Unemployment Insurance and Low-Skilled Single Working Mothers after Welfare Reform

Publication Date


Grant Type

Policy Research Grant


This study will examine changing levels of eligibility and receipt of unemployment insurance (UI) experienced by low-skilled single working mothers as a whole, and welfare leavers in particular, during the two decades surrounding the 1996 welfare reform. Specifically, it examines the extent to which low-skilled single working mothers – especially welfare leavers – have transitioned away from utilizing cash welfare assistance to accessing UI upon entering a spell of unemployment. The study uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), examining how UI eligibility and utilization has changed over time for those who experience an employment separation. It further investigates whether changes in UI utilization are part of a larger labor market changes or are a result of changes in cash welfare assistance that particularly affect this population. This study will provide useful information about the extent to which this population has transitioned away from relying on public assistance benefits to utilizing work-related social insurance programs. By identifying key barriers to accessing UI for this population, this research will help shape both state and federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and UI policy in the future.