Performance Improvement 2005. Unemployment Insurance as a Potential Safety Net for TANF Leavers: Evidence From Five States


During the past several years, increasing attention has focused on the role of safety nets – such as Unemployment Insurance (UI)- available to welfare recipients who exit welfare and find jobs in the context of a time-limited welfare system. Some policymakers and researchers believe that the eligibility rules of the UI program make the program less accessible to low-wage, entry-level workers - especially to former welfare recipients who move in and out of the labor force and often do not have stable employment histories. This study examines the extent to which former welfare recipients, if they were to experience a job loss, are likely to have monetary eligibility for UI. Major findings include: 1) The vast majority of TANF recipients (90%) who exited welfare and found employment would potentially obtain UI monetary eligibility at some point during the 2-year period after TANF exit. 2) Many of the TANF leavers who exited for employment and would have attained monetary eligibility would also have lost potential monetary eligibility over time. 3) The rate of potential eligibility among all TANF workers is relatively high. Not surprisingly, given minimum earnings requirements, the likelihood of qualifying for benefits among those who actually experienced a job loss is considerably lower, especially among those who lost their jobs during the 1st year after TANF exit. Potential UI benefit amounts for former TANF recipients were higher than what these individuals would have received as TANF payments. This report is one in a series produced under the National Evaluation of the DOL Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program.

PIC ID: 8105; Agency Sponsor: ASPE-OHSP, Office of Human Services Policy; Federal Contact: Landey, Alana, 202-401-6636; Performer: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, NJ


View full report


"pi_2005.pdf" (pdf, 750.85Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®