How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Food Stamp Payments and Receipt

12/01/2001

Table 5.2 examines the effects of the programs on the number of months that sample members received Food Stamps and Food Stamp expenditures for the five-year follow-up period. (Appendix Table D.3 shows results on the same outcomes for the first three years of follow-up, which is the period before any control group members could have received program services. Appendix Table D.4 shows results for the last quarter of year 5.)

 

Table 5.2
Impacts on Food Stamp Payments and Receipt

Site and Program

Sample Size Program Group Control Group Difference (Impact) Percentage Change (%)
Average number of months of Food Stamp receipt in years 1 to 5
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 2,938 42.1 43.4 -1.4 ** -3.2
Atlanta Human Capital Development 2,992 42.2 43.4 -1.2 ** -2.8
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 3,012 30.5 33.8 -3.3 *** -9.9
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 2,997 31.7 33.8 -2.1 *** -6.2
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 6,726 25.3 29.0 -3.6 *** -12.6
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 3,125 27.7 31.2 -3.5 *** -11.2
Riverside Human Capital Development 3,135 27.4 31.2 -3.8 *** -12.3
Columbus Integrated 4,672 27.9 31.2 -3.4 *** -10.7
Columbus Traditional 4,729 29.1 31.2 -2.1 *** -6.6
Detroit 4,459 38.8 40.3 -1.5 *** -3.8
Oklahoma City n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Portland 4,028 29.4 32.5 -3.1 *** -9.4
Average total Food Stamps received in years 1 to 5 ($)
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 2,938 10,661 11,089 -428 ** -3.9
Atlanta Human Capital Development 2,992 10,930 11,089 -159 -1.4
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 3,012 6,351 6,966 -615 *** -8.8
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 2,997 6,580 6,966 -387 *** -5.6
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 6,726 4,981 5,870 -888 *** -15.1
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 3,125 5,577 6,504 -928 *** -14.3
Riverside Human Capital Development 3,135 5,492 6,504 -1,013 *** -15.6
Columbus Integrated 4,672 7,160 8,185 -1,025 *** -12.5
Columbus Traditional 4,729 7,537 8,185 -648 *** -7.9
Detroit 4,459 9,186 9,519 -334 ** -3.5
Oklahoma City n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Portland 4,028 6,926 7,753 -827 *** -10.7
SOURCE:  MDRC calculations from state and county administrative records.
NOTES: See Appendix A.1.

In all sites except Riverside, control group members received Food Stamps for more months than they received welfare payments. Most likely, some control group members in these sites received too much income from earnings or other sources to receive cash assistance but remained eligible for Food Stamps. The difference between Food Stamp and welfare receipt was largest in Portland, where control group members received Food Stamps for 32 months on average during years 1 to 5, while they received welfare for only about 25 months.(11) Similarly, in Atlanta, which is the only site where the federal maximum Food Stamp allotment exceeded the maximum welfare grant, control group members received Food Stamps for an average of 43 months over five years (the most among the six sites), about six months longer than they received welfare.

The importance of Food Stamps as an income supplement for control group members varied from place to place. These differences largely reflect the generosity of welfare benefits and Food Stamp rules, which reduce Food Stamps by a certain amount for each dollar of welfare benefits. At one extreme, Atlanta's maximum welfare grant is so low that people received more on average from Food Stamps  about $11,000 from Food Stamps compared with nearly $10,000 from welfare over the five-year period. In Riverside, in contrast, control group members received less than $6,000 in Food Stamp benefits on average, compared with welfare benefits of $18,000. Over five years, all programs significantly reduced total months of Food Stamp receipt and all but one program  Atlanta HCD  significantly reduced Food Stamp expenditures. Although impacts were smaller for Food Stamps than for welfare, programs that reduced welfare the most also tended to be the programs that reduced Food Stamp use the most. For example, five programs reduced welfare receipt by more than three months: Portland, Grand Rapids LFA, both Riverside programs, and Columbus Integrated. (See Table 5.1.) The same five programs reduced Food Stamp receipt by more than three months. Likewise, Atlanta HCD and Detroit reduced both welfare and Food Stamp receipt by less than two months. Because of the complex interaction between welfare and Food Stamp payment amounts, the extent to which programs reduced Food Stamp payment amounts below control group levels was less clear-cut. For example, the Columbus Integrated program, which had effects on welfare benefits in the midrange of the programs being studied, had the largest reduction in Food Stamp payments. However, the programs that reduced welfare payments the most  Portland and the two Riverside programs  also had among the largest effects on Food Stamp payments over five years.