This report provides welfare dependence indicators through 2019 for most indicators and through 2020 for other indicators, reflecting changes that have taken place since enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996. For the purposes of this report, welfare dependence is defined as the proportion of individuals who receive more than half of their total family income in one year from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and/or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
- The share of the population receiving more than half of their income from TANF, SNAP and SSI programs declined through 2019 as the economy expanded. But in 2020, due to the economic recession resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the share increased 0.3 percentage points to 3.6 percent (11.8 million) of the total population lived in households receiving more than half of their total annual income from TANF, SNAP and/or SSI. This level is 1.7 percentage points below the most recent peak of 5.3 percent in 2010.
- TANF, SNAP, and SSI participation rates among eligible people all declined in 2020. Participation in the TANF program among eligible families declined for the nineth consecutive year, from 33.9 in 2011 to 20.3 percent in 2020. The SNAP participation rate by eligible households decreased to 81.0 percent in 2020; this is 9.1 percentage points below the historic peak in 2013 of 90.1 percent. SSI participation by eligible adults fell to 57.1 percent in 2020; this is 10.2 percentage points below the 67.3 percent level in 2012.
- Most families receiving benefits participated in the labor force. In 2020 more than 57 percent of persons who received SNAP benefits lived in families with someone in the labor force. More than half of TANF recipients (54.5 percent) lived in families with someone in the labor force.
- Key indicators of economic need, following declines in 2020, recovered lost ground in 2021. In 2021, the percent of children in poverty declined to 15.3 percent from 16.1 percent in 2020. The food insecurity status of all households declined by 0.3 percentage points to 10.2 from 2020 to 2021, and for households with children the rate fell from 14.8 percent to a historic low of 12.5 percent between 2020 and 2021.
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Prior years of the report, accessible: https://aspe.hhs.gov/indicators-welfare-dependence-annual-report-congress