Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Essay Example

  • Category: Family,
  • Words: 987 Pages: 4
  • Published: 09 May 2021
  • Copied: 162

Being a mother is a tough enough job as it is. Motherhood comes with stress no matter what social class you are, yet, for those that are considered poor, the stress is unimaginable. With help from programs like TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, mothers are able to receive help from the state. Programs like this support mothers financially while they try to sort out their life and make a long-term plan. The thing is it does not last forever. Once your time on TANF is up you are on your own, and this is when many poor mothers realize life is about to get a great deal harder. Welfare recipients face many struggles while transitioning from welfare to work, a few being lack of childcare, addiction, and lack of transportation, which make obtaining and keeping a job, an incredible job itself.

 To understand the true struggles of a poor mother, it is important to understand what a poor mother is. In order to be eligible for cash assistance in Pennsylvania, your income must be under the cash grant size. These grant sizes are: $205 a month for a single person, $316 a month for two people, and $403 for a family of three (Just Harvest, 2021). Surviving under these financial conditions is one thing, but to be supporting a family under these incomes is another ball game. While the cash assistance does help take some weight off of a mother’s shoulders, there is still the fear instilled in every mother wondering how they are going to put food on the table, clothes on their children’s backs, a roof over their heads, and keep up with the stack of bills. After getting used to these TANF benefits, mothers often get too comfortable and once the clock runs-out they are still facing the same challenges every day, just this time without the extra money every month.

What is TANF exactly? This program was designed for many reasons, one being to help families to make sure children are being taken care of (The Pennsylvania State University, 2021). It provides monthly cash assistance to mothers of children whose income is under a certain limit as long as they find work within two years of receiving the benefits (Cherlin, 2021). Once the clock strikes 12, or in this case after five years of receiving the benefits, the money dries up and mothers have to be able to support their families. This is something many mothers struggle with. They face issues with childcare, addiction, and transportation that make the job hunt an extra hurdle that people who do not have children do not have to jump.

Something all working mothers, regardless of social class, have to deal with is childcare. Childcare can be very expensive, and for some mothers, the costs exceed the earnings of low-wage jobs (Hildebrandt & Stevens, 2009). Basically, you have to go to work to support yourself and your family, yet in order to even be able to work you have to spend your paycheck on childcare. Many TANF mothers are desperate and will take any job they can get, meaning they will spend all day going from place to place in order to find a job. What are these mothers supposed to do with their children when they are doing this? While on TANF, recipients can use that cash assistance for childcare that allows them to work, however, after the time is up, that money is going to have to come from somewhere else. A lot of working mothers are no longer able to pay for childcare after their assistance ends and many end-up having to quit or they get fired because they have to take more time off. The lack of childcare is a struggle that many former TANF recipients deal with when transitioning from welfare to work.

Another struggle that many people, not only TANF recipients, deal with is addiction to drugs or alcohol. Many employers are reluctant to hire people recovering from or still dealing with ongoing substance abuse. Employers see people suffering from addiction as untrustworthy and tend not to hire them. After being turned down over and over again, one may be keen to fall back into nasty habits. Substance misuse can also lead to mental health issues that are huge barriers to one’s success at work. In a national study of women on TANF who suffers from addiction, many reported conditions like depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and attempts (Hildebrandt & Stevens, 2009). Illnesses as such have been linked to unemployment, job loss, and low job performance (Hildebrandt & Stevens, 2009). When pressures pile up like they do for women coming off of welfare, the battles with addiction that many face become harder and harder to fight.

Finally, in order to work you have to be able to actually get to work. This is an issue that many welfare recipients struggle with. For one, some people do not have cars. Being able to afford a car is a luxury that many people that are not in poverty or supporting a family can barely afford. One could take some form of public transportation, right? Wrong. In some areas, especially rural areas where poverty is higher than in urban areas, public transportation is not popular (Jensen et al., 2011). Also, public transportation is not only hard to come by for some, but for those who do have it, it does not come free. Some families do not have money to spare for things like this. Sometime the only job opportunities are not located close to where a family is living. How is that person supposed work without a means of transportation? Moving closer to where jobs are means spending more money on a new place to live and that new place may be more expensive than the city the family is currently living in. In most cases, the costs outweigh the benefits of the job. 

All in all, the transition from welfare to the working world is no small feat. It is something that many people in America struggle with. After receiving cash assistance through TANF, many mothers get used to life they were living, and reality comes as a shock. Welfare recipients face many struggles while transitioning from welfare to work, a few being lack of childcare, addiction, and lack of transportation, which make obtaining and keeping a job, an incredible job itself.

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