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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: Lee, Bong Joo; Slack, Kristen S.; Lewis, Dan A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    This analysis utilizes longitudinal survey and administrative data on 1998 welfare recipients in Illinois to assess whether different types of grant reductions are associated with subsequent work, welfare receipt, and hardships. Results show that imposed sanctions are inversely associated with formal work and earnings, as well as with increases in informal work, other work activities, and food hardships. Threats to sanction are unassociated with formal work and welfare outcomes but positively associated with informal work, other work activities, and rent hardship. Greater knowledge of welfare rules is associated with more formal work, less welfare receipt, and less hardship. (author abstract)

    This analysis utilizes longitudinal survey and administrative data on 1998 welfare recipients in Illinois to assess whether different types of grant reductions are associated with subsequent work, welfare receipt, and hardships. Results show that imposed sanctions are inversely associated with formal work and earnings, as well as with increases in informal work, other work activities, and food hardships. Threats to sanction are unassociated with formal work and welfare outcomes but positively associated with informal work, other work activities, and rent hardship. Greater knowledge of welfare rules is associated with more formal work, less welfare receipt, and less hardship. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pavetti, LaDonna; Derr, Michelle K.; Kirby, Gretchen; Wood, Robert G.; Clark, Melissa A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    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 Aid to Families with Dependent Children (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 focused on the accurate delivery of cash benefits now focuses on encouraging families to make the transition from welfare to work. Part of this shift translates into a dramatic increase in the range of circumstances in which families' welfare benefits can be reduced or canceled. In particular, sanctions--financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements — have become central features of most states' efforts to promote self-sufficiency through their TANF programs. A primary goal of work-oriented sanctions is to encourage TANF recipients who might not be inclined to participate in work activities to do so. A secondary goal is to encourage greater reporting of earnings, especially among families who work...

    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 Aid to Families with Dependent Children (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 focused on the accurate delivery of cash benefits now focuses on encouraging families to make the transition from welfare to work. Part of this shift translates into a dramatic increase in the range of circumstances in which families' welfare benefits can be reduced or canceled. In particular, sanctions--financial penalties for noncompliance with program requirements — have become central features of most states' efforts to promote self-sufficiency through their TANF programs. A primary goal of work-oriented sanctions is to encourage TANF recipients who might not be inclined to participate in work activities to do so. A secondary goal is to encourage greater reporting of earnings, especially among families who work in jobs where earnings are not reported through official channels. The logic behind sanctions is that adverse consequences can be used to influence the decisions clients make. Sanctions have long been used to enforce program requirements. However, with the emergence of "full-family" sanctions that eliminate all of a family's cash grant, the imposition of work requirements on a greater share of the TANF caseload and greater emphasis on encouraging TANF recipients to become self-sufficient, they have taken on much greater significance.

    While consensus holds that sanctions have been an important policy change implemented through state welfare reform efforts, they are among the least studied. Additional information on the role sanctions have played in welfare reform can help inform policy discussions regarding whether all states should be required to impose more stringent sanctions and help program administrators identify strategies for using sanctions to promote greater compliance with program requirements. This report presents findings from a study of the use of sanctions in two local welfare offices in each of three states — Illinois, New Jersey, and South Carolina. In this chapter, we provide a brief context for the study, outline the study design, and describe the study states. Chapter II presents our findings on how the study sites implemented sanctions. Chapter III describes our findings on how often sanctions are used, how the characteristics of sanctioned and nonsanctioned families compare, and how sanctioned families fare over time. Finally, Chapter IV summarizes our findings and identifies important unanswered research questions. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cherlin, Andrew; Burton, Linda; Francis, Judith; Henrici, Jane; Lein, Laura; Quane, James; Bogen, Karen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Seventeen percent of a sample of current and recent welfare recipients in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio reported that their benefits had been reduced or stopped because the welfare office said they weren’t following the rules. These penalties resulted from both partial and full-family sanctions as well as from case closings for procedural reasons. Recipients reported that the most common reasons were missing an appointment or failing to file required paperwork. Only 12 percent of the penalties were imposed for failing to take a job or to show up for a job-related activity. Individuals whose benefits were reduced or stopped were more disadvantaged than other recipients in many respects, such as education, health, financial difficulties, housing quality, and neighborhood quality. Former recipients who reported leaving the welfare rolls because of sanctions or case closings had substantially lower employment rates and earnings than did those who left for other reasons. These findings suggest that agencies and organizations may wish to give more attention to families at imminent...

    Seventeen percent of a sample of current and recent welfare recipients in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio reported that their benefits had been reduced or stopped because the welfare office said they weren’t following the rules. These penalties resulted from both partial and full-family sanctions as well as from case closings for procedural reasons. Recipients reported that the most common reasons were missing an appointment or failing to file required paperwork. Only 12 percent of the penalties were imposed for failing to take a job or to show up for a job-related activity. Individuals whose benefits were reduced or stopped were more disadvantaged than other recipients in many respects, such as education, health, financial difficulties, housing quality, and neighborhood quality. Former recipients who reported leaving the welfare rolls because of sanctions or case closings had substantially lower employment rates and earnings than did those who left for other reasons. These findings suggest that agencies and organizations may wish to give more attention to families at imminent risk of sanctions or case closings to help them come into compliance. They also suggest that families who leave welfare due to noncompliance may need more assistance in finding and retaining employment. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wu, Chi-Fang; Cancian, Maria ; Meyer, Daniel ; Joo Lee, Bong; Slack, Kristen; Lewis, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Existing research concerning sanctions, mostly based upon cross-sectional studies of those leaving welfare, suggests that sanctioned families resemble long-time welfare recipients in a number of respects. They are more disadvantaged than even the average welfare recipient— younger, less educated, less likely to live with a partner and more likely to have been in an abusive relationship in the past year. They are more likely to have grown up in a welfare-receiving family or to have health problems or children with health problems. As a group, they are more likely to have immediate practical disadvantages also— higher levels of financial strain, as evidenced by utility cutoffs, no car, or no telephone service.

    The two projects summarized here broke new ground in the study of sanctions. Both made use of longitudinal data. Chi-Fang Wu, Maria Cancian, and Daniel R. Meyer used administrative data from Wisconsin to examine the dynamic patterns of sanctioning (their severity, timing, and duration), the factors associated with being sanctioned, and the relationship between...

    Existing research concerning sanctions, mostly based upon cross-sectional studies of those leaving welfare, suggests that sanctioned families resemble long-time welfare recipients in a number of respects. They are more disadvantaged than even the average welfare recipient— younger, less educated, less likely to live with a partner and more likely to have been in an abusive relationship in the past year. They are more likely to have grown up in a welfare-receiving family or to have health problems or children with health problems. As a group, they are more likely to have immediate practical disadvantages also— higher levels of financial strain, as evidenced by utility cutoffs, no car, or no telephone service.

    The two projects summarized here broke new ground in the study of sanctions. Both made use of longitudinal data. Chi-Fang Wu, Maria Cancian, and Daniel R. Meyer used administrative data from Wisconsin to examine the dynamic patterns of sanctioning (their severity, timing, and duration), the factors associated with being sanctioned, and the relationship between sanctions and subsequent welfare outcomes for sanctioned women. Bong Joo Lee, Kristen Shook Slack, and Dan A. Lewis used survey and administrative data from the Illinois Families Study (IFS) to examine whether and how welfare sanctions are associated with work activity, levels of earnings, welfare receipt, and material hardships among TANF recipients. (author abstract)