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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Pavetti, LaDonna; Ratcliffe, Caroline; Riedinger, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of...

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of the study states have experienced significant declines in their cash assistance caseloads that are well above the national average, low unemployment and strong economies.

    Work-oriented reforms in place at the time of this study were implemented at different points between 1993 and 1996. Since the passage of PRWORA, Indiana and Wisconsin both implemented new work-oriented reforms while Virginia, Massachusetts, and Oregon have made few changes.

    Thus, while this study captures state experiences at one point in time, it also reflects states at different stages in their own evolution toward a more employment focused welfare system. It is also important to note that this study took place too soon after TANF went into effect to fully capture the implications and impact of the new federal welfare reform law (e.g., progressively steeper participation rate requirements, lifetime limit on benefit receipt). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brauner, Sarah; Loprest, Pamela J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare...

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare leavers’ economic well-being. Because of the great number and variety of "leaver studies" being undertaken, we also point out issues to consider in comparing study results.

    Numerous studies of welfare leavers have been published, and more are being released all the time. We attempted to review all publicly available studies that examine employment outcomes. Only studies that clearly described their methodology and reported survey response rates of 50 percent or higher were included. While some studies that meet these criteria may have been missed, this brief presents results from a range of reports. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Bartfeld, Judi
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2000

    This article provides national estimates of the current and potential impact of private child support transfers on the economic well-being of custodial and noncustodial families following marital dissolution. Mothers and children fare dramatically worse than fathers after marital dissolution; these differences, however, would be much more pronounced in the absence of private child support. Simulations of four existing child support guidelines show that substantial increases in economic well-being among mother-custody families are possible within the structure of the existing child support system, with minimal impact on poverty among nonresident fathers. Under all of these guidelines, however, custodial-mother families would continue to fare substantially worse than nonresident fathers. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a discussion paper published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

    This article provides national estimates of the current and potential impact of private child support transfers on the economic well-being of custodial and noncustodial families following marital dissolution. Mothers and children fare dramatically worse than fathers after marital dissolution; these differences, however, would be much more pronounced in the absence of private child support. Simulations of four existing child support guidelines show that substantial increases in economic well-being among mother-custody families are possible within the structure of the existing child support system, with minimal impact on poverty among nonresident fathers. Under all of these guidelines, however, custodial-mother families would continue to fare substantially worse than nonresident fathers. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a discussion paper published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

  • Individual Author: Wolfe, Barbara L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 changed the U.S. welfare system dramatically. Its primary goal was to reduce dependency by moving most of those receiving cash welfare into the work force. One tool to accomplish this objective was a change in the incentives facing actual and potential recipients. States were granted flexibility in how to accomplish this objective. This paper evaluates the program in four states in terms of efficiency and equity. It looks briefly at resulting labor force participation and incomes of those most directly affected by welfare reforms. The analysis highlights the difficulty of simultaneously providing incentives to work and incentives to increase individuals' labor market productivity while maintaining a minimal safety net and avoiding high marginal rates of taxation. None of the states studied is able to avoid a "poverty trap" in its program. The need to coordinate the benefit and withdrawal schedule of programs designed to help this population flows from the analysis. (author abstract)

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 changed the U.S. welfare system dramatically. Its primary goal was to reduce dependency by moving most of those receiving cash welfare into the work force. One tool to accomplish this objective was a change in the incentives facing actual and potential recipients. States were granted flexibility in how to accomplish this objective. This paper evaluates the program in four states in terms of efficiency and equity. It looks briefly at resulting labor force participation and incomes of those most directly affected by welfare reforms. The analysis highlights the difficulty of simultaneously providing incentives to work and incentives to increase individuals' labor market productivity while maintaining a minimal safety net and avoiding high marginal rates of taxation. None of the states studied is able to avoid a "poverty trap" in its program. The need to coordinate the benefit and withdrawal schedule of programs designed to help this population flows from the analysis. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Maloy, Kathleen; Logie, Allison; Green, Lara Petrou
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The 1996 federal welfare reform law, which sets time limits on benefits and requires increasing numbers of clients to participate in work-related activities, was designed to encourage families to leave cash assistance for work and thereby reduce the welfare rolls. Aware of the possibility that the new legislation might negatively affect access to Medicaid, policymakers enacted Section 1931 to de-link Medicaid from welfare. Nevertheless, Medicaid enrollment has declined at a rate higher than expected since 1996, leading federal and state policymakers to become concerned that enrollment has indeed been affected by changes in cash assistance programs. Similar concerns have been raised in regard to the dramatic drop in participation in the Food Stamp Program. In response to these concerns, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR) to identify state policies and procedures that appear to promote enrollment in Medicaid and/or the Food Stamp Program in the post-welfare reform era. We selected Indiana as the...

    The 1996 federal welfare reform law, which sets time limits on benefits and requires increasing numbers of clients to participate in work-related activities, was designed to encourage families to leave cash assistance for work and thereby reduce the welfare rolls. Aware of the possibility that the new legislation might negatively affect access to Medicaid, policymakers enacted Section 1931 to de-link Medicaid from welfare. Nevertheless, Medicaid enrollment has declined at a rate higher than expected since 1996, leading federal and state policymakers to become concerned that enrollment has indeed been affected by changes in cash assistance programs. Similar concerns have been raised in regard to the dramatic drop in participation in the Food Stamp Program. In response to these concerns, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR) to identify state policies and procedures that appear to promote enrollment in Medicaid and/or the Food Stamp Program in the post-welfare reform era. We selected Indiana as the site for this study because the state increased Medicaid enrollment by almost 15 percent between 1998 and 1999. This report documents the results of our examination of Indiana's efforts to promote enrollment, primarily for children, in Medicaid and SCHIP and to begin to identify strategies for increasing enrollment
    in the Food Stamp Program. (author abstract)

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