Description and Assessment of State Approaches to Diversion Programs and Activities Under Welfare Reform. D. Job Search Assistance and Job Search Documentation


The type and intensity of job search assistance provided to applicants who are required to look for work varies substantially across the states. Ten of sixteen states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, and Oregon) provide applicants with some assistance to help them find employment. However the type of assistance varies considerably across the states and in most states, across local offices. In Georgia, the county Departments of Family and Children Services as well as the state Department of Labor help applicants by providing them with employment contacts. In Nevada, the welfare staff is outstationed at employment security offices to offer job leads. In Idaho, applicants have access to a community resource room. In Missouri, each local welfare office has staff from the state employment securities agency available to help applicants with job search activities and provide resource information.

Wisconsin and all local offices in Oregon provide extensive job search assistance. This assistance includes classes on how to complete an employment application and write a resume, and how to prepare for a job interview. In addition, TANF applicants looking for employment are eligible for a variety of assistance including case management services, transportation, child care, Medicaid, food stamps, job search and emergency assistance. Caseworkers determine what services are provided. In Wisconsin, job ready individuals who indicate an emergency financial need to maintain or obtain employment may be eligible for a job access loan which can range from $25 to $1600.

Seven states (Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Oklahoma) specifically note that they require documentation to verify that applicants are actively engaged in job searches. For example, in Alabama TANF applicants are required to register with the employment services and must report the number of job applications they submitted and to whom they applied to the TANF eligibility workers prior to completing the application. In Oklahoma, TANF applicants must submit their activities and the number of hours for each day that they do job search to their caseworker. Oklahoma is also unique in the fact the state pays a "participant allowance" which can be from $3 to $6 a day (for more than 4 hours of activity) while applicant is engaged in job search. Applicants must submit a "time sheet" so that they can be paid the allowance.