The current (as of yesterday) Welfare requirements specify that a recipient must be working, or must be enrolled in some alternative activity, like training or in a program to look for a job. If somebody is looking for a job, then they are counted among the unemployed, whereas if they are not looking for a job, they aren't.
Is it possible that the timing of this is intended to drop the unemployment rate before the election by removing a large number of welfare recipients off the "unemployed" list, thereby showing that Obama policies are "working"? You know that the media will trumpet a lower rate, regardless of the circumstances.
I know that liberals have long pushed for the removal of the work requirements, but, I think that the timing on this says that pandering to the base isn't the primary motivation for this.