National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Final Report. Independence from Tanf Through Employment

09/01/2004

PRWORA and the authorizing legislation for the WtW grants program both hold the objective of moving families off welfare and into employment. Exhibit V.5 presents evidence from the 24-month follow-up survey on the extent to which WtW enrollees achieved this objective. This exhibit shows the percentage distribution of enrollees in each study site across the four possible combinations of employment and receipt of TANF. The darkest section of the bar for each site shows the proportion of enrollees who were employed and off TANF. Not surprisingly, this proportion is largest, about two-thirds, for the two JHU sites, which targeted individuals who were employed when they entered WtW. In the other sites, about one-fourth to one-third of enrollees were employed and off TANF two years after program entry, except in West Virginia, where 44 percent had achieved this objective.

Despite the generally modest proportions of enrollees who achieved independence from TANF through employment, several sites saw some progress toward that objective during the second year. In four of the sites, the proportion of enrollees who were employed and off TANF was 4 to 6 percentage points higher at the end of the second year after program entry than at the end of the first year; however, the estimated increase is statistically significant only for the Chicago and Nashville sites (Exhibit V.6, top panel).

There was a pronounced increase during the second year following program entry in the proportion of WtW enrollees who were neither working nor receiving TANF. In seven of the study sites, this proportion increased by between 4 and 14 percentage points; and in five of these sites the estimated increase is statistically significant (Exhibit V.6, bottom panel). St. Lucie County experienced one of the largest increases, at 10 percentage points. This was also the site where enrollee receipt of SSI or SSDI increased most dramatically, by 7 percentage points, during the second year. The Ft. Worth and West Virginia sites also experienced substantial increases in the proportion of enrollees who were neither working nor receiving TANF, accompanied by increases in the receipt of SSI or SSDI. Thus, in three of the study sites, it appears that access to SSI or SSDI benefits facilitated an increase in the proportion of WtW enrollees who were neither employed nor on TANF.

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