Saved by the Net

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. – By T. Rebecca Hansen with Carla Frank

Social safety nets are in the forefront of the national mind right now, with tax code and budget decisions looming in Washington.

We set out to meet some of the people who use these programs – including food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, also known as cash aid), Social Security Disability and the Affordable Care Act – and to dig up the facts about what our national social safety nets do and who they do it for.

It’s a common misconception that social government programs are used by a specific subset of people. We discovered, however, that fluke circumstances often land people in need of help, and those circumstances can happen to literally anyone.

Carla and I interviewed two different recipients of government aid as well as the director of the Santa Rosa Junior College CalWORKs study program. Here are their stories.

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