Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Indicator 10. Rates of Participation in Means-tested Assistance Programs

10/01/1998

Not all eligible households participate in means-tested programs. This indicator reflects “take up rates” – the number of families that actually participate in the program as a percent of those who are eligible.

Figure IND 10a. AFDC Caseload versus Number of Eligible Families: Number of Cases & Percentage of Total Eligibles

Figure IND 10a. AFDC Caseload versus Number of Eligible Families: Number of Cases & Percentage of Total Eligibles

Source: Participation rates estimated by the Urban Institute using TRIM model simulations. Caseload based on data from DHHS, Administration for Children and Families.


  • The percentage of all eligible families who participated in AFDC has varied between 77 percent and 86 percent according to estimates for selected years between 1981 and 1995. Estimates of the total eligible population varied from 4.5 million to over 6 million families over the same time period.

Table IND 10a. AFDC Caseload as a Percentage of Eligible Families

  1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1990 1992 1994 1995
Source: Participation rates estimated by the Urban Institute using TRIM model simulations. Caseload based on data from DHHS, Administration for Children and Families.
Average Monthly Eligibles 4,827 4,700 4,655 4,933 4,512 4,834 5,565 6,143 5,775
Average Caseload 3,871 3,651 3,692 3,784 3,771 3,974 4,768 5,046 4,869
Participation rate 80 78 79 77 84 82 86 82 84

Figure IND 10b. Food Stamp Households as a Percentage of Eligible Households

Figure IND 10b. Food Stamp Households as a Percentage of Eligible Households

Source: Table IND 10b.


  • In all years, larger percentages of children in eligible households received Food Stamps compared to other age groups, and smaller percentages of the elderly in eligible households received Food Stamps compared to other adults and children.
  • For disabled persons under age 60, the percentage in eligible households who received Food Stamps increased substantially between 1985 and 1994, from 47 percent in 1985 to 71 percent in 1994.

Table IND 10b. Food Stamp Households as a Percentage of Eligible Households

  Persons Households Elderly Children Disabled Under 60 Adults 18-59
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Trends in Food Stamp Program Participation Rates, various years.
August 1985 64 59 37 74 47 65
January 1988 59 56 34 70 55 66
January 1989 59 56 29 68 57 60
January 1992 74 69 33 86 67 77
January 1994 71 69 35 80 71 73

Figure IND 10c. SSI Adult Recipients as a Percentage of Eligible Adults

Figure IND 10c. SSI Adult Recipients as a Percentage of Eligible Adults

Source: Table IND 10c.


  • For all adults, the percentage of those eligible that received SSI remained constant between 1993 and 1994 (63 percent) and increased substantially in 1995 (from 63 percent to 70 percent).
  • For all adults in 1995, a larger percentage of eligible disabled adults in one-person units participated in the SSI program (74 percent) compared to both eligible aged adults in oneperson units (65 percent) and adults in married-couple units (52 percent).

Table IND 10c. SSI Adult Recipients by Type as a Percentage of Eligible Group

  1993 1994 1995

Note: The figure for married-couple units is based on very small sample sizes–married couple units were only about 5 percent of the adults units in the average month of 1995.

Source: Participation rate estimated by the Urban Institute using the TRIM model.

All adults 63 63 70
One-person units– aged NA NA 65
One-person units– disabled NA NA 74
Married-couple units NA NA 52

 

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