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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: Bloom, Dan; Winstead, Don
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Financial sanctions have long been used to enforce work requirements in the welfare system, but more frequent and severe sanctions have been a central feature of the welfare reforms of the 1990s. Sanctions will be an important discussion topic in 2002 when Congress debates reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform law. Some will argue that states should be required to use “full-family” sanctions that terminate the entire cash benefit, while others will push for restrictions on completely terminating cash benefits and new requirements for states to reach out to noncompliant families before imposing complete termination. There is little hard evidence to inform this debate. Studies have found that welfare recipients who are sanctioned are a diverse group but, on average, face more barriers to employment than other recipients; they are also less likely to work after leaving welfare. Studies have also found that enforcing work requirements is important, but it is not clear whether complete termination of benefits is more effective than partial termination. We believe states should...

    Financial sanctions have long been used to enforce work requirements in the welfare system, but more frequent and severe sanctions have been a central feature of the welfare reforms of the 1990s. Sanctions will be an important discussion topic in 2002 when Congress debates reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform law. Some will argue that states should be required to use “full-family” sanctions that terminate the entire cash benefit, while others will push for restrictions on completely terminating cash benefits and new requirements for states to reach out to noncompliant families before imposing complete termination. There is little hard evidence to inform this debate. Studies have found that welfare recipients who are sanctioned are a diverse group but, on average, face more barriers to employment than other recipients; they are also less likely to work after leaving welfare. Studies have also found that enforcing work requirements is important, but it is not clear whether complete termination of benefits is more effective than partial termination. We believe states should continue to have flexibility in setting sanction policies. To reduce inappropriate sanctions, Congress could expand the types of work activities for disadvantaged recipients, and require states to describe both how they will inform recipients about exemptions from work requirements and what is required to remove a sanction. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wu, Chi-Fang; Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.; Wallace, Geoffrey
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, families are subject to greater work requirements, and the severity of sanction for noncompliance has increased. Using Wisconsin longitudinal administrative data, the authors performed event history analysis to examine the dynamic patterns of sanctioning and the patterns of benefits following a sanction. They found that very high rates of sanctioning (especially partial sanctions) and multiple sanctions were fairly common but sanction spells were quite short. The most common transition from a sanction was back to full benefit receipt. The authors also examined the factors associated with being sanctioned and the severity of sanctions by comparing a traditional model with an event history model. They found that it is important to estimate a model that takes into account the period of risk. Results confirm that those who may be least able to succeed in the labor market are most likely to be sanctioned. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    Under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, families are subject to greater work requirements, and the severity of sanction for noncompliance has increased. Using Wisconsin longitudinal administrative data, the authors performed event history analysis to examine the dynamic patterns of sanctioning and the patterns of benefits following a sanction. They found that very high rates of sanctioning (especially partial sanctions) and multiple sanctions were fairly common but sanction spells were quite short. The most common transition from a sanction was back to full benefit receipt. The authors also examined the factors associated with being sanctioned and the severity of sanctions by comparing a traditional model with an event history model. They found that it is important to estimate a model that takes into account the period of risk. Results confirm that those who may be least able to succeed in the labor market are most likely to be sanctioned. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper that was previously published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

  • Individual Author: Pavetti, LaDonna; Derr, Michelle K.; Hesketh, Heather
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) made unprecedented changes to the welfare system in the United States, eliminating the 60 year-old AFDC program and replacing it with a block grant to states to create the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. A system that once emphasized the accurate delivery of cash benefits is now focused on encouraging families to make the transition from welfare to work. As a part of this shift, the range of circumstances in which families' welfare benefits can be reduced or canceled has dramatically increased. In particular, sanctions--financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements--have become central features of most states' TANF programs. The primary goal of sanctions is to convince clients that there are immediate consequences associated with the decisions they make. Sanctions have long been used to enforce program requirements and, with the emergence of "full-family" sanctions that remove all of a family's cash grant, have taken on a much greater significance.

    ...

    The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) made unprecedented changes to the welfare system in the United States, eliminating the 60 year-old AFDC program and replacing it with a block grant to states to create the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. A system that once emphasized the accurate delivery of cash benefits is now focused on encouraging families to make the transition from welfare to work. As a part of this shift, the range of circumstances in which families' welfare benefits can be reduced or canceled has dramatically increased. In particular, sanctions--financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements--have become central features of most states' TANF programs. The primary goal of sanctions is to convince clients that there are immediate consequences associated with the decisions they make. Sanctions have long been used to enforce program requirements and, with the emergence of "full-family" sanctions that remove all of a family's cash grant, have taken on a much greater significance.

    Although there is a general consensus that sanctions have been one of the most important policy changes implemented through state welfare reform efforts, they are among the least studied. In this paper, we summarize what is known about the role they play in welfare reform. The first section is a review of state TANF sanction policies. In this section, we use existing information to describe the structure and stringency of work-oriented sanctions, their cost, the context in which they are applied, and strategies to encourage compliance. The second section is a review of research findings on sanctions--including the incidence and duration of sanctions, characteristics and circumstances of sanctioned families, and the impacts and the implementation of sanctions. The final section concludes with a summary of the gaps in our knowledge of the role of sanctions in welfare reform. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Thiebaud Nicoli, Lisa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    In this brief, we provide a snapshot of what work sanctions look like in Maryland today. Focusing on cases that closed between October 2013 and September 2014, we find that 60% of cases subject to the work requirement received at least one work sanction during that year. Maryland’s most severe work sanction, which closes the case for 30 days, is also the most common sanction. Of cases that received a work sanction, one in four had at least one more work sanction during the same year. (Author abstract)

    In this brief, we provide a snapshot of what work sanctions look like in Maryland today. Focusing on cases that closed between October 2013 and September 2014, we find that 60% of cases subject to the work requirement received at least one work sanction during that year. Maryland’s most severe work sanction, which closes the case for 30 days, is also the most common sanction. Of cases that received a work sanction, one in four had at least one more work sanction during the same year. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Reichman, Nancy; Teitler, Julien; Curtis, Marah
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    This article estimates the effects of being sanctioned, that is, of being subject to a governmental decision to reduce or eliminate welfare benefits, on material hardships and health among mothers on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and their children. Compared to nonsanctioned mothers, those who are sanctioned are at high risk for hunger, homelessness or eviction, utility shutoffs, inadequate medical care, any material hardship, poor health, and relying on family or friends for housing. Results suggest a causal connection to hunger, utility shutoffs, any material hardship, poor maternal physical health, and relying on others for housing. (author abstract)

    This article estimates the effects of being sanctioned, that is, of being subject to a governmental decision to reduce or eliminate welfare benefits, on material hardships and health among mothers on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and their children. Compared to nonsanctioned mothers, those who are sanctioned are at high risk for hunger, homelessness or eviction, utility shutoffs, inadequate medical care, any material hardship, poor health, and relying on family or friends for housing. Results suggest a causal connection to hunger, utility shutoffs, any material hardship, poor maternal physical health, and relying on others for housing. (author abstract)

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