Former Welfare Families and the Food Stamp Program

Brief

Former Welfare Families and the Food Stamp Program

The Exodus Continues

Abstract

Only 43 percent of eligible families who left welfare between 1997 and 1999 participated in the Food Stamp program (FSP), according to data from the NSAF, mirroring the trend observed two years earlier. Only half of welfare leavers with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level participated in the FSP, despite the large benefit they can receive. Among former welfare recipients, 70 percent who left the FSP owned cars and 57 percent had moved in the past year, raising the question of whether stringent asset tests and difficulty in maintaining a certified address contribute to low food stamp participation. The findings suggest that food stamps are not providing an effective transition benefit for welfare leaver families.

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