After the revolution: Welfare patterns since TANF implementation

Maria Cancian, Daniel R. Meyer, Chi-Fang Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Welfare programs changed dramatically in 1996. Caseloads dropped by more than 9 million recipients over an eight-year period, and millions entered the labor market in the wake of these changes. Since the start of the "welfare revolution," research has emerged to document the new ways former welfare recipients are using federal entitlement programs as they navigate and negotiate the "post-AFDC" era. In this article, the authors examine patterns of participation in TANF, the Food Stamp program, and Medicaid in Wisconsin.Very distinct patterns of participation emerged among the three programs: a single short period of receipt was common for TANF, cycling was typical for food stamps, and a long spell was the standard for Medicaid. The authors also explored multiple program participation over a three-year period. Analysis revealed interactions and transitions not normally considered in this line of research. One key finding was the high number of transitions on and off benefits during these three years when the three programs were considered simultaneously. Policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-214
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Work Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Poverty
  • Single mothers
  • Social policy
  • TANF
  • Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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