Special Report

States Where It's Most Difficult to Get Welfare - Even If You Need It


To determine the states where welfare supports the fewest families, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits recipiency and poverty from the nonpartisan research institute Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. States were ranked based on the number of families receiving TANF benefits for every 100 families with income below the poverty line. Data on the TANF-to-poverty ratio are two-year averages for 2019 and 2020. 

Data on the maximum monthly TANF benefit for a single-parent family of three is also from the CBPP and is current as of July 2021. Data on the percentage of state TANF spending that is allocated to basic cash assistance – as opposed to work, education, and training activities, work supports and supportive services, child care, refundable tax credits, pre-kindergarten and Head Start, child welfare, program management, or other state budget areas – is from the CBPP and is for fiscal 2020. Data on the percentage of families in poverty and the median family income is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and figures are five-year estimates.

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