We estimate the effects of having a child in poor health on the mother's receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and public support in the form of food (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children [WIC] or food stamps), health insurance (Medicaid), and housing. We find that mothers with unhealthy children are between 2 and 8 percentage points (8-33%) more likely to rely on TANF than those with healthy children. There are stronger effects for mothers with older children than for those having first births. Mothers of children in poor health are also more likely than those with healthy children to receive SSI, Medicaid, and housing assistance but not WIC or food stamps. Given the restrictive new welfare environment, mothers who rely on TANF to cope with the burden of caring for unhealthy infants may soon encounter difficulties making ends meet and have insufficient resources to invest in their children's health.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics