Welfare rates little changed during recession

While enrollment in government safety-net programs like food stamps and unemployment compensation has soared in the United States since the start of the recession, participation in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families has remained relatively flat,

Welfare reform’s focus was on getting people back employed, emphasizing that “work was the real way these families were going to be able to integrate into society and take care of themselves in the long term,” said Pamela Loprest, director of the Income and Benefits Policy Center with the Urban Institute. “But we lost sight of this other goal — being the last-resort income support program for those without money — and we couldn’t figure out how to make them coexist.”