UI as a Safety Net for Former TANF Recipients. 2. Background


The introduction of TANF with lifetime limits and work requirements for continued receipt of cash assistance increased the importance of employment and training programs for achieving self-sufficiency for TANF leavers. Research before TANF suggested that few leavers from cash assistance would qualify for UI, but analysis after TANF was in place estimated higher UI recipiency rates (Gustafson and Levine 1997, Rangarajan, Razafindrakoto, and Corson, 2002). As background for the present research, we examine UI and TANF eligibility rules in each of the four states analyzed and review prior research on use of UI by TANF leavers.

Isaacs (2005) reported that between 2000 and 2003, the proportion of low-income single mothers receiving UI benefits at some point in the year increased from 4.6 to 6.7 percent. It is not surprising to see an increase in receipt of UI in times of rising unemployment. What is noteworthy is that the higher UI recipiency rate has continued since 2000, despite the 2001-02 slowdown in aggregate economic activity.

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