The Welfare Reform Act

The Welfare Reform Act
                                                  Aurelia Williams
                                    University of Phoenix Axia College

      The Welfare Reform Act was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton on August 22, 1996. This bill changes how government financial assistance is administered. In turn, the law changed the federal funding to states from open-ended to a series of capped block grants. It also set time limits on entitlements and cash assistance, requiring that recipients become active in work related activities such as community service, job training or vocational education.
      This law changed the definition of disability in reference to children who apply for Supplemental Security Income and it also mandates that states establish collection methods for unpaid parental support (child support). The Welfare Reform denies illegal immigrants from collecting SSI or food stamps and changed the re-certification requirements for the food stamp program (MRSC, 2001).
      The Welfare Reform Act was not essentially intended to affect the Medicaid program, however, the law did just that. While the welfare reform law does not change how Medicaid delivers health care nor alter its entitlement status, it reduces the number of people covered and lowers federal expenditures (Coughlin & Ku, 1997). The reason being is that the centerpiece of the law was that of replacing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to that of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is a new block of grants.
      This involved the Medicaid program because eligibility for AFDC and Medicaid was closely linked. When a person applied for and received AFDC, they were automatically qualified to receive Medicaid benefits as well. However, when the final stages of congressional debate took place regarding TANF, the link between AFDC and Medicaid was severed....