As of July 8, 2014, the demographic breakdown of welfare recipients was 38.8 percent Caucasian, 39.8 percent African American, 15.7 percent Hispanic, 2.5 percent Asian and 3.3 percent Other. There are 12.8 million Americans on welfare, which is equivalent to 4.1 percent of the U.S. population.Know More
Welfare began during the Great Depression of the 1930s when the number of families that were in need of food, clothing and housing became so great that the existing resources of local governments and private charities could not adequately help. At the start of the Great Depression in October 1929, there were already 18 million Americans struggling to survive. By 1933, an additional 13 million Americans had lost employment, and the head of the federal Children's Bureau reported that 20 percent of the nation's school children showed signs of poor nutrition, housing, and medical care.
On Aug. 18, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which, in addition to establishing a federal retirement program for Americans over the age of 65, created a national welfare system. This new welfare system provided assistance to dependent children under the age of 16, the unemployed, the needy and the disabled. Significant changes were made to welfare in 1996 when President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which provided some federal funding to states to assist the poor. States are expected to take steps to ensure welfare recipients are being encouraged to take steps to return to employment.Learn more about Social Services
To qualify for the Home Energy Assistance Program, recipients are required to show financial need for home energy costs. The amount of the benefit depends on an applicant's household income and family size.Full Answer >
Now called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, the food stamp program allows recipients to purchase breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, poultry, dairy products and seeds and plants to grow food. SNAP benefits can be used to buy soft drinks, snack foods and frozen desserts. In some areas, restaurants are authorized to accept SNAP benefits to provide low-cost meals for qualified elderly, disabled and homeless people.Full Answer >
Whether or not families and individuals qualify for welfare depends on several factors, including income, size of family and emergency situations like homelessness, hospital visits and teenage pregnancy. Welfare requirements vary among states and from case to case. When considered for welfare, individuals and families receive a documented case, which undergoes evaluation by a case worker to determine eligibility for welfare designation.Full Answer >
Welfare, like many social programs, began during the Great Depression. While the programs of the New Deal helped increase employment, single mothers and widows with children to care for still needed protection. Aid to Dependent Children was established in 1935 to provide financial assistance to those women and children.Full Answer >