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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: Heinrich, Carolyn J.; Smeeding, Timothy M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    This policy brief, the second of two drawn from the IRP and CHASP conference on "Building Human Capital and Economic Potential," examines the special challenges of people with less than a high school diploma, ex-offenders, and young single mothers and policy options to address them. (author abstract)

    This policy brief, the second of two drawn from the IRP and CHASP conference on "Building Human Capital and Economic Potential," examines the special challenges of people with less than a high school diploma, ex-offenders, and young single mothers and policy options to address them. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schmidt, Lucie; Danziger, Sheldon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    We analyze SSI applications and benefit receipt after the 1996 welfare reform by single mothers who received cash assistance in February 1997. We address these questions: First, what characteristics are associated with SSI applications and how do they differ between successful and unsuccessful applicants? Second, to what extent is SSI application and receipt status associated with material hardships? We find that unsuccessful applicants and SSI recipients have similar characteristics and that changes in physical and mental health problems during the panel are associated with new SSI applications. Both SSI recipients and unsuccessful applicants are significantly more likely to report any material hardship than those who did not apply for benefits. However, unsuccessful applicants report a significantly higher number of hardships. These results suggest the need for a temporary disability program for individuals whose physical and mental health problems limit their work, but whose disabilities do not meet the strict standards of SSI. (author abstract)

    We analyze SSI applications and benefit receipt after the 1996 welfare reform by single mothers who received cash assistance in February 1997. We address these questions: First, what characteristics are associated with SSI applications and how do they differ between successful and unsuccessful applicants? Second, to what extent is SSI application and receipt status associated with material hardships? We find that unsuccessful applicants and SSI recipients have similar characteristics and that changes in physical and mental health problems during the panel are associated with new SSI applications. Both SSI recipients and unsuccessful applicants are significantly more likely to report any material hardship than those who did not apply for benefits. However, unsuccessful applicants report a significantly higher number of hardships. These results suggest the need for a temporary disability program for individuals whose physical and mental health problems limit their work, but whose disabilities do not meet the strict standards of SSI. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Knox, Virginia; Miller, Cynthia; Gennetian, Lisa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) represents a new vision of welfare as a system that can simultaneously encourage work, reduce dependence on public assistance, and reduce poverty. It attempts to break loose from the historical tradeoffs among these goals by implementing two complementary policies: financial incentives to reward work and reduce poverty and, for long-term welfare recipients, mandatory participation in employment-focused services to encourage and require work and reduce dependence.

    MFIP was initially implemented as a pilot program in the three urban counties of Hennepin (Minneapolis), Anoka, and Dakota, and the four rural counties of Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, and Todd. The pilot program operated from April 1994 to June 1998 and was evaluated by MDRC under contract to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The evaluation was also supported by the agencies and foundations listed at the front of this summary. A modified version of MFIP is now Minnesota’s statewide welfare program.

    This document summarizes the results presented in...

    The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) represents a new vision of welfare as a system that can simultaneously encourage work, reduce dependence on public assistance, and reduce poverty. It attempts to break loose from the historical tradeoffs among these goals by implementing two complementary policies: financial incentives to reward work and reduce poverty and, for long-term welfare recipients, mandatory participation in employment-focused services to encourage and require work and reduce dependence.

    MFIP was initially implemented as a pilot program in the three urban counties of Hennepin (Minneapolis), Anoka, and Dakota, and the four rural counties of Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, and Todd. The pilot program operated from April 1994 to June 1998 and was evaluated by MDRC under contract to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The evaluation was also supported by the agencies and foundations listed at the front of this summary. A modified version of MFIP is now Minnesota’s statewide welfare program.

    This document summarizes the results presented in the evaluation’s final report. Volume 1 of that report examines MFIP’s effects on employment, earnings, welfare receipt, income, marriage, and other outcomes for adults in single- and two-parent families for up to three years after they entered the study. Volume 2 presents the results of a special study of MFIP’s effects on children and other aspects of family well-being for single mothers who had at least one child aged 2 to 9 when they entered the study.

    MFIP’s results are particularly important because more than 40 states have incorporated a “make work pay” approach in conjunction with work requirements as part of their new, time-limited welfare reforms, which followed enactment of the 1996 federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). Most commonly — as in MFIP — states have aimed to make work pay by increasing their “earned income disregard”: More of a family’s earnings are disregarded (not counted) when their welfare grant is calculated. This policy allows more people to combine work and welfare. As discussed later, MFIP also included other financial incentives to work. The MFIP pilot program did not include time limits on welfare receipt, but the newer, statewide version does.

    The evaluation results speak directly to three goals that have emerged as high priorities under PRWORA: ensuring that long-term welfare recipients make substantial strides toward self-sufficiency before reaching their time limits on welfare receipt, supporting the efforts of low-income workers to advance in their jobs and provide adequately for their families, and assuring that social policies do not discourage marriage.

    To assess MFIP’s success in achieving its ambitious goals, the evaluation used a rigorous, random assignment research design. Between April 1994 and March 1996, more than 14,000 families in seven Minnesota counties were assigned, using a lottery-like process, to either the MFIP program (the “MFIP group”) or the traditional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program (the “AFDC group”). MFIP’s effects were estimated by following the two groups over time and comparing their employment, welfare receipt, and other outcomes. The difference in outcomes between the two groups is the effect, or impact, of the MFIP program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kansas Action for Children
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Since Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, Kansas has dramatically reduced its welfare roles. Noting that achieving self-sufficiency is the real measure of success in combating poverty, this study examines welfare reform efforts in Kansas. To gather information, United Way member agencies and community emergency assistance agencies administered a survey during 1998 and 1999 to 2,005 households seeking assistance, 1,244 of whom were families with children. Findings reveal that while Kansas has made progress in fighting poverty, that progress is far more modest than the dramatic decrease in welfare roles suggests. Kansas ranks 14th in the percentage reduction in welfare recipients between 1993 and 1999. Many welfare recipients and former recipients continue to struggle to meet their needs. The level of income required to become self-sufficient often far exceeds the wages that a welfare recipient can expect to receive. Kansas diverts almost half the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant into foster care, thereby...

    Since Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, Kansas has dramatically reduced its welfare roles. Noting that achieving self-sufficiency is the real measure of success in combating poverty, this study examines welfare reform efforts in Kansas. To gather information, United Way member agencies and community emergency assistance agencies administered a survey during 1998 and 1999 to 2,005 households seeking assistance, 1,244 of whom were families with children. Findings reveal that while Kansas has made progress in fighting poverty, that progress is far more modest than the dramatic decrease in welfare roles suggests. Kansas ranks 14th in the percentage reduction in welfare recipients between 1993 and 1999. Many welfare recipients and former recipients continue to struggle to meet their needs. The level of income required to become self-sufficient often far exceeds the wages that a welfare recipient can expect to receive. Kansas diverts almost half the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant into foster care, thereby reducing its ability to effectively improve families' self-sufficiency. Kansas places little emphasis on providing recipients with skill-specific training needed to secure a living wage, with current state spending too low to take full advantage of federal matching grants. An alarming number of poor families are not receiving food stamps, Medicaid, child care subsidies, and other benefits for which they are eligible. Based on findings, the following recommendations were made to help Kansas achieve the true goals of welfare reform: (1) caseworkers should make sure that families are aware of benefits for which they are eligible; and (2) job readiness and training programs should be emphasized. (KB) (Eric abstract)

  • Individual Author: Danziger, Sandra; Corcoran, Mary; Danziger, Sheldon; Heflin, Colleen; Kalil, Ariel; Levine, Judith; Rosen, Daniel; Seefeldt, Kristin; Siefert, Kristine; Tolman, Richard
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The dramatic reduction in welfare caseloads that followed U.S. welfare reform in 1996 led policy makers and researchers to analyze the employability of recipients remaining on the roles. Analysis of potential barriers to employment can reveal the extent to which current welfare recipients have problems that either singly or in combination interfere with their participating in training programs, complying with new rules, getting and keeping jobs, and increasing their wages. The study on which this paper reports used a new survey of a representative sample of single mothers who were welfare recipients in an urban Michigan country to explore how such employment barriers constrain their employability. (author abstract)

    The dramatic reduction in welfare caseloads that followed U.S. welfare reform in 1996 led policy makers and researchers to analyze the employability of recipients remaining on the roles. Analysis of potential barriers to employment can reveal the extent to which current welfare recipients have problems that either singly or in combination interfere with their participating in training programs, complying with new rules, getting and keeping jobs, and increasing their wages. The study on which this paper reports used a new survey of a representative sample of single mothers who were welfare recipients in an urban Michigan country to explore how such employment barriers constrain their employability. (author abstract)

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