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Publications by Sheila R. Zedlewski on Poverty and Safety Net

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National and State-Level Estimates of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Eligibles and Program Reach, 2010 (Research Report)
Michael Martinez-Schiferl, Sheila R. Zedlewski, Linda Giannarelli

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services. WIC eligibility is restricted to infants, children age 1 through 4, and pregnant and postpartum women with low incomes. This project uses 2010 Census data to estimate WIC eligibility for the nation, states, the District of Columbia, and territories. In 2010, 14.6 million individuals were eligible for WIC benefits in an average month, including 63.8 percent of all infants born. The share of individuals eligible for benefits that participates in WIC ranges widely across the states.

Posted to Web: February 26, 2013Publication Date: February 26, 2013

TANF at 16: What Do We Know? (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Sheila R. Zedlewski, Thomas Callan, Gregory Acs

This week marks the 16th anniversary of the landmark welfare reform legislation that created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and terminated the Aid to Dependent Families with Children (AFDC) program, which had provided an entitlement to cash assistance for over 60 years. This fact sheet summarizes what we have learned about the TANF program over the past 16 years.

Posted to Web: August 22, 2012Publication Date: August 22, 2012

SNAP's Role in the Great Recession and Beyond (Research Report)
Sheila R. Zedlewski, Additional Authors

During the Great Recession, millions of Americans turned to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, to help pay for food. This brief summarizes a roundtable discussion among experts, advocates and government officials focused on SNAP’s role during the recession and beyond, including its impact on poverty, food insecurity and health. Experts concluded that SNAP does more than combat hunger – it is an antipoverty program, a work support, a promoter of health and nutrition, and an automatic stabilizer in recessions.

Posted to Web: July 12, 2012Publication Date: July 11, 2012

What Happens to Families' Income and Poverty after Unemployment? (Series/Perspectives on Low-Income Working Families)
Sheila R. Zedlewski, Austin Nichols

This study examines family incomes after job loss. We find that 45 percent of parents that experienced unemployment lasting at least two months remained unemployed for more than 6 months. Despite the fact that many of these families qualified for safety net benefits, their poverty rate increased from 12 to 35 percent. In contrast, families with parents experiencing unemployment for shorter periods did not experience big jumps in poverty. The results highlight the critical role of policies that spur quick reemployment in maintaining family economic well-being.

Posted to Web: May 31, 2012Publication Date: May 31, 2012

Welfare Reform What Have We Learned in Fifteen Years? (Series/Perspectives on Low-Income Working Families)
Sheila R. Zedlewski

Welfare has changed dramatically since Temporary Assistance for Needy Families replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children in 1996. TANF can be characterized by shrinking real benefits, strategies that divert families from enrolling, and sanctions that penalize families. Data show high rates of employment barriers among adults on TANF, and a large share of TANF cases provide benefits only for the children. While evidence is scarce on strategies that move families to self-sufficiency. TANF can draw lessons from 15 years of research to improve program design.

Posted to Web: May 14, 2012Publication Date: May 14, 2012

TANF Work Requirements and State Strategies to Fulfill Them (Research Brief)
Heather Hahn, David Kassabian, Sheila R. Zedlewski

A central component of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is its emphasis on work. Adult TANF recipients, with some exceptions, must participate in work activities as a condition of receiving cash benefits. This brief focuses on the federal work requirements and state strategies for meeting them, especially since passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the recession that began in December 2007 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The brief documents the multiple strategies that states use to meet the participation rate requirements.

Posted to Web: May 14, 2012Publication Date: May 14, 2012

TANF Recipients with Barriers to Employment (Research Brief)
Dan Bloom, Pamela J. Loprest, Sheila R. Zedlewski

Most TANF recipients have at least one barrier to work, and many have multiple barriers. The likelihood of work declines as the number of barriers increases. This brief summarizes the strategies that states use to help TANF recipients with barriers to employment. It reviews the limited research evidence on the short- and long-term effects of employment-focused and treatment-focused interventions. It draws implications for policy, including recommendations for more effective screening and assessment, faster resolution of applications for disability benefits and the need for case management and broad support services.

Posted to Web: May 14, 2012Publication Date: May 14, 2012

TANF and the Broader Safety Net (Research Brief)
Sheila R. Zedlewski

TANF potentially serves as a portal for a wide array of programs that provide cash income support, in-kind nutrition and housing assistance, tax credits, and other services to families with low-incomes. This research brief summarizes what we know about the connections between TANF and other important safety net programs. It reviews the size and scope of the various programs, the receipt of other safety net benefits by TANF families, and the implications for policy and research.

Posted to Web: May 14, 2012Publication Date: May 14, 2012

National- and State-Level Estimates of WIC Eligibles and Program Reach, 2000-2009 (Research Report)
David Betson, Michael Martinez-Schiferl, Linda Giannarelli, Sheila R. Zedlewski

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services. WIC eligibility is restricted to infants, children age 1 through 4, and pregnant and postpartum women who are either income or adjunctively eligible. This project extends WIC national eligibility estimates to single years of age for children, produces estimates for each State and the District of Columbia, and updates methods for estimating eligibility in the territories. The project also implemented calculation of standard errors of estimate for national, regional, State, and Puerto Rico estimates.

Posted to Web: January 19, 2012Publication Date: December 31, 2011

The Averages Can Be Misleading: Older Americans and Poverty (Commentary)
Sheila R. Zedlewski

In this commentary for New York Times' Room for Debate, Institute fellow Sheila Zedlewski explains that many of the nation's 41 million seniors live in or very near poverty and many have assets mostly tied up in their houses. Policy makers must be ever mindful of that diversity when considering changes in policy that would affect retirement income security.

Posted to Web: November 15, 2011Publication Date: November 09, 2011

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