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Aid to Jobless Workers in Florida in the Face of the Great Recession: The Interaction of Unemployment Insurance and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program


  • Heflin, Colleen M.

    () (University of Missouri-Columbia)

  • Mueser, Peter R.

    () (University of Missouri-Columbia)


Although many programs redistribute resources in the U.S., two program were central in providing a safety net for those facing hardship during the Great Recession: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which grew to 47.7 million people in January 2013 – or 15.1 percent of all Americans – and the Unemployment Insurance Program (UI), which more than doubled with the onset of the recession, reaching a seasonally adjusted maximum of 6.5 million recipients in June 2009. We examine state administrative data from Florida for SNAP and UI from late 2005 through early 2010. We focus on two research questions: 1. In the face of caseload growth and compositional change in both programs, how has joint participation in UI among SNAP recipients changed? How much of the increase in joint participation is driven by changes in the characteristics of individuals participating in SNAP? How much is driven by the changing economic and policy conditions? 2. How has the role of UI changed for SNAP participants, and in particular how have patterns of combined usage evolved during this period? We find that the number of families relying on both SNAP and UI together ballooned with the Great Recession, and that the patterns changed as expected, with UI growing dramatically in relative importance. At the same time, only a minority of those swelling the ranks of SNAP obtained benefits from the UI program, suggesting that the current safety net has important limitations in times of serious economic distress.

Suggested Citation

  • Heflin, Colleen M. & Mueser, Peter R., 2013. "Aid to Jobless Workers in Florida in the Face of the Great Recession: The Interaction of Unemployment Insurance and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program," IZA Discussion Papers 7772, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7772

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Henry S. Farber & Robert G. Valletta, 2015. "Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Lengthen Unemployment Spells?: Evidence from Recent Cycles in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 873-909.
    2. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-912120140000039000 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    4. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    5. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2014. "The Dynamics of Social Assistance Benefit Receipt in Britain," Research in Labor Economics,in: Safety Nets and Benefit Dependence, volume 39, pages 41-79 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    6. Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences," Working Papers 0903, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    7. Peter R. Mueser & Marios Michaelides, 2010. "The Role of Industry and Occupation in U.S. Unemployment Differentials by Gender, Race and Ethnicity: Recent Trends," Working Papers 1010, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    8. Stephan Lindner & Austin Nichols, 2012. "The Impact of Temporary Assistance Programs on Disability Rolls and Re-Employment," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2012-2, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jan 2012.
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    More about this item


    Great Recession; social insurance; safety net; SNAP; Unemployment Insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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