The Basic Principles Of The Elizabethan Poor Laws Of 1601

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The basic principles of the Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1601 were “local investigation and administration of relief, work as a component of all assistance, and categorization of the poor into three groups: the able-bodied poor, the impotent poor, and dependent children” (Day & Schiele, 2013, p. 104). Basically, creating a welfare system to help assist the poor, implementing programs to get people working, and categorizing the poor as worthy or unworthy poor. Examples of this in the present social welfare system are TANF, unemployment insurance, Social Security, SSI, and SDI. Within the TANF and unemployment program, there is a job search requirement to encourage people to find work. Also, much like the Elizabethan Poor Laws, people are categorized to receive specific benefits based on whether they can work or not, like SSI, which is for people who are currently unable to work because of old age or disability. Worthy poor are the people who have worked, but no longer can because they are “aged or disabled”, the people who “can work if they want to, or can support their families if they work hard enough” (Day & Schiele, 2013, p. 10). Unworthy poor is anyone else who has never worked and will not work. “It is assumed that these people are poor because of some kind of willfulness, laziness, or refusal to be productive and support themselves” (Longmore, 1997).
Two prominent ideologies that play a role in the development of social welfare policy and social welfare programs are

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