Research & Analysis by Elsa Orley Ponce
States are permitted to provide supplements to the Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. These supplements are intended to help meet the needs of their residents that are not met by the Federal SSI payment. The States determine the categories of persons and the amount they will supplement. The types of SSI recipients States have chosen to supplement, as well as the changes in their choices and in their supplementation levels over the years, are examined in this article. Since 1982, the number of SSI recipients receiving State supplements has increased each year. This increase in the number of recipients has resulted in increased expenditures for States. To control rising costs, States have begun using a variety of methods. Since 1993, nearly one-third of the States have reduced their payment levels to persons living independently. In addition, some States have begun reducing their supplementation rolls. Other States have begun to administer their own programs, possibly to bypass the recently imposed Federal administration fees.