WRP Incentives Only provided financial incentives to work and supportive services for single parents and for two-parent families with a disabled or unemployed parent receiving cash assistance. The goal of WRP Incentives Only was to encourage employment and reduce reliance on welfare.
WRP Incentives Only was one of the demonstration projects made possible by Section 1115 waivers to the rules in effect at the time for the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. These Section 1115 waivers allowed states to test new approaches to advance the objectives of the AFDC program.
WRP Incentives Only provided financial incentives to encourage and reward work. First, WRP changed several welfare rules seen as discouraging work, including allowing participants to earn more, own a more valuable car, and accumulate more savings without losing eligibility for assistance. Specifically, the first $150 earned and 25 percent of earnings thereafter were disregarded, and vehicles of any value were not counted among assets. All WRP participants were subject to these rule changes upon entry into the program. Next, families who transitioned from welfare to work were eligible for expanded supports, including Medicaid coverage for up to three years and transitional child care assistance for as long as a family’s income did not exceed 80 percent of the state median. AFDC applicants and current recipients were eligible for WRP Incentives Only. WRP Incentives Only did not place a time limit on receipt of cash assistance for participants. The program was implemented in six regions in Vermont. The evaluation of the WRP Incentives Only also tested the effectiveness of a variation of the WRP that combined work incentives with a work requirement, and it evaluated the effectiveness of WRP Incentives Only compared with the variation of WRP that included a work requirement.