6351 Week 3 Discussion 1 SOCW 6351: Social Policy, Welfare, and Change Discussion: The Impact of Social Policy Social policies can have a significant imp

6351 Week 3 Discussion 1 SOCW 6351: Social Policy, Welfare, and Change

Discussion: The Impact of Social Policy

Social policies can have a significant imp

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6351 Week 3 Discussion 1 SOCW 6351: Social Policy, Welfare, and Change

Discussion: The Impact of Social Policy

Social policies can have a significant impact on individuals and families, as well as the organizations and agencies that implement the policies. In some cases, the policy, as written, appears comprehensive and effective. Yet, despite appearances, the policy might fail to be effective as a result of improper implementation, interpretation, and/or application of the policy. As a social worker, how might you reduce the potential negative impact faulty social policies might have on organizations and agencies, as well as the populations you serve?

For this Discussion, review this week’s resources, including cases “Working with Immigrants and Refugees: The Case of Luisa” and “Social Work Policy: Benefit Administration and Provision.” Then, select either of the cases and consider how the social welfare policies presented in the case influenced the problems facing Luisa or Tessa. Finally, think about how policies affect social agencies and how social workers work with clients such as Tessa or Luisa.

By 09/15/2021

Post an explanation of the effects of the social welfare policies presented in the case study you selected on Luisa or Tessa. Be specific and reference the case study you selected in your post. Finally, explain how policies affect social agencies and how social workers work with clients, such as Tessa or Luisa.

Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

Responsiveness to
Directions 8.1 (27%) – 9 (30%)

Discussion posting fully addresses all instruction prompts, including responding to the required number of peer posts.

Discussion
Posting Content 8.1 (27%) – 9 (30%)

Discussion posting demonstrates an excellent understanding of all of the concepts and key points presented in the text(s) and Learning Resources. Posting provides significant detail including multiple relevant examples, evidence from the readings and other scholarly sources, and discerning ideas.

Peer Feedback
and Interaction 6.75 (22.5%) – 7.5 (25%)

The feedback postings and responses to questions are excellent and fully contribute to the quality of interaction by offering constructive critique, suggestions, in-depth questions, additional resources, and stimulating thoughts and/or probes.

Writing 4.05 (13.5%) – 4.5 (15%)

Postings are well organized, use scholarly tone, contain original writing and proper paraphrasing, follow APA style, contain very few or no writing and/or spelling errors, and are fully consistent with graduate level writing style.

Required Readings

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore: MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

· “Social Work Policy: Benefit Administration and Provision” (pp. 75–76)

· “Working with Immigrants and Refugees: The Case of Luisa” (pp. 79–80)

Popple, P. R., & Leighninger, L. (2019). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social welfare policy analysis for social workers (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

· Chapter 3, “Social Welfare Policy Analysis” (pp. 33-53)

· Chapter 5, “Social/Economic Analysis” (pp. 76-94)

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2011). Policy basics: Introduction to the federal budget process. Retrieved from www.cbpp.org/files/3-7-03bud.pdf

  

Working With Immigrants and Refugees: The Case of Luisa

Luisa is a 36-year-old, married, Latino female who immigrated to the United States from Colombia. She speaks only Spanish, so a translator must be used for communication. She came to the United States on a visa, but remained beyond the allotted time. While in the United States, she met and married Hugo, who was in the country with documentation. Once Luisa married Hugo, she became pregnant with a daughter, who is now 3 years old.

Luisa has a 10-year-old son named Juan in Colombia. Luisa has always had the desire to reunite with Juan and bring him to the United States to live with her. After her marriage and status change, she began the process of sponsoring Juan. She has been advised that in order for sponsorship to be achieved, she cannot receive welfare benefits because she needs to prove that she can support herself and her child.

Luisa came to the local welfare agency after she and her daughter entered the domestic violence shelter. She reported that Hugo had a history of violence, which was exacerbated when he drank alcohol. Hugo had been drinking more frequently, and the episodes of violence had increased in severity. The domestic violence program requires all residents to apply for any available benefits in order to remain enrolled in their services.

In one particular episode, Hugo almost fractured her orbital bones. She had extensive facial bruising and blood pooled in one eye. Luisa is quite fearful of Hugo. She is also financially dependent on him. She is reluctant to apply for benefits because she fears that this will compromise her ability to sponsor her son in Colombia. She is tearful and tells me that she cannot sacrifice her son’s opportunity to come to the United States.

Luisa is socially isolated because she has no family in the United States, and Hugo has restricted her ability to socialize and establish friendships. However, she is a practicing Catholic and does belong to a church that offers bilingual services.

Luisa began to discuss returning to Hugo because she felt that this was her only viable option. I advised her that under the new federal changes in immigration laws she might be allowed to apply for benefits and still sponsor her son because she is experiencing domestic violence. I explained that we would need to speak to an immigration lawyer to verify this, but it could possibly be an alternative to returning to Hugo.

Luisa reported that she had given money to lawyers in the past who had been unhelpful. She was suspicious of the law’s ability to protect her. Hugo had also threatened to report her to the authorities, stating that he would tell them she only married him to remain in the country. Although this is not true, she feared that he would do this, and she would never see her daughter again.

I offered to speak with someone at the domestic violence program and advocate that they allow her some time to research her options. I told Luisa that these were difficult decisions to make and that she would be supported in her decision. I told her that she knew what was best for her family. I offered to research the options that she might have under this new federal program. I also asked for permission to contact the priest at her church so that she might be able to review her situation with a religious leader in the community. Luisa agreed.

Two weeks later, Luisa applied for services on behalf of her daughter and herself. She has decided not to return to Hugo.

Social Work Policy: Benefit Administration and Provision: Case of Tessa

Tessa is a 45-year-old, divorced, Filipina female who came to the Department of Human Services seeking assistance. I was asked to see her because she was denied services by the Division of Family Development. She is homeless and in need of mental health treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but has no insurance or funds to pay for the services. She also reported that she has experienced domestic violence.

Tessa reported that she was brought to this state from another state by an “underground network” for women who have experienced domestic violence and are still at risk for violence. Tessa stated that she was formerly married to a high-ranking officer in the military. The Division of Family Development denied her application because she refused to disclose her legal name and Social Security number. She fears that if her name is entered into any system, her ex-husband will locate her and kill her.

Tessa carries a binder containing photographs of the injuries that she sustained during the final year of her marriage. The photos are graphic and depict severe facial bruising. There is medical documentation indicating that her orbital bone was fractured and both of her kneecaps were broken when her ex-husband struck her with a baseball bat.

Her former husband was found guilty of domestic violence and ordered to undergo a substance abuse treatment program for his alcoholism. This program satisfied the requirements set forth by the military and Child Protective Services (CPS). Once the program was completed, Tessa was court ordered to bring Maria, her 5-year-old daughter, to him for visitation.

Tessa began to see signs that her ex-husband was sexually abusing Maria during these unsupervised visits. She approached CPS with her concerns, but they found no evidence to substantiate this allegation. Under the visitation agreement, Tessa was not permitted to leave the state, but she ignored the order and moved to another state with Maria. She was subsequently located by the authorities, and the child was removed and returned to her home state. To her knowledge, Maria is now in the care of her paternal grandparents.

Presently, Tessa is staying at the home of a member of a local church that is connected to the domestic violence network. She is unable to remain in this home indefinitely and has been told that she must find her own home and begin the process of establishing herself independently.

Tessa is deeply saddened and worried about Maria’s safety. She has been advised to legally change her name and apply for a new Social Security number to protect her from future assaults by her ex-husband. This would also allow her to apply for benefits, but Tessa is unwilling to do this because she has been advised by her attorney that once her name has been changed, she must give up all contact and hope of reuniting with Maria.

In our state, the computer system used by the Division of Family Development is designed to conceal the identities of women who have experienced intimate partner violence as a means to protect them. I advised Tessa of this and informed her that her legal name and Social Security number is a requirement for benefit approval. Tessa continues to refuse to share this information because she does not believe that the computer controls will limit access for a high-ranking military officer.

In order to address her concerns, I contacted the office of the commissioner of the Department of Human Services to inquire whether the system is able to prevent access by a high-ranking military officer with connections to the government. I was told that this could not be guaranteed. I worked out an alternative solution with the state using a pseudonym until the issue of an identity change could be resolved for Tessa.

Tessa received the cash benefits and housing grant, began mental health counseling, and found an apartment. She eventually was assigned a new identity with the understanding that she could not continue her search for Maria. Policy Basics is a series of brief background reports on issues related to budgets, taxes, and government assistance programs.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | cbpp.org

Note: The COVID-19 recession and subsequent relief packages have dramatically changed
spending and revenue levels for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. We use pre-pandemic figures
below to illustrate the composition of the federal budget and taxes under more normal
circumstances.

Introduction to the Federal Budget Process
This backgrounder describes the laws and procedures under which Congress decides
how much money to spend each year, what to spend it on, and how to raise the
money to cover some or all of that spending. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974
lays out a formal framework for developing and enforcing a “budget resolution” to
guide the process but in recent years the process has not always worked as
envisioned.

In this backgrounder, we address:

• the President’s annual budget request, which is supposed to kick off the budget process;
• the congressional budget resolution — how it is developed, what it contains, and what happens if there

is no budget resolution;

• how the terms of the budget resolution are enforced in the House and Senate;
• budget “reconciliation,” an optional procedure used in some years to facilitate the passage of

legislation amending tax or entitlement law; and

• statutory deficit-control measures — spending caps, pay-as-you-go requirements, and sequestration.

Step One: The President’s Budget Request
The process starts when the President submits a detailed budget request for the coming fiscal year, which
begins on October 1. (The President’s request is supposed to come by the first Monday in February, but
sometimes the submission is delayed, particularly when a new Administration takes office or congressional
action on the prior year’s budget has been delayed.) This budget request — developed through an
interactive process between federal agencies and the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
that begins the previous spring (or earlier) — plays three important roles.

Policy Basics – Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

2

First, it tells Congress what the President recommends for overall federal fiscal policy: (a) how much money
the federal government should spend on public purposes; (b) how much it should take in as tax revenues;
and (c) how much of a deficit (or surplus) the federal government should run, which is simply the difference
between (a) and (b). In most years, federal spending exceeds tax revenues and the resulting deficit is
financed through borrowing (see chart).

Second, the President’s budget lays out his relative priorities for federal programs — how much he believes
should be spent on defense, agriculture, education, health, and so on. The President’s budget is very
specific, recommending funding levels for individual “budget accounts” — federal programs or small groups
of programs. The budget typically sketches out fiscal policy and budget priorities not only for the coming
year but also for the subsequent nine years. The budget is accompanied by supporting volumes, including
historical tables that set out past budget figures.

The third role of the President’s budget is signaling to
Congress the President’s recommendations for
spending and tax policy changes. As discussed below,
the budget comprises different types of programs,
some that require new funding each year to continue
and others that do not require annual action by
Congress. While the President must recommend
funding levels for annually appropriated programs, he
need not propose legislative changes for ongoing parts
of the budget already funded by prior laws.

• Annually appropriated programs. These
programs fall under the jurisdiction of the House
and Senate Appropriations Committees. Funding
for these programs must be renewed each year
to keep government agencies open and the
programs in this category operating. These
programs are known as “discretionary” because
the laws that establish those programs leave
Congress with the discretion to set the funding levels each year. That doesn’t mean the programs are
optional or unimportant, however. For example, almost all defense spending is discretionary, as are
the budgets for a broad set of public services, including environmental protection, education, job
training, border security, veterans’ health care, scientific research, transportation, economic
development, some low-income assistance, law enforcement, and international assistance.
Altogether, discretionary programs make up about one-third of all federal spending. The President’s
budget spells out how much funding he recommends for each discretionary program.

• Taxes, “mandatory” or “entitlement” programs, and interest. Nearly all of the federal tax code is set
in ongoing law that either remains in place until changed or requires renewal only periodically.

Policy Basics – Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

3

Similarly, more than one-half of federal spending is also governed by ongoing laws. This category is
known as “mandatory” spending. It includes the three largest entitlement programs (Social Security,
Medicare, and Medicaid) as well as certain other programs (including SNAP, formerly food stamps;
federal civilian and military retirement benefits; veterans’ disability benefits; and unemployment
insurance) that are not controlled by annual appropriations. Interest on the national debt is also paid
automatically, with no need for new legislation. (There is, however, a separate limit on how much the
Treasury can borrow. This “debt ceiling” must be raised or suspended through separate legislation
when necessary.)

As noted, the President’s budget does not need to
include recommendations to ensure the continuation of
ongoing mandatory programs and revenues, but it will
nonetheless typically include proposals to alter some
mandatory programs and some aspects of revenue law.

• Recommendations for mandatory programs
typically spell out changes to eligibility criteria
and levels of individual benefits but do not
usually propose binding funding limits. Rather,
funding for these programs is effectively
determined by the eligibility and benefits rules
set in law.

• Changes to the tax code will increase or
decrease taxes. Such proposals will be reflected
as a change in the amount of federal revenue
that the President’s budget projects will be collected the next year or in future years, relative to what
would otherwise be collected.

Step Two: The Congressional Budget Resolution
Next, Congress generally holds hearings to question Administration officials about their requests and then
develops its own budget plan, called a “budget resolution.” This work is done by the House and Senate
Budget Committees, whose primary function is to draft and enforce the budget resolution. Once the Budget
Committees pass their budget resolutions, the resolutions go to the House and Senate floors, where they
can be amended (by majority vote). A House-Senate conference then resolves any differences, and the
budget resolution for the year is adopted when both houses pass the conference agreement.

The budget resolution is a “concurrent” congressional resolution, not an ordinary bill, and therefore does not
go to the President for his signature or veto. It also requires only a majority vote to pass, and its
consideration is one of the few actions that cannot be filibustered in the Senate. Because it does not go to
the President, a budget resolution cannot enact spending or tax law. Instead, it sets targets for other
congressional committees that can propose legislation directly providing or changing spending and taxes.

Policy Basics – Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

4

Congress is supposed to pass the budget resolution by April 15, but it often takes longer. In recent years it
has been common for Congress not to pass a budget resolution at all. When that happens, the previous
year’s resolution, which is a multi-year plan, stays in effect, although the House, the Senate, or both can and
typically do adopt special procedures to set different spending levels (see box: What if There Is No Budget
Resolution?).

• What is in the budget resolution? Unlike the President’s budget, which is very detailed, the

congressional budget resolution is a very simple document. It consists of a set of numbers stating how
much Congress is supposed to spend in each of 19 broad spending categories (known as budget
“functions”) and how much total revenue the government will collect, for each of the next five years or
more. (The Congressional Budget Act requires that the resolution cover a minimum of five years, though
Congress now generally chooses ten years.) The difference between the two totals — the spending
ceiling and the revenue floor — represents the deficit (or surplus) expected for each year.

• How spending is defined: budget authority vs. outlays. The spending totals in the budget resolution are

stated in two different ways: the total amount of “budget authority,” and the estimated level of
expenditures, or “outlays.” Budget authority is how much money Congress allows a federal agency to
commit to spend; outlays are how much money actually flows out of the federal Treasury in a given year.
For example, a bill that appropriated $50 million for building a bridge would provide $50 million in
budget authority for the coming year, but the outlays might not reach $50 million until the following year
or even later, when the bridge actually is completed.

Policy Basics – Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

5

Budget authority and outlays thus serve different purposes. Budget authority represents a limit on the
new financial obligations federal agencies may incur (by signing contracts or making grants, for
example), and is generally the focus of Congress’ budgetary decisions. Outlays, because they represent
actual cash flow, help determine the size of the overall deficit or surplus.

• How committee spending limits get set: 302(a) allocations. The report that accompanies the budget
resolution includes a table called the “302(a) allocation.” This table takes the spending totals that are
laid out by budget function in the budget resolution and distributes them by congressional committee
instead. The House and Senate tables are different from one another, since committee jurisdictions
vary somewhat between the two chambers.

In both the House and Senate, the Appropriations Committee receives a single 302(a) allocation for all
of its programs. It then decides on its own how to divide this funding among its 12 subcommittees,
creating what are known as 302(b) sub-allocations. Similarly, the various committees with jurisdiction
over mandatory programs each get an allocation that represents a total dollar limit on all of the
spending legislation they produce that year.

The spending totals in the budget resolution do not apply to “authorizing” legislation that merely
establishes or changes rules for federal programs funded through the annual appropriations process.
Unless it changes an entitlement program (such as Social Security or Medicare), authorizing legislation
does not actually have a budgetary effect. For example, the education committees could produce
legislation that authorizes a certain amount to be appropriated on the Title I education program for
disadvantaged children. However, none of that money can be spent until the annual Labor-Health and
Human Services-Education appropriations bill — which includes education spending — sets the actual
dollar level for Title I funding for the year, which is frequently less than the authorized limit.

Often the report accompanying the budget resolution contains language describing the assumptions behind
it, including how much it envisions certain programs being cut or increased. These assumptions generally
serve only as guidance to the other committees.

The budget resolution can also include temporary or permanent changes to the congressional budget
process.

Step Three: Enacting Budget Legislation
Following adoption of the budget resolution, Congress considers the annual appropriations bills, which fund
discretionary programs in the coming fiscal year, and considers legislation to enact changes to mandatory
spending or revenue levels within the dollar constraints specified in the budget resolution. Mechanisms
exist to enforce the terms of the budget resolution during the consideration of such legislation, and a special
mechanism known as “reconciliation” exists to expedite the consideration of mandatory spending and tax
legislation.

Enforcing the Terms of the Budget Resolution
The main enforcement mechanism that prevents Congress from passing legislation that violates the terms of
the budget resolution is the ability of a single member of the House or the Senate to raise a budget “point of

Policy Basics – Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

6

order” on the floor to block such legislation. In some recent years, this point of order has not been
particularly important in the House because it can be waived there by a simple majority vote on a resolution
developed by the leadership-appointed Rules Committee, which sets the conditions under which each bill
will be considered on the floor.

However, the budget point of order is important in the Senate, where any legislation that exceeds a
committee’s spending allocation — or cuts taxes below the level allowed in the budget resolution — is
vulnerable to a budget point of order on the floor that requires 60 votes to waive.

What if There Is No Budget Resolution?
Congress has seldom completed action on the budget resolution by the April 15 target date specified in
the Budget Act, and it failed to complete action on a resolution for fiscal years 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007,
each year from 2011 through 2015, and 2019. In the absence of a budget resolution, the House and
Senate typically enact separate budget targets, which they “deem” to be a substitute for the budget
resolution. Such deeming resolutions typically provide spending allocations to the Appropriations
Committees but may serve a variety of other budgetary purposes. Unless the House or Senate agrees to
such a deeming resolution, the multi-year revenue floors and spending allocations for mandatory
programs that had been agreed to in the most recent budget resolution remain in effect.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, described below, took a different tack, establishing a “Congressional
Budget” for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 in statute as an alternative to the concurrent budget resolution
called for in the Congressional Budget Act, including new appropriations targets for discretionary programs
for each of those years. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 did the same for the Senate for fiscal year
2017. And the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 did the same for both chambers for fiscal years 2018 and
2019, even though a budget resolution for 2018 had been agreed to by Congress three and a half months
earlier.

Appropriations bills (or amendments to them) must fit within the 302(a) allocation given to the
Appropriations Committee as well as the committee-determined 302(b) sub-allocations for the coming fiscal
year. Entitlement bills (or any amendments offered to them) must not exceed the budget resolution’s 302
allocation for the applicable committee and must not cause revenues to fall below the revenue floor, both in
the first year and over the total multi-year period covered by the budget resolution. The cost of a tax or
entitlement bill is determined (or “scored”) by the Budget Committees, nearly always by relying on estimates
provided by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO measures the cost of tax or
entitlement legislation against a budgetary “baseline” that projects mandatory spending and tax receipts
under current law.

The Budget “Reconciliation” Process
From time to time, Congress makes use of an optional, special procedure outlined in the Congressional
Budget Act known as “reconciliation” to expedite the consideration of mandatory spending and tax
legislation. This procedure was originally designed as a deficit-reduction tool, to force committees to

Policy Basics – Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

7

produce spending cuts or tax increases called for in the budget resolution. However, it was used to enact tax
cuts several times during the George W. Bush Administration and again under the Trump Administration in
2017, thereby increasing projected deficits.

• What is a reconciliation bill? A reconciliation bill is a single piece of legislation that typically includes
multiple provisions (generally developed by several committees), all of which directly affect the federal
budget — whether mandatory spending, taxes, or both. A reconciliation bill, like the budget resolution,
cannot be filibustered by the Senate, so it only requires a majority vote to pass.

• How does the reconciliation process work? If Congress decides to use the reconciliation process,
language known as a “reconciliation directive” must be included in the budget resolution. The
reconciliation directive instructs committees to produce legislation by a specific date that meets
certain spending or tax targets. (If they fail to produce this legislation, the Budget Committee chair
generally has the right to offer floor amendments to meet the reconciliation targets for them, a threat
which usually produces compliance with the directive.) The Budget Committee then packages all of
these bills together into one bill that goes to the floor for an up-or-down vote, with limited opportunity
for amendment. After the House and Senate resolve the differences between their competing bills, a
final conference agreement is considered on the floor of each chamber and, if adopted, then goes to
the President for his signature or veto.

• Constraints on reconciliation: the “Byrd rule.” While reconciliation enables Congress to bundle
together several different provisions from different committees affecting a broad range of programs, it
faces one major constraint: the “Byrd rule,” named after the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia.
This Senate rule provides a point of order against any provision of (or amendment to) a reconciliation
bill that is deemed “extraneous” to the purpose of amending entitlement or tax law. If a point of order
is raised under the Byrd rule, the offending provision is automatically stripped from the bill unless at
least 60 senators vote to waive the rule. This makes it difficult, for example, to include any policy
changes in a reconciliation bill unless they have direct fiscal implications. Under this rule, changes in
the authorization of discretionary appropriations are not allowed, nor, for example, are changes to civil
rights or employment law or even the budget process. Changes to Social Security also are not
permitted under the Byrd rule, even if they are budgetary.

In addition, the Byrd rule bars any entitlement increases or tax cuts that cost money beyond the five
(or more) years covered by the reconciliation directive, unless other provisions in the bill fully offset
these “out-year” costs.

What If Appropriations Bills Are Not Passed on Time?
If Congress does not complete action on an appropriations bill before the start of the fiscal year on October
1, it must pass, and the President must sign, a continuing resolution (CR) to provide stopgap funding for
affected agencies and discretionary programs. If Congress doesn’t pass or the President will not sign a CR
because it contains provisions he finds unacceptable, agencies that have not received funding through the
ordinary appropriations process must shut down operations.

Policy Basics – Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

8

A dispute between President Trump and Congress over border wall funding led to a 35-day shutdown of
federal agencies under nine different departments starting December 22, 2018. A dispute over delay or
defunding of health reform legislation between President Obama and congressional Republicans led to a 16-
day shutdown of ordinary government operations beginning October 1, 2013. And a dispute between
President Clinton and congressional Republicans in the winter of 1995-96 produced a 21-day shutdown of
substantial portions of the federal government.

Statutory Deficit-Control Mechanisms
Separately from the limits established in the annual budget process, Congress operates under statutory
deficit-control mechanisms that prevent tax and mandatory spending legislation from increasing the deficit
and that constrain discretionary spending.

• PAYGO. Under the 2010 Statutory Pay-As-You Go (PAYGO) Act, any legislative changes to taxes or

mandatory spending that increase projected multi-year deficits must be “offset” or paid for by other
changes to taxes or mandatory spending that reduce deficits by an equivalent amount. Violation of
PAYGO triggers across-the-board cuts (“sequestration”) in selected mandatory programs to restore the
balance between budget costs and savings. (In addition, the Hous

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