- About three-fifths of the respondents with work exemptions reported health problems.
Of the respondents who had been granted a work exemption, 57% rated their health as fair or poor, and 63% had a chronic health condition (Figure VI-1). These percentages were much higher than for other respondents. Persons with a time limit extension were no more likely than persons without an extension to be in poor or fair health. In terms of specific chronic health conditions, respondents with work exemptions were most likely to mention high blood pressure, followed by arthritis, back problems, nerves/anxiety, asthma, and diabetes. Of the respondents with work exemptions, 24% stated that they were caring for an elderly, sick, or disabled family member or friend compared to 10-11% of other respondents.
Source: Telephone surveys of 1,120 TANF recipients in South Carolina
- Respondents with work exemptions were much more likely than other respondents to have a mental health problem and/or a learning disability.
Forty-four percent of the respondents who had been granted a work exemption could be classified as having a mental health problem compared to 29% of the respondents without an exemption or extension and 24% of respondents with a time limit extension (Appendix E Figure VI-a). In addition, 36% of the respondents with work exemptions were at risk for major depression compared to less than a quarter of other respondents. Twenty percent of the respondents who had been granted a work exemption showed signs of a possible learning disability compared to about 10% of other respondents.
- Logistical barriers, housing, and domestic violence were not major factors in the granting of work exemptions or time limit extensions.
Of the respondents with a work exemption, only 17% reported that child care problems had been a barrier to employment, education, or job training in the past year (Appendix E Figure VI-b). This compares to 30% of the respondents without a work exemption or time limit extension and 20% of those with a time limit extension. A similar overall pattern was found in the percentage of respondents who reported transportation problems that had been a barrier to employment, education, or training in the past year. This may be due to the fact that they were exempted from seeking work, and therefore had less need for support services.