Incidence and Failure to Appear at Scheduled In-Person Interviews

North Dakota is interested in learning if there are any studies showing success in reducing the incidence of TANF and/or public assistance applicants who fail to appear at their scheduled in-person interviews.
Record Type: 
Question / Response(s)
January 2020
Cass County Social Services
North Dakota
North Dakota
  • Special Populations
  • TANF Program Administration
    • Case Management


29 Jan, 2020

In Los Angeles, some TANF recipients with young children had been exempt from participating in the welfare-to-work program, but lost this exemption in 2013 when state policy changed. MDRC conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with Los Angeles County to increase the number of TANF recipients who reengaged in the county’s welfare-to-work program--many of who had to attend an in-person meeting. They tested sending additional behaviorally-informed materials to participants one week before their reengagement appointment. The team designed two different notices that employed behavioral techniques; one highlighted the losses participants might experience by not attending the appointment, and the other highlighted the benefits they might gain by attending. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) a program group that received the gain-framed notice, (2) a program group that received the loss-framed notice, or (3) a control group, which did not receive additional materials. The test found that receiving an additional behavioral message increased the percentage of program group members who engaged in the program within 30 days of their scheduled appointment by a statistically significant 3.6 percentage points. This increase was largely driven by the loss notice, which increased engagement at 30 days by 4.4 percentage points, while the gain notice, when compared with the control condition, did not produce a statistically significant impact at 30 days. No impacts were found for either group after 60 and 90 days. The behavioral outreach did not significantly reduce the percentage of participants sanctioned by the program for nonparticipation after 60 and 90 days.

More about the project and sample materials can be found here:


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