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Study: Welfare Recipients in D.C., Md. Make More Than Twice Minimum Wage

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(Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Maryland and D.C. are among 35 states where welfare programs pay more than a minimum-wage job, according to a new study.

Conducted by the Cato Institute, a think tank headquartered in D.C., the study found that residents on welfare in the District receive the equivalent of $24.43 per hour. Welfare recipients in Maryland get around $18.35 per hour in assistance.

Maryland’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. D.C.’s is $8.25. That means welfare recipients in both states receive more than twice as much per hour than someone working a minimum wage job.

D.C. has the most second most generous welfare benefit package in the country, after Hawaii, and Maryland comes in 10th.

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Welfare recipients in nearby Virginia, which ranks 37th, only receive about $7.15 per hour.

“In 11 states, welfare pays more than the average pre-tax first year wage for a teacher,” the study says. “In 39 states it pays more than the starting wage for a secretary. And, in the three most generous states a person on welfare can take home more money than an entry-level computer programmer.”

The authors of the study conclude that, in many cases, welfare pays more than the type of job the typical recipient could expect to find.

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“As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work,” they say.

The study’s figures are based around the assumption that families receive welfare benefits from several programs — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, Housing Assistance, Utilities Assistance, the Women, Infants, and Children Program and the The Emergency Food Assistance Program.

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