Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 11-173




Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), a nationally representative, longitudinal survey, this study examines changing levels of Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligibility and benefit receipt among working low-educated single mothers, 1990–2005. It also examines changing participation in cash welfare and the Food Stamp Program (FSP). Relative to single childless women, there has been no increase in UI benefit receipt among single mothers entering a spell of unemployment in the postreform period, even though single mothers have increased their relative rates of UI eligibility. Because of declining cash assistance receipt, UI became a more common income support than cash assistance for this population during the period 2001–2005. Furthermore, the probability of accessing FSP for low-educated single mothers entering a spell of unemployment increased in the years 2001–2005. As a result, the proportion of this population accessing benefits from one or more of these programs remained virtually unchanged across the study period.

Issue Date

November 3, 2010


Upjohn Institute Grant No. 09-119

Subject Areas

UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY, and INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMS; Poverty and income support; Low wage labor markets; Unemployment insurance




Shaefer, H. Luke, and Liyun Wu. 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Low-Educated Single Working Mothers Before and After Welfare Reform." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 11-173. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.