Aid to Families with Dependent Children The Baseline

06/01/1998

Introduction

The term “welfare” has long been identified with the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.  While the AFDC program was an important component of the safety net for low-income families with children, there was a near universal consensus that the program contained serious flaws.  In August 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) was enacted.  This bill replaced the Federal statute that governed the AFDC program with a block grant that states can use to provide cash and services to low-income families with children, largely free of federal requirements on state program rules.  The purpose of this report is to provide information on the AFDC program as it existed under prior law.

This volume includes an historical overview of the program and statistical information on program characteristics, thus providing a snapshot of the AFDC program as it existed prior to enactment of PRWORA.

Contents

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Acknowledgements

Several people have been involved in collecting and organizing the information presented in this report.  Richard Silva inherited the project from Steve Bartolomei-Hill who did much of the early work before he left the Department to accept a position elsewhere.  Gil Crouse collected the information and created all the tables with the exception of those in Part 6.  Barrett Graf wrote Part 6 “Welfare Spell Dynamics.”  Mr. Silva supplied the text for Parts 1 through 5, designed the layout, prepared the manuscript for printing and coordinated its production.  The entire effort was under the leadership and direction of Patricia Ruggles, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy.

List of Tables and Figures

Exhibits for:  Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Appendix ]

Table Number Exhibit Page

Chapter 2 Trends in the AFDC Caseload Since 1962  
Table 2.1 Trends in Total AFDC Enrollments, 1962 – 1996 15
Table 2.2 Caseload Trends in the AFDC-Basic Program, 1962 – 1996 16
Table 2.3 Caseload Trends in the AFDC Unemployed Parent Program, 1962 – 1996 17
Figure 2.1 Monthly Number of AFDC Families Receiving Assistance 18
Figure 2.2 Monthly Number of Persons Receiving Assistance and Recipiency Rate 19
Figure 2.3 Distribution of AFDC Caseload by State in 1996 21
Table 2.4 Total AFDC Caseload by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 1996 22
Table 2.5 AFDC Basic Caseload by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 1996 24
Table 2.6 AFDC Unemployed Parent Caseload by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 1996 26
Table 2.7 AFDC Cases With No Adult Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1985 – 1996 29
Table 2.8 Total AFDC Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 1996 30
Table 2.9 AFDC Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 1996 32
Table 2.10 Total AFDC Child Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 1996 34
Table 2.11 AFDC Child Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 1996 36
Table 2.12 Distribution of Food Stamp Households with Children and with AFDC by State, 1995 38
Table 2.13 Distribution of AFDC Food Stamp Households, Recipients and Benefits by State, 1995 39
Figure 2.4 Peak AFDC Caseload by State, October 1989 – August 1996 41
Table 2.14 Peak AFDC Caseload by State, October 1989 to August 1996 42
Table 2.15 Peak Number of AFDC Recipients by State, October 1989 to August 1996 43

Chapter 3 Family and Household Characteristic  
Table 3.1 Average Number of AFDC Recipients per Case, 1962 – 1996 46
Table 3.2 Number of Members per AFDC Family by Proportion of Families, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 49
Figure 3.1 Size of AFDC Assistance Units, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 49
Table 3.3 Number of Adults per AFDC Family by Proportion of All Families, Selected Years 1967 – 1996 51
Figure 3.2 Average Number of Children per Family for Families with Related Children Under 18 by Living Arrangement, 1960 – 1996 52
Table 3.4 Number of Children per AFDC Family by Proportion of All Families, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 53
Table 3.5 Trends in Ages of AFDC Child Recipients, 1967 – 1996 54
Table 3.6 Trends in Age of Youngest Child in the AFDC Family, 1983 – 1996 55
Table 3.7 Trends in Ages of Adult Female Recipients, 1985 – 1996 56
Table 3.8 Distribution of AFDC Families by Race of Parent, 1983 – 1996 57
Table 3.9 Distribution of AFDC Children by Race, 1983 – 1996 58
Table 3.10 Citizenship Status of Adult AFDC Recipients, 1983 – 1996 59

Chapter 4 Federal and State Expenditures  
Table 4.1 Federal Medical Assistance Matching Percentages by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1984 – 1997 62
Table 4.2 Trends in Federal AFDC Expenditures, 1962 – 1996 64
Table 4.3 Total, Federal, and State AFDC Expenditures, 1970 – 1996 65
Table 4.4 Federal and State Net Benefit Expenditures Under the Single Parent and Unemployed Parent Programs in Current and Constant Dollars, 1970 – 1996 67
Table 4.5 Total AFDC Benefit Expenditures by State, Selected Years, 1978 – 1996 69
Table 4.6 Total AFDC Benefit Expenditures by State in Constant Dollars, Selected Years, 1978 – 1996 70

Chapter 5 Federal and State Expenditures  
Table 5.1 AFDC Need Standard for a Three-Person Family by State, Selected Years 72
Figure 5.1 Average Monthly AFDC Benefit by Family and Recipient in Current and Constant Dollars, 1970 – 1996 73
Table 5.2 Trends in Average Monthly AFDC Benefit Payments, 1962 – 1996 75
Table 5.3 AFDC-Basic Program Recipients and Amounts of Payments, Fiscal Year 1996 76
Table 5.4 AFDC Unemployment Parent Program Recipients and Amounts of Payments, Fiscal Year 1996 77
Table 5.5 AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Three-Person Family by State for Selected Dates 78
Table 5.6 AFDC Maximum Benefit in Constant 1996 Dollars for a Three-Person Family by State for Selected Dates 79
Table 5.7 Maximum AFDC Benefit by Family Size and by State, July 1996 80
Figure 5.2 AFDC Children and Related Children in Poverty, 1960 – 1996 81
Table 5.8 AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Two-Person Family as a Percentage of Poverty by State for Selected Dates 83
Table 5.9 AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Three-Person Family as a Percentage of Poverty by State for Selected Dates 84
Table 5.10 AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Four-Person Family as a Percentage of Poverty by State for Selected Dates 85
Table 5.11 Gross Income Limit, Need Standard, Maximum Monthly Benefits for a One-Parent Family of Three Persons by State, July 1996 87
Table 5.12 Income Levels at Which AFDC Eligibility Ends for a Family of Three 89
Table 5.13 Annual AFDC Benefit Levels by State for a Mother and Two Children with No Earnings, Selected Years, 1972 – 1996 91
Table 5.14 States Changing Monthly AFDC Benefit Levels, Selected Years, 1987 – 1996 92
Table 5.15 Number and Percent of AFDC Families Receiving Food Stamps, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 93
Table 5.16 Percentage Change in the Value of AFDC and Food Stamp Benefit Levels for a Mother and Two Children With No Earnings, Selected Years, 1972 – 1996 94
Table 5.17 Annual AFDC and Food Stamp Benefit Levels by State for a Mother and Two Children with No Earnings, Selected Years, 1972 – 1996 95
Table 5.18 Housing Arrangements of AFDC Families, By Type of Shelter, 1984 – 1996 96
Table 5.19 AFDC Families with Earnings, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 97
Table 5.20 Earnings of Adult Female AFDC Recipients, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 98
Table 5.21 Average Disposable Income at Various Wage Levels for a Mother and Two Children Without Child Care Expenses:  Selected Years, 1972 – 1996 100
Table 5.22 Composition of Average Disposable Income at Various Wage Levels for a Mother and Two Children Without Child Care Expenses:  1972, 1980, and 1996 102
Table 5.23 Average Disposable Income minus Child Care Expenses at Various Wage Levels for a Mother and Two Children:  Selected Years, 1972 – 1996 103
Table 5.24 Percentage of AFDC Families Affected by $50 Child Support Pass Through, Selected Years, 1985 – 1996 104
Table 5.25 Net Increase in Disposable Income from Various Levels of Child Support Payments for a Mother and Two Children at Various Wage Levels, 1996 105
Table 5.26 Marginal Tax and Benefit Reduction Rates for a Mother and Two Children for Various Wage Levels and Various Levels of Child Support Payments, 1996 106

Chapter 6 Welfare Spell Dynamics  
Table 6.1 Cumulative Distribution of AFDC Spell Lengths by Months since Case Opened, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 109
Figure 6.1 Cumulative Distribution of AFDC Spell Lengths, 1983 – 1996 110
Table 6.2 Distribution of AFDC Spell Lengths by Months Since Case Opened, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996 111
Table 6.3 Distribution of Estimated Time on AFDC Based on Annual Data 112
Table 6.4 Distribution of Estimated Time on AFDC Based on Monthly Data 113
Figure 6.2 Proportion of Families by Length of AFDC Receipt 114
Table 6.5 How Selected Characteristics Affect Expected Total Time on Welfare for a Beginning Cohort of Recipients 116
Table 6.6 Proportion of Recipients with Given Characteristic at Start of First AFDC Spell 117
Table 6.7 Events Associated with AFDC Spell Beginnings 119
Table 6.8 Events Associated with AFDC Spell Endings 120
Table 6.9 Events Associated with Endings of AFDC Spells in Annual and Monthly Data Sources 121
Table 6.10 Cumulative Proportion of Women Leaving AFDC by Duration of Time on AFDC and Type of Exit 122
Table 6.11 Cumulative Proportion of Women Returning to AFDC by Duration of Time Off AFDC and Type of Exit 123

Appendix The Food Stamp Program  
Table 7.1 Trends in Food Stamp Participation, 1970 – 1996 127
Figure 7.1 Number of Persons Living in Poverty, Unemployed and Receiving Food Stamps and AFDC, 1959 – 1996 128
Table 7.2 Trends in Food Stamp Expenditures, 1970 – 1997 129
Figure 7.2 Characteristics of Food Stamp Recipients 130
Table 7.3 Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Selected Fiscal Years, 1980 – 1996 131
Table 7.4 Value of Food Stamps Issued by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1978 – 1996 132
Table 7.5 Number of Food Stamp Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1977 – 1996 133
Table 7.6 Food Stamp Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1977 – 1996 134
Table 7.7 Child Recipients of Food Stamps by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1989 – 1995 135
Table 7.8 Food Stamp Child Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1989 – 1995 137
Table 7.9 Families Receiving AFDC Assistance by Size, Number of Adults, Age of Mother, and Average Benefit 138
Table 7.10 Persons Receiving AFDC Assistance by Age 139
Table 7.11 AFDC Households, Recipients and Average Benefits by State 140
Table 7.12 Families Receiving AFDC Assistance by Source of Income 141
Table 7.13 Households Receiving AFDC Assistance by Number of Food Stamp Participants Not in the AFDC Case 142
Table 7.14 Households Receiving AFDC Assistance by Source of Income of Food Stamp Program Participants Not in the AFDC Case 143
Table 7.15 Relationship to the AFDC Family Head of Food Stamp Program Participants in the AFDC Household But Not in the AFDC Case 144
Table 7.16 Food Stamp Program Households With Children and With AFDC by State 145
Table 7.17 Distribution of Food Stamp Households with Children and with AFDC Assistance 147
Table 7.18 Distribution of Food Stamp Program Households with Children and with AFDC By Income 148

For further information contact:

Office of Human Services Policy
Hubert H. Humphrey Bldg., Room 410E
200 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

202-690-7409

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