A new study shows that while Connecticut has cut its caseload by half in its welfare to work program, there has been an increase in the number of working poor.
The state program, which was initiated in 1996 and includes a 21-month time limit on welfare benefits, made “substantial progress” in replacing welfare with work, modestly increased family income, and generated some small improvements in the behavior of participants’ young children.
But according to the study, welfare reform has created a larger pool of working poor, as a high number of recipients are entering low-wage jobs paying less than $8 an hour.
The study was conducted by Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.
The study tracked nearly 5,000 single-parent welfare applicants and recipients over a four-year period, focusing on the New Haven and Manchester welfare offices. Those two sites serve more than one-quarter of the state’s caseload.