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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