By Emily Schmitt, Social Scientist Research Analyst, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
What are the experiences of low-income single mothers who neither receive TANF cash assistance nor work?
A recent study interviewed 51 disconnected single mothers from Southeast Michigan and Los Angeles, Ca., and learned that – despite differences in reasons for disconnection related to age, location and immigration status – experiences of hardship were quite common.
For these women, disconnection from TANF was the result of:
Disconnection from employment was the result of:
These mothers shared similarities in economic coping strategies, with eligible women using WIC, SNAP and Medicaid, working “side jobs” to earn extra money, doubling-up and living in subsidized housing, and receiving financial and other support from male partners, family and friends. Despite this assistance, experiences of material hardship were quite common.
This study lays the foundation for further inquiry, to increase understanding of the dynamics, characteristics and circumstances of the disconnected, representing an investment in the next stage of research.