poverty and social welfare in the United States

poverty and social welfare in the United States

Questions:

Group A
Choose one question from the following:

1. Consider the following facts about poverty and social welfare in the United States, which serve to summarize Chapter 8 in the Kirst-Ashman (2013) text:

Facts About Poverty Facts about Social Welfare
• Among those who are poor, there are more whites than persons of color, although, persons of color have a greater risk of experiencing poverty than do whites. • Among recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), there are more persons of color than there are whites.
Cont’d. on Next Page
Facts About Poverty Facts about Social Welfare
• The poverty rate for older adults has declined in recent years, while the poverty rate for children has increased. • The primary social welfare strategy used to benefit older adults is social insurance, the largest program of which is the Old Age, Survivors, Disability, and Health Insurance Program (commonly known as Social Security ). Social insurance programs tend to pay larger benefits than do public assistance programs, the primary strategy used to benefit families with dependent children. The largest public assistance program is Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (commonly known as welfare ).

• Women have a greater risk of experiencing poverty than do men. • Because social insurance benefits are computed on the basis of one’s wages earned through workforce participation, they tend to be lower for women than men since women tend to make less than men in their working careers, and they tend to spend more time out of the workforce raising children and caring for elderly or disabled family members than is true for men.

• The median income for families of color is significantly lower than the median income for whites. • Social insurance benefits are lower for persons of color than they are for whites, again because they are computed on the basis of one’s wages earned through workforce participation. Consequently, if people of color have earned less in their working lives, they will receive less in social insurance benefits.
Cont’d. on Next Page

Facts About Poverty Facts about Social Welfare
• About 1% of all households in the U.S. control more than one-third of the nation’s wealth. • All persons, regardless of socioeconomic status, are entitled to social insurance programs if they contributed to the programs during their working career. Public assistance programs, on the contrary, are means tested, meaning that applicants must qualify on the basis of their poverty status.
After analyzing these facts and reviewing the supporting data from Chapter 8 in the Kirst-Ashman (2013) text, draw some conclusions about the relative effectiveness of social insurance and public assistance programs in addressing the problem of poverty for various sub-groups in the population on the basis of gender, age, and/or race. Hint: You will want to use statistical data about poverty for different groups to analyze the degree to which these social welfare programs are effective in reducing poverty for different groups within the population.

[References: Chapter 8 in the Kirst-Ashman (2013) text, the Handout on the Summary of the Poverty Assignment we did in class]

2. Chapter 8 in the Kirst-Ashman (2010) text discusses the causes and the consequences of poverty. Choose one of the following cultural lenses and discuss the reasons why people are poor and what can be done to address poverty according to this perspective.

• A gendered view of poverty (also known as the feminization of poverty)
• A Marxist or class-based understanding of poverty
• A racialized view of poverty
• The intersection of gender, race, and class

Group B
Choose one question from the following:

1. Choose a field of practice other than the one that you examined for the integrative research assignment. You may choose among the following:
• Social Work in Mental Health (Chapter 13) (USE THIS ONE)
Examine how social workers apply the principles of generalist practice (See handout on Generalist Practice that you received earlier in the semester and the textbook discussion). Provide concrete examples to illustrate your points.

2. Earlier this semester, we discussed the concepts of power and empowerment (See handouts on power and empowerment that you received earlier in the semester as well as the textbook discussion). Choose a field of practice other than the one that you examined for the integrative research assignment and describe how social workers in that field work to help people become empowered. Provide concrete examples to illustrate your points.

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