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Comparing Spendable Income, Welfare vs. Work

August 23, 1998 Download PDF

Current welfare reform proposals center on moving families from cash assistance to income from work and other sources (child support, work-based tax credits). As the concept of welfare reform developed in the early 1990s, Oregon’s Department of Human Resources (DHR) sought to debunk the fallacy that welfare payment levels were a disincentive to work. DHR produced a chart comparing monthly spendable income from public assistance (cash and foodstamps) to monthly spendable income from work. See Attachment A, 1992 chart. This “welfare-to-work” chart demonstrated that, even at minimum wage, full-time work always resulted in more spendable income on a monthly basis for the typical family leaving public assistance. While some rules continue to run counter to encouraging work, the amount of spendable income from cash assistance and food stamps is (and was) always less than the amount received from full-time work.

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Comparing Spendable Income, Welfare vs. Work (PDF)