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Changing Participation in Food Assistance Programs Among Low-Income Children after Welfare Reform


Jessica Erin Todd


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Constance Newman


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Economic Research Service (ERS)

Michele L. Ver Ploeg


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

February 1, 2010

USDA-ERS Economic Research Report Number 92

Abstract:     
In 1996, the safety net for poor households with children fundamentally changed when Federal legislation replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This study investigates participation in, and benefits received from, AFDC/TANF and food assistance programs, before and after the legislation, for children in low-income households (income below 300 percent of the Federal poverty line). The results show that, between 1990 and 2004, the share of children receiving food stamp benefits declined, most notably among children in the poorest households (income below 50 percent of the Federal poverty line). The share of children receiving benefits from the school meals programs and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and children (WIC) rose, mainly among children in low-income households with income above the Federal poverty line. Overall, the share of children in households that received benefits from AFDC/TANF or food assistance programs grew from 35 percent to 52 percent. However, the net result of these changes is that average total inflation-adjusted household benefits from all programs examined declined. The decline was largest among children in the poorest households.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

Keywords: Food Stamp Program, SNAP, food assistance, welfare reform, WIC, school meals, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, TANF, AFDC

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Date posted: March 27, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Todd, Jessica Erin and Newman, Constance and Ver Ploeg, Michele L., Changing Participation in Food Assistance Programs Among Low-Income Children after Welfare Reform (February 1, 2010). USDA-ERS Economic Research Report Number 92. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1561664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1561664

Contact Information

Jessica Erin Todd (Contact Author)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )
355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5363 (Phone)
Constance Newman
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )
355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5598 (Phone)
Michele L. Ver Ploeg
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )
1800 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20036-5831
United States
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