The March CPS can be used to determine the participation of families in a variety of public assistance programs. Approximately 2.4 million (17 percent) of child support-eligible parents lived in families in which at least one member received cash assistance through the TANF program. Participation in the Medicaid program was reported by 34 percent of these families, and 25 percent were enrolled in the Food Stamp program. Approximately one in one eight of the child support-eligible families reported receiving housing subsidies (in the form of public housing or housing assistance), and about 6 percent collected a portion of their family income from the SSI program.
Participation in the four non-cash public assistance programs (Medicaid, food stamps, housing subsidies, and SSI) was used to identify the three categories of families that are shown in each table: families receiving cash assistance, families receiving assistance from other government programs (but not cash assistance), and families not receiving any public assistance. As reported above, about 2.4 million child support-eligible families were receiving cash assistance, while an additional 3.2 million (23 percent) were receiving other public assistance but not cash assistance. Of the 13.9 child support-eligible families, three in five were not receiving any public assistance.
Significant variations in receipt of public assistance existed between the IV-D and non IV-D populations (Table 2). Among those families in the IV-D program, the percentages of those receiving cash assistance (28 percent), those receiving other public assistance only (34 percent), and those receiving no public assistance (38 percent) were split relatively evenly. However, an overwhelming majority (92 percent) of the 5.6 million child support-eligible families not in the IV-D program received no public assistance at all in 1997. This last statistic is affected by the assumption, stated above, that all families in which either income was received from TANF cash assistance or in which either the parent or child was covered by Medicaid, therefore participated in the IV-D program.