Some former welfare recipients have failed to find stable employment and may spend prolonged periods without work and cash welfare. These women are more likely to have used illegal drugs or meet the diagnostic screening criteria for alcohol dependence.
Turner, Danziger, and Seefeldt (2006) used data from the 1997 - 2003 Womens Employment Study (WES) to examine the "chronically disconnected" defined as former welfare mothers who did not have employment and cash welfare during at least one-quarter of the months during the 79-month period (Turner et al., 2006). About 9 percent of 503 WES respondents fit the definition of "chronically disconnected." Having used illegal drugs or having met the diagnostic screening criteria for alcohol dependence were significant correlates of disconnected status.