Disabilities Among TANF Recipients: Evidence from the NHIS. A. Adults with Disabilities

05/15/2009

Exhibit A1.
Adults with Activity Limitations by Population Group

Exhibit A1. Adults with Actigvity Limitations by Population Group. See Long Description for data.

Source:  Authors’ calculations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2005/2006.

 

  • A greater percentage of TANF recipients have each of these activity limitations than all adults or low-income single mothers. Prevalence of these limitations among Food Stamp recipients is similar to TANF recipients.
  • For all groups, self-care limitations (such as difficulties bathing, dressing, or eating) are less common than difficulties with routine activities (such as everyday household chores, shopping, getting around the house).
  • Movement limitations, defined as being unable or having a lot of difficulty carrying out activities that require somewhat greater physical abilities (such as walking a quarter mile, lifting a 10-pound bag of groceries, or walking up ten steps without resting) are the most common. One-fifth of TANF recipients report these limitations.

Exhibit A2.
Adults with Limitations in Participation by Population Group

Exhibit A2. Adults with Limitations in Participation by Population Group. See Long Description for data.

Source:  Authors’ calculations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2005/2006.

 

  • More than a quarter of TANF recipients report that they have a physical, mental, or emotional problem that keeps them from working or limits the kind or amount of work they can do. This is one of the most commonly used measures of disability, available in many national data sets. This finding is consistent with prior literature. Acs and Loprest (2007) report that 24.7 percent of TANF recipients in the 2005 Current Population Survey said they had a work limitation, defined in the same way.
  • A smaller percentage of people report they find it very difficult or cannot participate in a number of social activities, including going out to things like shopping, movies, sporting events or visiting friends, going to parties, attending clubs, or doing things to relax at home or for leisure (reading, watching TV, sewing, listening to music).
  • Compared with TANF recipients, prevalence of these limitations is similar among Food Stamp recipients but substantially lower among low-income single mothers and all adults.

Exhibit A3.
Adults with Sensory or Emotional/Mental Limitations by Population Group

Exhibit A3. Adults with Sensory or Emotional/Mental Limitations by Population Group. See Long Description for data.

Source:  Authors’ calculations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2005/2006.

 

  • Sensory disabilities, defined here as great difficulty or inability to see or hear even with aids (such as glasses or hearing aids), are more prevalent among TANF and Food Stamp recipients than all adults or low-income single mothers. However, they are generally less common than the other measures of disability reported earlier.
  • More than a tenth of TANF recipients and Food Stamp recipients have emotional/mental issues defined here as scoring above the cut-off on a commonly used scale of serious psychological distress associated with unspecified serious mental illness (Kessler et al. 2003). This rate is more than four times the percentage of all adults and more than twice the rate of low-income single mothers.

 

Exhibit A4.
Adults with Cognitive/Memory Problems or Excessive Alcohol Use by Population Group

Exhibit A4. Adults with Cognitive/Memory Problems or Excessive Alcohol Use by Population Group. See Long Description for data.

Source:  Authors’ calculations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2005/2006.

 

  • About one-tenth of TANF and Food Stamp recipients are limited in some way because they have difficulty in remembering or because they experience periods of confusion. This measure does not capture other types of cognitive issues such as mild mental retardation or learning disabilities, which could also present challenges to some TANF recipients.
  • About four percent of TANF recipients and Food Stamp recipients and two percent of low-income mothers report excessive alcohol use, defined as those who consumed greater than or equal to five drinks in one day at least 12 times during the past 12 months. This measure has been correlated to negative health outcomes and behaviors, but is not the same as measures of alcohol abuse or dependence or even binge drinking.(4) This is one of the few measures where the rate for TANF and Food Stamp recipients is lower than or similar to the rate for all adults. This is likely in part related to gender differences in report of excessive alcohol use and the majority of TANF recipients are female.

 

Exhibit A5.
Receipt of Disability Benefits by Population Group

Exhibit A5. Receipt of Disability Benefits by Population Group. See Long Description for data.

Source:  Authors’ calculations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2005/2006.

 

  • More than three times as many TANF recipients and five times as many Food Stamp recipients are receiving public disability benefits than all adults. In part this is because eligibility for one type of public disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is income based.(5)
  • A greater percentage of TANF and Food Stamps recipients receive private disability benefits than other adults.(6) Since many of these disability benefits are based on prior employment, which is lower among benefit recipients, this is somewhat surprising. It is possible that low benefit levels and difficulty working may lead these pension recipients to seek public cash assistance.

 

Exhibit A6.
Composite Measures of Adult Disability

Exhibit A6. Composite Measures of Adult Disability. See Long Description for data.

Source:  Authors’ calculations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2005/2006.

 

  • About two-fifths of TANF recipients and of Food Stamp recipients have at least one of the prior measures of disability presented (“broad measure”). This is more than twice the rate among all adults and almost double the rate among low-income single mothers.
  • Roughly ten percent of TANF recipients and Food Stamp recipients have a disability using the more restrictive composite measure limited to those with self-care limitations or limitations in routine activities (“narrow measure”). This is almost five times the percent of all adults with disabilities reporting this measure.
  • Disability by both composite measures is substantially more prevalent among TANF and Food Stamp recipients than low-income single mothers (more than double), whose rates of disability are similar to the rates for all adults.
  • Work limitation prevalence (reported earlier in Exhibit A2), a single measure of disability often used in studies of employment, falls in between these two composite measures.

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