The Use of TANF Work-Oriented Sanctions in Illinois, New Jersey, and South Carolina

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Apr 30, 2004
LaDonna Pavetti, Michelle K. Derr, Gretchen Kirby, Robert G. Wood, and Melissa A. Clark
The implementation of more stringent sanctions as part of welfare reform has been accompanied by interest in how sanctions are used and their outcomes. This report analyzes how TANF sanctions have been implemented in Illinois, New Jersey, and South Carolina, based on six key tasks: informing clients about work requirements and sanctions, defining program expectations and requirements, monitoring participation in work activities, deciding whether to impose a sanction, imposing a sanction, and reengaging sanctioned recipients in program activities. It also examines how often sanctions are used, how the characteristics of sanctioned families compare to those of non-sanctioned families and how common it is for families to comply with work requirements or find employment after a sanction has been imposed. The results suggest that there is considerable variation in how often sanctions are imposed. When sanctions are used routinely, program participation is probably higher than it would be without the use of sanctions.