Buffalo Commons



Children First! Child Care Assistance in Erie County

Alexa Rissoff — Apr 27, 2010

Child care subsidies are distributed in each county in New York by the county’s Department of Social Services.  Due to a drop in state funding, Erie County has changed its eligibility level from 200% to 125% of the poverty line.  The former level for eligibility should be reinstated because subsidized child care has social, financial and societal benefits.

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Strengthening Unemployment Insurance

Robert Mietlicki — Apr 27, 2010

A person’s eligibility for unemployment insurance in New York State is determined by the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law.  A person may be eligible for benefits if he lost his job due to a lack of work, such as the end of seasonal or temporary employment or the downsizing of a company.  A person may also be eligible if he was fired because he did not meet an employer’s qualifications for a job.  A worker may be denied unemployment benefits if he was fired …

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How to Improve Erie County's Work First Program

Rachel Jones — Apr 26, 2010

The major shift to a welfare to work model happened in 1996 with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act.  This federal law aimed to decrease dependency on public assistance by – among other things – forcing people to work for their assistance.  Erie County did not need this Act to focus on work. Erie County Department of Social Services has been enforcing work requirements and operating as a work first county since 1988.  In 1994, the County created its …

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TANF and Higher Education

Leah Hardy — Apr 26, 2010

Welfare reforms in 1996 created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant program (TANF).  Under the assumption that a job will provide recipients with a path to self-sufficiency, this program focuses primarily on putting them to work.  Unfortunately, this work-first focus has not resulted in a path out of poverty for the majority of recipients.  New York State must reform its TANF program to provide relevant education and training for its recipients, equipping them …

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