Understanding the Costs of the DOL Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. WtW Transportation Assistance Helped Fill a Gap in Transitional Support


Consistent with the authorizing legislation, WtW resources were used for support services primarily as a complementary strategy. In the average program, support services accounted for only six percent of total WtW costs (Figure III.2). However, 14 of the 18 programs examined incurred some WtW support service costs. Among these programs, the support service most commonly provided was transportation assistance for the period following placement in unsubsidized employment.

The main reason for WtW's limited emphasis on support services was that most participants had access to TANF-funded support services to help ease their transition from public assistance to employment.(3) These transitional benefits usually included assistance with child care, health care, and transportation. However, many programs were limited in their ability to use WtW funds to provide support services to participants, because they had ceilings on support service expenditures or restrictions on allowable expenditures.(4) Therefore, the fact that, on average, only six percent of total WtW costs were associated with support services does not mean that WtW participants only needed such assistance to this extent.

The programs that provided WtW-funded transportation assistance reported that TANF's transportation benefits typically ended while participants were still engaged in WtW activities or shortly after job placement. Transportation difficulties could jeopardize participants' employment, so WtW-funded transportation assistance helped fill an important gap in transitional support.

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