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Program Basics - Welfare to Work Vouchers

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Welfare Time Limits

The 1996 welfare law states that TANF recipients have a five-year time limit for receiving welfare benefits. Many TANF recipients are now facing this restriction. The articles below discuss the effects of this time limit on today's welfare recipients and how some localities are responding:

Comparison of Time-Limited and Non-Time-Limited Welfare Recipients in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
This study reveals that people who are forced to leave the welfare roles because of time limits are doing worse than those who left for other reasons, implying that time limits may not be the most effective way to end welfare dependency. The study documents the differences in employment, health care, housing, and other elements between the two recipient groups. View the full report or executive summary for more information about this study's findings.

Welfare Time Limits - States Making Exceptions
Today's uncertain economy has led to increasing unemployment, forcing states to rethink their policy on the welfare law's five-year limit. Consequently, as TANF recipients approach the deadline, states are exempting some recipients from these restrictions. To find out more about these exceptions, view the New York Times article on how "Recession is Stretching the Limit on Welfare Benefits." (Note: you need to sign in to view the article, but registering to the NYT Web site is free.)

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