Public assistance, private assistance, combination of assistance, poverty, TANF


This study examined the types and combinations of public and private assistance received by three types of low-income households, including those with children, without children, and elderly without children. Using data from the 1996 and 2001 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the results indicate that a large percentage of low-income households rely on public assistance, and receipt of private assistance is much less common. Approximately 7% of the sample use both types of assistance. The findings highlight differences in combinations of public and private assistance used by different household types. Wealsofound some significant differences in thefactors that determine receipt of public and private assistance. Practice and policy implications are discussed.

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