Use of TANF Work-Oriented Sanctions in Illinois, New Jersey, and South Carolina. How Do Personal Liabilities Influence the Likelihood of a Sanction?

04/30/2004

We matched survey data on detailed personal characteristics (or what we term personal liabilities and assets) with the administrative data on sanctions in Illinois and South Carolina to examine factors beyond basic background and demographic characteristics that may help identify those recipients at greater risk of a sanction.(4) Based on a bivariate analysis presented in Table III.3, we find that those with a physical health problem, those with a learning disability, those caring for a family or friend with a health problem or special need, or those who are pregnant or have a child under age one in the household are more likely to be fully sanctioned in South Carolina. Differences in other characteristics between ever- and never- sanctioned recipients in South Carolina are relatively large but not statistically significant, presumably because of the small sample size of sanctioned cases.

In Illinois, recipients with no high school diploma, with limited recent work experience, with a physical or mental health problem, with two or more arrests, or with a child care problem are much more likely to be sanctioned (either partially or fully) (see Table III.3). A logistic regression model confirmed the bivariate analysis results.

Table III.3.
Personal Liabilities by Sanction Status
  Illinois South Carolina
Ever Sanctioned Never Sanctioned All Ever Sanctioned Never Sanctioned All
Human Capital Deficits
No high school diploma or GED 54** 40 44 42 38 38
Limited recent work experience 73*** 54 59 70 57 57
Performed fewer than four common job tasks 26 29 28 30 25 25
Personal Challenges
Physical health problem 26* 19 21 42*** 21 22
Mental health problem 35*** 21 25 34 30 30
Criminal record n.a. n.a. n.a. 12 10 10
Multiple arrests 25*** 13 16 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Severe physical domestic violence in past year 12 13 13 10 14 14
Chemical dependence 5 2 3 1 1 1
Signs of a learning disability 10 13 12 28*** 11 12
Difficulty with English 1 3 2 4 1 1
Logistical and Situational Challenges
Child or other family member or friend with a health problem or special need 32 35 34 51** 32 33
Pregnant or child under age one in household 38 34 35 43* 28 28
Child care problem 42*** 28 32 24 31 31
Transportation problem 25 19 21 22 32 31
Unstable housing 28 21 23 16 22 22
Sample Size 114 302 416 56 1067 1123
Source: MPR analysis of the 2001-02 survey of Illinois TANF cases, the 2002 survey of South Carolina TANF cases, and administrative data on the TANF caseload provided by Illinois and South Carolina
Note: Ever sanctioned is defined as: ever being fully sanctioned within 10 months in South Carolina; and ever being either partially or fully sanctioned within 12 months in Illinois.
*/**/*** Difference between the predicted probability for clients with this characteristic and for those in the italicized reference category significant at the .10 level / .05 level /.01 level/
n.a. = Data are not available.

Table III.4 presents predicted probabilities in Illinois based on a model that estimates the relative influence of each personal liability on the likelihood that a recipient is sanctioned (partially or fully), assuming that a TANF recipient exhibits "average" characteristics (such as age, race, marital status, and so forth) and only the liability under consideration. The model predicts that a TANF recipient with no personal liabilities has a 12 percent chance of receiving a sanction. Recipients without a high school diploma have an increased chance  at 19 percent  of receiving a sanction. Recipients with a physical health problem, mental health problem, or multiple arrests have a 20 to 21 percent chance of ever being sanctioned. Recipients with limited recent work experience or with a child care problem have an 18 and 19 percent chance, respectively, of ever being sanctioned.

We also find that the likelihood of ever being sanctioned increases substantially when a recipient has four or more liabilities. With one liability present, the likelihood of being sanctioned is 24 percent. When two or three barriers are present, the probability of being sanctioned is only slightly higher at 25 percent. However, when four or more barriers are present the probability increases dramatically, to 42 percent.

Table III.4.
Probability of Being Sanctioned in Illinois by Personal Liabilities
Liability Prevalence (%) Direction and Significance of Effect Predicted Probability of Being Sanctioned Difference from Probability with No Liabilities
No Personal Liabilities 4   12  
Human Capital Liabilities
No high school diploma or GED 44 + * 19 +7
Limited recent work experience 59 + 18 +6
Performed fewer than four common job tasks 28 - 11 -1
Personal Challenges
Physical health problem 21 + ** 21 +9
Mental health problem 25 + * 20 +8
Multiple arrests 16 + * 21 +9
Severe physical domestic violence in past year 13 - 9 -3
Chemical dependence 3 + 19 +7
Signs of a learning disability 12 - 8 -4
Difficulty with English 2 - 4 -8
Logistical and Situational Challenges
Child or other family member or friend with a health problem or special need 34 - 9 -3
Pregnant or child under age one in household 35 + 18 +6
Child care problem 32 + * 19 +7
Transportation problem 21 + 15 +3
Unstable housing 23 - 12 0
Source: Based on the results of a logit model predicting the probability of being sanctioned using data from 2001-02 survey of Illinois TANF cases and Illinois administrative data.
Note: The predicted probabilities presented here are based on the results from estimating logistic regression models for sanction rates within 12 months in Illinois. The model included and controlled for clients' sex, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, number of children, age of youngest child, and length of the current TANF spell.
*/**/*** Estimated effect of specified liability on being sanctioned is statistically significant at the .10/.05/.01 level.
n.a. = Data are not available.

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