Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 4. Adult/Child Disability


Health conditions that limit parents' ability to work are important predictors of family economic problems and future dependence.

Figure WORK 4. Percent Reporting a Fuctional Disability, 1994

Figure WORK4. Percent Reporting a Fuctional Disability, 1994

  • In 1994, adults were more likely to have a functional disability than school-age children, and school-age children were in turn more likely to have a functional disability than younger children.
  • As shown in Table WORK 4, the percentage of non-Hispanic blacks who reported a functional disability was larger than the percentages for non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics.

Table WORK 4. Percent of the Total Population Reporting a Disability , 1994

Functional Disability
All Persons


Racial Categories
Non-Hispanic White 8.7
Non-Hispanic Black 11.0
Hispanic 7.7
Age Categories
Children Age 0 - 5 7.2
Children Age 6 - 17 9.5
Adults Age 18 - 64 16.2
Functional, Work, Perceived or Program Disability
Age 0 - 17
Functional Disability 8.7
Work Disability NA
Perceived Disability 2.8
Disability Program Recipient 6.7
Age 18 - 64
Functional Disability 16.2
Work Disability 10.7
Perceived Disability 7.0
Disability Program Recipient 5.7

Note: Functional disability only includes those disabilities expected to last at least 12 months. Functional disabilities were defined as either: (1) limitations in or inability to perform a variety of physical activities (i.e. walking, lifting, reaching); (2) serious sensory impairments (i.e. inability to read newsprint even with glasses or contact lenses); (3) serious symptoms of mental illness (i.e. frequent depression or anxiety; frequent confusion, disorientation, or difficulty remembering) which has seriously interfered with life for the last year; (4) use of selected assistive devices (i.e. wheelchairs, scooter, walkers); (5) developmental delays for children identified by a physician (i.e. physical, learning); (6) for children under 5, inability to perform age-appropriate functions (i.e. sitting up, walking); and, (7) long-term care needs. Work disability is defined as limitations in or the inability to work as a result of a physical, mental or emotional health condition. Perceived disability is a new disability measure based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and includes individuals who were perceived by themselves or others as having a disability. Disability program recipients include persons covered by Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Special Education Services, Early Intervention Services, and/or disability pensions.

Source: Unpublished data from the 1994 National Health Interview Survey on Disability, Phase I; 1994 NHIS, and 1994 Family Resources Supplement.