). When approved, this amendment will allow Governor Walker to implement the Wisconsin Works for Everyone package.

In brief, the reform package:

  • Significantly expands job training programs for the unemployed or underemployed receiving FoodShare, the incarcerated and ex-offenders, and low-income noncustodial parents involved in the child support system.
  • Reduces barriers to work with reductions in occupational licensing, the elimination of the benefits cliff in child care subsidies, and removal of the premium cliff for Medicaid Purchase Plan (MAPP) enrollees as they transition into earning more income.
  • Incentivizes and rewards employment by expanding an earned-income tax credit group who often struggle to connect with work will be expanded. This group includes young adults aging out of foster care as well as those who exit the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) child disability program at age 18.
  • Rewards healthy behavior with lower premiums for those who make healthy choices.

We are good and decent people in the state of Wisconsin. We will help our fellow citizen when they are down and out, but public assistance should be a trampoline, not a hammock.

For more information on the Wisconsin Works for Everyone reform package, click here.

Media coverage:

June 7, 2017 | Andrew Beckett | Wisconsin Radio Network
"Wisconsin seeks waiver to drug test Medicaid applicants"

June 5, 2017 | Salena Zito | Washington Examiner 
"Keep your eye on Scott Walker in Wisconsin"

May 25, 2017 | Scott Bauer | Associated Press
"Walker Welfare Changes Get Approval by Wisconsin Lawmakers"

April 26, 2017 | Lauren Parrottino | Right Wisconsin
Scott Walker and the Era of Welfare Reform

April 25, 2017 | Astead W. Herndon | Boston Globe
"Wisconsin seeks to mandate drug tests for Medicaid recipients"

April 5, 2017 | CJ Szafir and Lauren Parrottino | The Hill
Walker’s welfare reform makes Wisconsin model for the nation

March 23, 2017 | Ola Lisowski | MacIver Institute
Wisconsin Works for Everyone: Welfare Reform in Walker's Budget Proposal

February 22, 2017 | Tarren Bragdon | Washington Examiner
Walker's proposed welfare reforms are an exciting example for the rest of the country

February 21, 2017 | Nicholas Horton | National Review
Welfare Reform Can Flourish in the Post-Obama Era

February 17, 2017 | Patrick Brennan | Forbes
Nobody's Noticed Yet, But Scott Walker Has His Next Big Project

January 23, 2017 | Reid Wilson | The Hill
Scott Walker plans major welfare overhaul in Wisconsin