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The point of this exercise was to be able to take a problem existing within our society, and describe it in detail.

I feel as though this paper was intended to fulfill a couple competencies such as getting the student to engage in research informed practice and practice informed research. It also gets the student to apply knowledge of human behavior in the social environment, as well as getting students thinking about advancing human rights and social justice. I feel that I successful with this paper as it made me pick a problem within our society, describe whom it affects, and describe its impact, while giving a positive hypothesis on how the problem could be solved.

Nicholas Case ocial !elfare "rograms "olicy "aper ##$#%$#&

!hen a problem arises in a society, it rarely comes alone. ocial welfare issues very often come hand in hand with each other, and the reason for this can be explained very simply. 'or example( in this paper the topic issue will be unemployment at the state level, with a direct focus on )ichigan. In situations where a person becomes unemployed for any period of time it can have many different effects on the individuals life, the local economy and community, as well as the national economy. *nderstanding how unemployment affects individuals and societies at the micro, me++o, and macro levels is critical towards understanding why a society should provide support for the unemployed, what types of support should be given to obtain maximum efficiency, and what our society is currently doing to help solve the problem. ,t the micro level, when a person loses their job, it adds the stress of possibly not being able to afford rent, food, utilities, not being able to pay debts, and the worry of what the person will do the next day to keep getting by. ,ll of these factors added together can give a person a fairly grim outlook on everything, and in some cases can lead to depression, and other mental health issues. In an article reviewing #- different studies done on the topic of mental health in relation to unemployment, it was found that .it is clear that in #/ of the #- studies, there is evidence of a depressed mental health score being associated with unemployment.0 1)urphy, ,thanasou, #2223. If the individual does in fact become depressed, or suffer from any other mental illnesses, it can negatively affect their ability to go

out and find gainful employment. If a person cannot get themselves to go out and actively seek a new position, that person will spend more time unemployed, and the negative effects of their unemployment will just keep piling up. ,t the me++o level, when a person is unemployed, they are not paying income taxes. This means that for each unemployed person there is that much less funding being put into the community. ,lso, if a person cannot afford to pay their rent4mortgage, the people that should have gotten that money are now suffering a loss as well, making it so that they also are putting less money into the local economy. ,nd if a person cannot afford basic essentials such as groceries and other household necessities, local businesses begin to suffer from the loss of good customers. In a situation where a factory which employs hundreds of different people, the me++o effects of this loss of a place of employment can become devastating to communities due to the volume of unemployed individuals. ,t the macro level, which in the scope of this paper is the state level, the effects are somewhat similar to the effects seen at the me++o level, they just come on a larger scale. In a situation where just one individual loses their job, the effect is minimal. 5owever, when it comes to a situation such as described earlier, with the closure of a factory, the effect is felt. !hen the unemployment rate rises, tax revenues gained by the state fall. If the unemployment rate gets too high, and the tax revenues start taking heavy hits, something must be done. The 6uestion then comes to what should be done, and it is never an easy 6uestion to answer. In the field of social work, helping to find a fix for people who are out of work runs congruent with our value system. It is an area where we are helping individuals to help themselves, we can7t necessarily hand them a job, but we can potentially perform services such as helping them build a resume, helping to get the newly created resume into the hands of prospective employers, and by providing a financial safety net to give support to the individual as they search for new employment. "erforming just these three tasks matches up with the values of supporting individualism, efficiency, e6uality, e6uity, and the need for activity4work. !ithout the help of agencies performing such services,

and other related services, unemployed persons would essentially find themselves left out in the cold with no one to turn to for help. In the state of )ichigan, a similar system to the one described above exists, they are the *nemployment Insurance ,gency, and they have been serving )ichigan for 6uite a while now. ,ccording to the agencies website 1www.michigan.gov4uia, #3, .The !agner$"eyser ,ct 1#2883 re6uires states to maintain a national system of public employment offices, while the ocial ecurity ,ct 1#2893 levies a federal tax on employers to provide for the payment of unemployment insurance 1*I3 benefits. )ichigan followed suit statutorily in #28-. The )ichigan :mployment ecurity ,ct implements the federal laws by providing for public employment offices and the payment of *I benefits to workers laid off from their jobs through no fault of their own.0. It may sound like a fairly simple process, but it does get a little complicated for some people. *pon further investigation of the agency7s website, I was able to find a list of re6uirements to become eligible for services, what different situations, can dis6ualify an individual, what someone can expect to receive for unemployment benefits, and a surplus of information related to the agency. The basic re6uirement for unemployment benefits can be inferred from the last sentence of the agency7s description of their history, which says that someone 6ualifies when they are laid off from their job through .no fault of their own0. This basically means that if a person were to 6uit their job, they would receive no help from the state. !hile looking through the agency7s website, I was able to also find a fact sheet detailing exactly what the benefit re6uirements are, and what the benefits given are, if a person does 6ualify. ,s far as re6uirements go, the agency says that an individual has this to say( .To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be unemployed and able to, available for, and actively seeking suitable full$time work. *nless instructed otherwise by *I, staff, you must also register for work two to three business days before your first call to ),;<IN by filing your resume with the )ichigan Talent =ank and by reporting to your local )ichigan !orks> ,gency service center.01www.michigan.gov4uia, &3.

,mong the information that can be found on the agency7s website, there is also a short description of what a person can expect to receive for their benefits, which states that the .*I, staff calculates how much you receive in unemployment benefits by multiplying the highest amount of wages paid to you in any base period 6uarter by /.#?. The *I, adds @- for each dependent you claim, up to five dependents. The weekly benefit amount is capped at @8-&. To determine how many weeks of benefits you may receive, *I, multiplies your total base period wages by /8?, and then divides that answer by your weekly benefit amount. The claim, however, cannot be less than #/ weeks or more than &A.0 1www.michigan.gov4uia, 83. ,lso they go on to state that .In some cases, you can accept part$ time work while receiving unemployment benefits. 5owever, your work must be less than full$time, and your benefits will be reduced according to how much you earn in the week for which you are claiming benefits.0 1www.michigan.gov4uia, /3. The current unemployment system in )ichigan is supported by the state7s ;epublican majority, while some components of it are opposed by many Bemocrats, and it falls in line with current contemporary style when it comes to policy making. The current system supports the ideal that a person should live and work on their own, and receive minimal to no support from the government. This ties into the ;epublican ideals of minimali+ing governmental involvement, and promoting individualism. These factors lead to create a general political consensus that confirms that it is a rational program to have been put into effect. The policy seems scientifically sound on the surface, though when the average living expense is taken into account, it does not seem sound to give such a small amount of money per week. It allows an individual to just barely make ends meet, and leaves it at that. ,lso it is efficient in the light that it promotes individuals to get back to work, even if it means accepting a part time position that has no relevance towards an individuals original area of work4training. ,s the policy does give support to the unemployed, it is efficient, it is somewhat scientifically sound, is politically acceptable, and it is ade6uate enough to get people by, I would say that this is definitely a socially acceptable policy to hold and it is e6uitable in the fact that it does help

to alleviate the stress and economic issues faced by the out of work population. This policy is definitely legal, and much of its bulk has stood the same for over half a century, a feat it more than likely could not have accomplished if it were in fact not a legal policy to operate under. Cbviously since the policy has been around as long as it has, it is surely a feasible policy, the proof of which can be seen by the decades of it working so far. 'rom a justice standpoint, this policy stands up. It does not harm anyone, and does help those who 6ualify when they are put out of job. ,nd while Bemocrats do oppose some of the components of the policy, such as recent cuts to the benefits received and stipulations towards gaining 6ualification, the policy is not directly opposed by the Bemocratic party. The main reason for the policy being politically acceptable though, is that the ;epublicans control the majority of the state of )ichigan, and they support this policy. ,ll that said(this policy is not enough to fix the current unemployment situation in the state of )ichigan. It may match up with the four dimensional approach on most points, it does conform to the current style of politics and policy making, but it is not enough. The current unemployment rate in )ichigan is sitting at 2.8?, which is ./? higher than the D.2? national unemployment rate 1www.bls.gov3. o obviously this policy is not designed to help get people back to work, it just recommends that they do, and gives them a date to have a job by. This is not a fix to the problem, it is simply a band$aid, that has gotten smaller and smaller as the years have gone on. This is npot to say though that I believe that this policy should be ended, on the contrary I think it needs to be fixed, and more policies need to be enacted to help also try and get jobs back to )ichigan, and to get our workers back to being productive members of society. , good start at fixing this policy, would be to have a team do research as to what the state averages are when it comes to basic monetary needs. If the research were to show that the current policy is not meeting the basic needs of the people, then the benefits should be adjusted to do so. If they are sufficient, then by all means we should leave the policy alone. ,s it stands though, I highly doubt that the current policy does in fact meet the basic monetary needs of the average )ichigan resident.

The only real part of the policy that seems completely fair and e6uitable, is the re6uirement that a person may not just 6uit their job and get put on the benefit roll. I believe that this is a sound part of the policy, that does help to minimi+e abuse of the system, and does not promote unemployment. =eyond that though, this policy could use some serious looking over. In my own opinion, I feel that in order to truly help to alleviate the problems caused by unemployment, we need to take a good hard look at our current situation and honestly asses our current policies and procedures in the state of )ichigan. The biggest area that is being neglected though is retraining workers. 'or the longest time )ichigan has been a base for the manufacturing industry. !ith the current global economy though, it is clear that we have lost our grip on the manufacturing industry. !ith this in mind, we would do well to take a look at where job growth is happening throughout the rest of the country, and the world, and begin to train our unemployed workers to do such jobs. !ith a more educated and highly trained workforce, we would stand to put up a much better fight in the national and global economies. !ithout such training, it is doubtful that we will see growth in this state again like we have seen in the past. ,s a whole, the current polices of the *nemployment Insurance ,gency were relevant and ade6uate about thirty years ago, when most of our politicians started their careers. ,s for right now though, they are inade6uate on their own. If we were to implement a retraining system to go alongside the *nemployment Insurance ,gency though, I believe that its effectiveness could be raised substantially. *nfortunately, due to the current political and social climate, it is not likely that such a change will happen anytime soon. The policy does work as a band$aid, but not as a stand$alone policy. If we continue to just keep putting band$aids on problems like this though, we will lead ourselves deeper down a hole, until we will no longer be able to pull ourselves out. !e need to start looking at what will help us in the long run, and pull away from practices that only have short term benefits, such as this one. If we don7t, we stand no chance at competing in the global economy.

;eferences

=ureau of Eabor tatistics$ www.bls.gov )ichigan *nemployment Insurance ,gency$ www.michigan.gov4uia

)urphy, F. C., G ,thanasou, H. ,. 1#2223. The effect of unemployment on mental health. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 72, D8$22.