Income Assistance Plays Role In Addressing Social Determinants Of Health – 2018 Update On SSI & TANF Trends Released By OPEN MINDS

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

Gettysburg, PA, June 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new report from OPEN MINDS highlights the connection between poverty and poor health outcomes, and explores how an income assistance program could play a role in addressing social determinants of health. The report noted that the higher an individual’s income is, the better their health status; individuals with lower incomes are found to have increased levels of morbidity, mortality, and risk-taking behaviors. Also important to an individual’s health status are the resources available in their community. For example, when individuals do not have access to transportation, healthy food options, or health care services within their community, their health status declines. Psychosocial effects also play a role in an individual’s health. Individuals with low-incomes are more likely to have experienced traumatic life events, experienced neighborhood violence and unrest, and experienced stress. In order to help meet these needs, the U.S. provides some income assistance via federal programs.

In 2016, U.S. spending on income assistance programs totaled $185.5 billion. This is a 21% increase from FY2009, when spending totaled $156.2 billion; on an inflation adjusted basis, this is a 6% increase. The U.S. provides income assistance primarily through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF). Both programs provide modest cash benefits to individuals to help meet their daily needs. These findings were released by OPEN MINDS in their recent market intelligence report, U.S. Spending On Income Assistance: $185.5 Billion In FY2016. Both SSI and TANF provide modest benefits to individuals, although SSI benefits are somewhat higher. The average SSI payment was $526.74 in 2016, with 8.3 million individuals having received payments. The average TANF payment was $406 in 2016, with 1.2 million families having received payments. For individuals receiving TANF cash benefits, where they live plays an important role. States vary widely in the amount of TANF funding they allocate to cash payments and the amount of each benefit. For example, the average cash benefit in New York is $575 per month, while the average cash benefit is $138 per month in Mississippi.

“Poverty matters when it comes to health status and health care spending. While there is plenty of research to show the effect of income on health outcomes, for care coordinators and professionals in health systems, there are limited income assistance programs to connect families and individuals,” said OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence Director, Athena Mandros. “For clinical professionals and others treating consumers, it is important to ask questions about income, access to food, living environment, etc. Then at the very least, organizations should educate and refer consumers to the relevant community resources. Organizations can also provide a care coordinator or social worker who can help a consumer apply for and access these resources, as applications are often long and difficult. Our most recent report gives provider organizations the information they need to help consumers navigate the complexity of income assistance programs, and how to connect them to social services.”

A free summary (registration required) of the report can be found at: Addressing The Social Determinants Of Health With Income Assistance. The report, U.S. Spending On Income Assistance: $185.5 Billion In FY2016, is available at no charge to Premium and Elite members of The OPEN MINDS Circle, and can be purchased in the OPEN MINDS e-shop for $495. This market intelligence report examines the differences between available income assistance programs, total spending on the programs, the average benefit, number of beneficiaries, trends in spending, and overall program participation.

Learn more about becoming an OPEN MINDS Circle member online at

For additional questions and inquiries, please contact Sarah C. Threnhauser, Executive Vice President, OPEN MINDS, at 717-334-1329 or


OPEN MINDS is a national market intelligence and strategic advisory firm focused on the sectors of the health and human service field serving consumers with chronic conditions and complex support needs. Founded in 1987 and based in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the 175+ associates provide market insights and innovative management solutions designed to improve operational and strategic performance. Learn more at


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