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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: Ciurea, Michelle; Blain, Alexandra; DeMarco, Donna; Ly, Hong; Mills, Gregory
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of...

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of family well-being. The participant outcomes will be measured versus a comparison group of AFIA-eligible nonparticipants, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. During Phase I, clearance from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was obtained for the survey of AFIA program participants.
    • Process study: This research includes site visits each year by Abt Associates staff to five or six selected AFIA programs. During these visits, interviews are conducted with program coordinators, program associates, and representatives of financial institutions to understand how programs have been implemented, how they operate, and how program features may affect participant outcomes. During Phase I, visits were conducted to five IDA programs that received AFIA funding through the initial (Fiscal Year 1999) program grants. (author introduction)
  • Individual Author: Wolfe, Barbara; Kaplan, Thomas; Haveman, Robert; Cho, Yoonyoung
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    The Wisconsin BadgerCare program, which became operational in July 1999, expanded public health insurance eligibility to both parents and children in families with incomes below 185% of the U.S. poverty line (200% for those already enrolled). This eligibility expansion was part of a federal initiative known as the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Wisconsin was one of only four states that initially expanded coverage to parents of eligible children. In this paper, we attempt to answer the following question: To what extent does a public program with the characteristics of Wisconsin's BadgerCare program reduce the proportion of the low-income adult population without health care coverage?

    Using a coordinated set of administrative databases, we track three cohorts of mother-only families: those who were receiving cash assistance under the Wisconsin AFDC and TANF programs in September 1995, 1997, and 1999, and who subsequently left welfare. We follow these 19,201 “welfare leaver” families on a quarterly basis for up to 25 quarters, from 2 years before they...

    The Wisconsin BadgerCare program, which became operational in July 1999, expanded public health insurance eligibility to both parents and children in families with incomes below 185% of the U.S. poverty line (200% for those already enrolled). This eligibility expansion was part of a federal initiative known as the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Wisconsin was one of only four states that initially expanded coverage to parents of eligible children. In this paper, we attempt to answer the following question: To what extent does a public program with the characteristics of Wisconsin's BadgerCare program reduce the proportion of the low-income adult population without health care coverage?

    Using a coordinated set of administrative databases, we track three cohorts of mother-only families: those who were receiving cash assistance under the Wisconsin AFDC and TANF programs in September 1995, 1997, and 1999, and who subsequently left welfare. We follow these 19,201 “welfare leaver” families on a quarterly basis for up to 25 quarters, from 2 years before they left welfare through the end of 2001, making it possible to use the labor market information and welfare history of the women in analyzing outcomes.

    We apply multiple methods to address the policy evaluation question, including probit, random effects, and two difference-in-difference strategies, and compare the results across methods. All of our estimates indicate that BadgerCare substantially increased public health care coverage for mother-only families leaving welfare. Our best estimate is that BadgerCare increased the public health care coverage of all adult leavers by about 17–25% points. (author abstract)

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

  • Individual Author: Acs, Gregory ; Nelson, Sandi
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Using data from the 1997 and 1999 National Surveys of America's Families, the authors examine the consequences of state welfare policies and practices on the living arrangements of low-income families with children. Results from a multivariate difference-in-difference-in-differences model suggest that more effective collection of child support and family cap policies are correlated with declines in single parenting and increases in dual parenting. Other policies such as sanctions and special restrictions that apply to two-parent families have no clear, consistent association with living arrangements. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. (author abstract)

    Using data from the 1997 and 1999 National Surveys of America's Families, the authors examine the consequences of state welfare policies and practices on the living arrangements of low-income families with children. Results from a multivariate difference-in-difference-in-differences model suggest that more effective collection of child support and family cap policies are correlated with declines in single parenting and increases in dual parenting. Other policies such as sanctions and special restrictions that apply to two-parent families have no clear, consistent association with living arrangements. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Levinson, Arik
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    We examine the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply, comparing outcomes in Wisconsin, which supplements the federal EITC for families with three children, to outcomes in states that do not supplement the federal EITC. Relative to previous studies, our cross–state comparison examines a larger difference in EITC subsidy rates, more similar treatment and control groups, and a policy that has been in place longer. Whereas most previous research has found significant effects of the EITC on labor force participation, we find no effect. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    We examine the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply, comparing outcomes in Wisconsin, which supplements the federal EITC for families with three children, to outcomes in states that do not supplement the federal EITC. Relative to previous studies, our cross–state comparison examines a larger difference in EITC subsidy rates, more similar treatment and control groups, and a policy that has been in place longer. Whereas most previous research has found significant effects of the EITC on labor force participation, we find no effect. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

  • Individual Author: Courtney, Mark; Dworsky, Amy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    One way that researchers measure the economic well being of low-income families is to ask about material hardships they may have experienced. Have they been unable to pay rent or essential bills, doubled up or become homeless, had telephone service disconnected or utilities shutoff, or lacked adequate food? Previous studies have examined material hardships experienced by former welfare-recipient families. In some cases, researchers have compared material hardships experienced since leaving welfare to material hardships experienced while still receiving cash assistance. In other cases, researchers have used current welfare recipients as a comparison group. Still others have compared the material hardships experienced by families that left welfare for different reasons (e.g., employment versus sanctions versus time limits).

    Overall this research shows that at least a quarter of TANF leaver families experience food- and housing-related hardships at some point after exiting. Although some studies suggest that the likelihood of experiencing hardships is higher after families...

    One way that researchers measure the economic well being of low-income families is to ask about material hardships they may have experienced. Have they been unable to pay rent or essential bills, doubled up or become homeless, had telephone service disconnected or utilities shutoff, or lacked adequate food? Previous studies have examined material hardships experienced by former welfare-recipient families. In some cases, researchers have compared material hardships experienced since leaving welfare to material hardships experienced while still receiving cash assistance. In other cases, researchers have used current welfare recipients as a comparison group. Still others have compared the material hardships experienced by families that left welfare for different reasons (e.g., employment versus sanctions versus time limits).

    Overall this research shows that at least a quarter of TANF leaver families experience food- and housing-related hardships at some point after exiting. Although some studies suggest that the likelihood of experiencing hardships is higher after families leave the program, others suggest. Overall this research shows that at least a quarter of TANF leaver families experience food- and housing-related hardships at some point after exiting. Although some studies suggest that the likelihood of experiencing hardships is higher after families leave the program, others suggest

    Although these leaver studies have answered many questions about the material hardships that families making the transition from welfare to work experience, they are limited in two respects. First, because most of these studies only observed families for 6 to 24 months, they tell us nothing about the hardships that families experience over longer periods of time. Second, leaver studies tell us nothing about the hardships experienced by families that apply for assistance from their state TANF program and remain involved with the program.

    This paper examines the material hardships experienced by a sample of TANF applicants from Milwaukee County, Wisconsin (See box for a description of the study). We find that a troublingly high percentage of these TANF applicants had experienced one or more of the material hardships we asked them about, and that this continued to be the case over time. Our findings also suggest that applicants whose families experienced more material hardships were dealing with a range of psychosocial problems that can make it difficult to balance the sometimes competing demands of work and parenting. We close with a discussion of the policy implications of our findings. (author abstract)

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