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"Town Welfare Costs Far Below 1933 But Old Age Equals Entire 1924 Bill" article from Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This article in the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette suggests that New Deal work relief programs, combined with a modest economic recovery, had reduced the welfare rolls in Greenfield, Massachusetts by the end of 1934. Prior to these federal work relief programs, most needy unemployed workers received welfare from local public and private agencies. A key goal of the New Deal was to eliminate local "doles." However, the article also shows that the number of elderly on the welfare rolls had increased dramatically. This was the result of a state "Old Age Assistance" law requiring local aid for poor elderly residents. The expansion of such welfare programs for the elderly played an important role in creating support for the Social Security Act of 1935. The Act created a national old age pension program.
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