Child Abuse and Welfare Use

40 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2004

See all articles by Mark W. Smith

Mark W. Smith

Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System

Date Written: August 2004


Physical and sexual abuse are very common among welfare recipients. The relation of abuse to welfare receipt remains largely unknown, however, because most research has been limited to current and former recipients. This paper uses a random sample of poor women to determine how a history of abuse affects the probability of receiving cash and in-kind assistance over a five-year period. It also investigates whether abuse affects the length of welfare receipt and the total amount of aid received. Women experiencing both physical and sexual abuse during childhood were more likely to use both cash and in-kind programs and had longer spells of cash assistance.

Keywords: Abuse, welfare programs, AFDC, Food Stamps, subsidized housing, domestic violence

JEL Classification: I3, I12, J1

Suggested Citation

Smith, Mark W., Child Abuse and Welfare Use (August 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Mark W. Smith (Contact Author)

Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System ( email )

Palo Alto, CA 94304
United States

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