Life after Welfare Annual Update
It has been 20 years since the U.S. Congress passed welfare reform, and throughout these two decades, Maryland has provided cash assistance to families whose incomes do not meet their basic needs. In this way, the Temporary Cash Assistance program (TCA, Maryland’s welfare program) provides a valuable service to vulnerable families. For most families, however, this is a short-term solution to the challenges of living in poverty. The annual report series, Life after Welfare, examines outcomes of families who left cash assistance. The series focuses on families’ characteristics, employment and earnings outcomes, and the receipt of other public benefits. The 2016 update includes a sample of 11,737 families who left the TCA program between January 2004 and March 2016. Trends were examined over time by separating these families’ case closures into three cohorts: (1) Mid-2000s Recovery—a declining caseload between January 2004 and March 2007; (2) Great Recession Era—an increasing caseload between April 2007 and December 2011; and (3) Great Recession Recovery—a declining caseload between January 2012 and March 2016.
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