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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: Dickert-Conlin, Stacy; Fitzpatrick, Katie; Tiehen, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In 2004 the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a large-scale advertising campaign to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by increasing awareness about the program. Despite this and other large-scale outreach efforts for federal programs targeted at eligible nonparticipants, the role of information in program participation is not well established. Paying careful attention to the potential endogeneity of advertising placement, we use variation over time and within states to estimate the effect of the advertising on caseloads, applications, approved applications, and denied applications. We find that radio advertisements are positively correlated with county-level caseloads in a sample that represents nearly every U.S. county. Six months after radio advertising in a county, the number of individuals receiving SNAP is 2 to 3 percent higher. With a smaller sample of counties on SNAP applications, approvals, and denials, we find limited evidence that SNAP is positively correlated with overall applications. However, approved applications are...

    In 2004 the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a large-scale advertising campaign to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by increasing awareness about the program. Despite this and other large-scale outreach efforts for federal programs targeted at eligible nonparticipants, the role of information in program participation is not well established. Paying careful attention to the potential endogeneity of advertising placement, we use variation over time and within states to estimate the effect of the advertising on caseloads, applications, approved applications, and denied applications. We find that radio advertisements are positively correlated with county-level caseloads in a sample that represents nearly every U.S. county. Six months after radio advertising in a county, the number of individuals receiving SNAP is 2 to 3 percent higher. With a smaller sample of counties on SNAP applications, approvals, and denials, we find limited evidence that SNAP is positively correlated with overall applications. However, approved applications are not higher following radio advertisement exposure and denied applications increase. One way to reconcile the fact that caseloads are higher but new enrollments are not is that increased information from the advertising campaign may reduce exits from the program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2000

    Plunging caseloads and soaring employment among single mothers lead many to judge welfare reform a stunning success. Lost in the caseload counts and political rhetoric is the subject of our chapter: welfare reform and children. We sort through conflicting theory and evidence regarding the impacts of welfare reform on children’s well-being and development.

    A brief examination of recent trends in national indicators of potential problems shows that the sky has not fallen. Poverty rates are down, as are teen crime and fertility as well as substantiated cases of child maltreatment. However, the dearth of timely and consistent state level data on indicators of child well-being precludes a serious analysis of the role of welfare reform, the booming economy and other recent changes for all but a handful of these indicators.

    We turn instead to lessons that can be gleaned from a set of welfare-reform random assignment experiments conducted during the 1990s. Experiments provide strong evidence on the impacts of the welfare reform packages under evaluation relative to the old...

    Plunging caseloads and soaring employment among single mothers lead many to judge welfare reform a stunning success. Lost in the caseload counts and political rhetoric is the subject of our chapter: welfare reform and children. We sort through conflicting theory and evidence regarding the impacts of welfare reform on children’s well-being and development.

    A brief examination of recent trends in national indicators of potential problems shows that the sky has not fallen. Poverty rates are down, as are teen crime and fertility as well as substantiated cases of child maltreatment. However, the dearth of timely and consistent state level data on indicators of child well-being precludes a serious analysis of the role of welfare reform, the booming economy and other recent changes for all but a handful of these indicators.

    We turn instead to lessons that can be gleaned from a set of welfare-reform random assignment experiments conducted during the 1990s. Experiments provide strong evidence on the impacts of the welfare reform packages under evaluation relative to the old AFDC system. Regrettably, the reform packages evaluated in the experiments do not span the diverse set of reforms instituted by states in the late 1990s.

    Our conclusions regarding likely child impacts depend crucially on the ages of the children studied. In the case of elementary-school children, the picture is fairly positive. We find strong evidence that welfare reform  can be a potent force for enhancing achievement and positive behavior.  When welfare reform packages do not appear to help younger children, there is little evidence of harm, even in the one experiment with time limits. If anything, the beneficial impacts are strongest for children in families with longer histories of welfare receipt. On the other hand, in the case of adolescents, more limited evidence suggests that welfare reforms may cause detrimental increases in school problems and risky behavior. The jury is still out on impacts on infants and toddlers.

    Distinguishing among programs, we find that reforms with work mandates but few supports (e.g., wage and childcare subsidies) for working mothers appear to be significantly less beneficial for elementary-school-aged children than programs with work supports. Furthermore, and here the evidence is also less definitive, reforms with positive impacts on children appeared  to operate more through changes outside the family – e.g., in childcare and after-school programs – than through changes in parental mental health, family routines or other aspects of the home environment. Finally, poverty, maternal depression, domestic violence and children’s developmental problems are alarmingly common, even among families offered a generous package of work supports.

    Our list of policy recommendations includes ways of better supporting work, providing after-school and community programs for older children, addressing safety-net issues for families with barriers to stable, full-time employment, and encouraging fathers to become more involved with their children. More generally, we hope that the debate over the future of welfare reform will pay more attention to children’s well-being, to the diverse situations in which children in low-income families find themselves, and to the very different developmental needs of children of different ages. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zedlewski, Sheila; Giannarelli, Linda; Wheaton, Laura; Morton, Joyce
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This study implements the modern poverty measure for Minnesota using the American Community Survey (ACS) and simulates the potential effects of alternative safety net policies on poverty. The analysis uses the TRIM3 microsimulation model to correct for survey underreporting and to add information required for this poverty measure, including near-cash benefits, taxes and nondiscretionary expenses. The alternative simulations apply new program rules and behavioral assumptions to recalculate family resources and poverty. The results show the importance of the modern poverty measure for analyzing state policies and also highlight the numerous decisions and imputations required to implement the new measure. (author abstract)

    This study implements the modern poverty measure for Minnesota using the American Community Survey (ACS) and simulates the potential effects of alternative safety net policies on poverty. The analysis uses the TRIM3 microsimulation model to correct for survey underreporting and to add information required for this poverty measure, including near-cash benefits, taxes and nondiscretionary expenses. The alternative simulations apply new program rules and behavioral assumptions to recalculate family resources and poverty. The results show the importance of the modern poverty measure for analyzing state policies and also highlight the numerous decisions and imputations required to implement the new measure. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Greenberger, Debbie; Anselmi, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    The passage, in 1996, of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act gave states latitude to make substantial changes in their welfare policies. The time limits and stricter work requirements that states imposed have received the greatest public attention, but the vast majority of states have also used their new freedom to change their “earnings disregard” policies, which allow welfare recipients to earn more even as they remain on the rolls. These changes have been designed to provide additional financial incentives to encourage work and to increase income for families in which the parent does work. Recent research has found strong support for the earnings supplements: The additional income not only encourages work; it also helps young children perform better in school.

    States have increased welfare recipients’ financial incentives to work in a variety of ways. Some allow welfare recipients to keep their entire welfare check while they remain on welfare, although most provide less generous incentives for shorter periods of time. Some states...

    The passage, in 1996, of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act gave states latitude to make substantial changes in their welfare policies. The time limits and stricter work requirements that states imposed have received the greatest public attention, but the vast majority of states have also used their new freedom to change their “earnings disregard” policies, which allow welfare recipients to earn more even as they remain on the rolls. These changes have been designed to provide additional financial incentives to encourage work and to increase income for families in which the parent does work. Recent research has found strong support for the earnings supplements: The additional income not only encourages work; it also helps young children perform better in school.

    States have increased welfare recipients’ financial incentives to work in a variety of ways. Some allow welfare recipients to keep their entire welfare check while they remain on welfare, although most provide less generous incentives for shorter periods of time. Some states have introduced financial incentives outside the welfare system, through such policies as Earned Income Tax Credits, to avoid having recipients approach time limits faster by combining work and welfare. Some have introduced bonuses for welfare recipients who remain employed for a specified period of time. This guide summarizes the research evidence that supports the use of financial incentives, and it offers advice on the form financial incentives might take and how generous they might be made.

    The information in this guide may be more important now than ever. When Congress reauthorizes the nation’s welfare policy in 2003, it is likely to require even more recipients to work and require them to work more hours per week. The use of the policies described in this guide can help states meet the new goals as well as reduce poverty and benefit children. Although most states are suffering severe budget shortfalls as this guide is published, Making Work Pay discusses ways to make earning supplements more efficient and less costly. As the economy rebounds in the coming months and years — and state budgets recover accordingly — the guide will remain a useful resource for those who are thinking about how to use new funds to help families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dorn, Stan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    The most frequent reason that uninsured adults who visited a health insurance marketplace gave for not enrolling in marketplace coverage was unaffordability, even with subsidies. This report examines how several states appeared to overcome this obstacle. For example, Minnesota uses a Medicaid waiver to provide more affordable coverage outside the marketplace to consumers with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, planning to transition to the Basic Health Program in 2015. Vermont supplements federal subsidies inside the marketplace to improve affordability for consumers with incomes up to 300 percent of poverty. (author abstract)

    The most frequent reason that uninsured adults who visited a health insurance marketplace gave for not enrolling in marketplace coverage was unaffordability, even with subsidies. This report examines how several states appeared to overcome this obstacle. For example, Minnesota uses a Medicaid waiver to provide more affordable coverage outside the marketplace to consumers with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, planning to transition to the Basic Health Program in 2015. Vermont supplements federal subsidies inside the marketplace to improve affordability for consumers with incomes up to 300 percent of poverty. (author abstract)

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