Welfare Reform:

Alabama's Demonstration Project

HRD-89-129BR: Published: Aug 17, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information about Alabama's proposed Avenues to Self-Sufficiency through Employment and Training Services (ASSETS), a welfare reform demonstration project intended to: (1) simplify and consolidate the administration of federal welfare programs; and (2) provide recipients with greater incentive and ability to succeed in society.

GAO found that Alabama: (1) has obtained initial federal approval of ASSETS, but has not completed negotiations to obtain 47 waivers for some of the program requirements that ASSETS affected, including the Food Stamp, Medicaid, Child Support Enforcement, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children program requirements; (2) planned to test the program in three counties for 4 years; and (3) processed the ASSETS proposal and the necessary waivers through the federal Interagency Low Income Opportunity Board. GAO also found that ASSETS: (1) had the major goals of consolidated payments of state-administered benefits, comprehensive education and work programs, campaigns against teenage pregnancy and out-of-wedlock births, and improved public views of welfare; (2) proposed to expand program eligibility to needy two-parent families, all parents needing child support enforcement services, and all parents of children older than 3 years; (3) proposed new and expanded benefits and services for Medicaid, employment and training opportunities, and support services; (4) proposed simplifying eligibility criteria and streamlining case-handling procedures; (5) had some features which overlapped certain federal welfare reforms; (6) estimated evaluation costs of $1 million and child care and support services costs of $1.9 million above the costs Alabama would incur without the project; and (7) estimated initial net savings of $546,000 in program benefits and administrative costs and savings of $31 million annually upon statewide implementation.

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