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BC - What Happened to Welfare Applicants Who Dropped from Radar?
Government failed to track those who stopped applying, then didn't file tax returns.
By Andrew MacLeod
February 3, 2011
Many people who started applying for welfare in British Columbia but didn't finish the application process made more money than they would have had they received assistance, a British Columbia government study said. [See the link to the study below). But the study only included people who filed income tax returns for three years in a row, leading one welfare observer to conclude the government still knows little about how changes to the system in 2002 affected the most vulnerable. At that time the government introduced, among other changes, a three-week delay in the process where applicants were expected to look for work.
In a March 2009, report called "Last Resort," (PDF - 2.2MB, 132 pages), the B.C. Ombudsperson's Office said the ministry had agreed to find out whether people who discontinue their application process move on to employment or educational programs within two months, and to report their findings publicly. While the government's outcomes report obtained by The Tyee confirms many people fail to complete the application process, it adds little to what's known about what happens to those people. "After the  change in the application process, 58 per cent of applicants that were not exempted from the three-week work search requirement did not return for the second stage of the application process," the report said.
of those Leaving Assistance (PDF file - 64K, 6 pages)
February 2007 (posted on the Ministry website October/07)
"Since the introduction of British Columbia Employment and Assistance (BCEA) in April 2002, the employable income assistance (IA) caseload has declined by 53,850 cases or 70 percent. What makes this decline even more significant is that it followed a 47 percent decline in the employable caseload over the preceding six years, following the introduction of BC Benefits in January 1996."
Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance
Assistance Use: Trends in incidence, entry and exit rates
by R. Sceviour and R. Finnie
"This paper explores the dynamics of Social Assistance use over this period [1995-2000] to calculate annual incidence and entry and exit rates at both the national and provincial level, broken down by family type. These breakdowns, available for the first time ever, are revealing as policy varied by province and family type and not all provinces shared equally in the recession or the expansion that followed it. The paper does not attempt to apportion the movements in SA participation rates between those related to the economy and changes in the administration of welfare. The focus is on the empirical record of SA entry, exit, and annual participation rates.
Feature Articles [NOTE: check out dozens of links to past feature articles here!]
Canadian Economic Observer
[ Statistics Canada ]
November 17, 2004
Social Assistance by Province, 1993-2003
Feature Article in the November 2004 issue of The Canadian Economic Observer
"Social assistance rates fell in every province between 1993 and 2003, but nowhere was the decline more dramatic than in Alberta and Ontario, according to a new report."
Earlier studies on welfare leavers:
after welfare : 1994
"Family incomes rose for the majority of people who stopped receiving welfare benefits during the 1990s. However, for about one out of every three individuals, family income declined significantly, according to a first-ever national study of the economic outcome for people who left welfare rolls."
The link above takes you to a summary of the report.
Life After Welfare: The Economic Well Being
of Welfare Leavers in Canada during the 1990s (PDF file - 332K, 32 pages)
[ Statistics Canada ]
Welfare - Contrasting Studies (British Columbia)
"Statistics Canada has released a study on people who leave welfare that contrasts with the story spun by BC's Minister of Human Resources, Murray Coell. "Life After Welfare: The Economic Well Being of Welfare Leavers in Canada during the 1990s" by Marc Frenette and Garnett Picot provides some fascinating contrasts with Coell's characterization of the 90s and
with what are passing as welfare exit surveys in his ministry."
Source : Strategic Thoughts
Leavers in Colorado (PDF - 726K 87 pages)
Prepared by Sam Elkin et al
For the Colorado Department of Human Services
July 31, 2009
Selected key findings
The good news:
Only about one in ten individuals who stopped receiving cash assistance through Colorado Works returned to welfare.
The bad news:
Fifty-nine percent of leavers were receiving food stamps; about one-third were receiving some form of housing assistance; almost half of childless leavers had no public health insurance coverage (although 3/4 of parents had coverage for their kids)
Colorado Department of Human Services
The Lewin Group
The Lewin Group is an Ingenix company. Ingenix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Health Group, was founded in 1996 to develop, acquire and integrate the world's best-in-class health care information technology capabilities. The Lewin Group operates with editorial independence and provides its clients with the very best expert and impartial health care and human services policy research and consulting services.
Also from The Lewin Group:
Time Limits: An Update on
State Policies, Implementation, and Effects on Families (PDF - 1.3MB, 231 pages)
Prepared by Mary Farrell et al
For the U.S. Govt. Administration for Children and Families
One of the most controversial features of the 1990s welfare reforms was the imposition of time limits on benefit receipt. The law prohibits states from using federal TANF funds to assist most families for more than 60 months. Under contract to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Lewin and MDRC conducted a comprehensive review of what has been learned about time limits. The review, which updates a 2002 study, includes analysis of administrative data reported by states to ACF, visits to several states, and a literature review. Key findings include the following: time-limit policies vary dramatically from state to state; nationally, at least a quarter million TANF cases have been closed due to reaching a time limit since 1996, although about one-third of these closures have occurred in New York, which continues to provide assistance through a state and locally funded program; and many of the families whose TANF cases were closed due to time limits are struggling financially and report being worse off than they were while on welfare.
Administration for Children and Families
[ U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services ]
Reports on Welfare Leavers and Diversion in the U.S. (up to early
- over 100 links to Cross-State Summaries and National Reports as well as state and county reports.
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
[U.S. Department of Health and Human Services]
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