The Relationship between State Welfare Rules and Economic Disconnection among Low-Income Single Mothersedit
The proportion of low-income single mothers who are disconnected, or not receiving public cash assistance or employment earnings, has increased since the 1996 US welfare reform legislation. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Welfare Rules Database, we use multilevel and multinomial logit models to examine the relationship between state welfare rules and the risk of disconnection. We find that women in states with lifetime limits of less than 60 months are more likely to be disconnected. More generous welfare benefits are associated with a lesser risk of disconnection, while diversion programs are associated with a greater risk of disconnection compared to welfare receipt but are not significant in comparison to employment. Our findings indicate that state rules matter and should be considered as a potential mechanism to change the dynamics of economic disconnection.