Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Indicator 5. Program Spell Duration

10/01/1998

One critical aspect of dependence is how long individuals receive means-tested assistance. This indicator provides information on the length of individual spells.

Figure IND 5. Spells of Program Participation, 1993 SIPP Panel

Figure IND 5. Spells of Program Participation, 1993 SIPP Panel

Source: Table IND 5.


Short spells lasting less than 4 months accounted for 31 percent of AFDC spells, 24 percent of SSI spells, and 33 percent of Food Stamp spells.

Over one-half of all AFDC and Food Stamp spells lasted less than one year (56 percent and 60 percent, respectively). In contrast, only 32 percent of SSI spells ended within one year. The percentage of SSI spells that lasted 20 or more months is twice the percentage of AFDC and Food Stamp spells that lasted this long.

As shown in Table IND 5, for AFDC spells, a larger percentage of short spells (lasting less than 4 months) and a smaller percentage of long spells (lasting 20 or more months) occurred among non-Hispanic whites compared to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

As further shown in Table IND 5, a larger percentage of AFDC and Food Stamp spells among adults age 16 to 64 ended within 4 months compared to spells among children age 0 to 15.

Table IND 5. Percentage of AFDC, Food Stamp and SSI Spells for Indiviudals Entering Programs During the 1993 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

  Percentage of Spells
  Spells <4 months Spells <12 months Spells <20 months Spells 20+ months

Note: Spell length categories are not mutually exclusive. Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells. Due to the length of the observation period, actual spell lengths for spells that lasted more than 20 months cannot be observed. For certain age and racial categories, data are not available (NA) because of insufficient sample size. Data on SSI recipiency for children are not available.

Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 Panel.

AFDC
Recipients 30.7 56.1 68.6 31.4
Racial Categories        
Non-Hispanic White 35.6 62.2 72.3 27.7
Non-Hispanic Black 24.6 52.3 66.7 33.3
Hispanic origin 30.8 52.5 63.4 36.6
Age Categories        
Children Age 0 to 15 28.1 53.6 65.6 34.4
Adults 16 to 64 years 33.5 59.0 72.2 27.8
SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME
Recipients 24.0 31.9 36.6 63.4
Racial Categories        
Non-Hispanic White 27.2 34.6 40.8 59.2
Non-Hispanic Black 20.5 26.2 30.0 70.0
Hispanic origin 20.0 32.2 NA NA
Age Categories        
Adults 16 to 64 years 26.8 34.6 39.7 60.3
FOOD STAMPS
Recipients 33.1 59.9 70.0 30.0
Racial Categories        
Non-Hispanic White 34.3 62.1 71.5 28.5
Non-Hispanic Black 28.4 53.4 64.9 35.1
Hispanic origin 35.4 64.0 71.1 28.9
Age Categories        
Children Age 0 to 15 29.8 56.5 67.0 33.0
Adults 16 to 64 years 35.9 63.0 72.8 27.2

 

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