The findings in this chapter suggest that many TANF recipients face special health challenges, in that they experience physical and mental health problems at higher rates than the general population, and may also experience higher rates of health emergencies. The higher rate of health problems among TANF recipients appears to involve a wide range of physical and mental health conditions and is not limited to problems associated with childbirth.
The findings also suggest that white TANF recipients have higher rates of physical and mental health problems than non-whites. In addition, white TANF recipients appear to experience health problems at much higher rates than the white population in general. Non-white TANF adults also appear to experience higher rates of health problems than the overall non-white population but the difference is not nearly as great as among whites.
In combination, these findings suggest that special attention needs to be paid to physical and mental health problems among the TANF caseload, particularly among white TANF adults and children. It is possible that many white adults are on TANF primarily because of physical and mental health barriers – either their own or their children’s. Programs and services aimed at ameliorating barriers among TANF recipients should provide appropriate assessment and interventions.