In order to afford basic living expenses in Alamance County, a working family with 1 adult and 2 children needs to earn a total of $41,130 annually. This total is 224.6% of the 2009 federal poverty level for a family of three ($18,310). This means that single parent families with two kids who made between $36,621 and $41,129 in 2009 didn’t have enough money for basic living expenses but were not eligible for TANF. Further, to earn enough to meet basic needs in Alamance County, the head of this household would need to earn $19.77/hour, more than two and a half times the minimum wage.1
But would the addition of TANF funds and food stamps make eligible families wealthy? Not even close. The maximum a family of 1 adult and 2 children can get in TANF aid is $272 per month.2 The maximum food stamps they can get is $526 per month.3 With a monthly cost of living in Alamance County of $3,9274 in order to afford basic living expenses for a family of 3, however, this money does not go far:
1 2011 Alamance Community Assessment, p. 133. See also the online living wage calculator at http://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/37001.
2 NC Department of Health and Human Services, monthly TANF payments for the number of people in the family eligible for aid can be found online at: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/workfirst/income.htm).
3 Food and Nutrition Services guidelines for the state of North Carolina, online at: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/foodstamp/
4 According to the NC Justice Center, the yearly is $47,162, or $3927/month. Sirota, Alexandra Forter, and Edwin McLenaghan. 2011. Making Ends Meet after the Great Recession: The 2010 Living Income Standard for North Carolina: North Carolina Justice Center.
5 The poverty threshold for 2010 was $17,568/year or $1464/month). Poverty thresholds from the U.S. Census, online at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/threshld/