Ensuring the stability of welfare-to-work exits: The importance of recipient knowledge about work incentives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Welfare reform policies assume that recipients will increase work efforts if they are offered improved income and support services incentives. Yet, based on personal interviews with 60 welfare recipients, this study found that recipients often do not understand the incentives provided. This results both from a lack of knowledge about existing incentives and from confusion about eligibility rules and benefit calculations. Such knowledge deficits do not appear to be the result of lack of interest in working, but rather stem from the complexity of incentives. To improve recipient responsiveness and well-being, work incentives need to be simplified and strategies developed for better dissemination of information to recipients. Caseworkers must play a vital role in such efforts, because they often are the key to ensuring that recipients gain access to available benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalSocial work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2002



  • Case management
  • Employment and training
  • Poverty
  • Service access
  • Welfare reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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