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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: Brown, June
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This is one of three OIG reports on how States administer client sanctions under TANF. One companion report, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Client Sanctions (OEI-09-98-00290), provides a broad overview of State administration of client sanctions. The other, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families:  Improving Client Sanction Notices (OEI-09-98-00292), reviews State methods for informing clients of sanction decisions via written notices.

    The purpose of this report is to determine how States inform clients about sanction policies under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  We find that:

    - TANF offices explain sanctions to clients repeatedly, using diverse methods

    - Orientation materials commonly lack information about the amount of the sanction and the definition of good cause

    - Most States describe other vital information about sanctions completely and present it in a logical format

    - TANF clients do not fully understand sanctions and, according to caseworkers, are not...

    This is one of three OIG reports on how States administer client sanctions under TANF. One companion report, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Client Sanctions (OEI-09-98-00290), provides a broad overview of State administration of client sanctions. The other, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families:  Improving Client Sanction Notices (OEI-09-98-00292), reviews State methods for informing clients of sanction decisions via written notices.

    The purpose of this report is to determine how States inform clients about sanction policies under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  We find that:

    - TANF offices explain sanctions to clients repeatedly, using diverse methods

    - Orientation materials commonly lack information about the amount of the sanction and the definition of good cause

    - Most States describe other vital information about sanctions completely and present it in a logical format

    - TANF clients do not fully understand sanctions and, according to caseworkers, are not concerned about sanctions until they are imposed

    We recommend that the Administration for Children and Families encourage States to provide complete, correct, and understandable information to clients on: the causes of sanctions; the amounts of sanctions; the duration of sanctions; “good cause” reasons for work exemptions; and client appeal, fair hearing, and, if applicable, conciliation rights. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brown, June
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    We purposefully selected eight States in which to visit at least one urban and one rural office. In total, we visited 26 TANF offices, where we held caseworker focus groups, director interviews, and limited case-file reviews of recently sanctioned cases with individual caseworkers. At 19 of the offices, we conducted client focus groups and also interviewed at least one advocacy group in each State. In addition, we collected sanction policies and notices from each State. Lastly, we reviewed 47 notices issued by the offices that we visited, evaluating each for completeness and clarity.

    The methods we used during this study pose some distinct advantages and disadvantages for the scope of our findings. The purposeful sample allowed us to examine sanction implementation in States with widely varying attributes. We also gained a thorough understanding of our respondents’ relationships with and attitudes towards sanctions. Our methodology precludes us, however, from commenting on the extent to which our findings and observations are representative nationwide. We also cannot...

    We purposefully selected eight States in which to visit at least one urban and one rural office. In total, we visited 26 TANF offices, where we held caseworker focus groups, director interviews, and limited case-file reviews of recently sanctioned cases with individual caseworkers. At 19 of the offices, we conducted client focus groups and also interviewed at least one advocacy group in each State. In addition, we collected sanction policies and notices from each State. Lastly, we reviewed 47 notices issued by the offices that we visited, evaluating each for completeness and clarity.

    The methods we used during this study pose some distinct advantages and disadvantages for the scope of our findings. The purposeful sample allowed us to examine sanction implementation in States with widely varying attributes. We also gained a thorough understanding of our respondents’ relationships with and attitudes towards sanctions. Our methodology precludes us, however, from commenting on the extent to which our findings and observations are representative nationwide. We also cannot evaluate direct outcomes of sanction policies, procedures, and practices on clients and the program.

    Comprehensive and understandable notices can improve the sanction process. A sanction notice with complete information in a clear format can improve client understanding and help alleviate frustration for both clients and caseworkers.

    Sanction notices are deficient in some respects. Although most notices adequately explain some sanction details, many lack instructions on how to cure sanctions and do not reference local legal aid. A few notices contain incorrect information which can mislead clients and create extra work for caseworkers. Confusing wording on notices impedes client understanding, an effect heightened by language barriers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hasenfeld, Yeheskel; Ghose, Toorjo; Larson, Kandyce
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    The 1996 welfare reform legislation expanded the use of sanctions under the assumption that welfare recipients can comply with work requirements and that they can calculate the costs and benefits of compliance. This research tests the validity of these assumptions through a record and survey based study of California welfare recipients. The article questions the validity of the assumptions, finding that, compared to nonsanctioned recipients, sanctioned recipients face greater barriers to meeting the work requirements. A significant proportion say that they were not informed about the sanctioning rules. Almost half of sanctioned recipients were not aware that they were sanctioned. (author abstract)

    The 1996 welfare reform legislation expanded the use of sanctions under the assumption that welfare recipients can comply with work requirements and that they can calculate the costs and benefits of compliance. This research tests the validity of these assumptions through a record and survey based study of California welfare recipients. The article questions the validity of the assumptions, finding that, compared to nonsanctioned recipients, sanctioned recipients face greater barriers to meeting the work requirements. A significant proportion say that they were not informed about the sanctioning rules. Almost half of sanctioned recipients were not aware that they were sanctioned. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pandey, Shanta; Porterfield, Shirley; Choi-Ko, Hyeji; Yoon, Hong-Sik
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    This paper documents the impact of the 1996 federal welfare legislation on rural families in Missouri. We analyze primary data obtained from interviews with 162 single-mother families with children residing in six rural counties in Missouri who are either former or current welfare recipients. This information was substantiated by focus group interviews with current or former welfare recipients conducted between 1998 and 2000. The results provide useful insights into the impacts of welfare reform on families in rural America. Welfare recipients in rural areas have higher levels of education and job experience than the general welfare population in the nation, but they live in areas with fewer job opportunities and very poor public transportation. Those who are employed are making an average of $5.50 per hour and continue to live in poverty. With the economy slowing down across the nation, rural welfare recipients are beginning to increase again, after several years of decline. For rural women to exit welfare, improvement in a variety of work support programs including wages, EITC...

    This paper documents the impact of the 1996 federal welfare legislation on rural families in Missouri. We analyze primary data obtained from interviews with 162 single-mother families with children residing in six rural counties in Missouri who are either former or current welfare recipients. This information was substantiated by focus group interviews with current or former welfare recipients conducted between 1998 and 2000. The results provide useful insights into the impacts of welfare reform on families in rural America. Welfare recipients in rural areas have higher levels of education and job experience than the general welfare population in the nation, but they live in areas with fewer job opportunities and very poor public transportation. Those who are employed are making an average of $5.50 per hour and continue to live in poverty. With the economy slowing down across the nation, rural welfare recipients are beginning to increase again, after several years of decline. For rural women to exit welfare, improvement in a variety of work support programs including wages, EITC, Food Stamps, childcare, and transportation will have to be made. In addition, opportunities for postsecondary education must be available for low-income women who want to pursue their education beyond high school. (author abstract)