Moving beyond race, sex, and education: Exploring the relationship between disability and long-term welfare receipt


Wright, Mellissa K. (2015). Moving beyond race, sex, and education: Exploring the relationship between disability and long-term welfare receipt.


PSID data reveals that there is a distinct subpopulation of individuals that are at a significantly greater risk of being both chronically poor and accessing public assistance for extended periods of time. Although many researchers have examined the demographic characteristics of individuals who are the most likely to be persistently poor, the emphasis has been on race, sex, and education as predictive variables. Very little attention has been paid to the role that disability plays in long-term poverty and benefit access. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to utilize data from the longitudinal ADD Health Study in order to explore whether or not the presence of certain types of disabilities might also affect an individual's likelihood for accessing long-term public support such as food stamps, cash assistance, or housing subsidies. Results of odds ratio regressions indicate that disability is a strong predictor of whether or not an individual is likely to access welfare benefits across both Wave 1 and Wave 3. However, the type of disability does matter in making these predictions. Those with learning disabilities and mental health disabilities, such as depression, are more likely than individuals who are physically disabled to access welfare benefits. The implications of this study are significant, especially considering that one of the central features of the 1996 welfare reforms included lifetime limits for assistance benefits. Consequently, lifetime limits on assistance could mean that individuals who already face numerous barriers to self sufficiency, including disability, may face greater personal and economic hardships once they reach the limit on their lifetime eligibility.



Social sciences


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2015

Reference Type


Book Title



Wright, Mellissa K.

Series Author(s)

Broman, Clifford L.

Year Published





Michigan State University

City of Publication

Ann Arbor





Reference ID