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Life After Welfare in Kansas


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Robert VerBruggen

August 7, 2017


The Foundation for Government Accountability (whose staff contribute to NRO on occasion) has an interesting new report on what happened to the families Kansas removed from the welfare rolls via stronger work requirements. Able-bodied-adult enrollment in the state’s cash-welfare program plunged 78 percent between 2011 and this year, compared with just 14 percent nationally.

The FGA was given detailed data on 6,090 families including more than 17,000 individuals. In the first year after being booted off welfare, the group’s wages more than doubled. For the families with a full four years of data (about 1,000), wages had tripled by the end of the period. Overall income, including wages, cash welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), rose about 50 percent over four years.

These are valuable data, and it’s worth digging into them and thinking through what we can and can’t conclude.

One key question is how many people failed to find work. The authors told me via e-mail that “about 80% had some record of employment after being removed from the program, but there was some fluctuation of people moving into and out of the labor force. About 65% were working in any given year after removal.”

Another question is just how well-off these families became.............(Snip)

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