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Brandeis Univ. Challenges Massachusetts Welfare “Reform”

Brandeis University’s Center on Hunger and Poverty (CHP) accused Massachusetts state officials of misleading the public in their recent study, “Life After Limits: A Study of Households Leaving Welfare between December 1998 and April 1999.” The study, released by Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), analyzed the effects of the welfare reform bill enacted in 1995, which limits recipients to two years of cash assistance and places an emphasis on work. The DTA argues that the reform bill has raised the quality of life for women and children on public assistance, but the CHP claims the state downplayed “disturbing” statistics.

For example, the report emphasizes the success of getting people off of welfare rolls and into the work force, but does not highlight hunger statistics that suggest women and children forced off welfare remain in poverty. While 14 percent of those interviewed reported hunger before leaving welfare, 22 percent reported hunger after they stopped receiving government assistance – a 56 percent increase.

Sources:

Boston Globe - February 21, 2001