Delaware Public Media

President Trump weighs new requirements and cuts to safety net programs

Apr 15, 2018

Advocates for the poor are calling out the Trump administration for proposing new work requirements to low-income people getting public assistance.


Many programs in Delaware and other states already have work requirements.

The Delaware State Housing Authority requires its clients in Kent and Sussex counties to work at least 20 hours a week to keep their housing.

DSHA’s Christopher Whaley said they have to continue to help move clients into private housing because they have less than 1,500 openings and more than 12,000 people waiting. And he said White House is signaling subsidized housing may go away over time.

“HUD’s going in a different direction and you know we want people to be able to get themselves into position where they don’t have to worry about cuts in federal funding in order to be able to provide for their families,” he said.

DSHA’s housing program - like most public assistance programs across the U.S. - are made up of mostly seniors, children and the disabled.

Rebecca Vallas of the progressive-leaning Center for American Progress said the White House is proposing redefining the definition of welfare so it can add eligibility limits and cut benefits.

Vallas said the administration is trying to do this administratively because Republicans can’t get entitlement program cuts through Congress.

“Americans realize that the real poverty trap is a poverty level minimum wage that has been stuck at 7.25 for nearly a decade because Republicans in Congress refuse to give workers a much needed raise,” she said.

Nearly 2,000 Delawareans who make minimum wage also get help buying food.

President Donald Trump has accused public assistance beneficiaries of abusing the system and refusing to work.

But Vallas said many families who get benefits do work, but it’s not enough to make ends meet.