Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress. INDICATOR 7. Program Spell Duration

09/22/2015

Figure IND 7.  Percentage of TANF, SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Percentage of TANF, SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 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 2008 SIPP panel (2008 – 2011).  This estimate differs from some USDA data because of methodological differences in the way that the data is tabulated. 

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.

  • Figure IND 7 shows the percentage of TANF, SNAP, and SSI spells by spell length categories for persons entering programs in the late 2000s.  Between 2008 and 2012, brief spells lasting four months or less accounted for 50.5 percent of TANF spells, 28.7 percent of SNAP spells, and 33.0 percent of SSI spells.
  • Eighty (79.6) percent of all TANF spells, over half of SNAP spells (53.7 percent) and 54.0 percent of SSI spells lasted one year or less. 
  • Table IND 7a shows the percentage of program spells for persons entering programs during the 2008 – 2012 period by length of spell and demographic characteristics.  Among child recipients of TANF, most children experienced shorter spells of receipt (less than 4 months) rather than longer spells of receipt (greater than 20 months).
    Adults 65 years and older had the longest spells of SSI receipt (55.9 percent lasted more than 20 months).  Children ages 6 – 10 had the longest spells of SNAP receipt (42.4 percent lasted more than 20 months).  Children ages 11 – 15 had the longest spells of TANF receipt (21.9 percent lasted more than 20 months).
  • Table IND 7b shows how the percentage of program spells of varying lengths for persons entering programs during selected periods has changed.  Spells of TANF receipt were shorter in the 2000s than in the early 1990s.  For instance, 11.3 percent of TANF spells for persons entering TANF between 2008 and 2012 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, SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 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

50.5

29.1

9.2

11.3

 

Non-Hispanic White

50.1

30.2

7.7

12.0

 

Non-Hispanic Black

53.7

25.5

9.4

11.5

 

Hispanic

47.3

32.4

10.2

10.2

 

Children ages 0-5

41.9

34.4

11.3

12.4

 

Children ages 6-10

44.0

30.8

12.8

12.4

 

Children ages 11-15

46.2

28.3

3.6

21.9

 

Adults ages 16-64

55.7

27.5

9.5

7.4

 

Adults ages 65 and over

60.3

26.3

0.0

13.4

SNAP

All Recipients

28.7

25.0

11.0

35.3

 

Non-Hispanic White

27.1

27.3

10.3

35.3

 

Non-Hispanic Black

28.8

22.5

10.3

38.4

 

Hispanic

30.0

24.0

12.8

33.2

 

Children ages 0-5

20.0

28.3

10.3

41.4

 

Children ages 6-10

21.7

25.2

10.7

42.4

 

Children ages 11-15

26.3

25.7

10.5

37.4

 

Adults ages 16-64

30.5

25.2

11.5

32.9

 

Adults ages 65 and over

36.7

16.6

8.6

38.1

SSI

All Recipients

33.0

21.0

8.3

37.8

 

Non-Hispanic White

32.1

20.1

5.4

42.4

 

Non-Hispanic Black

34.6

23.8

11.0

30.6

 

Hispanic

36.6

18.7

7.1

37.7

 

Children ages 0-5

46.2

29.7

8.8

15.3

 

Children ages 6-10

46.6

29.9

8.8

14.8

 

Children ages 11-15

42.7

23.7

8.8

24.9

 

Adults ages 16-64

29.9

19.9

7.6

42.5

 

Adults ages 65 and over

21.3

12.3

10.5

55.9

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 2008 SIPP panel (2008 – 2012).  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, 2008 panel.21

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

2008 – 2012

TANF

50.5

29.1

9.2

11.3

 

SNAP

28.7

25.0

11.0

35.3

 

SSI

33.0

21.0

8.3

37.8

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, and 2008 panels.

These estimates differ from some USDA data because of methodological differences in the way that the data is tabulated.


21 These estimates differ from some USDA data because of methodological differences in the way that the data is tabulated.

 

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