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Work has taken center stage in welfare reform. Federal legislation adopted in 1996 replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The new law imposes a five-year time limit on benefits and requires states to put recipients to work more quickly than ever before. The states are free to adopt shorter time limits and tougher work rules, and many have done so. Politicians, including the President, argue that putting welfare recipients to work will end welfare" dependency" and usher in a new era of personal responsibility.

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