Bringing the Economy Home

Census: More Than A Quarter Of Idahoans Who Get Government Benefits Are Disabled

American Community Survey / U.S. Census Bureau

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New data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show 28.7 percent of adult Idahoans who receive benefits are also disabled. Nationally, that rate is 30.4 percent.

The survey data includes people who are 18 or older and receiving Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (also called food stamps).

Census data shows there are 214,772 people in Idaho who fall into this category, 61,639 of whom have some type of disability. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s latest facts and figures report shows when children are included, the total number of people receiving government benefits is more than 320,000.

The Census report says it’s important to understand who is using government benefit programs because many entitlements require people to be low-income and have a disability.

The second reason disability is an important characteristic is due to the economic disparities between individuals with and without disabilities that may contribute to the need for government assistance. About one-in-three adults aged 18 to 64 with disabilities were employed in 2011, while three out of every four adults within the same age group and without a disability were employed.

Among those who did work, the median annual earnings for individuals with disabilities was $19,735, compared with $30,285 for those without a disability. With lower employment and earnings, on average, individuals with disabilities would appear to be at greater risk for needing assistance. – U.S. Census Bureau


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