June 26, 2002
Study: Most who leave welfare in New York report that they are better off
Nearly three of four people surveyed after leaving New York's welfare rolls say they are better off than they were while receiving benefits, a study released this month shows.
The Rockefeller Institute of Government, a think tank affiliated with the State University of New York, sampled 1,409 families that left the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in March and April of 1999. Researchers interviewed more than half of the surveyed individuals.
Among other things, the study showed that:
- More than seven in 10 respondents (71.3 percent) said they are better off. They cited increased income, self-reliance, and self-esteem as key reasons.
- Nearly eight of 10 respondents (79 percent) reported that they did not return to assistance during the 18-24 month follow-up period.
- Six of 10 respondents (61 percent) reported employment as the main reason for leaving welfare.
- Nearly three-quarters (73.8 percent) of respondents working when they were interviewed were working at least 35 hours per week.
- Approximately two thirds of jobs came with paid holidays, paid vacation, and health insurance.
- Just under half of affected households (48.2 percent) were above the poverty level. The study noted that these income estimates probably understated total resources available to households because they do not account for the value of other public benefits, such as subsidies for housing or child care, and the earned income tax credit.