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Child Poverty and InequalitySecuring a Better Future for America's Children$
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Duncan Lindsey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305449

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305449.001.0001

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Doing for Children What We Have Done for Seniors: Government Efforts to End Poverty

Doing for Children What We Have Done for Seniors: Government Efforts to End Poverty

(p.64) 3 Doing for Children What We Have Done for Seniors: Government Efforts to End Poverty
Child Poverty and Inequality

Duncan Lindsey

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of Social Security on ending poverty among seniors. The Social Security Act included what is commonly referred to as the welfare program (originally called Aid to Families with Dependent Children [AFDC] and now, after welfare reform, referred to as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, [TANF]). Social Security was built on a “social savings” model and required seniors to set aside money for their retirement. As a result, all seniors have a floor of income support which assures them, even if they have no other source of income when they retire, that they will not live in poverty. In contrast to the Social Security program, welfare was built on a “means-tested” approach designed to target income assistance to the most needy. Single mothers and their children who could prove that they lacked the means to provide for themselves were provided cash assistance through the welfare program. In contrast to Social Security that has popular support, over the years, the public has grown weary and sceptical of welfare. Many have come to view welfare as encouraging dependency and out-of-wedlock births.

Keywords:   Social Security, elderly, American poverty, senior citizens, poverty reduction, social policy, welfare program

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