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Selected Research & Analysis: Demographic Characteristics > Children (Aged 21 or Younger)

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Child Beneficiaries & Poverty
Population Profile (released March 2015)
Changing Stays? Duration of Supplemental Security Income Participation by First-Time Child Awardees and the Role of Continuing Disability Reviews
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 81, No. 2 (released May 2021)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter, Michael Levere, Pragya Singh, and David C. Wittenburg

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.

Infant Mortality Among Supplemental Security Income Applicants
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 79, No. 2 (released May 2019)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter and Paul S. Davies

This article examines infant and neonatal mortality rates among children who applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments before reaching 1 year of age during the period 1985–2015. The authors use administrative records from the Social Security Administration to calculate mortality rates across distinct SSI policy regimes within that period. When focusing on children who applied in 2015, the authors examine variations in mortality rates among infant SSI applicants by selected sociodemographic, medical, and SSI program-related characteristics.

Possible State Intervention Options to Serve Transition-Age Youths: Lessons from the West Virginia Youth Works Demonstration Project
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 3 (released August 2018)
by Joyanne Cobb, David C. Wittenburg, and Cara Stepanczuk

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.

Childhood Continuing Disability Reviews and Age-18 Redeterminations for Supplemental Security Income Recipients: Outcomes and Subsequent Program Participation
Research and Statistics Note No. 2015-03 (released October 2015)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter and Michelle Stegman Bailey

This note presents statistics on child Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients whose eligibility had ceased because of a finding of medical improvement in a childhood continuing disability review (CDR) or an age-18 redetermination. We present the numbers and percentage distributions of children and youths who received a CDR or age-18 redetermination between 1998 and 2008, the resulting cessation rates, and the estimated percentages that returned to Social Security Administration (SSA) disability programs, all by selected personal and programmatic characteristics. These statistics provide context for policy proposals calling on SSA to conduct more childhood CDRs.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and Children: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 3 (released August 2015)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

In 2011, the Census Bureau released its first report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM addresses many criticisms of the official poverty measure, and its intent is to provide an improved statistical picture of poverty. This article examines the extent of poverty identified by the two measures. The authors present a detailed examination of poverty among children (aged 0–17). For a more comprehensive view of poverty and comparison purposes, some findings are presented for two older segments of the U.S. population.

Longitudinal Patterns of Disability Program Participation and Mortality Across Childhood SSI Award Cohorts
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 1 (released February 2015)
by Kalman Rupp, Jeffrey Hemmeter, and Paul S. Davies

This article follows six annual cohorts of childhood Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability awardees between 1980 and 2000, for a time horizon up to 30 years after initial SSI award, in many cases well into adulthood. The authors compare trajectories of successive awardee cohorts as the SSI program evolves from 1980 to recent years. The results show that the proportion of awardees in SSI-only status declines over the life cycle, with over half transitioning to other statuses roughly after 10 to 15 years. Many awardees transition from the SSI program to concurrent or Disability Insurance–only benefit status, and increasing proportions of awardees are deceased or off the rolls and alive. These patterns are common for all awardee cohorts, but there are major changes in trajectories across cohorts. Compared with the early cohorts, the more recent cohorts display sharper declines in mortality and steeper increases in the proportion off the disability rolls for other reasons. These two trends have opposite effects on the duration of disability program participation over the life cycle, with important policy implications.

Earnings and Disability Program Participation of Youth Transition Demonstration Participants after 24 Months
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 1 (released February 2014)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter

This article presents earnings and Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program payment outcomes for youths participating in SSA's Youth Transition Demonstration project. Participants were randomly assigned to treatment or control groups at each of six project sites. The author provides overviews of the project sites and compares treatment- and control-group youths' earnings 1 year and 2 years after random assignment, and disability program payment receipt 24 months after random assignment.

Linking Youth Transition Support Services: Results from Two Demonstration Projects
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Christa Bucks Camacho and Jeffrey Hemmeter

This article presents an overview of two projects in the Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration: California's Bridges to Youth Self-Sufficiency and Mississippi's Model Youth Transition Innovation. We describe the projects' organization and the services they delivered. We also provide statistics on earnings and Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance receipt 5 years after project enrollment and provide case studies of two project participants.

Changes in Diagnostic Codes at Age 18
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-04 (released October 2012)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter

This note provides data on the changes in the primary diagnosis codes of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) youth resulting from age-18 redeterminations from 2005 through 2009. It also provides information on the percent of youth continuing on or leaving the SSI program at age 18 by primary diagnosis. Although there is some movement between primary diagnosis codes, most youth remain in the same overall diagnostic group even if program eligibility ceases.

A Profile of Social Security Child Beneficiaries and their Families: Sociodemographic and Economic Characteristics
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 1 (released February 2011)
by Christopher R. Tamborini, Emily Cupito, and Dave Shoffner

This article presents the sociodemographic and economic characteristics of Social Security child beneficiaries. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation matched with administrative benefit records, we find important differences in the incidence of child benefit receipt and average benefit amount across a number of individual and family-level characteristics. We also examine the demographic and income characteristics of the three beneficiary types: child of deceased worker, child of disabled worker, and child of retired worker.

Recipients of Supplemental Security Income and the Student Earned Income Exclusion
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 2 (released May 2010)
by Mary Kemp

This article examines the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), which is part of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SEIE is an incentive for work and education. The article presents statistics on the demographic characteristics of SSI recipients with SEIE; on the prevalence and intensity of SEIE use; on the seasonal patterns in SEIE use; and on the factors driving these seasonal patterns—including changes in earnings, student status, age, and SSI eligibility, as well as the effects of the annual SEIE limit.

How Post Secondary Education Improves Adult Outcomes for Supplemental Security Income Children with Severe Hearing Impairments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67, No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Robert R. Weathers II, Gerard Walter, Sara Schley, John C. Hennessey, Jeffrey Hemmeter, and Richard V. Burkhauser

This article uses a unique longitudinal dataset based on administrative data from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) linked to Social Security Administration (SSA) microdata to conduct a case study of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) children who applied for postsecondary education at NTID. The authors estimate the likelihood that SSI children who apply to NTID will eventually graduate relative to other hearing impaired applicants, as well as the influence of graduation from NTID on participation in the SSI program as adults and later success in the labor market. Findings indicate that SSI children are substantially less likely to graduate from NTID than their fellow deaf students who did not participate in the SSI program as children, but that those who do graduate spend less time in the SSI adult program and have higher age-earnings profiles than those who do not graduate.

An Overview of the National Survey of SSI Children and Families and Related Products
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66, No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Paul S. Davies and Kalman Rupp

During the first three decades of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the number of children receiving SSI because of a disability increased from 70,000 in 1974 to about 1 million at the end of 2005. With over 8,500 interviews completed between July 2001 and June 2002, the National Survey of SSI Children and Families (NSCF) is the first nationally representative survey since 1978 of noninstitutionalized children and young adults who were receiving SSI during the survey period or had formerly received SSI. The article discusses the objectives of the survey, its methodology and implementation, content of the questionnaire, a randomized response-incentive experiment, and related products including the release of a public-use data file.

A Profile of Children with Disabilities Receiving SSI: Highlights from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66, No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Kalman Rupp, Paul S. Davies, Chad Newcomb, Howard M. Iams, Carrie Becker, Shanti Mulpuru, Stephen Ressler, Kathleen Romig, and Baylor Miller

This article, based on interviews from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families conducted between July 2001 and June 2002, presents a profile of children under the age of 18 who were receiving support from the Supplemental Security Income program. The topics highlighted provide information of SSI children with disabilities and their families not available from administrative records, including demographic characteristics, income and assets, perceived health and disabilities, and health care utilization. While virtually every child in the SSI program is covered by some form of health insurance, primarily Medicaid, the data indicate substantial heterogeneity on other variables. This is true on many different dimensions, such as the perceived severity of the child's disabling conditions, health care utilization and service needs, the presence of other family members with disabilities, family demographics, and access to non-SSI sources of incomes.

Child Support Payments and the SSI Program
Policy Brief No. 2004-02 (released February 2004)
by Susan Wilschke and Richard Balkus

In determining the benefit amount for a child, the Supplemental Security Income program excludes one-third of child support payments from countable income. Legislation reauthorizing the 1996 welfare reform law contains provisions that would encourage states to allow children receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to keep more of the child support paid by an absent parent. These potential changes provide impetus to revisit the way the SSI program treats child support.

Improving Child Support Enforcement for Children Receiving SSI
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 64, No. 1 (released April 2002)
by Susan Wilschke

This article examines child support provisions in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and other means-tested programs. It also discusses policy options for improving receipt of child support for children receiving SSI and ways that SSA could gain better access to child support data.

Family Unit Incomes of the Elderly and Children, 1994
ORES Working Paper No. 70 (released November 1996)
by Daniel B. Radner

The economic status of the elderly and the economic status of children are analyzed using a comprehensive definition of income that takes selected types of noncash income and taxes into account. Estimates are presented for detailed age groups over the entire age range and for socioeconomic classifications within the elderly subgroup and within the subgroup of children. The paper finds that children and the elderly are less well off than the middle age groups. This result is obtained using median incomes and the percentage of the group that has low income, as defined here. When results obtained with the measures presented in this paper are compared with results obtained with more commonly used measures, there are important differences for both the elderly and for children. For both groups, the composition of the low-income population differs in important ways from the composition of the official poverty population.

The Influence of Social Security Benefits and SSI Payments on the Poverty Status of Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 57, No. 2 (released April 1994)
by John R. Kearney, Herman F. Grundmann, and Salvatore J. Gallicchio
Children Receiving SSI Payments, December 1992
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56, No. 2 (released April 1993)
by Lenna D. Kennedy
Children Receiving SSI Payments, December 1991
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 55, No. 2 (released April 1992)
by Lenna D. Kennedy
Survey of Disabled Children Under SSI Program
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 43, No. 1 (released January 1980)
Young Widows and Their Children: A Comparative Report
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 38, No. 5 (released May 1975)
by Lucy B. Mallan
Childhood Disability Beneficiaries, 1957–64: Characteristics and Geographic Distribution
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 2 (released February 1967)
by Phoebe H. Goff
Factors Associated With School Dropouts and Juvenile Delinquency Among Lower-Class Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 10 (released October 1963)
by Erdman Palmore
Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance: Characteristics of Beneficiaries Disabled Since Childhood, 1957–61
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 8 (released August 1963)
by Phoebe H. Goff
Money Income Sources of Young Survivors, December 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 9 (released September 1960)
by Mollie Orshansky
Title V of the Social Security Act: What It Has Meant to Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 8 (released August 1960)
by Katherine B. Oettinger
Characteristics of Applicants for Childhood Disability Benefits, 1957
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22, No. 8 (released August 1959)
by Phoebe H. Goff
Money Income Sources for Young Survivors, December 1957
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 8 (released August 1958)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Children Served by Public Child Welfare Programs, 1946–57
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 5 (released May 1958)
by Helen R. Jeter and Henry C. Lajewski
Money Income Sources for Orphans and Young Widows, December 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 8 (released August 1957)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Adoptions in 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 6 (released June 1957)
by Henry C. Lajewski
Money Income Sources for Young Survivors
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 8 (released August 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Today's Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 3 (released March 1956)
by Charles I. Schottland
Money Income Sources for Young Widows and Orphans, Mid-1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 2 (released February 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Twenty Years of Progress for Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18, No. 8 (released August 1955)
by Martha M. Eliot
Toward Greater Security in Childhood
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18, No. 4 (released April 1955)
by Charles I. Schottland
Orphanhood—A Diminishing Problem
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18, No. 3 (released March 1955)
by Louis O. Shudde
Economic Status of Widows and Paternal Orphans, June 1954
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 12 (released December 1954)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Orphans in the United States, July 1, 1953
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 7 (released July 1954)
by Louis O. Shudde
Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled: The Young Recipients
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 10 (released October 1953)
by Garnett A. Lester
Adoption of Children in 1951
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 3 (released March 1953)
by I. Richard Perlman and Jack Wiener
Future Citizens All: A Report on Aid to Dependent Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 1 (released January 1953)
by Gordon W. Blackwell and Raymond F. Gould
Recommendations of the White House Conference on Children and Youth
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 2 (released February 1951)
Fact-Finding for the White House Conference on Children and Youth
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 11 (released November 1950)
by Melvin A. Glasser
Orphans in the United States: Number and Living Arrangements
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 8 (released August 1950)
by Jacob Fisher
Services for Children: Three Programs of the Children's Bureau
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 5 (released May 1950)
Guardianship of Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 1–2 (released February 1950)
by Alice Scott Hyatt
The Dependents of Workers: Selected Data on Numbers and Types
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 12, No. 1 (released January 1949)
by Marvin S. Bloom
Characteristics and Incomes of Families Assisted by Aid to Dependent Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 9, No. 7 (released July 1946)
Children and Family Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 1 (released January 1945)
by Thomas J. Woofter, Jr.
Administration of the Servicemen's Dependents Allowance Act of 1942
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 7 (released July 1943)
by Harry Grossman
Children in Urban and Rural Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 10 (released October 1939)
by Barkev S. Sanders and Doris Carlton
The Economic Status of Urban Families and Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 5 (released May 1939)
by I. S. Falk and Barkev S. Sanders