The Dynamics of AFDC, Medicaid, and Food Stamps: A Preliminary Report
Over the course of the last 60 years, the United States has developed a series of public programs to aid economically disadvantaged people that involve both cash and in-kind assistance. Much of our understanding of public assistance is based on an important body of work examining factors that influence exit from and return to the most heavily used cash public assistance program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Over the past two decades, a significant body of work has evolved on AFDC duration and the welfare careers of AFDC recipients. The AFDC program has rarely shared the spotlight with other in-kind programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps, even though many AFDC recipients simultaneously use these noncash programs, or continue to use them once their AFDC eligibility stops. In this paper, we hope to broaden this perspective and extend the literature on welfare careers by examining the use of Medicaid or food stamps among families who leave and return to AFDC. We use state-level administrative data, gathered by the Illinois Department of Human Services, to create grantee or case level longitudinal data spanning 1989-1997 to address these issues. Using both simple descriptive statistics and a succession of event-history analysis models, we explore timing of exit from and transitions across programs among a series of AFDC entry cohorts, and we examine the effects of individual socioeconomic and demographic characteristics on these events.
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