Phoenix New Times Cites Butler’s TANF Study

A 2013 study by Sandra Butler, a University of Maine social work professor, was cited in the Phoenix New Times article, “Will kicking 1,600 off welfare inspire Arizona’s poor to get jobs?” Butler’s study, “TANF Time Limits and Maine Families: Consequences of Withdrawing the Safety Net,” found that Maine’s 60-month lifetime limit for welfare recipients that was imposed in 2012 did not lead to a statistically significant increase in wages or hours of employment, the article states. According to her study, a majority of welfare recipients already had some type of job when their assistance expired, but were living below the poverty line because they made an average wage of $9 per hour. Those who were not working, she found, faced barriers to employment, such as chronic illness, mental health issues or substance abuse, and more than 40 percent did not have a high school diploma, the article states. When the families were cut off, nearly 70 percent were forced to depend on food banks, Butler reported.