Income and Relative Poverty Status of AFDC Families Gao ID: HRD-88-9 November 4, 1987

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined: (1) incomes of recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefits; (2) major programs and other sources of AFDC recipients' incomes and how this income affected total incomes; (3) how AFDC recipient incomes compared with the poverty line, other welfare recipient incomes, and nonwelfare family incomes; and (4) welfare policy implications of these results.

GAO found that 2- to 4-member AFDC families had monthly incomes: (1) averaging $819 at market value and $646 at recipient value; (2) consisting mostly of welfare benefits and affected by such factors as geography, availability of housing assistance, and earnings; and (3) rarely exceeding the poverty line. GAO also found that: (1) 9 of 10 AFDC families participated in at least 2 other federal welfare programs; (2) welfare benefits comprised at least 90 percent of AFDC family income; (3) nonwelfare income sources included Social Security, veterans' benefits, alimony, and child support; (4) AFDC families typically had lower incomes than those of other welfare groups and of nonwelfare, single-parent families; and (5) there is limited information on incomes of AFDC families living with persons not receiving AFDC.

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