The Working Poor and Welfare Recipiency
The Jerome Levy Economics Institute WP No. 151
45 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 1998
Current welfare debates assume that the poor are taking unfair advantage of the largess of the government by shunning work for welfare benefits. Yet many studies have shown that many of those who qualify for welfare benefits fail to receive assistance. This study adds to this growing body of research by examining the extent to which the working poor who qualify for AFDC, Food Stamps, and Medicaid receive these benefits. We find that a substantial number of the working poor do not receive the benefits for which they qualify. In addition, those who qualify for welfare benefits are not out of the ordinary: most are in married couple families, are in their prime working years, have at least high school educations, and work many hours. The jobs they hold, which tend to be in low-paid service occupations and industries, seem to deposit them into their precarious position of belonging to the working poor.
JEL Classification: I31, I38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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By Fofo Amétépé