Tracking Welfare Reform: Designing Followup Studies of Recipients Who Leave Welfare. Administrative Data Matching - Maryland


Life After Welfare: Second Interim Report

Date: March 1998

Investigator: University of Maryland, School of Social Work, Welfare and Child Support Research and Training Unit

Contact Person: Catherine Born, 410/706-5134

Method—Data matches between closed cases and administrative records (welfare, child support, and unemployment insurance (UI)). Every month, a 5 percent random sample is taken of closed cases. A total of 2,156 closed cases was reported in the twelve months. Cases are then matched with administrative records that will report whether the persons earned wages in a job covered by the unemployment insurance system or returned to the welfare rolls. Maryland is also undertaking interviews of former recipients, but they are not yet complete.

Findings in Brief

Reasons for case closing (from welfare records)

  • Income above eligibility limit 19%
  • Failure to complete the eligibility redetermination process 19%
  • Failure to give eligibility information 13%
  • Client started work / has higher wages 11%
  • Client requested closure 9%

Did former recipient have UI-reported earnings?

  • UI-reported wages in the first quarter after they left welfare 51%
    (Average income of $2,384 over three months for those working)
  • UI-reported wages in the third quarter after they left welfare 55%
    (Average income of $2,374 over three months for those working)
    Note: Former recipients who are identified as working in a quarter may not have worked during all three months of the quarter, so it is not possible to estimate monthly earnings straightforwardly.
  • Among those recipients with a previous wage history, 65 percent worked in the first quarter after they left welfare.

Employment characteristics

  • Employed in wholesale and retail trade, including eating and drinking places 35%
  • Employed in organizational services, including nursing homes and hospitals 24%
  • Employed in personal services, including temporary employment agencies 19%

Families returning to welfare—In the first three months after exiting, 19 percent of recipients returned to the caseload, most in the first 30 days. Of those families that had received a full family sanction for noncompliance with work or child support requirements, 35 percent returned to the caseload within three months.

Child welfare and foster care—Of 3,467 children whose families left welfare, 15 were placed in foster care after case closure.