Research & Analysis by David C. Wittenburg
Changing Stays? Duration of Supplemental Security Income Participation by First-Time Child Awardees and the Role of Continuing Disability Reviews
This article provides new evidence of the changing role of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for low-income children since 1997. The authors use administrative records from the Social Security Administration to identify new SSI awardees and track their histories in SSI and in the Social Security Disability Insurance program. SSI participation lasted much longer for 2007 and 2012 awardees than for their 1997 counterparts. However, the authors also find that the volume of continuing disability reviews, which determine continuation or cessation of SSI eligibility and were conducted more frequently for 1997 awardees than for subsequent cohorts, strongly affects length of program participation. The trend toward longer periods of program participation therefore might not continue, given that the number of continuing disability reviews has risen substantially since 2015.
When Every Dollar Counts: Comparing Reported Earnings of Social Security Disability Program Beneficiaries in Survey and Administrative Records
This article examines differences between survey- and administrative data–based estimates of employment and earnings for a sample of Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program beneficiaries. The analysis uses linked records from SSA's National Beneficiary Survey and administrative data from the agency's Master Earnings File. The authors find that estimated employment rates and earnings levels based on administrative data are higher than those based on survey data for beneficiaries overall and by sociodemographic subgroup. In proportional terms, the differences between survey and administrative data tend to be greater among subgroups with survey-reported employment rates that are lower than that of beneficiaries overall.
Possible State Intervention Options to Serve Transition-Age Youths: Lessons from the West Virginia Youth Works Demonstration Project
The Social Security Administration funded the West Virginia Youth Works intervention as part of the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) to improve the employment and independent-living outcomes of youths with disabilities. This project was one of six that constituted the full YTD evaluation. This article examines Youth Works implementation and outcomes to provide a potential case study for other states interested in expanding services to youths with disabilities.
Using linked administrative data from program and earnings records, we summarize the 2007 employment rates of working-age (18–64) Social Security disability program beneficiaries at the national and state levels, as well as changes in employment since 1996. Substantial variation exists within the population. Disability Insurance beneficiaries and those younger than age 40 were much more likely to work relative to other Social Security beneficiaries. There are also strong regional differences in the employment rates among disability beneficiaries of working age, and these differences are persistent over time.
This article examines the interaction between the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs in the period before welfare reform (1990 to 1996). It also discusses the potential impact of welfare reform on the interaction between SSI and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which replaced AFDC.
How Raising the Age of Eligibility for Social Security and Medicare Might Affect the Disability Insurance and Medicare Program
This article considers two hypothetical scenarios—one in which the Medicare eligibility age is raised to 67 along with the scheduled increase in the normal retirement age, and one in which eligibility for both programs is raised to age 70. It then projects the effects that each of those changes would have on Social Security Disability Insurance participation, Medicare participation, and Medicare expenditures.