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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
First Posted: 8/23/11 07:59 AM ET Updated: 8/23/11 09:34 AM ET
Sasha Mandel says she never imagined going on welfare. But her plans for a career and the independence she craved ran headlong into a pair of unforeseen developments -- an unplanned pregnancy at 18, and the worst job market since the Great Depression.
In April 2009, freshly unemployed and devoid of savings, Mandel reluctantly walked into a state office in Phoenix to apply for welfare. Her caseworker was sympathetic, swiftly arranging emergency food aid along with cash assistance. But she was also clear on the limits of that relief: Under the terms of Arizona’s welfare program, Mandel could draw a welfare check for no more than three years.
That timeframe was about to get shorter. This April, cash-strapped Arizona tightened the limit on welfare payments to two years. Mandel learned about the change when she received a letter from the state in June. She was only a few weeks away from exhausting her benefits.
Posted by Obwon at 1:18 PM