Performance Improvement 2005. A Profile of Families Cycling on and Off Welfare


This study analyzed the experiences of welfare “cyclers” (those who received welfare benefits during three or more discrete spells during a four-year observation period) using five Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) studies of welfare reform initiatives during the mid- to late-1990s. The study addressed two main research questions: (1) What are the demographic characteristics and employment outcomes of cyclers, as compared with other comparison groups of welfare recipients? and (2) How have patterns of benefit receipt and the phenomenon of cycling changed since PRWORA? Overall, cyclers constituted a relatively small portion of the welfare caseload (9 percent). Cyclers generally fared better than long-term recipients, but not as well as short-term recipients. The report also found that the incidence of cycling increased during the years following PRWORA.

PIC ID: 8111; Agency Sponsor: ASPE-OHSP, Office of Human Services Policy; Federal Contact: Hauan, Susan, 202-690-8698; Performer: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, New York, NY

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