Trends in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability Programs
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The Social Security Disability Insurance program celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2006. As part of the Social Security Administration's recognition of this milestone, the agency's Office of Policy compiled these Trends in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability Programs. This volume combines much of the information on SSA's disability programs that is available in other publications. However, information from across decades of program data appears in a user-friendly format that is accessible to both the disability policy researcher and the interested private citizen. The topics covered are:
- program cost and size;
- entry into and exit from the disability programs;
- population factors influencing program size;
- changes in program policy influencing program size;
- changes in incentives influencing program size; and
- projected future course for SSA programs.
This publication was conceptualized and written by L. Scott Muller, Brett O'Hara, and John R. Kearney, all researchers in the Office of Policy's Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics. Staff of the Office's Division of Information Resources edited the report and prepared the print and electronic versions for publication.
The authors wish to acknowledge others who helped make this publication possible. Eli Donkar, Bert Kestenbaum, Mary McKay, and Tim Zayatz of the Office of the Chief Actuary provided finance data and supplied insight concerning their significance. Tim Cliff, Dale Cox, and Barry Eigen of the Office of Disability and Income Support Programs provided additional information about some of the program policy changes and assisted with explanations of how those changes may have affected the data series.
Linda Drazga Maxfield
Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics
The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program provides benefits to retired workers and their dependent family members and to survivors of deceased workers. The Disability Insurance (DI) program provides benefits to disabled workers, their spouses, and children (whether or not disabled).
Benefits are paid from the OASI and DI trust funds. However, not all disabled beneficiaries are paid from the DI trust fund. All disabled widow(er)s' and most disabled adult children's benefits are paid from the OASI trust fund. Disabled persons receiving disability benefits from either trust fund are referred to in this report as disabled Social Security beneficiaries.
The Supplemental Security Income program provides monthly cash benefits to aged, disabled, and blind individuals who meet income and resource limits as well as the medical eligibility requirements. Benefits are paid to blind and disabled children under the age of 18 and adults aged 18 or older.
With respect to the SSI blind and disabled, unless otherwise specified—
- recipients are persons receiving federally administered payments
- all payments are federal payments only, and
- SSI blind and disabled adults include only persons aged 18–64.
With respect to the data contained herein, unless otherwise specified—
- all cost, award, and termination data are for calendar years, and
- all counts of Social Security beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and the insured population are as of December of the given year.
With respect to projections of the future of the programs, unless otherwise specified—
- all estimates were made by SSA's Office of the Chief Actuary (OCACT),
- all estimates for the trust funds come from the 2005 Trustees Report,
- all estimates for the SSI program come from OCACT's 2005 annual report on the SSI program, and
- all estimates are based on the Trustees' intermediate assumptions.