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relief and WPA jobs throughout the
country had intensified sharply and a new
dispatch quoted "congressional leaders"
to the effect that the President would
defer estimates of next year's relief
needs until March.

The local relief story of recent weeks,
told in correspondence to The Survey
rom widely scattered sections, is exigent.

le cities' answer to the present demand
lat they care for their own unemploy-
ables, and unprovided for employables,
becomes increasingly clear. It seems to
be simply that they can't.

Chicago's plight is among the worst.
Weeks when no rent was paid for relief
clients brought wholesale evictions. Sub-
budget food allowances (at last reports
80 percent of a minimum budget was
being paid) are building trouble for the
future. Small field and intake staffs of
the Chicago Relief Administration are
overpowered by applications which have
doubled and tripled, so that it is neces-
sary to schedule many return interviews
for as long as three weeks in advance.



The result of this is many phone calls,
more and more impatient, from people
who say that they cannot possibly wait.
Somewhat better financing was managed
for November and December than for
the two months previous and half-rents
now are being paid. Notices in the en-
velopes with relief checks tell recipients
that "with full knowledge that allow-
ances made by the CRA are not sufficient
to meet budgeted needs," no more money
now is available and at such time as there
are funds, further consideration will be
given to their needs.

Private agencies in Chicago for a time
supplemented extreme need of CRA cases
who were inadequately provided for. The
United Charities has had to curtail this
assistance in order to carry its own job.
The Jewish Social Service Bureau still
is meeting emergencies in Jewish fami-
lies, on recommendation of the CRA and
when all other resources have been
tapped. Many of these are cases where
food money has been used for rent in
fear of eviction.

Meantime, examiners for a Citizens'
Committee are "sifting" the present re-
lief load collecting information, evalu-
ating, weighing and measuring the eligi-
bility and need of more than 87,000 fam-
ilies who are receiving only part of their
absolute needs from a city relief fund
about a million dollars a month short of
providing minimum subsistence. Any hope
for more funds seems to lie with the next
state legislature.

Cincinnati, a few months ago reputed
to have in large measure "liquidated" its
relief load, now has a study to show just
what that means. The material was gath-
ered by the Community Chest of Cin-
cinnati and Hamilton County, with Ellery
Reed, research director. (To be published
in full in the Social Service Review,
March 1938.) With a staff of only
ten case workers for more than five thou-
sand "active" cases, it was not possible
for the relief department to keep track
of closed cases. However, under the di-
rection of Cincinnati's Bureau of Gov-
ernment Research, visits were made by
a group of 190 volunteers to 1300 fam-
ilies who had formerly been on relief.
Reports indicated that, city-wide, about
7500 families representing some 22,400
persons were entirely without resources.
A survey of schools produced a list of
over 800 children, reported by their teach-
ers to be suffering from lack of adequate
clothing, glasses or medical care. Private
agencies reported frequent contact with
cases of most urgent need. Answering the
question of what Cincinnati's "relief liqui-



dation" really means, the survey in a ten-
tative conclusion states that "the burden
of relief has ' been shifted largely to
friends and neighbors of the destitute
who themselves are usually poor and un-
able to bear the burden."

By a special city tax levy approved in
November elections, Cincinnati will have
available for 1938 relief a fund which,
on the basis of the present drastically
limited case load, would provide about
$13 per month per case. It is hoped that
matching funds will be provided by the
state.

A correspondent from Seattle, Wash,
writes that public assistance applications
to the Department of Social Security are
the heaviest since 1933, with a high pro-
portion of applicants previously unknown
to the department. In St. Louis, relief
applications have increased, but "almost
two are turned down to every one ac-
cepted. . . . Rules deny relief to any-
one able to work, even though unem-
ployed and in need, unless children are
involved. . . . The city has not provided
any money since September, and the
state has insisted that it will not meet
more than 60 percent of the need. Al-
lotments to those on relief have been
reduced to minimum amounts which can
be used for food, or if desired, for fuel
or for gas or for electric light bills. Rent
payments have been eliminated . . . for
the most part landlords have assumed
the burden. An effort is being made to
lighten relief loads through transfer to
the old age assistance rolls of about 850
persons eligible for pensions but now re-
ceiving direct relief. . . . Private agen-
cies are unable to extend help to those re-
fused by the public agencies . . . due to
the failure of the United Charities cam-
paign to reach its goal for 1938."

The Pennsylvania Department of Public
Assistance reported 15,071 applications
for relief the week ending December 18,
the largest number since the period im-
mediately following the spring floods of
1936, and an increase of 1009 over the
preceding week. Added to the relief rolls
during the week were 11,408 new or
reopened cases, of which 8847 were
accepted because of loss of private em-
ployment or decreased wages. In Phila-
delphia, the influx of applications for
assistance is so great that additional relief
stations and staff have been authorized
to handle the influx.

In New York City, applications for
home relief more than doubled during
fall months. The increase began the end
of October, after seventeen months of
continuous decline. Mounting relief needs



JANUARY 1938



17



have forced an increase of $300,000 in
the emergency relief bureau's allotment
for clothing.

Part Time Farming As part of its
study of rural relief and rehabilitation
the Division of Social Research of the
WPA, in cooperation with the Farm Se-
curity Administration, has issued a new
survey, Part Time Farming in the
Southeast. The report compares the liv-
ing conditions of 1113 industrial work-
ers in Georgia, South Carolina and Ala-
bama, who were doing a little farming
on the side, with those of 1934 who were
doing no farming. Part time farming,
the study found, is no solution to unem-
ployment or to the lack of adequate in-
come. Earnings from wages amounted to
less than $500 a year; produce grown and
consumed by typical families ranged in
value from about $70 to $400. The area
studied has small promise of any early
increase in employment and "unemployed
workers should not be encouraged to
establish themselves on farms with the
view of eventually obtaining industrial
employment to provide the necessary cash
wage."

Part time farming improved the diet
of the families with more and better
food than they could afford to buy, but,
concludes the report, "the opportunities
for its extension are sharply limited."

CCC for 1938 Although 101 Civilian
Conservation Corps camps were sched-
uled to be closed January 1, a replace-
ment program for enrollment of about
32.000 young men during the first quar-
ter of the year is under way, and en-
rollees will be transferred from the
closed camps to those remaining in oper-
ation. Including the new enrollees, the
maximum strength of the corps for the
current quarter is estimated at 280,000.
Robert Fechner, director of the corps,
says that there are now 2,300,000 youths
in the country who have been trained in
CCC camps. "While CCC men are not
militarized in the ordinary sense, their
training is such that they are about 85
percent prepared for military life," he
stated, explaining at the same time that
while any military aspect of CCC is "un-
intentional," discipline, living harmoni-
ously in groups, and right sanitation con-
stitute the ground work of training for
any armed force.

Prospect After making a special sur-
vey of federal, state and local relief ex-
penditures, for a new Twentieth Century
Fund publication, Studies in Current
Tax Problems, Mabel Newcomer of
Vassar College concludes that "relief
expenditures during the next few years
will continue to be a major item in the
federal budget, regardless of what hap-
pens to American business." She sees



much of the stigma of pauperism now
removed from relief, and foresees that
in future a greater proportion of the un-
employed will apply for relief than did
so in 1929. With higher standards of re-
lief, with "the lag in reemployment fol-
lowing advances in technology," and with
the tendency of the depression to create
unemployables, Professor Newcomer as-
serts that though business were restored
to the 1929 level, welfare expenditures
still would be far in excess of what they
then were.

In Print Recent publications concern-
ing state welfare and relief include:
The Relief Situation in Colorado Rural
and Town Areas, by Olaf F. Larson and
John E. Wilson, Colorado State Agricul-
tural Experiment Station, Fort Collins,
and the WPA division of Rural Re-
search; Public Assistance in a Wisconsin
County During September, 1936, Public
Welfare Department, Madison, Wis. ;
Public Relief in New York State (a sum-
mary of the public welfare law and re-
lated statutes with 1937 amendments),
publication No. 222 of the New York
State Charities Aid Association; A Study
of the Medical Needs of Recipients of
Old Age Assistance in New York City in
1934, publication No. 21, State Depart-
ment of Welfare, Albany.

An interesting and valuable addition
to the record of current history is When
Clients Organize, by Helen Seymour,
published by the American Public Wel-
fare Association, 850 East 58 Street,
Chicago. Price 50 cents. The study de-
scribes and interprets the rise of client
pressure groups and their effect on relief
administration. . . . Also published by the
APWA is An Experiment in Reducing
the Cost of Relief, (price 20 cents) in
which Ellery F. Reed describes the Cin-
cinnati experiment of 1936 in intensive
case work to the end of effecting a more
rapid turnover of relief cases.

Compensation

A/I ORE than half the workers of the
country who are covered by unem-
ployment compensation laws are in the
twenty-two jurisdictions twenty-one
states and the District of Columbia
which begin payment of benefits this
month. While there is a wide variation
in the form of the state laws, all have
certain requirements which must be ful-
filled before an unemployed worker can
receive benefits. Each worker should re-
port to his employer his social security
number. When he loses his job, he must
register for work promptly at the near-
est public employment office, and at the
same time file his claim for benefits.
After registering, he must report at the
office as often as the regulations of his



state require. His claim for benefits must
be examined and approved. If after the
waiting period (two weeks in twelve
states, three in eight states, and four in
two states) he is still jobless, his benefits
will begin. The first benefit check will
cover the first full week of unemploy-
ment following the waiting period. Dura-
tion of benefits is fixed by the state laws ;
in most states from sixteen to eighteen
weeks in any one year. According to U.S.
Treasury estimates, these twenty-two
jurisdictions will have about $440 mil-
lion in the unemployment trust fund
when payments begin.

In New York, both registration and
claim for benefits are to be by mail to the
local employment office during the month
of January. Thereafter, the unemployed
worker must call at the office in person.

Reciprocal Benefits The Michigan
Unemployment Compensation Commis-
sion proposes "reciprocal agreements,"
under which unemployment insurance
credits will follow the worker from one
state to another. Under this plan, a work-
er's benefit rights, once established, re-
main in effect, even though he changes
his residence to another state. If he be-
comes jobless, the state in which he re-
sides would make payment at the Michi-
gan rate. The same security would be
offered a newcomer to Michigan from
another participating state. The plan has
been approved by the Michigan commis-
sion, and will go into effect as soon as a
majority of states accept it.

Administration Increasing unem-
ployment since early fall has caused the
Division of Placement and Unemploy-
ment, New York State Labor Depart-
ment, to raise its estimate of the number
of workers applying for benefits this
month from 450,000 to 600,000. Officials
admit that the volume of applications will
be a severe test of administrative ma-
chinery. The situation is complicated by
the fact that publication of civil service
lists was delayed, and as a result it has
not been possible to build up the staff to
its full complement of 3900 persons. . . .
Because of business recession and lay-
offs, North Carolina officials have in-
creased the estimate of January applica-
tions in that state from 60,000 to 100,000.
In North Carolina, about 400,000 work-
ers are covered, and a fund nearing $8
million has been collected.

Secretary of Labor Perkins has an-
nounced the formation of a fifteen-mem-
ber advisory council to aid in activities of
the District of Columbia Employment
Center.

California's Unemployment Reserves
Commission is conducting a drive to ob-
tain complete employment records. Only
10,000 out of an estimated 50,000 employ-
ers in that state have registered. . . .



18



SURVEY MIDMONTHLY



About one third of the employing con-
cerns in Massachusetts have failed to file
the quarterly wage reports required un-
der that state's unemployment compensa-
tion law. It is believed that most of the
delinquent employers have only a few
names on their payrolls.

A joint field service has been estab-
lished by the Bureau of Unemployment
Compensation and the Employment Ser-
vice. One person will represent both units
in a given area, reporting to the employ-
ment service on matters concerning em-
ployment, job registration, and so on, and
to the bureau on matters concerning un-
employment compensation.

Rulings In New York, jobless work-
ers who become ill while receiving unem-
ployment benefits will not be entitled to
payments until they are able to accept a
job. Paul Sifton, deputy industrial com-
missioner, states that the ruling is based
on the provision in the state law that a
person receiving benefits must be "capa-
ble of and available for employment."

Harry L. Hopkins, WPA administra-
tor, has ruled that unemployed workers
receiving benefits under state compen-
sation laws will not be barred from
WPA aid to bring their total income to a
"security wage."

Strikers Three state unemployment
compensation laws New York, Rhode
Island and Pennsylvania provide bene-
fits for strikers. In New York, the wait-
ing period is ten weeks, instead of the
three weeks in other cases of unemploy-
ment. In Pennsylvania, the normal wait-
ing period is extended three weeks; and
in Rhode Island, eight weeks, unless the
applicant is not a member of the group
responsible for the stoppage, and is not
participating in the strike in any way.
Eight state laws flatly disqualify any
worker from benefits during any week of
unemployment caused by a strike. In
most of the other states, the worker's
participation in the stoppage is the test
for disqualification.

Wisconsin's First Year In a wide-
ly quoted article in Social Security, Ab-
raham Epstein reviews the first year of
operation of Wisconsin's pioneer unem-
ployment compensation law, and finds it
a failure as a security measure because:
it pays "less than an ancient poor law
grant to the unemployed," with an av-
erage benefit check of only $6 a week;
it "goes out of its way to avoid benefit
payments by compelling unemployed
workers to accept part time work and
low wages on pain of losing their right
to benefits"; its administrative costs are
exorbitant.

Paul A. Raushenbush, director of Wis-
consin's Unemployment Compensation
Department, replying to these major crit-

JANUARY 1938



Fourteen Million Insured

Workers, and Their Work

Unemployment insurance begins t Its pro-
tection is extended to 14.000,000 workers in 22
states .... from a few thousand insured workers
in Arizona to more than three million insured
workers in New York State.

Picture chart shows relative number of in-
sured employees and major occupations in the
'2 states which begin unemployment insurance
benefit payments to eligible unemployed work-
ers early in 1938.

Burrowing through Arizona mines, felling
Oregon's forest giants, subduing Texas Oil
gushers, straddling the girders of mush-
rooming skyscrapers, building homes,
driving trucks, cooking meals, typing
letters, sewing garments millions of
workers all protected by unemploy-
ment insurance.



\\i.



UTAH



VT.



A *



ORE.



TENN.



CONN.



N.C.



VA.



W.VA.



MINN.



TEX.



CALIF.



MASS.



N.Y.



PENN.



As Benefits Begin in 1938



From Unemployment Insurance



icisms, as well as to less fundamental
points raised by Mr. Epstein, points out
what Mr. Epstein failed to mention, that
the Wisconsin law provides for the
gradual building up of reserves for eight-
een months after July 1, 1936, when the
law went into effect, and that it was not
therefore in full force during the first
year in which it began to pay benefits.

The benefit rate is that of most state
laws: 50 percent of wages, with a max-
imum of $15 a week. Mr. Epstein's
"average" of $6 a week lumped benefits
for both full time and partial unemploy-
ment. Taken alone, "total unemployment
benefits averaged above $8 a week for
the first year, and over $10 during the
next quarter (July-September, 1937)."

Under the Wisconsin law, a worker
must receive in wages, or in wages plus
partial benefits, at least the amount he
would receive in benefits were he totally
unemployed. In any week when his wage
drops below this "rock bottom figure,"
his employer must so report, and par-
tial benefits are then paid accordingly
without direct claim by the worker [see
Survey Graphic, April 1937, page 214].
The purpose of this provision is "to keep
his income up and to set a lower limit to
excessive staggering." Mr. Raushenbush



sees the provision requiring the worker
to "accept suitable employment" as "de-
signed to safeguard the benefit rights of
unemployed workers so that their refusal
to take a short time job will not bar ben-
efits." In defining "suitable employment,"
the law states: "provided such employ-
ment . . . gives him wages at least equal
to his weekly benefit for total unemploy-
ment or provides him work for at least
half the number of hours normally
worked as full time in such occupation
or establishment." Mr. Raushenbush
comments: "In other words, no job
which provides less work or wages can
be deemed 'suitable' ... It obviously docs
not follow (either in logic or practice)
that every job which provides more work
or wages must be deemed 'suitable' re-
gardless of the law's other standards."
Mr. Raushenbush holds that the first
year's administrative costs cannot be re-
garded as typical. Compared with total
receipts (the usual insurance "expense
ratio") they are unduly low (3.8 per-
cent) and compared with total disburse-
ments (the figure Mr. Epstein used)
they are unduly high. For the first year,
so figured, administrative costs were 31.5
percent. For the next three months, end-
ing September 30, 1937, they had dropped



19



to 22.9 percent. The administrative costs
of collecting contributions amount to
about 20 percent of the total costs of
administration.

Proposed Changes President

Roosevelt has recommended six changes
in the social security act. Those affecting
the unemployment compensation titles
would simplify employers' wage reports
by changing "wages payable" to "wages
paid"; enable "merit rating" to work by
making technical changes; permit earlier
payment of unemployment compensation
in states that passed their laws late; in-
crease coverage to seamen on American
vessels, and to employes of national
banks, state banks that are members of
the federal reserve system, institutions
that are members of the Home Loan
Bank system, and the like.

Elmer F. Andrews, New York State
Industrial Commissioner, has recom-
mended to Governor Lehman changes
in the state unemployment compensation
law extending its provisions to persons
earning more than $3000 a year. This
change would prevent conflict with the
federal law. The commissioner also rec-
ommends that the law be changed to re-
quire a three weeks period before a
worker can file notice of unemployment.
... A program for payment of bene-
fits to workers partly unemployed is be-
ing worked out by a committee appointed
by Commissioner Andrews.

Record and Report The Adminis-
tration of Compensation Benefits in
Wisconsin, by Walter Matscheck and
R. C. Atkinson, is in sequence to an ear-
lier Public Administration Service study
of Wisconsin experience in collection of
contributions. This ninety-two page pam-
phlet describes Wisconsin's procedure in
benefit payments, July 1, 1936 to June 30,
1937. From the service, 850 East 58
Street, Chicago. Price $1. . . . The what,
who, where, when and why of unem-
ployment compensation in New York,
with full explanation of procedures for
filing job applications and benefit claims,
are covered in an admirable little pamph-
let prepared by the Division of Place-
ment and Unemployment Insurance for
free public distribution. Information for
Employes, from the division, 342 Madi-
son Avenue, New York.

Public Welfare

T ESS what should be done than what
can be done under laws and condi-
tions "as is" was the focus of discussion
of the 600 or so public welfare adminis-
trators, local, state and federal, who
gathered in Washington in mid-Decem-
ber at the call of the American Public
Welfare Association, for a three-day ex-



change of experience. The program,
virtually free of "set speeches" and volu-
minous papers, was organized to give
everybody a chance to speak up. And prac-
tically everybody did, in the conferences
of state and local administrators, and of
state and local board members, the infor-
mal round tables for the close-in discus-
sion of particular topics or in the panels,
where more general subjects were on the
carpet. Only twice during the three days
did the conference come together as a
body, first at a dinner session with
"Washington Speaking . . ." which is to
say federal welfare officials and again
at the closing session to hear summaries
of the discussion in the round tables and
panels.

Since a full report of the various dis-
cussions is available in the current Public
Welfare News ($2 a year, with member-
ship, from the APWA, 850 East 58
Street, Chicago) only brief mention of the
major concerns of the conference need
be made here. At the forefront of the
state administrators' problems were re-
lationships with the federal government;
the danger of imbalance in the public as-
sistance program due to extreme pres-
sures from the old age group and the
lower percentage of federal participation
in aid to dependent children; the strains
and pressures on relief funds and facili-
ties due to the "new unemployment."

Local administrators were concerned
with their relationships to the state; with
the problem of administering the general
relief and the special categorical pro-
grams by one and the same staff; with the
injustices of commercially directed "chis-
eler hunts" with funds which "might bet-
ter be spent for more adequate staff."

Board members, coming from sixteen
different states, found many common
problems; staff, interpretation and far
from least political pressures and party
interference in the determination of pol-
icy and administration of program.

The panel discussion on the adminis-
tration of public assistance turned large-
ly on the over-all versus the earmarked
appropriation with much eloquent and
distressed testimony on both sides. "It's
the variable that makes the trouble," and
the variable, impossible to measure accu-
rately in advance, is what is left after the
requirements of the categories are met.



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