Most people on public benefits programs already work, or are looking for work. The trouble is, sometimes people can’t find jobs or are unable to work, and work requirements kick them off their benefits when they need them most without doing much to help them join the workforce.
Medicaid is a great example of this. Most people on Medicaid already work, and most of the people who aren’t working report that they’re primary caregivers to family members, have temporary health problems themselves, or are disabled. Others face labor market disadvantages—like low educational attainment or a criminal record—that make it difficult to find a job. The suggestion that people need work requirements to motivate them when they actually need health care, home care, education, or legal help is really misguided.