Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2009-2013. INDICATOR 7. Program Spell Duration

04/01/2013

Figure IND 7. Percentage of TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2004 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Note: Spell length categories are 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. Program spells are defined as those starting during the 2004 SIPP panel (2004 – 2007). For certain age categories, data are not available (NA) because of insufficient sample size. The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) re-named the Food Stamp Program as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as of October 1, 2008. The name change had no effect on the type of benefits or how they are made available to eligible households.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2004 panel

  • Figure IND 7 shows the percentage of TANF, SNAP, and SSI spells by spell length categories for persons entering programs in the mid 2000s. Between 2004 and 2007, spells lasting four months or less accounted for 44 percent of TANF spells, 33 percent of SNAP spells, and 24 percent of SSI spells.
  • Approximately three-fourths of all TANF spells (73.7 percent) and 62 percent of SNAP spells lasted one year or less compared to 44 percent of SSI spells.
  • Table IND 7a shows the percentage of program spells for persons entering programs during the 2004 – 2007 period by length of spell and demographic characteristics. Among child recipients of TANF, most children experienced shorter spells of receipt than longer spells of receipt.
  • Table IND 7b shows how the percentage of program spells of varying lengths for persons entering programs during selected periods has changed. Spells of welfare receipt were shorter in the early 2000s than in the early 1990s. For instance, 14.1 percent of TANF
    spells for persons entering TANF between 2004 and 2007 lasted 20 months or longer as compared to 34.4 percent of AFDC spells beginning between 1992 and 1994.
Table IND 7a. Percentage of TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2004 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell and Selected Characteristics
 
Program   Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months
TANF All Recipients 43.8 29.9 12.2 14.1
Non-Hispanic White 46.3 32.6 9.3 11.8
Non-Hispanic Black 47.9 2.1 14.0 16.1
Hispanic 34.3 37.8 14.6 13.4
Children ages 0-5 48.2 21.7 12.4 17.7
Children ages 6-10 33.7 35.3 9.1 21.9
Children ages 11-15 32.6 32.6 12.7 22.2
Adults ages 16-64
Adults ages 65 and over
48.9 30.3 13.0 7.9
56.4 43.6 0.0 0.0
SNAP All Recipients 33.1 29.0 9.1 28.8
Non-Hispanic White 34.5 28.5 9.6 27.4
Non-Hispanic Black 36.7 27.4 9.1 26.8
Hispanic 29.9 29.3 10.0 30.8
Children ages 0-5 24.2 31.9 10.7 33.2
Children ages 6-10 30.3 30.7 10.7 28.3
Children ages 11-15 34.6 26.5 10.8 28.1
Adults ages 16-64 35.1 29.4 8.7 26.9
Adults ages 65 and over 31.8 17.9 1.6 48.7
SSI All Recipients 24.2 19.8 9.1 47.0
Non-Hispanic White 23.4 19.6 6.8 50.3
Non-Hispanic Black 22.7 22.0 13.9 41.4
Hispanic 29.1 17.3 7.5 46.1
Children ages 0-5 31.0 37.5 17.4 14.1
Children ages 6-10 46.6 24.2 6.6 22.7
Children ages 11-15 35.0 25.7 18.6 20.7
Adults ages 16-64 19.3 18.9 8.6 53.2
Adults ages 65 and over 22.0 7.4 3.5 67.0

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive. Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells. Program spells are defined as those starting during the 2004 SIPP panel (2004 – 2007). Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2004 panel.

Table IND 7b. Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP, and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during Selected SIPP Panels by Length of Spell

Period Program
Spells <=4 Months
Spells 5-12 Months
Spells 13-20 Months
Spells >20 Months
1992 – 1994 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 – 1995 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 – 1999 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
2001 – 2003 TANF 49.6 23.7 10.0 16.8
Food Stamps 35.9 24.4 8.9 30.7
SSI 27.9 21.4 7.3 43.5
2004 – 2007 TANF 43.8 29.9 12.2 14.1
Food Stamps 33.1 29.0 9.1 28.8
SSI 24.2 19.8 9.1 47.0

Note: Spell length categories are 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. Program spells are defined as those starting during the 2004 SIPP panel (2004 – 2007).

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004 panels.

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