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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Bitler, Marianne; Hoynes, Hilary
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Beginning with the 1996 federal welfare reform law many of the central safety net programs in the U.S. eliminated eligibility for legal immigrants, who had been previously eligible on the same terms as citizens. These dramatic cutbacks affected eligibility not only for cash welfare assistance for families with children, but also for food stamps, Medicaid, SCHIP, and SSI. In this paper, we comprehensively examine the status of the U.S. safety net for immigrants and their family members. We document the policy changes that affected immigrant eligibility for these programs and use the CPS for 1995-2010 to analyze trends in program participation, income, and poverty among immigrants (and natives). We pay particular attention to the recent period and examine how immigrants and their children are faring in the “Great Recession” with an eye toward revealing how these policy changes have affected the success of the safety net in protecting this population. (author abstract)

    Beginning with the 1996 federal welfare reform law many of the central safety net programs in the U.S. eliminated eligibility for legal immigrants, who had been previously eligible on the same terms as citizens. These dramatic cutbacks affected eligibility not only for cash welfare assistance for families with children, but also for food stamps, Medicaid, SCHIP, and SSI. In this paper, we comprehensively examine the status of the U.S. safety net for immigrants and their family members. We document the policy changes that affected immigrant eligibility for these programs and use the CPS for 1995-2010 to analyze trends in program participation, income, and poverty among immigrants (and natives). We pay particular attention to the recent period and examine how immigrants and their children are faring in the “Great Recession” with an eye toward revealing how these policy changes have affected the success of the safety net in protecting this population. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Moffitt, Robert A.; Reville, Robert T.; Winkler, Anne E.; Burstain, Jane McClure
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This paper reports the results of a survey of state TANF rules regarding the treatment of unrelated cohabitors in households containing TANF units. The research focused primarily on identifying differences in how the eligibility of a family is treated depending on the household adult(s) relationship to the children, and, to the extent it matters, marital status. In TANF rules, as was the case in AFDC, the key distinction between types of families is not made on the basis of marriage, but on whether the adults are (or are not) the natural or adoptive parents of the child. In addition, the research focused particularly on rules governing unrelated cohabitors, which are less well understood. For example, the researchers also investigated how financial contributions from unrelated cohabitors are treated. Finally, researchers also investigated how work rules vary across types of families. (author abstract)

    This paper reports the results of a survey of state TANF rules regarding the treatment of unrelated cohabitors in households containing TANF units. The research focused primarily on identifying differences in how the eligibility of a family is treated depending on the household adult(s) relationship to the children, and, to the extent it matters, marital status. In TANF rules, as was the case in AFDC, the key distinction between types of families is not made on the basis of marriage, but on whether the adults are (or are not) the natural or adoptive parents of the child. In addition, the research focused particularly on rules governing unrelated cohabitors, which are less well understood. For example, the researchers also investigated how financial contributions from unrelated cohabitors are treated. Finally, researchers also investigated how work rules vary across types of families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: McDaniel, Marla; Woods, Tyler; Pratt, Eleanor; Simms, Margaret C.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    When there is evidence of racial and ethnic differences at any point in the service delivery spectrum—for example, in access to and take-up of human services, in the nature and quality of services received, or in the outcomes of services—it can be challenging to interpret what those differences mean. In particular, it can be challenging to understand whether and to what extent those differences represent disparities. Disparities mean that one group is systematically faring worse than another for reasons that are not due to the group’s needs, eligibility, or preferences.

    This report helps the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) build the base of knowledge necessary to reliably identify and interpret racial and ethnic differences in relation to ACF’s human services programs. Better understanding these differences and being able to distinguish when those differences indicate disparities can help improve ACF’s program delivery. To further ACF’s understanding, this report synthesizes the existing research on racial and ethnic differences and disparities in relation...

    When there is evidence of racial and ethnic differences at any point in the service delivery spectrum—for example, in access to and take-up of human services, in the nature and quality of services received, or in the outcomes of services—it can be challenging to interpret what those differences mean. In particular, it can be challenging to understand whether and to what extent those differences represent disparities. Disparities mean that one group is systematically faring worse than another for reasons that are not due to the group’s needs, eligibility, or preferences.

    This report helps the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) build the base of knowledge necessary to reliably identify and interpret racial and ethnic differences in relation to ACF’s human services programs. Better understanding these differences and being able to distinguish when those differences indicate disparities can help improve ACF’s program delivery. To further ACF’s understanding, this report synthesizes the existing research on racial and ethnic differences and disparities in relation to the service delivery systems of six programs, or program areas, administered by ACF:

    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    • Child Support Enforcement Program
    • Child Care and Development Fund
    • Head Start
    • Family and Youth Services Bureau programs for runaway and homeless youth and adolescent pregnancy prevention

    To facilitate this synthesis, the report provides a clear definition of disparities. It also develops a conceptual framework for identifying racial and ethnic differences throughout the service delivery system and for distinguishing racial and ethnic differences from disparities. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Brown-Robertson, LaTanya; Otabor, Charlotte
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    California’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, known as California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), offers cash assistance and services to disadvantaged families in the state of California. Under the CalWORKs asset test guidelines, eligible recipients may have no more than $2,000 in cash, bank accounts, and other financial resources ($3,000 if 60 years or older), and a motor vehicle with an equity value of no more than $4,650 ($9,500 as of January 2014). CalWORKs asset tests:

    • create a disincentive to save (Chen and Lerman, 2005; Covington and Edwards, 2013; Sprague and Black, 2012);

    • incentivize some public assistance households to pursue alternative financial institutions which, in turn, exacerbates an already strained financial state (Covington and Edwards, 2013); and

    • create an inefficient allocation of government administrative funds, because few applicants own assets of any magnitude (Parrish, 2005).

    States that have eliminated asset limits report that the administrative cost savings outweigh any...

    California’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, known as California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), offers cash assistance and services to disadvantaged families in the state of California. Under the CalWORKs asset test guidelines, eligible recipients may have no more than $2,000 in cash, bank accounts, and other financial resources ($3,000 if 60 years or older), and a motor vehicle with an equity value of no more than $4,650 ($9,500 as of January 2014). CalWORKs asset tests:

    • create a disincentive to save (Chen and Lerman, 2005; Covington and Edwards, 2013; Sprague and Black, 2012);

    • incentivize some public assistance households to pursue alternative financial institutions which, in turn, exacerbates an already strained financial state (Covington and Edwards, 2013); and

    • create an inefficient allocation of government administrative funds, because few applicants own assets of any magnitude (Parrish, 2005).

    States that have eliminated asset limits report that the administrative cost savings outweigh any real or potential increases in caseload (Sprague and Black, 2012; Hawaii Department of Health and Human Services, 2013; CFED, 2012). In addition, the liberalization of asset testing policies has been found to foster positive longer term impacts on its target population’s accumulation of financial assets (Nam, 2008).

    This study assesses the quantitative and qualitative cost effectiveness of the asset test component of the CalWORKs program. Specifically, it quantifies the overall administrative cost that the State of California incurs due to asset test regulations; estimates the cost savings potential resulting from elimination of the CalWORKs asset test requirements; and presents qualitative findings of the asset testing intake and oversight processes. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Rosen, Laurence S.
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2013

    This presentation describes the online service Michigan Benefits Access (MBA), an online application system for all DHS benefit programs and Medicaid; individuals can also check their status and update their client information online. MBA was piloted in three main sites: community partners, community college, and a prison project. The presentation includes lessons learned and sustainability plans.

    This presentation was given at the 2013 National Association of Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) Annual Workshop.

    This presentation describes the online service Michigan Benefits Access (MBA), an online application system for all DHS benefit programs and Medicaid; individuals can also check their status and update their client information online. MBA was piloted in three main sites: community partners, community college, and a prison project. The presentation includes lessons learned and sustainability plans.

    This presentation was given at the 2013 National Association of Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) Annual Workshop.

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