Sources and Verification

For 1996, the WRD is coded using

  • Caseworker manuals, when available
  • AFDC State Plans submitted by states to the federal government
  • Waiver terms and conditions
  • State telephone calls clarifying waivers' implementation dates

For 1997 and forward, the WRD is coded using

  • Caseworker manuals with policy updates and/or
  • TANF regulations

The information in the WRD represents our best understanding of the source documents. In some cases, the source documents did not seem to contain the information required for a particular WRD variable. If the missing information was critical for Urban Institute uses of the database, it was obtained by contacting the state or territory. Otherwise, the variable is coded as “Not in manual.” In older years, missing information may be coded with a question mark (?).

A key part of the development of the WRD data is the annual verification process. Each year, the Databook tables are submitted to program administrators to review the data. Administrators are asked to identify incorrect information and to indicate where project staff can locate missing information that was not initially identified in the policy materials used for coding. This process was performed each year since the first Databook, which described policy variations in 1999. Portions of the 1996–98 data in the WRD have been verified against selected secondary sources but have not been fully reviewed by state TANF staff. For additional information on the verification status of states (beginning in 1999) and territories (beginning in 2022), please see the State and Territory Verification Status workbook.

If you believe information in the WRD is incorrect or if you have information that could fill in a missing variable, please contact us. We look forward to your input so that the WRD can be as complete and accurate as possible.