As directed by the Welfare Indicators Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-432), this annual report on Indicators of Welfare Dependence focuses on dependence on three programs: the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, now Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); the Food Stamp Program; and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The summary measure of dependence proposed by the Advisory Board includes income from all three programs in its definition:
A family is dependent on welfare if more than 50 percent of its total income in a one-year period comes from AFDC, food stamps and/or SSI, and this welfare income is not associated with work activities.
This appendix examines an alternative definition of dependence that considers TANF and food stamps alone, excluding SSI. One indicator in this report, Indicator 9, measuring long-term dependence, is based on this alternative definition.
As shown in Table B-1, the rate of dependency would have been only 1.5 percent in 2000 if based on income from TANF and food stamps, as opposed to 3.0 percent when counting income from all three programs (TANF, food stamps, and SSI). In other words, half of individuals who are dependent under the standard definition also are dependent under the alternative definition that considers TANF and food stamps alone.1 There is significant variation across the age groups, however. The elderly depend more on SSI than on TANF and food stamps; whereas 2.1 percent of elderly persons are dependent when counting the three major types of means-tested assistance, very few, 0.2 percent, are dependent when the definition is limited to TANF and food stamps. In contrast, children are primarily dependent on TANF and food stamps.
1 In the early- to mid-1990s, 70 to 75 percent of individuals who were dependent under the standard definition were also dependent under the alternative definition.
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