Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2003. Indicator 8. Program Spell Duration

03/01/2003

Figure IND 8. Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp, and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1996 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell

Figure IND 8

Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 and 1996 Panels.

  • Between the years 1996 and 1998, short spells lasting 4 months or less accounted for about 47 percent of AFDC/TANF spells, 43 percent of food stamp spells, and 34 percent of SSI spells.
  • Approximately three-fourths of all AFDC/TANF and food stamp spells lasted one year or less (76 percent and 71 percent, respectively). In contrast, only 53 percent of SSI spells ended within one year.
  • As shown in Table IND 8a, for TANF/AFDC spells, a smaller percentage of long spells (lasting more than 20 months) occurred among non-Hispanic whites compared to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.
  • Spells of welfare receipt were shorter in the second half of the 1990s than in the early 1990s, as shown in Table IND 8b. For example, only 13 percent of AFDC/TANF spells for individuals entering AFDC/TANF in 1996 to 1998 lasted 20 months or longer, compared with 34 percent of AFDC spells beginning between 1992 and 1994.
  • Short spells are less common among recipients in families without labor force participants, as shown previously in Figure and Table IND 7.

Table IND 8a. Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1996 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell, Race/Ethnicity, and Age

    Spells <=4 months Spells 5-12 months Spells 13-20 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. AFDC/TANF spells are defined as those starting during the 1996 SIPP Panel. For certain age and racial/ethnic categories, data are not available (N/A) because of insufficient sample size.
Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1996 Panel.
AFDC/TANF All Recipients 46.6 29.2 11.5 12.7
  Racial/Ethnic Categories
  Non-Hispanic White 47.4 33.0 10.7 8.9
  Non-Hispanic Black 45.2 28.3 13.6 12.9
  Hispanic 46.3 25.4 10.5 17.9
  Age Categories
  Ages 0-5 Years 41.8 33.2 10.8 14.2
  Ages 6 to 10 Years 49.4 24.6 9.0 17.0
  Ages 11 to 15 Years 42.5 25.6 N/A N/A
  Ages 16 to 64 Years 48.6 30.7 12.0 8.7
  65 Years and Older N/A N/A N/A N/A
FOOD STAMPS All Recipients 43.1 27.7 9.3 19.8
  Racial/Ethnic Categories
  Non-Hispanic White 46.5 27.5 9.4 16.7
  Non-Hispanic Black 38.6 28.5 9.1 23.9
  Hispanic 41.7 28.5 8.1 21.8
  Age Categories
  Ages 0 to 5 years 36.5 31.4 8.6 23.5
  Ages 6 to 10 years 40.6 27.3 9.1 22.9
  Ages 11-15 40.4 30.3 10.0 19.3
  Ages 16-64 46.2 26.7 9.6 17.6
  65 Years and Older 31.7 26.8 6.9 34.7
SSI All Recipients 34.1 19.2 9.1 37.6
  Racial/Ethnic Categories
  Non-Hispanic White 36.8 18.7 7.8 36.7
  Non-Hispanic Black 34.8 19.7 9.5 36.0
  Hispanic 27.1 22.4 9.8 40.7
  Age Categories
  Ages 0-10 N/A N/A N/A N/A
  Ages 11-15 30.9 N/A N/A N/A
  Ages 16-64 37.1 20.1 8.6 34.2
  65 Years and Older 22.1 16.7 11.9 49.3

Table IND 8b. Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1992, 1993, and 1996 SIPP Panels

  Spells <=4 months Spells 5-12 months Spells 13-20 months Spells >20 months
Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP; 1992, 1993, and 1996 Panels.
1992 Panel
AFDC 30.4 24.7 10.5 34.4
Food Stamps 33.4 24.9 10.2 31.5
SSI 25.7 8.9 4.8 60.6
1993 Panel
AFDC 30.7 25.4 12.5 31.4
Food Stamps 33.1 26.8 10.1 30.0
SSI 24.0 7.9 4.7 63.4
1996 Panel
AFDC/TANF 46.6 29.2 11.5 12.7
Food Stamps 43.1 27.7 9.3 19.8
SSI 34.1 19.2 9.1 37.6

 

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