To Eat or Not to Eat?

By: Rhucha Samudra  

Since the passage of PRWORA in 1996, millions of single mothers left welfare and got off public assistance by gaining employment. Yet, a growing body of literature is concerned about those women who left TANF but did not find employment. Literature finds that those who left welfare without gaining employment find themselves in economic and material hardship. Such women are called as “disconnected” implying that they neither receive TANF nor have any earnings from employment. In 2008, approximately 1.2 million women were disconnected at point in time (Loprest and Austin, 2011). Current literature primarily focuses on understanding the dynamics and coping strategies of these women who live at the economic margin of the society. Though literature discusses the extent of this phenomenon along with how such disconnection affects material hardship, literature does not explore those material hardship questions in details. In this study, I focus specifically on the connection between food security and disconnected women. I ask the following research question, “to what extent do disconnected women experience food insecurity?” To answer this question, I use the food security supplement from Current Population Survey (CPS) for the years 1995-2016. I define disconnected mothers as single women with dependent children who are not employed and do not receive cash assistance from TANF. Since it is the 21st anniversary of PRWORA, exploring the effect of PRWORA on a population that left welfare without finding employment is important to understand the effect of the reform on this vulnerable population.

"TANF", " Food Security", " Disconnected Mothers"
Food, Nutrition, and Health
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Rhucha Samudra

Rhucha Samudra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration at SUNY, Brockport. Her research focuses on the design and impact of the US Social Safety Net on economic and social outcomes for low income individuals and families.