Initial Synthesis Report of the Findings from ASPE's "Leavers" Grants. Other Sources of Public Support


There are a number of other sources of public support that can provide crucial assistance to families that have exited welfare. These include child care assistance, housing assistance through subsidies or public housing and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for persons with disabilities. A few areas asked about receipt of these benefits in their surveys, some asking about receipt at the time of the survey, some since exit and some for both time periods (table V.7).(21)  In addition, many working leavers will be eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that supplements incomes of low-income workers.


Table V.7:
Percent of Leavers Receiving Other Publicly Funded Sources of Income:
Survey Data
State Exit Cohort Timing of Survey
Post Exit
Timing1 Housing Assistance (%) SSI (%) EITC (%)
Arizona2 1Q98 12-18 months TOS 18 n.a. 51
District of Columbia 4Q98 ~12 months TOS3 274 n.a. n.a.
  SE 31 n.a. n.a.
Illinois Dec. 1998 6-8 months SE 14 12 41
Missouri 4Q98 26-34 months TOS 264 124 n.a.
  SE n.a. n.a. n.a.
Washington2 Oct. 1998 6-8 months TOS n.a. 4 4 n.a.
  SE 19 n.a. 65
1 TOS= Time of Survey, SE= Since Exit.
2 Single-parent cases.
3 Month prior to survey.
4 Reports for month prior to survey.
Source: See Appendix B for a complete listing of the leavers studies referenced.

A significant minority of leavers are receiving housing assistance. At the time of the survey, the rates ranged from 18 percent of welfare leavers in Arizona to 27.4 percent of leavers in the District of Columbia (both about 12 months after exiting TANF). A smaller percentage of families received this assistance in Illinois, 13.6 percent in the 6 to 8 months after exiting.

In addition, between 4.0 and 12.0 percent of former recipients receive cash assistance from the SSI program at the time of the survey. Since this income is for persons with a disability that prevents them from working, some leavers who are not working may instead be relying on this income.

A final source of public support is the federal EITC. Working families with relatively low earnings are eligible to receive this credit from the federal government.(22) Three studies report how many leavers received this credit. Arizona reports 51 percent of leavers, Illinois reports 40.8 percent of leavers, and Washington reports 65 percent of leavers received the EITC. Arizona and Illinois also report that a higher percentage of leavers had heard of the EITC, 66 percent and 76 percent, respectively. Illinois probes further and finds that although three-quarters have heard of the EITC, only 47 percent say they know what it is, a percentage not much higher than those receiving the credit.