Thirteen Points

Thirteen Points  (1961) 
Joseph Mitchell and the Newburgh City Council

The Thirteen Points were a welfare reform program authored by Newburgh, New York, city manager Joseph Mitchell and passed by the Newburgh City Council on June 19, 1961. The program produced a national controversy.

The City Manager announced to the Council a list of thirteen procedural changes in welfare administration, as follows:

  1. All cash payments which can be converted to food, clothing and rent vouchers and the like without basic harm to the intent of the aid shall be issued in voucher form henceforth.
  1. All able-bodied adult males on relief of any kind who are capable of working are to be assigned to the Chief of Building Maintenance for work assignment on a 40-hour week.
  1. All recipients physically capable of and available for private employment who are offered a job but refuse it, regardless of the type of employment involved, are to be denied relief.
  1. All mothers of illegitimate children are to be advised that should they have any more children out of wedlock, they shall be denied relief.
  1. All applicants for relief who have left a job voluntarily, i.e., who have not been fired or laid-off, shall be denied relief.
  1. The allotment for any one family unit shall not exceed the take-home pay of the lowest paid city employee with a family of comparable size. Also, no relief shall be granted to any family whose income is in excess of the latter figure.
  1. All files of all Aid to Dependent Children cases are to be brought to the office of the Corporation Counsel for review monthly. All new cases of any kind will be referred to the Corporation Counsel prior to certification of payment.
  1. All applicants for relief who are new to the city must show evidence that their plans in coming to the city involved a concrete offer of employment, similar to that required of foreign immigrants. All such persons shall be limited to two weeks of relief. Those who cannot show evidence shall be limited to one week of relief.
  1. Aid to persons except the aged, blind and disabled shall be limited to three months in any one year—this is a feature similar to the present policies on unemployment benefits.
  1. All recipients who are not disabled, blind, ambulatory or otherwise incapacitated, shall report to the Department of Public Welfare monthly for a conference regarding the status of their case.
  1. Once the budget for the fiscal year is approved by the Council, it shall not be exceeded by the Welfare Department unless approved by Council by supplemental appropriation.
  1. There shall be a monthly expenditure limit of all categories of Welfare Aid. This monthly expenditure limit shall be established by the Department of Public Welfare at the time of presenting its budget, and shall take into account seasonal variations.
  1. Prior to certifying or continuing any more Aid to Dependent Children cases, a determination shall be made as to the home environment. If the home environment is not satisfactory, the children in that home shall be placed in foster care in lieu of Welfare Aid to the family adults.

Councilman McKneally moved that these changes be put into effect July 15, 1961.

Ayes—Councilmen Doulin, Green, McIntyre, McKneally—4.


On motion adjourned.

Lemma B. Crabtree
City Clerk

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