Maryland tracks early outcomes for cash assistance leavers in the recession

Nov 04, 2009

While many states studied what happened to families leaving cash assistance during the early years of welfare reform, much less is known about how such families are faring now, in the face of the recession.  Maryland is one of the only states that has continued to track outcomes for welfare leavers, and researchers at the University of Maryland recently issued a new update of their Life After Welfare series, which covers early outcomes for families who exited cash assistance between April 2008 and March 2009.

The researchers found that members of the most recent cohort of leavers were indeed less likely than previous cohorts to be employed -- but that their outcomes were perhaps not as bad as one might have feared.  For the most recent cohort, 45.3 percent were employed during the first quarter after exit, and 41.3 percent during the second quarter after exit, compared to 52.2 percent and 51.1 percent for the entire sample of leavers going back to 1996.

The study also found that 26.2 percent of recent leavers had their cases closed due to income above the eligibility limit, but that 28.3 percent had their cases closed to a work sanction.  This is much higher than for earlier leavers, where only 14.7 percent of cases were closed due to sanction.


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