Iowa's Limited Benefit Plan. G. Summary of Findings

05/01/1997

A number of key findings emerge from this chapter's analysis of the LBP experiences of survey respondents:

Table VI.11

  • Most respondents who had failed to meet PROMISE JOBS requirements said that they did not understand those requirements. Seventy percent of those who had not arranged the required PROMISE JOBS appointment said that they did not understand this requirement. Sixty-two percent of those who had not signed the FIA said either that they did not know about the FIA or that they did not sign one because they were employed. Sixty-two percent of those who either had not signed the FIA or were uncertain whether they had signed the FIA said that they did not understand what would happen if they did not sign the FIA.
  • Employment was the most common FIA goal. Education and self-sufficiency were the second and third most common goals, respectively.
  • Nearly all of those who had signed an FIA said they understood the terms of the agreement. Specifically, they said they understood what would happen if they failed to carry out the goals and activities specified in the FIA.
  • Many respondents who had signed an FIA reported barriers that prevented them from fulfilling the agreement. The most common barriers were health or personal problems, transportation, and child care.
  • Most respondents said they had been assigned to the LBP because they failed to comply with PROMISE JOBS requirements. However, about one-fifth said that they had voluntarily entered the LBP.
  • Most individuals had plans for leaving welfare, other than the FIA, prior to the termination of cash assistance. Most often this plan was to obtain employment. About half who planned to obtain employment succeeded.
  • There was considerable variation in the effect of the loss of FIP cash benefits. Some respondents reported hardship in the form of emotional stress (chronic worrying) and financial problems. Others reported positive effects in the form of increased independence, self-sufficiency, and self-esteem. On the whole, negative effects were experienced somewhat more frequently than positive ones.

 

1. The Family Investment Agreement (FIA) specifies the clients' plan for becoming self-sufficient in a specified amount of time. For more detail on the FIA, refer to Chapter II, Section A.3 of this report.

2. Administrative data from Iowa DHS provides a very different picture. For the LBP Survey respondents, administrative records suggest that only 18 percent arranged and kept the appointment, while 61 percent arranged but did not keep the appointment, and 22 percent did not arrange the appointment. These differences may suggest that respondents are unclear about specific program participation requirements and the importance of the PROMISE JOBS appointment.

3. For the LBP Survey respondents, administrative records suggest that fewer signed the FIA (26 percent compared with the survey results of 56 percent).

4. This finding is not surprising since most of these individuals signed the FIA before entering the LBP (rather than during a reconsideration period, see Section C.1 of this chapter) and, presumably, if they had faced no barriers to fulfilling their FIA they would not have entered the LBP.

5. January 1997 Well-Being Visit Report, Iowa Department of Public Health, March 5, 1997.

6. DHS recently asked local public health staff to restructure the well-being visit process so as to improve the quality of the data.

7. In Table VI.9, the percentages allowing for multiple responses are reported in the first column. The second column shows whether the item was mentioned first by the survey participants. For example, "chronic worrying" was the first response for 47 percent of the survey participants.

8. In Table VI.11, the percentages allowing for multiple responses are reported in the first column. The second column shows whether the item was mentioned first by the survey participant. For example, "respondent's employment" was mentioned first by 67 percent of the survey respondents.