I am pleased we are approving today Michigan's request for welfare waivers. This will allow Michigan to initiate a system of incentives for welfare recipients that strengthens families and encourages greater self-sufficiency.
Families will be strengthened by encouraging employment and stability. Two-parent families will receive assistance as long as they meet a financial needs test. Currently one parent must have worked for a limited time in order for the family to receive welfare. Additional amounts of earnings will also be allowed before welfare payments are reduced, and the earnings of children will not be counted in determining whether the family can receive welfare.
Child support collections will be pursued aggressively. Noncustodial parents who are not fulfilling their financial responsibility may participate in activities leading to self-sufficiency such as completing high school, being involved in job training, or participating in community services.
Self-sufficiency will also be encouraged by requiring all welfare recipients to participate in some type of productive effort for at least 20 hours each week. These efforts can include working, job training, education, or participation in community service.
These and other reforms will allow Michigan to change their welfare program to give all those Americans in need a chance to discard long-term dependency for a life of renewed purpose and dignity.