Respondents who were not working for pay but who had worked for pay in the past were asked a series of questions about their reasons for not currently working. Respondents who cited more than one reason were asked to identify the most important reason.
- Lack of jobs and health problems were the most common reasons given for not working, while few recipients cited child care or transportation.
One-quarter of the non-employed respondents stated that there were “no jobs”, and another quarter mentioned an illness or disability that prevented them from working (Appendix D Table III-b). In contrast, “logistical” barriers such as child care or transportation problems were cited by a relatively small percentage of non-employed recipients.
- Older respondents were much more likely than younger respondents to cite health-related reasons for not working.
Of the non-employed respondents younger than 30, very few cited health as a major reason for not working (Figure III-3). In contrast, more than two-thirds of respondents aged 40 and older cited health problems as the main reason for not working.
- One-third of the non-employed respondents who had worked in the past year mentioned health or pregnancy as the main reason for leaving their last job.
The study shows that health problems are not only an important factor in the current employment status of TANF recipients in South Carolina but were also a major reason why TANF recipients left their most recent jobs. Respondents who were non-employed but who had worked in the past 12 months were asked the reasons why they left their most recent job (data not shown). About 18% of these respondents mentioned health problems as the most important reason. Another 14% mentioned maternity leave or pregnancy.
Source: Telephone surveys of 1,120 TANF recipients in South Carolina