This article examines the impact of the 1996 welfare‐to‐work law on women’s work and welfare outcomes. I investigate four welfare and work outcomes: (1) off welfare and employed; (2) off welfare and unemployed; (3) on welfare and employed; and (4) on welfare and unemployed. I compare how women on welfare move into these different categories from 1990 to 2000, with specific interest in examining what happened to the number of women in these categories after 1996, which is the bench mark year to examine the impact of the 1996 welfare‐to‐work law. In this article I will investigate four questions: (1) are long‐term welfare users permanently leaving welfare?; (2) is there a group of welfare users that permanently left welfare before the 1996 welfare‐to‐work law? (3) is there a hard‐to‐serve welfare population?; and (4) are those women that leave welfare finding employment. I draw four conclusions from my analyses. My first conclusion is that a new group of welfare users emerged after 1996 that is different than the conventional three groups (e.g., long‐term users, short‐term users, and recidivists). I call this new group PRWORA leavers, which are long‐term welfare users that have permanently left the welfare rolls after 1996. My second conclusion is that a group of welfare users permanently left the welfare rolls before 1996. Thus, many women were already leaving welfare and finding work be fore the law was passed. My third conclusion is that there remains a consistent hard‐to‐serve population on welfare. However, this group of welfare users is small. My fourth conclusion is that work participation has significant in creased from 1996 to 2000 for long‐term welfare users.
Equal Opportunities International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 2004
Keywords: Welfare; Work; Race
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