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 NumberExhibitPage

Chapter 2Trends in the AFDC Caseload Since 1962 
Table 2.1Trends in Total AFDC Enrollments, 1962 – 199615
Table 2.2Caseload Trends in the AFDC-Basic Program, 1962 – 199616
Table 2.3Caseload Trends in the AFDC Unemployed Parent Program, 1962 – 199617
Figure 2.1Monthly Number of AFDC Families Receiving Assistance18
Figure 2.2Monthly Number of Persons Receiving Assistance and Recipiency Rate19
Figure 2.3Distribution of AFDC Caseload by State in 199621
Table 2.4Total AFDC Caseload by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 199622
Table 2.5AFDC Basic Caseload by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 199624
Table 2.6AFDC Unemployed Parent Caseload by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 199626
Table 2.7AFDC Cases With No Adult Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1985 – 199629
Table 2.8Total AFDC Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 199630
Table 2.9AFDC Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 199632
Table 2.10Total AFDC Child Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 199634
Table 2.11AFDC Child Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1965 – 199636
Table 2.12Distribution of Food Stamp Households with Children and with AFDC by State, 199538
Table 2.13Distribution of AFDC Food Stamp Households, Recipients and Benefits by State, 199539
Figure 2.4Peak AFDC Caseload by State, October 1989 – August 199641
Table 2.14Peak AFDC Caseload by State, October 1989 to August 199642
Table 2.15Peak Number of AFDC Recipients by State, October 1989 to August 199643

Chapter 3Family and Household Characteristic 
Table 3.1Average Number of AFDC Recipients per Case, 1962 – 199646
Table 3.2Number of Members per AFDC Family by Proportion of Families, Selected Years, 1967 – 199649
Figure 3.1Size of AFDC Assistance Units, Selected Years, 1967 – 199649
Table 3.3Number of Adults per AFDC Family by Proportion of All Families, Selected Years 1967 – 199651
Figure 3.2Average Number of Children per Family for Families with Related Children Under 18 by Living Arrangement, 1960 – 199652
Table 3.4Number of Children per AFDC Family by Proportion of All Families, Selected Years, 1967 – 199653
Table 3.5Trends in Ages of AFDC Child Recipients, 1967 – 199654
Table 3.6Trends in Age of Youngest Child in the AFDC Family, 1983 – 199655
Table 3.7Trends in Ages of Adult Female Recipients, 1985 – 199656
Table 3.8Distribution of AFDC Families by Race of Parent, 1983 – 199657
Table 3.9Distribution of AFDC Children by Race, 1983 – 199658
Table 3.10Citizenship Status of Adult AFDC Recipients, 1983 – 199659

Chapter 4Federal and State Expenditures 
Table 4.1Federal Medical Assistance Matching Percentages by State, Selected Fiscal Years 1984 – 199762
Table 4.2Trends in Federal AFDC Expenditures, 1962 – 199664
Table 4.3Total, Federal, and State AFDC Expenditures, 1970 – 199665
Table 4.4Federal and State Net Benefit Expenditures Under the Single Parent and Unemployed Parent Programs in Current and Constant Dollars, 1970 – 199667
Table 4.5Total AFDC Benefit Expenditures by State, Selected Years, 1978 – 199669
Table 4.6Total AFDC Benefit Expenditures by State in Constant Dollars, Selected Years, 1978 – 199670

Chapter 5Federal and State Expenditures 
Table 5.1AFDC Need Standard for a Three-Person Family by State, Selected Years72
Figure 5.1Average Monthly AFDC Benefit by Family and Recipient in Current and Constant Dollars, 1970 – 199673
Table 5.2Trends in Average Monthly AFDC Benefit Payments, 1962 – 199675
Table 5.3AFDC-Basic Program Recipients and Amounts of Payments, Fiscal Year 199676
Table 5.4AFDC Unemployment Parent Program Recipients and Amounts of Payments, Fiscal Year 199677
Table 5.5AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Three-Person Family by State for Selected Dates78
Table 5.6AFDC Maximum Benefit in Constant 1996 Dollars for a Three-Person Family by State for Selected Dates79
Table 5.7Maximum AFDC Benefit by Family Size and by State, July 199680
Figure 5.2AFDC Children and Related Children in Poverty, 1960 – 199681
Table 5.8AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Two-Person Family as a Percentage of Poverty by State for Selected Dates83
Table 5.9AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Three-Person Family as a Percentage of Poverty by State for Selected Dates84
Table 5.10AFDC Maximum Benefit for a Four-Person Family as a Percentage of Poverty by State for Selected Dates85
Table 5.11Gross Income Limit, Need Standard, Maximum Monthly Benefits for a One-Parent Family of Three Persons by State, July 199687
Table 5.12Income Levels at Which AFDC Eligibility Ends for a Family of Three89
Table 5.13Annual AFDC Benefit Levels by State for a Mother and Two Children with No Earnings, Selected Years, 1972 – 199691
Table 5.14States Changing Monthly AFDC Benefit Levels, Selected Years, 1987 – 199692
Table 5.15Number and Percent of AFDC Families Receiving Food Stamps, Selected Years, 1967 – 199693
Table 5.16Percentage Change in the Value of AFDC and Food Stamp Benefit Levels for a Mother and Two Children With No Earnings, Selected Years, 1972 – 199694
Table 5.17Annual AFDC and Food Stamp Benefit Levels by State for a Mother and Two Children with No Earnings, Selected Years, 1972 – 199695
Table 5.18Housing Arrangements of AFDC Families, By Type of Shelter, 1984 – 199696
Table 5.19AFDC Families with Earnings, Selected Years, 1967 – 199697
Table 5.20Earnings of Adult Female AFDC Recipients, Selected Years, 1967 – 199698
Table 5.21Average Disposable Income at Various Wage Levels for a Mother and Two Children Without Child Care Expenses:  Selected Years, 1972 – 1996100
Table 5.22Composition of Average Disposable Income at Various Wage Levels for a Mother and Two Children Without Child Care Expenses:  1972, 1980, and 1996102
Table 5.23Average Disposable Income minus Child Care Expenses at Various Wage Levels for a Mother and Two Children:  Selected Years, 1972 – 1996103
Table 5.24Percentage of AFDC Families Affected by $50 Child Support Pass Through, Selected Years, 1985 – 1996104
Table 5.25Net Increase in Disposable Income from Various Levels of Child Support Payments for a Mother and Two Children at Various Wage Levels, 1996105
Table 5.26Marginal Tax and Benefit Reduction Rates for a Mother and Two Children for Various Wage Levels and Various Levels of Child Support Payments, 1996106

Chapter 6Welfare Spell Dynamics 
Table 6.1Cumulative Distribution of AFDC Spell Lengths by Months since Case Opened, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996109
Figure 6.1Cumulative Distribution of AFDC Spell Lengths, 1983 – 1996110
Table 6.2Distribution of AFDC Spell Lengths by Months Since Case Opened, Selected Years, 1967 – 1996111
Table 6.3Distribution of Estimated Time on AFDC Based on Annual Data112
Table 6.4Distribution of Estimated Time on AFDC Based on Monthly Data113
Figure 6.2Proportion of Families by Length of AFDC Receipt114
Table 6.5How Selected Characteristics Affect Expected Total Time on Welfare for a Beginning Cohort of Recipients116
Table 6.6Proportion of Recipients with Given Characteristic at Start of First AFDC Spell117
Table 6.7Events Associated with AFDC Spell Beginnings119
Table 6.8Events Associated with AFDC Spell Endings120
Table 6.9Events Associated with Endings of AFDC Spells in Annual and Monthly Data Sources121
Table 6.10Cumulative Proportion of Women Leaving AFDC by Duration of Time on AFDC and Type of Exit122
Table 6.11Cumulative Proportion of Women Returning to AFDC by Duration of Time Off AFDC and Type of Exit123

AppendixThe Food Stamp Program 
Table 7.1Trends in Food Stamp Participation, 1970 – 1996127
Figure 7.1Number of Persons Living in Poverty, Unemployed and Receiving Food Stamps and AFDC, 1959 – 1996128
Table 7.2Trends in Food Stamp Expenditures, 1970 – 1997129
Figure 7.2Characteristics of Food Stamp Recipients130
Table 7.3Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Selected Fiscal Years, 1980 – 1996131
Table 7.4Value of Food Stamps Issued by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1978 – 1996132
Table 7.5Number of Food Stamp Recipients by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1977 – 1996133
Table 7.6Food Stamp Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1977 – 1996134
Table 7.7Child Recipients of Food Stamps by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1989 – 1995135
Table 7.8Food Stamp Child Recipiency Rates by State, Selected Fiscal Years, 1989 – 1995137
Table 7.9Families Receiving AFDC Assistance by Size, Number of Adults, Age of Mother, and Average Benefit138
Table 7.10Persons Receiving AFDC Assistance by Age139
Table 7.11AFDC Households, Recipients and Average Benefits by State140
Table 7.12Families Receiving AFDC Assistance by Source of Income141
Table 7.13Households Receiving AFDC Assistance by Number of Food Stamp Participants Not in the AFDC Case142
Table 7.14Households Receiving AFDC Assistance by Source of Income of Food Stamp Program Participants Not in the AFDC Case143
Table 7.15Relationship to the AFDC Family Head of Food Stamp Program Participants in the AFDC Household But Not in the AFDC Case144
Table 7.16Food Stamp Program Households With Children and With AFDC by State145
Table 7.17Distribution of Food Stamp Households with Children and with AFDC Assistance147
Table 7.18Distribution of Food Stamp Program Households with Children and with AFDC By Income148

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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