For presentation at the 2010 Fall Research Conference of the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, November 4-6, 2010, Boston, Massachusetts.
This paper is released to inform interested parties of research and to encourage discussion. The views expressed or technical issues are those of the author and not necessarily those of the U.S. Census Bureau.
This paper examines the behaviors of welfare recipients as they pertain to meeting the fundamental goal of Welfare Reform – to provide financial assistance to needy families with children and end welfare dependence by promoting self-sufficiency – in the years leading up the 2010 TANF reauthorization using data from the 2004 and 2008 Panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Moreover, this study is able to assess the impact of the recent economic recession on welfare utilization and behavior. Results from this paper show an increase in utilization of the TANF program for families with children, especially among married couple families between 2006 and 2009. There was no increase in employment or earnings among TANF recipients between 2006 and 2009; however, there were increases in the percentage of TANF adults looking for work and participating in training and education programs. There was little increase in the percentage of TANF families utilizing housing-related, food-related, health-related, and other assistance programs between 2006 and 2009, but there were gains for all families with children. Finally, results show that a primary reason for a reduction or cut in benefits was because income was too high.