Reconsideration of Reliep Policies
Recommendations for basic reforms in federal welfare legislation are expected from the Kennedy administration when Congress reconvenes next January. In the meantime, demands for cutbacks in expenditures for aid to the needy are sweeping the country. For the first time since the now massive federal-state-local system of relief was instituted in the 1930s, there is general agreement that a new approach to helping the destitute is imperative.
Concern in the national government over the rising relief burden is paralleled in the many states and localities that have been trying to find some way to lighten the load imposed by support of those who cannot—or will not—support themselves and their families. The extent and depth of this concern were demonstrated last summer by the nation-wide interest shown in the action taken by New-burgh, N. Y., in establishing new eligibility rules for relief clients—rules that brought that small city on the Hudson River into conflict with state authorities and the courts. With the issue still unsettled, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller on Aug. 30 appointed a special commission to make a broad study of public welfare in New York State.
Pleas For Revision of Assistance Programs
Welfare authorities have for several years recognized the need for a fresh look at public assistance. Congress authorized appointment of an Advisory Council on Public Assistance in 1958 to review the entire program and recommend changes aimed to bring it into line with existing conditions. The commission's report, published last year on the 25th anniversary of passage of the Social Security Act, advanced a number of proposals to fill “serious gaps and inequities that still remain in coverage, in adequacy of public financial assistance and in availability of high quality services.”