Alternative Welfare Payment Schedules
The federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program requires recipients to participate in employment-related activities as a condition of receiving cash benefits. However, there is little information about whether current program policies are effective in enabling employment. Prior research suggests that providing cash assistance at certain times of the month can reduce recipients' distress and improve their decision-making in general.
This process-improvement study compares the current monthly cash-benefit disbursement with alternative weekly disbursements. Frequent payments may help enrollees overcome barriers to securing employment, allowing them to purchase appropriate clothing or covering the cost of transportation to interviews. Analyses will address whether more-frequent payments are associated with rates of program enrollment, retention, and employment.