Florida's safety net among the nation's weakestFlorida ranked 48th among the states in the share of needy people receiving benefits, and fell into the bottom 10 states in four of six categories.
■ Only 7% of poor children and parents in Florida receive cash welfare. In Vermont, the top-ranking state, 49% do. The national average is 21%.Florida's best performance was in the share of eligible people who receive food stamps. But at 62%, Florida is still below the national average of 67%. In Missouri, 98% of eligible people receive food stamps.
■ Only 23% of eligible Florida households receive housing benefits. The national average is 30%.
■ Only 30% of uninsured poor adults in Florida are covered by government programs. Maine, the highest-ranking state provides health-care coverage for 69% of its poor adults. The national average is 41%.
■ Only 56% of uninsured low-income children in Florida are covered by government programs. No state covers fewer than half of its low-income uninsured children. The national average is 73%.
Florida provided benefits to 38% of its unemployed people. The national average is 44%.
And things may be worse now. The rankings reflect 2008 numbers.
See the complete rankings and charts here (at The New York Times).