Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Department of Labor

Implementation of Welfare Reform in New York State: A Status Report

As a result of legislative changes, the public assistance programs commonly known as welfare are no longer entitlement programs. Public assistance recipients must now seek employment or engage in activities that can lead to employment such as formal education or job training. The public assistance programs in New York are administered by the counties under the supervision of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and the Department of Labor (DOL). We reviewed the actions taken in New York State, outside New York City, to implement this new approach to public assistance programs as well as the actions planned to evaluate the effectiveness of the new approach.

We conclude that, while the counties, OTDA, DOL and a number of other State agencies have been active in implementing various aspects of the new public assistance programs, additional programs may be needed for public assistance recipients with significant barriers to employment, and additional post-employment services may be needed to help individuals either stay employed or get better jobs. We also identify a need for better transportation services and better child care services, and note that the effectiveness of welfare-to- work programs cannot be adequately evaluated unless systems are established for tracking public assistance recipients after they become employed or after they exhaust their eligibility for public assistance funds. We further note that, since the amount of federal public assistance funding is fixed at a certain level through 2002, additional demands could be made on State public assistance funds if the welfare-to-work programs are not effective.

For a complete copy of Report 97-D-19 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.