Food Stamp Program:

Participation by AFDC Households

RCED-88-85BR: Published: Feb 11, 1988. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the: (1) percentage of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipient households also receiving Food Stamp Program benefits, both nationally and for each state; and (2) reasons why AFDC households in some states do not have higher food stamp participation rates.

GAO found that: (1) although the two programs were designed to assist many of the same low-income households, their eligibility standards differed considerably; (2) the Food Stamp Program limited eligibility to those with a gross monthly income of 130 percent of the poverty level, while states determined their own AFDC eligibility standards; (3) nationally, 83.4 percent of all AFDC households participated in the Food Stamp Program; (4) the participation rate for households composed of only AFDC recipients was 93.7 percent, while the participation rate for AFDC households that included at least one member who did not receive AFDC benefits was 66.1 percent; (5) almost all AFDC-only households met program eligibility requirements, while some AFDC-mixed households were not eligible because of a household member's income; (6) states' improper benefits denials and terminations prevented some eligible households from participating; and (7) 1.9 percent of eligible AFDC-only households did not apply for food stamps, while 5.8 percent of eligible AFDC-mixed households did not participate because they did not apply or because their applications were denied.

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