Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Chapter II . Indicators of Dependence

10/01/1998

Following the format of last year’s first annual report to Congress, this second chapter presents summary data related to twelve indicators of dependence. These indicators differ from other welfare statistics because of their emphasis on welfare dependence, rather than simple welfare receipt. As discussed in Chapter I, the Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators suggested consideration of the following proposed definition of dependence:

A family is dependent on welfare if more than 50 percent of its total income in a one-year period comes from AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps and/or SSI, and this welfare income is not associated with work activities. Welfare dependence is the proportion of all families who are dependent on welfare.

The indicators in Chapter II were selected to provide information about dependence, following, to the extent feasible, the definition of dependence proposed by the Advisory Board. Existing data from administrative records and national surveys, however, do not generally distinguish welfare benefits received in conjunction with work from benefits received without work. Thus it was not possible to construct one single indicator of dependence, that is, one indicator that measures both percentage of income from means-tested assistance and presence of work activities. Instead, this chapter includes some indicators that focus on the percentage of recipients’ income from meanstested assistance, while other indicators focus on presence of work activities at the same time as welfare receipt. Still other indicators present summary data and characteristics on all recipients, not limited to those with more than 50 percent of total income from welfare programs or those without work activities.

Overall, the twelve indicators of dependency were selected to reflect both the range and depth of dependence. The summary data provide information about:

  • the degree to which recipients are dependent on assistance (Indicator 1),
  • how long recipients receive welfare or remain dependent (Indicators 3, 5, 6),
  • welfare and dependence transitions (Indicators 2 and 11),
  • participation in the labor force while receiving assistance (Indicators 4),
  • multiple program receipt (Indicator 7),
  • events associated with entries and exits from welfare (Indicator 8),
  • recipiency and participation rates over time (Indicators 9 and 10), and
  • intergenerational dependence (Indicator 12).

Indicators in this chapter focus on recipients of three major means-tested cash and nutritional assistance programs: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for elderly and disabled recipients, and the Food Stamp Program. Only limited administrative data are available to report on recipients of the new Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. These are shown in Indicator 9a, which reports AFDC/TANF recipiency rates through 1997. For some indicators, data are presented for the most recent year only; for other indicators, trend data are provided.

 

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"Introduction" (pdf, 47.84Kb)

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"Indicators of Dependence" (pdf, 152.45Kb)

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"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (First Half)" (pdf, 158.1Kb)

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"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (Second Half)" (pdf, 150.06Kb)

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"Appendices (First Half)" (pdf, 182.84Kb)

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"Appendices (Second Half)" (pdf, 289.7Kb)

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