Profile of Families Cycling on and off Welfare


The report analyzes the experiences of welfare "cyclers" (those who received welfare benefits during three or more discrete spells during a four-year observation period) using five MDRC studies of welfare reform initiatives during the mid- to late-1990s. Overall, cyclers constituted a relatively small portion of the welfare caseload (9 percent). Cyclers generally fared better than long-term recipients, but not as well as short-term recipients. The report also found that the incidence of cycling increased during the years following PRWORA.

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