Iowa's Limited Benefit Plan. F. Characteristics by Path Through the LBP

05/01/1997

The groups of LBP cases that take different paths through the LBP following assignment differ by case- and individual-level characteristics. Here, we compare canceled LBP cases with never-canceled LBP cases. Also, among never-canceled LBP cases, we compare cases that exit early--meaning that they stop receiving cash assistance prior to benefit termination under the LBP--to those that do not exit early, remaining on the LBP for the full term.

1. Characteristics By LBP Cancellation Status

There are no large differences between the characteristics of the 53 percent of LBP cases whose assignments to the LBP are canceled, enabling them to return to FIP, and the 47 percent whose assignments are never-canceled (Table III.7).(16) However, there is a pattern in the differences that do exist. On average, the cases and individuals with canceled LBP assignments appear to be somewhat more disadvantaged than those with never-canceled assignments. In particular, cases with canceled LBP assignments tend to have slightly more people, more children, and younger children than cases with never-canceled assignments. They also tend to receive higher FIP and Food Stamp benefits in the month prior to the beginning of their LBP assignment.

Table III.7

In terms of the specific individuals who are assigned to the LBP on these cases, those with canceled assignments are more likely than those with never-canceled assignments to be female, nonwhite, unmarried, and not to have completed high school; they are also younger. These differences in case- and individual-level characteristics, although small, suggest that cancellation of the LBP assignment, which enables the case to return to FIP, is somewhat more common among families that are more likely to have a relatively high need for cash assistance, which may be related to a relatively weak attachment to the labor force. We suspect that this need for assistance motivates these families to take the steps required to cancel the LBP assignment so that they can return to FIP.

2. Characteristics by Early Exit Status

Among cases with never-canceled LBP assignments, one distinct path is early exit, by which we mean exit from cash assistance prior to the termination of benefits under the LBP (month 7). Here, we examine how the 64 percent of never-canceled LBP cases that exit early differ from those that do not exit early (those that have benefit patterns consistent with 12 months on the LBP). Table III.8 presents summary statistics on the characteristics of these two groups of never-canceled LBP cases.(17)

Here again, there are no large differences between the two groups of interest, but there is some evidence of a pattern in the differences that do exist. The never-canceled LBP cases that exit early appear to be somewhat less disadvantaged than those that do not exit early. On average, the never-canceled cases that exit early tend to have slightly fewer people overall and fewer children, and to receive lower FIP and Food Stamp benefits in the month prior to the beginning of their LBP assignment than those that do not exit early. The individuals specifically assigned to the LBP on the never-canceled cases that exit early are somewhat more likely than those on cases that do not exit early to be male, white, married, and to have completed high school; they are also slightly older.(18)

Table III.8