A longitudinal perspective on entitlement income among homeless adults

Cheryl Zlotnick, Marjorie J. Robertson, Maureen Lahiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Sources of entitlement income were examined in a sample of homeless adults to determine whether certain subgroups more consistently obtain entitlement income and are more likely to continue receiving it over time. Methods: From a baseline sample of 564 homeless residents of Alameda County, California, 397 were interviewed at both five and 15-month follow- ups. Information was obtained on income received from public sources in the 30 days before each interview, including general assistance, Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC), Supplemental Security Income, or Social Security Disability Insurance. Data were also obtained on psychiatric diagnosis, race, marital status, education, duration of homelessness in adulthood, household status, and reported disability. Results: At baseline fewer than half of the respondents were receiving any entitlement income. The benefits of almost half of the AFDC and general assistance recipients were terminated during the 15-month period. Respondents who continued receiving entitlement income over the 15-month period were more likely to be black, to be women alone or with children, to have a family history of receiving welfare, and to report a disability. Respondents with dual disorders were six times more likely than others to have their benefits terminated. Conclusion: Entitlement income is tenuous for many homeless adults, particularly those with dual diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1042
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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