A Profile of Families Cycling on and off Welfare. Connecticut's Jobs First Program


The Connecticut's Jobs First Program implemented a 21-month time limit on welfare receipt. The program also included very generous financial incentives to encourage work - all of the recipient's earnings were disregarded when calculating her welfare and food stamps benefits until her earnings reached the poverty line. The evaluation tested the effects of Jobs First among new applicants for assistance and ongoing recipients in the offices of Manchester and New Haven (although the program was run statewide).

Jobs First increased the employment and earnings of program group members above control group levels throughout the evaluation's four-year follow-up period. During the early part of the follow-up period, before recipients began reaching time limits, the program also increased welfare receipt and, because of the generous disregards, increased incomes. About half of the recipients in the program group reached the time limit during the period, and two-thirds of them subsequently received a 6-month extension. Those who left welfare because of a time limit had higher earnings than those who left earlier, most likely because of the extension policy. See Bloom et al. (2002) for more information.

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