Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Could "community engagement" eventually be required for some social security benefits?


Although Tuesday’s election results may have firmed up Medicaid expansion hopes in some states, a broader issue coming up is the proposals in some more conservative states to require more “community engagement” from Medicaid beneficiaries (as well as welfare).  Robert Pear has an interesting story in the New York Times. 
  
Community engagement usually means at least one or more of the following:  reportable employment, regular volunteer work (that is supervised by a non-profit), taking vocational or college courses, or intensive job hunting.  This sounds a lot like what is usually required to collect unemployment after a layoff (volunteerism may not always count  -- remember that line in the 2002 Minnesota comedy movie “Great Lakes”: “Does this count as a job interview?”

What I wonder is, what if this became a requirement for some social security benefits, at least early benefits or below certain ages, as part of deficit cutting reform (or maybe after another debt-ceiling fight)?  Is it reasonable to expect of able-bodied seniors?

This could certainly have an effect on the kind of journalism I do, which does not pay its own way. 

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