Why Us Government Chose Residual Income Maintenance

In: Social Issues

Submitted By nrj1
Words 449
Pages 2
Since the turn of the twentieth century, the U.S. government implemented several approaches to meet the needs of people living in poverty. American beliefs on poverty demanded the government to play a role in addressing the needs of the poor. Some argued a universal approach to income maintenance would secure an income for poor families with children. Many argued, especially social activist, that income maintenance assistance should be temporary for those experiencing financial hardship. This is probably why the government chose a residual approach to income maintenance rather than a universal approach. The purpose for residual approach income maintenance is to provide a minimum level of income to families and individuals. Recipients must demonstrate an economic need according to the (means test), with eligibility based on income and assets (p.116). Examples of residual income are Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, Medicaid, earned income tax credit (EITC) and (Section 8) housing aid. Each program includes an incentive or clause that promotes able bodies to increase their income by earing wages to supplement their assistance. In conclusion, according to Antipoverty Strategy, when hourly wages are high, the number of people in poverty tends to decline. (p.163) The purpose of universal income maintenance is to offer minimum income for poor families with children. Universal approach supporter, President Nixon, proposed a replacement for the old welfare aid programs with a single program called, “Aid to Families with Dependent Children.” This plan would grant income to families with children, but with strict stipulation. One of the requirements would force mothers with children under three years old to gain employment. (p.147) However, others felt there were too many flaws in the program.

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