What Happens When Welfare Disappears
(Photo by Ildar Sagdejev)
“They don’t give that out anymore.”
“They told me to come back next year.”
These are just some of the things families said to Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer when they asked about Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), the U.S. federal government’s cash assistance welfare program.
Edin and Shaefer are the authors of $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, released last week. The book takes a long, hard look at what happens to the people and families left behind when welfare disappears.
They studied 18 families, and featured eight in the book. The stories put a human face on trends Edin and Shaefer found in U.S. Census Bureau data, which showed roughly 1.5 million households (with around three million children) were surviving on cash incomes of less than $2 per person, per day, in any given month.