ABSTRACT

In addition to reforming the administ ration of AFDC, the welfare r ights movement also worked to improve the living standards of recipients. This was the cr ux of the movement’s campaign for “ more money now.”1 The struggles for ec onomic and administ rative r eform occurred sim ultaneously, fueling one another and together addressing the myriad problems of recipients. The campaign for dignity ensured the right to due process, while the demands for mat erial benefits addressed the substanti ve issue of the standard of living. The dual problems of lack of dignity and low benefits were linked. The meager monthly sum indicat ed the lack of respect afforded to both the AFDC program and its r ecipients and sent a message that r ecipients’ work as mothers was not valued. Consequently, welfare rights activists sought to remedy the problem of inadequate monthly budgets. This first t ook the for m of a campaig n for special g rants. They demanded g rants fr om w elfare officials for household it ems that w elfare departments had defined as necessary. They took advantage of existing regulations t o r equest clothes, household fur nishings, and mone y t o enjo y holidays and other special occasions, arguing that these were basic rights.