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1998 January - February

Access to Medicaid Since the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act

By Claudia Schlosberg & Joel Ferber

Rules regarding who is eligible to receive Medicaid, how care is delivered, and how quality of care is monitored are being rewritten since the passage of the welfare law in 1996 and the Balanced Budget Act in 1997. This article explains how the pace and scope of change are virtually unprecedented and suggests ways for advocates to address the new barriers to Medicaid.

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State and Local Policies on Immigrants and Public Benefits

Responding to the 1996 Welfare Law

By Tanya Broder

This article gives an overview of state policies on immigrants and benefits that have developed since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. It explores issues that immigrant communities confront as welfare policy "devolves" to the local level; it also describes strategies to ensure that immigrants and their families secure the benefits that they need.

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Implementation of the Food Stamp Provisions in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996

By Alison Goldberg & Carrie M. Lewis

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 makes significant changes in the federal Food Stamp Program. This article explains how the Act widens the gap between rich and poor and explores various tools advocates and states may use to ensure that unemployed childless adults and legal immigrants, who are among the most vulnerable populations, receive some assistance.

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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Americans with Disabilities Act

By Herbert Semmel & Cary LaCheen

The new federal welfare law confuses many of the most vulnerable welfare recipients, including persons with disabilities. This article examines how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be used to protect Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients against disability discrimination in light of new stringent work requirements. It also explores how the ADA affects state TANF programs that are supposed to provide opportunities for job training, employment, and child care.

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Welfare Litigation Developments Since the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996

By Mary R. Mannix, Marc Cohan, Henry A. Freedman, Christopher Lamb & Jim Williams

Despite the elimination of federal statutory and regulatory protections that had been the basis for significant welfare litigation prior to the passage of the 1996 welfare act, litigation continues to be critical in halting unfair state welfare practices. This article reviews recent welfare litigation, including the notable success in the areas of discrimination against new state residents and abusive workfare policies.

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Welfare Advocacy

Tactics for a New Era

By Sharon M. Dietrich, Irv Ackelsberg, Deborah L. Freedman, Louise E.Hayes & Richard P. Weishaupt

The restrictions imposed on legal services programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation do not require them to watch passively from the sidelines as welfare reform takes its toll on low-income clients. This article highlights some important areas of potential work for local programs willing to remain engaged in welfare advocacy.

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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Assessments, Individual Responsibility Plans, and Work Activities

By Wendy Pollack

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 has produced new issues for which welfare applicants and recipients need legal representation. This article explains that reliance on traditional ways of delivering legal services alone will fail clients for a variety of reasons and presents an overview of agency responsibilities. It suggests strategies for ensuring long-term employability and a meaningful transition to work instead of simply eliminating welfare receipt.

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