Before and After Reform

Brief

Before and After Reform

How Have Families on Welfare Changed?

Abstract

Contrary to expectations, adults on welfare in 1999 were not more disadvantaged than those on welfare in 1997. In both 1997 and 1999, about one-quarter of adults receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) were new entrants, nearly one-fifth received cash assistance intermittently during the previous two years (cyclers), and almost half were long term recipients. New recipients had fewer disadvantages than long-term recipients in 1999, while cyclers generally faced as many disadvantages as long-term recipients. The authors conclude that states will face tough policy choices as time limits loom and work policies evolve.

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