Changes in the way welfare is administered have contributed to a 3.1 million drop in caseloads since 1993, the largest decline in the United States’ history, President Clinton said Saturday.
In his weekly radio address, Clinton credited the welfare overhaul law he signed last year with slashing the caseload by 1.2 million people and urged states and businesses to do more to get an additional 1 million people off public assistance by the year 2000.
“We knew last August that the new welfare reform law was not a guarantee, but a bold experiment,” Clinton said. “So far, it’s working.”
The law, which was signed by Clinton on Aug. 22 and went into effect last week, ended a six-decade federal guarantee of providing welfare payments to eligible low-income mothers and children; required welfare recipients to work within two years of receiving benefits and limited them to five years of assistance.
Welfare advocates criticized Clinton’s support of the law, saying it would hurt poor families.
In addition, the law shifted most of the operating responsibilities for welfare from the federal government to the states through block grants and prohibited most legal immigrants from receiving benefits.