Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants

by Anne DeCesaro and Jeffrey Hemmeter
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02 (released January 2008)

Related Content

Update: 2010 edition

Anne DeCesaro is with the Division of Policy Evaluation and Jeffrey Hemmeter is with the Division of SSI Statistics and Analysis, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, Office of Policy, Social Security Administration.

Acknowledgments: We, the authors, would like to thank Dawn Haines and Todd Williams for their statistical expertise. We would also like to thank Linda Maxfield, Susan Grad, John Kearney, Paul Davies, John Hennessey, and Connie Marion for their helpful comments and suggestions. We also appreciate the help of Howard Iams, Jim Sears, Thuy Ho, and Denise Lewis (of the Census Bureau) for broadening our insight on the data and previous research in this area.

The findings and conclusions presented in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Social Security Administration.

Introduction

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for administering billions of dollars in benefits to disabled individuals each year. Accordingly, the agency is interested in the characteristics of its program participants, primarily for the enhancement of policy-related discussions. The data SSA routinely collects is administrative, that is, primarily intended for program administration, with limited information on the economic and demographic characteristics of program participants. To obtain additional information on the characteristics of program participants, SSA matches its administrative data with survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). In particular, these data from the SIPP can provide estimates of demographic and economic characteristics for Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.

Since 1956, the DI program has paid benefits to disabled individuals who have become insured by working. Benefits are based on previous earnings and are paid from the Disability Insurance Trust Fund when a disabled individual can no longer perform substantial gainful activity. SSA also administers the means-tested SSI program, a federal program that first issued payments in 1974. This program provides cash assistance to the disabled, blind, and aged with limited income and resources. An individual or a couple's monthly payment amount begins at the federally established benefit amount and is then reduced for countable earned and unearned income. Although SSI is a federal program, states may also supplement the payments. Additionally, some DI beneficiaries with low-benefit amounts may also be able to receive SSI payments.1

Estimates presented in this note were formerly published in the SSI Annual Statistical Report and the Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, two annual SSA publications featuring administrative data. The estimates here are inherently different because they rely on a combination of both administrative and survey data. Although the administrative data contain the information necessary for administering the DI and SSI programs—such as payment amounts, sex, and date of birth—they lack other related information necessary for policy analyses.

Data

The base data for this note come from the public-use file (PUF) associated with the 2001 SIPP—a household survey of the noninstitutionalized resident population of the United States—conducted by the Census Bureau. The SIPP is designed to measure the economic situation of persons, families, and households in the United States as well as provide a tool for managing and evaluating government transfer and service programs.

To increase the number of DI and SSI program participants available for analysis, SSA contracted with the Census Bureau to interview a sample of known DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients identified from SSA administrative records using the SIPP Core questionnaire.2 This resulted in 2,447 additional interviews of known program participants and is defined as an oversample. Adding this oversample of interviews to the 2,575 program participants identified in the 2001 SIPP yields a total of 5,022 interviews of DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients.3

Interview respondents were matched to SSA administrative records based on validated Social Security numbers collected during the interview process or as part of selection into the oversample. When the survey and administrative records were matched, SSA administrative records provided data on the receipt and amount of Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI, or Social Security) and SSI payments.4 For SIPP respondents who did not provide a valid Social Security number, benefit receipt and amounts were taken from the SIPP survey data instead of SSA's administrative records. DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients are identified as individuals who received a benefit in December 2002.

In tabulations of Medicaid coverage for SSI recipients, the SIPP Medicaid variable has been recoded to reflect the fact that SSI recipients in certain states, sometimes referred to as Section 1634 states, are automatically covered by Medicaid. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia provide automatic Medicaid coverage for SSI recipients, accounting for approximately 80 percent of all SSI recipients.

For the income and poverty estimates in this analysis, we use September, October, November, and December of 2002. These four months correspond to the interview period of the oversample. Depending on the month the household was interviewed, some sample members from the SIPP public-use file had to be present in both waves 6 and 7, while other sample members only had to be present in wave 6. For all sample members, the poverty threshold, taking into account family composition, was provided in the SIPP data. Data for characteristics other than income and poverty—such as age, sex, race, education, marital status, living arrangements, and health insurance—are identified from SIPP survey data for a single month, December 2002.

Discussion of the Estimates

A select number of results are featured in this discussion with the remaining estimates presented in the tables.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The DI beneficiaries featured in Tables 1 through 5 include disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children (DAC) aged 18–64. Because disabled workers comprise the largest subpopulation, 87 percent of the total, breakouts for this subcategory have also been provided in the tables but are not discussed below.

DI beneficiaries receive income from a variety of sources. Eighteen percent of beneficiaries receive concurrent SSI payments. Additionally, about 26 percent receive some other form of public assistance. As would be expected from a program designed to help individuals who are unable to work at a substantial level, relatively few DI beneficiaries, about 19 percent, have income from earnings (Table 1).

Table 1. Number and percentage distribution of Social Security DI beneficiaries, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Number Percentage of all beneficiaries
All disabled
beneficiaries
Disabled
workers
All disabled
beneficiaries
Disabled
workers
All beneficiaries 6,275,185 5,477,436 100.0 100.0
Sex
Male 3,288,365 2,959,829 52.4 54.0
Female 2,986,819 2,517,607 47.6 46.0
Race
White 4,960,374 4,336,726 79.0 79.2
Black 1,161,154 1,000,735 18.5 18.3
American Indian, Alaska Native 78,881 73,377 1.3 1.3
Asian, Pacific Islander 74,776 66,598 1.2 1.2
Ethnicity
Hispanic 509,117 451,140 8.1 8.2
Non-Hispanic 5,766,067 5,026,296 91.9 91.8
Marital status
Married 2,805,538 2,746,886 44.7 50.1
Widowed 475,002 262,420 7.6 4.8
Divorced or separated 1,368,266 1,340,618 21.8 24.5
Never married 1,626,379 1,127,512 25.9 20.6
Years of education
0–8 745,653 505,489 11.9 9.2
9–11 867,680 741,156 13.8 13.5
12 2,443,169 2,140,872 38.9 39.1
13–15 1,668,525 1,559,176 26.6 28.5
16 or more 550,158 530,743 8.8 9.7
Health insurance a
Medicaid 2,372,060 1,923,729 37.8 35.1
Medicare 3,828,450 3,320,413 61.0 60.6
Private 2,624,610 2,402,555 41.8 43.9
None 474,703 437,628 7.6 8.0
Source of income a
Public assistance
Supplemental Security Income 1,134,234 873,345 18.1 15.9
Other public assistance 1,611,277 1,300,590 25.7 23.7
Earnings 1,159,091 947,479 18.5 17.3
Property income 1,973,775 1,787,768 31.5 32.6
Other 2,195,921 2,037,415 35.0 37.2
Total personal income b (dollars)
Less than 500 101,386 85,284 1.6 1.6
500–999 58,134 58,134 0.9 1.1
1,000–1,499 116,493 98,089 1.9 1.8
1,500–1,999 233,511 212,445 3.7 3.9
2,000–2,499 1,073,720 851,974 17.1 15.6
2,500–2,999 671,883 572,384 10.7 10.4
3,000–3,499 627,545 523,351 10.0 9.6
3,500–3,999 476,374 389,762 7.6 7.1
4,000–4,499 404,276 357,762 6.4 6.5
4,500–4,999 342,890 290,884 5.5 5.3
5,000 or more 2,168,974 2,037,369 34.6 37.2
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving disability benefits in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those who provided a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those who did not provide a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,976 disabled beneficiaries, of which 2,690 are disabled workers. Disabled widow(er)s and disabled adult children are not shown separately because the unweighted sample size is too small to support statistically reliable estimates.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
a. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
b. Personal income data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.

A majority of DI beneficiaries rely on their benefits for 75 percent or more of their personal income (Chart 1). Although more males receive benefits, females receive a greater percentage of total personal income from DI benefits (Table 2). Half of all beneficiaries under age 25 receive less than half of their total personal income from DI, and 75 percent of beneficiaries aged 55 or older receive at least half of their personal income from DI. Beneficiaries with lower levels of education also rely more heavily on DI income. Table 2 shows that four out of five individuals with less than a high school education (0–11 years) rely on DI benefits for at least half of their personal income compared with about three out of five of those with a college degree (16 or more years).

Chart 1.
Social Security as a percentage of personal income among DI beneficiaries, December 2002
Pie chart illustrating the data in the first row of Table 2.
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
Table 2. Social Security as a percentage of personal income for Social Security DI beneficiaries, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Number Percentage distribution
Total Under 25
percent of
income
25–49
percent
of income
50–74
percent
of income
75–89
percent
of income
90 percent
or more
of income
All disabled beneficiaries
Total 6,275,185 100.0 15.6 13.0 18.5 8.6 44.3
Sex
Male 3,288,365 100.0 17.5 14.3 16.8 7.6 43.7
Female 2,986,819 100.0 13.4 11.6 20.3 9.7 45.0
Age group
Under 25 149,557 100.0 23.0 27.8 16.0 7.0 26.2
25–34 452,503 100.0 24.7 13.6 17.5 10.7 33.6
35–44 1,218,832 100.0 19.1 13.8 18.0 8.5 40.6
45–54 2,024,338 100.0 16.3 10.3 16.2 8.0 49.2
55 or older 2,429,956 100.0 11.0 13.8 21.1 8.8 45.3
Race
White 4,960,374 100.0 15.5 12.0 19.3 7.8 45.4
Black 1,161,154 100.0 16.2 16.6 15.2 10.6 41.3
American Indian, Alaska Native 78,881 100.0 15.5 19.4 17.6 16.0 31.5
Asian, Pacific Islander 74,776 100.0 13.0 14.8 16.0 25.2 31.1
Ethnicity
Hispanic 509,117 100.0 15.1 12.8 18.0 8.3 45.8
Non-Hispanic 5,766,067 100.0 15.6 13.0 18.5 8.6 44.2
Marital status
Married 2,805,538 100.0 16.5 13.5 16.4 7.3 46.2
Widowed 475,002 100.0 11.6 13.8 29.9 4.2 40.5
Divorced or separated 1,368,266 100.0 15.2 11.5 17.9 10.9 44.5
Never married 1,626,379 100.0 15.4 13.1 19.4 10.2 42.0
Years of education
0–8 745,653 100.0 10.6 8.6 21.1 7.9 51.8
9–11 867,680 100.0 9.6 13.5 15.8 10.1 51.1
12 2,443,169 100.0 15.9 12.9 18.6 8.1 44.5
13–15 1,539,756 100.0 18.9 13.2 18.8 8.7 40.5
16 or more 678,927 100.0 20.2 17.2 18.1 9.1 35.4
Living arrangement
Lives alone 1,770,027 100.0 13.1 11.3 20.2 8.4 46.9
Lives with relatives 4,287,914 100.0 16.2 13.6 18.0 8.7 43.4
Lives only with nonrelatives 217,244 100.0 23.0 14.6 13.9 7.1 41.4
Disabled workers
Total 5,477,436 100.0 15.1 13.2 17.3 8.8 45.6
Sex
Male 2,959,829 100.0 16.5 14.6 16.2 7.6 45.0
Female 2,517,607 100.0 13.5 11.7 18.5 10.2 46.2
Age group
Under 25 90,504 100.0 21.8 28.2 11.3 8.2 30.5
25–34 334,190 100.0 24.3 15.2 15.9 7.7 37.0
35–44 1,041,641 100.0 18.4 13.5 17.6 8.7 41.8
45–54 1,830,823 100.0 14.9 10.4 15.8 8.7 50.2
55 or older 2,180,279 100.0 12.1 14.6 18.8 9.2 45.4
Race
White 4,336,726 100.0 15.0 12.3 17.9 8.1 46.7
Black 1,000,735 100.0 15.9 16.8 14.5 10.4 42.4
American Indian, Alaska Native 73,377 100.0 16.7 15.7 16.6 17.2 33.8
Asian, Pacific Islander 66,598 100.0 11.6 16.6 14.4 22.5 34.9
Ethnicity
Hispanic 451,140 100.0 13.2 12.6 16.5 8.7 49.0
Non-Hispanic 5,026,296 100.0 15.3 13.3 17.3 8.8 45.3
Marital status
Married 2,746,886 100.0 15.1 13.7 16.5 7.4 47.2
Widowed 262,420 100.0 11.4 17.0 24.5 5.0 42.1
Divorced or separated 1,340,618 100.0 14.6 11.6 17.9 10.7 45.2
Never married 1,127,512 100.0 16.6 13.2 16.5 10.7 43.0
Years of education
0–8 505,489 100.0 10.7 8.6 15.3 8.7 56.6
9–11 741,156 100.0 6.8 13.9 13.2 11.4 54.6
12 2,140,872 100.0 15.7 12.8 18.3 7.6 45.6
13–15 1,437,592 100.0 17.9 13.4 18.3 9.3 41.1
16 or more 652,327 100.0 20.0 17.3 17.5 8.6 36.5
Living arrangement
Lives alone 1,482,233 100.0 11.8 12.2 18.1 9.3 48.6
Lives with relatives 3,804,303 100.0 15.9 13.5 17.2 8.6 44.8
Lives only with nonrelatives 190,900 100.0 26.1 16.6 12.2 8.0 37.1
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving disability benefits in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those who provided a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those who did not provide a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,976 disabled beneficiaries, of which 2,690 are disabled workers. Disabled widow(er)s and disabled adult children are not shown separately because the unweighted sample size is too small to support statistically reliable estimates.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
Personal income data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.

Family and other household members may also have resources of which DI beneficiaries have access. About 31 percent of beneficiaries live in households with a 4-month income of less than $5,000 (Table 3). Family income closely matches household income because two-thirds of beneficiaries live in a one- or two-person household. The prime source of family income is Social Security, accounting for roughly half of the average beneficiary's family income; earnings account for over a quarter of the family's income (Table 4).

Table 3. Number and percentage distribution of Social Security DI beneficiaries, by household and family characteristics, December 2002
Household and family characteristic Number Percentage of all beneficiaries
All disabled
beneficiaries
Disabled workers All disabled
beneficiaries
Disabled workers
All beneficiaries 6,275,185 5,477,436 100.0 100.0
Household type
Family
Married couple present 2,834,483 2,703,392 45.2 49.4
No married couple, male householder 382,226 301,718 6.1 5.5
No married couple, female householder 921,575 668,067 14.7 12.2
Nonfamily
Male householder 1,039,643 933,374 16.6 17.0
Female householder 1,025,278 826,906 16.3 15.1
Group quarters 71,980 43,980 1.1 0.8
Ownership status of living quarters
Owned 3,808,152 3,411,608 60.7 62.3
Not owned 2,467,032 2,065,828 39.3 37.7
Residence in public housing 370,495 301,104 5.9 5.5
Household receipt of a
Energy assistance 414,273 344,414 6.6 6.3
Housing assistance 301,503 243,783 4.8 4.5
Food stamps 1,057,433 880,839 16.9 16.1
Household size
1 person 1,770,027 1,482,233 28.2 27.1
2 persons 2,400,297 2,185,426 38.3 39.9
3–4 persons 1,604,733 1,374,346 25.6 25.1
5 or more persons 500,128 435,431 8.0 7.9
Family size
1 person 2,177,025 1,833,511 34.7 33.5
2 persons 2,165,289 1,983,207 34.5 36.2
3–4 persons 1,483,653 1,264,994 23.6 23.1
5 or more persons 449,217 395,724 7.2 7.2
Under age 18 in family
None 4,982,690 4,310,169 79.4 78.7
1 person 701,005 613,149 11.2 11.2
2 persons 369,267 341,608 5.9 6.2
3–4 persons 200,994 191,283 3.2 3.5
5 or more persons 21,228 21,228 0.3 0.4
Total household income b (dollars)
Less than 2,500 571,318 472,909 9.1 8.6
2,500–4,999 1,350,626 1,126,851 21.5 20.6
5,000–7,499 908,393 780,986 14.5 14.3
7,500–9,999 778,920 658,943 12.4 12.0
10,000–14,999 1,081,890 998,187 17.2 18.2
15,000–19,999 695,181 614,469 11.1 11.2
20,000 or more 888,858 825,091 14.2 15.1
Total family income b (dollars)
Less than 2,500 668,991 550,869 10.7 10.1
2,500–4,999 1,491,715 1,242,378 23.8 22.7
5,000–7,499 924,785 795,760 14.7 14.5
7,500–9,999 738,875 636,673 11.8 11.6
10,000–14,999 1,004,409 927,443 16.0 16.9
15,000–19,999 657,416 583,848 10.5 10.7
20,000 or more 788,995 740,464 12.6 13.5
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving disability benefits in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those who provided a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those who did not provide a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,976 disabled beneficiaries, of which 2,690 are disabled workers. Disabled widow(er)s and disabled adult children are not shown separately because the unweighted sample size is too small to support statistically reliable estimates.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption. A household includes related family members and all the unrelated persons, if any, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees who share the housing unit. A person living alone in a housing unit or a group of unrelated persons sharing a housing unit as partners is also counted as a household.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
a. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
b. Household and family data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.
Table 4. Percentage distribution of family income of Social Security DI beneficiaries, by income source and selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Total Social
Security
Public assistance Earnings Property
income
Other
Supplemental
Security
Income
Other
public
assistance
All disabled beneficiaries
Total 100.0 51.8 5.0 0.9 28.8 0.9 12.6
Sex
Male 100.0 52.2 4.3 0.6 28.7 0.9 13.3
Female 100.0 51.4 5.8 1.2 28.8 0.9 11.9
Age group
Under 25 100.0 35.2 12.8 2.6 43.8 0.2 5.4
25–34 100.0 39.1 10.9 1.7 39.9 0.5 7.9
35–44 100.0 48.7 6.8 1.5 32.5 0.6 9.9
45–54 100.0 52.4 4.3 0.7 30.3 0.8 11.5
55 or older 100.0 56.2 3.1 0.5 22.6 1.3 16.3
Race
White 100.0 52.0 4.1 0.7 29.0 1.1 13.1
Black 100.0 51.7 8.7 1.8 27.6 0.2 10.0
American Indian, Alaska Native 100.0 43.4 6.9 3.0 29.9 1.5 15.3
Asian, Pacific Islander 100.0 46.5 5.7 1.2 31.8 1.0 13.8
Ethnicity
Hispanic 100.0 49.5 6.6 1.0 32.9 0.4 9.6
Non-Hispanic 100.0 52.0 4.9 0.9 28.4 1.0 12.8
Marital status
Married 100.0 40.7 2.4 0.5 41.1 1.2 14.1
Widowed 100.0 60.4 5.1 0.4 15.2 0.5 18.4
Divorced or separated 100.0 63.9 6.8 1.5 14.3 0.5 13.0
Never married 100.0 58.2 7.9 1.2 23.6 0.9 8.2
Years of education
0–8 100.0 61.2 8.5 0.6 21.5 0.6 7.6
9–11 100.0 57.4 8.0 0.8 22.4 0.6 10.8
12 100.0 51.2 5.2 1.2 29.5 0.9 12.0
13–15 100.0 46.7 2.8 0.7 33.5 1.1 15.2
16 or more 100.0 48.0 1.6 0.8 31.5 1.4 16.7
Living arrangement
Lives alone 100.0 71.3 6.4 0.7 9.0 0.5 12.1
Lives with relatives 100.0 43.2 4.3 1.0 37.4 1.1 13.0
Lives only with nonrelatives 100.0 62.2 7.7 0.7 18.7 0.1 10.6
Disabled workers
Total 100.0 51.4 4.0 0.9 29.9 1.0 12.8
Sex
Male 100.0 52.8 3.1 0.6 28.8 0.9 13.8
Female 100.0 49.8 5.0 1.2 31.2 1.0 11.8
Age group
Under 25 100.0 31.4 7.9 3.1 54.0 0.2 3.4
25–34 100.0 38.6 7.9 1.7 42.4 0.6 8.8
35–44 100.0 48.2 5.3 1.5 34.3 0.6 10.1
45–54 100.0 52.4 3.7 0.7 31.1 0.8 11.3
55 or older 100.0 55.0 2.8 0.5 24.0 1.3 16.4
Race
White 100.0 51.4 3.3 0.7 30.2 1.1 13.3
Black 100.0 52.2 7.0 1.7 28.2 0.2 10.7
American Indian, Alaska Native 100.0 44.9 5.8 3.2 28.6 1.5 16.0
Asian, Pacific Islander 100.0 44.2 3.3 0.6 35.3 1.0 15.6
Ethnicity
Hispanic 100.0 51.0 5.3 1.1 32.9 0.4 9.3
Non-Hispanic 100.0 51.4 3.9 0.9 29.7 1.0 13.1
Marital status
Married 100.0 41.3 1.9 0.4 41.1 1.2 14.1
Widowed 100.0 62.0 5.2 0.5 14.6 0.7 17.0
Divorced or separated 100.0 64.5 6.1 1.4 14.4 0.5 13.1
Never married 100.0 57.9 6.4 1.4 24.8 0.9 8.6
Years of education
0–8 100.0 60.4 7.1 0.6 24.6 0.3 7.0
9–11 100.0 59.1 6.2 0.7 22.7 0.6 10.7
12 100.0 51.2 4.3 1.2 29.8 0.9 12.6
13–15 100.0 46.1 2.4 0.7 35.1 1.2 14.5
16 or more 100.0 48.1 1.5 0.9 31.3 1.5 16.7
Living arrangement
Lives alone 100.0 72.6 5.7 0.7 8.4 0.5 12.1
Lives with relatives 100.0 42.8 3.1 1.0 38.8 1.2 13.1
Lives only with nonrelatives 100.0 58.4 8.3 0.8 20.3 0.1 12.1
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving disability benefits in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those who provided a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those who did not provide a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,976 disabled beneficiaries, of which 2,690 are disabled workers. Disabled widow(er)s and disabled adult children are not shown separately because the unweighted sample size is too small to support statistically reliable estimates.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.

Table 5 shows that less than a quarter of all DI beneficiaries have family income below the poverty threshold. In addition, over a quarter of beneficiaries are estimated to have income at or above 300 percent of the poverty threshold for their living arrangement.5 Female beneficiaries are more likely than males to be in a family in poverty (27 percent versus 19 percent). Conversely, about 43 percent of beneficiaries with a college degree are at or above 300 percent of the poverty line and only 15 percent of beneficiaries with less than a ninth grade education are at that level of income.

Table 5. Percentage distribution of Social Security DI beneficiaries, by poverty status and selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic
characteristic
Total Family income relative to poverty threshold
Under 100 percent 100–124
percent
125–149
percent
150–199
percent
200–299
percent
300
percent
or more
Subtotal Under
50 percent
50–99
percent
All disabled beneficiaries
Total 6,275,185 22.8 2.4 20.4 8.9 9.2 14.4 16.7 27.9
Sex
Male 3,288,365 19.1 1.7 17.4 8.5 8.7 16.1 17.7 30.0
Female 2,986,819 27.1 3.3 23.8 9.4 9.8 12.5 15.6 25.6
Age group
Under 25 149,557 20.5 2.4 18.1 6.7 10.0 17.6 18.6 26.5
25–34 452,503 26.4 5.9 20.5 10.2 10.8 11.4 16.2 24.9
35–44 1,218,832 25.8 3.0 22.8 8.8 9.0 16.6 16.7 23.1
45–54 2,024,338 23.7 2.7 21.0 8.4 9.4 14.5 16.5 27.6
55 or older 2,429,956 20.2 1.3 18.9 9.3 8.9 13.6 16.8 31.1
Race
White 4,960,374 20.5 2.2 18.3 9.0 9.4 14.1 17.2 29.7
Black 1,161,154 32.8 3.4 29.4 9.2 9.5 14.9 14.1 19.5
American Indian, Alaska Native 78,881 23.1 4.8 18.3 4.9 3.3 27.7 12.9 27.9
Asian, Pacific Islander 74,776 24.2 0.0 24.2 5.1 1.4 11.0 25.1 33.2
Ethnicity
Hispanic 509,117 26.7 4.6 22.1 11.5 9.7 15.9 13.8 22.4
Non-Hispanic 5,766,067 22.6 2.3 20.3 8.7 9.2 14.3 16.9 28.4
Marital status
Married 2,805,538 11.4 1.9 9.5 6.1 7.4 14.2 19.5 41.4
Widowed 475,002 25.4 0.3 25.1 14.4 19.1 6.9 19.1 15.2
Divorced or separated 1,368,266 38.2 4.1 34.1 11.1 10.4 14.1 12.2 14.1
Never married 1,626,379 29.2 2.6 26.6 10.4 8.4 17.3 14.8 19.8
Years of education
0–8 745,653 35.3 3.2 32.1 10.3 9.5 16.0 14.4 14.6
9–11 867,680 30.6 3.8 26.8 10.9 8.8 16.1 19.0 14.6
12 2,443,169 22.1 2.1 20.0 8.9 10.7 15.4 14.7 28.2
13–15 1,539,756 16.3 2.2 14.1 8.3 9.0 11.6 20.0 34.8
16 or more 678,927 16.9 1.5 15.4 6.5 4.9 13.4 15.8 42.5
Disabled workers
Total 5,477,436 22.1 2.5 19.6 8.6 8.4 14.5 17.0 29.4
Sex
Male 2,959,829 17.8 1.5 16.3 8.6 8.6 15.8 18.4 30.7
Female 2,517,607 27.2 3.7 23.5 8.6 8.1 12.9 15.3 28.0
Age group
Under 25 90,504 19.2 0.0 19.2 4.9 5.8 13.8 20.4 36.0
25–34 334,190 25.3 5.4 19.9 10.8 12.4 9.8 13.1 28.6
35–44 1,041,641 27.2 3.6 23.6 8.7 8.0 14.8 18.2 23.2
45–54 1,830,823 23.3 2.9 20.4 7.7 8.8 14.9 17.4 27.9
55 or older 2,180,279 18.5 1.4 17.1 9.1 7.7 14.7 16.5 33.5
Race
White 4,336,726 19.9 2.3 17.6 8.5 8.4 14.0 17.6 31.5
Black 1,000,735 31.6 3.4 28.2 9.5 9.1 15.5 14.2 20.1
American Indian, Alaska Native 73,377 21.1 5.2 15.9 5.3 3.6 29.8 13.9 26.4
Asian, Pacific Islander 66,598 27.2 0.0 27.2 2.2 1.6 9.4 22.4 37.2
Ethnicity
Hispanic 451,140 26.4 4.6 21.8 11.4 10.4 16.4 13.9 21.5
Non-Hispanic 5,026,296 21.7 2.3 19.4 8.4 8.2 14.3 17.2 30.1
Marital status
Married 2,746,886 11.1 1.7 9.4 6.2 7.0 14.2 20.0 41.6
Widowed 262,420 25.0 0.5 24.5 14.0 12.0 11.5 18.2 19.3
Divorced or separated 1,340,618 37.6 4.2 33.4 11.0 10.6 14.1 12.4 14.3
Never married 1,127,512 30.1 2.9 27.2 10.4 8.0 16.3 14.8 20.3
Years of education
0–8 505,489 33.8 2.6 31.2 12.1 8.3 17.2 15.7 12.9
9–11 741,156 29.4 3.9 25.5 11.1 9.0 16.8 18.6 15.2
12 2,140,872 22.8 2.5 20.3 8.4 9.9 14.7 14.8 29.5
13–15 1,437,592 15.8 2.3 13.5 7.2 7.4 12.2 20.8 36.7
16 or more 652,327 17.0 1.6 15.4 6.8 5.1 13.9 14.9 42.3
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving disability benefits in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those who provided a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those who did not provide a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,976 disabled beneficiaries, of which 2,690 are disabled workers. Disabled widow(er)s and disabled adult children are not shown separately because the unweighted sample size is too small to support statistically reliable estimates.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.

For disabled beneficiaries, medical costs can be considerable thereby increasing the importance of health insurance. About 8 percent of DI beneficiaries report having no health insurance coverage at all; the remaining beneficiaries report having one or more types of coverage (Chart 2). Over 60 percent of beneficiaries report having Medicare coverage. Nearly 42 percent of beneficiaries have some form of private health insurance, while 38 percent report having Medicaid coverage.

Chart 2.
Health insurance coverage for DI beneficiaries, December 2002
Bar chart described in the text. Medicaid: 37.8%. Medicare: 61.0%. Private: 41.8%. None: 7.6%.
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.

Supplemental Security Income

The SSI recipients featured in Tables 6 through 12 include aged, blind, and disabled individuals of all ages. Breakouts by age subgroups have been provided for children (under age 18), the working aged (18–64), and the aged (65 or older). The federal government sets the maximum monthly SSI payment amount, known as the federal benefit rate (FBR), which is reduced when an individual has countable earned and unearned income. In 2002, when these data were collected, the FBR was $545 for an individual and $817 for a couple.

There are stark generational differences in the educational attainment of SSI recipients. Approximately 56 percent of working-age recipients have at least 12 years of education and only about 32 percent of aged recipients are similarly educated (Chart 3 and Table 6). Only about 21 percent of working-age recipients compared with about 53 percent of aged recipients have 8 or less years of education.

Chart 3.
Education among SSI recipients, by age group, December 2002
Bar chart summarizing data from Table 6. Among SSI recipients age 18 to 64, 43.7% have less than 12 years of education, 36.7% have 12 years of education, and 19.6% have more than 12 years of education. Among SSI recipients age 65 or older, 68.4% have less than 12 years of education, 18.5% have 12 years of education, and 13.1% have more than 12 years of education.
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
Table 6. Number and percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by age group and demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Number Percentage of all recipients
Total Under
18
18–64 65 or
older
Total Under
18
18–64 65 or
older
All recipients 6,537,289 894,924 3,707,490 1,934,875 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Sex
Male 2,785,278 577,115 1,600,870 607,292 42.6 64.5 43.2 31.4
Female 3,752,012 317,809 2,106,620 1,327,583 57.4 35.5 56.8 68.6
Race
White 4,029,801 512,899 2,434,561 1,082,342 61.6 57.3 65.7 55.9
Black 1,881,924 356,775 1,058,883 466,266 28.8 39.9 28.6 24.1
American Indian, Alaska Native 147,799 11,611 98,615 37,573 2.3 1.3 2.7 1.9
Asian, Pacific Islander 477,765 13,639 115,432 348,694 7.3 1.5 3.1 18.0
Ethnicity
Hispanic 1,276,321 195,600 569,369 511,352 19.5 21.9 15.4 26.4
Non-Hispanic 5,260,968 699,324 3,138,121 1,423,523 80.5 78.1 84.6 73.6
Marital status
Married 1,305,490 . . . 720,535 584,955 20.0 . . . 19.4 30.2
Widowed 1,034,499 . . . 220,833 813,666 15.8 . . . 6.0 42.1
Divorced or separated 1,409,835 . . . 1,047,700 362,136 21.6 . . . 28.3 18.7
Never married 2,787,465 894,924 1,718,422 174,118 42.6 100.0 46.4 9.0
Years of education
0–8 1,938,638 131,205 783,649 1,023,784 29.7 14.7 21.1 52.9
9–11 1,352,379 215,820 837,224 299,335 20.7 24.1 22.6 15.5
12 1,720,756 4,125 1,359,610 357,021 26.3 0.5 36.7 18.5
13–15 727,097 . . . 590,743 136,354 11.1 . . . 15.9 7.0
16 or more 254,645 . . . 136,264 118,381 3.9 . . . 3.7 6.1
Unknown 543,775 543,775 0 0 8.3 60.8 0 0
Health insurance a
Medicaid 6,255,651 833,576 3,539,396 1,882,679 95.7 93.1 95.5 97.3
Medicare 2,259,370 0 910,440 1,348,930 34.6 0 24.6 69.7
Private 769,128 227,739 366,239 175,150 11.8 25.4 9.9 9.1
None 114,415 27,248 75,570 11,597 1.8 3.0 2.0 0.6
Source of income a
Social Security 2,336,310 45,165 1,115,273 1,175,873 35.7 5.0 30.1 60.8
Public assistance other than SSI 5,279,947 276,152 3,306,915 1,696,880 80.8 30.9 89.2 87.7
Earnings 460,560 25,497 383,666 51,397 7.0 2.8 10.3 2.7
Property income 683,006 26,770 406,685 249,550 10.4 3.0 11.0 12.9
Other 645,845 11,449 419,097 215,299 9.9 1.3 11.3 11.1
Total personal income b (dollars)
Less than 500 91,477 42,462 40,539 8,476 1.4 4.7 1.1 0.4
500–999 216,718 140,011 54,663 22,044 3.3 15.6 1.5 1.1
1,000–1,499 341,368 86,098 153,061 102,209 5.2 9.6 4.1 5.3
1,500–1,999 628,136 129,445 272,257 226,434 9.6 14.5 7.3 11.7
2,000–2,499 3,031,649 385,602 1,765,428 880,619 46.4 43.1 47.6 45.5
2,500–2,999 714,906 66,714 389,990 258,202 10.9 7.5 10.5 13.3
3,000–3,499 608,484 23,278 344,301 240,905 9.3 2.6 9.3 12.5
3,500–3,999 203,491 2,151 154,201 47,139 3.1 0.2 4.2 2.4
4,000–4,499 147,945 6,126 104,183 37,636 2.3 0.7 2.8 1.9
4,500–4,999 86,421 0 55,196 31,225 1.3 0 1.5 1.6
5,000 or more 466,696 13,038 373,671 79,987 7.1 1.5 10.1 4.1
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving SSI payments in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those with a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those without a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,535 SSI recipients: 223 recipients aged 17 or younger; 1,614 recipients aged 18 to 64; and 698 recipients aged 65 or older.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
. . . = not applicable
a. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
b. Personal income data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.

Health insurance coverage is almost universal for the SSI population. Nearly 96 percent of all SSI recipients have Medicaid coverage while only 2 percent of all SSI recipients do not have any health insurance coverage (Chart 4). One out of four working-age recipients and seven out of ten aged recipients have Medicare coverage.6 One out of four children is estimated to have private health insurance while only one out of ten SSI recipients aged 18 or older has private health insurance.

Chart 4.
Health insurance coverage among SSI recipients, by age group, December 2002
Bar chart. Among all SSI recipients, 95.7% have Medicaid coverage, 34.6% have Medicare coverage, 11.8% have private coverage, and 1.8% have no coverage. Among SSI recipients under age 18, 93.1% have Medicaid coverage, 0.0% have Medicare coverage, 25.4% have private coverage, and 3.0% have no coverage. Among SSI recipients age 18 to 64, 95.5% have Medicaid coverage, 24.6% have Medicare coverage, 9.9% have private coverage, and 2.0% have no coverage. And, among SSI recipients age 65 or older, 97.3% have Medicaid coverage, 69.7% have Medicare coverage, 9.1% have private coverage, and 0.6% have no coverage.
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
a. Children are not eligible to receive Medicare because it is a federal health insurance program for people aged 65 or older or those receiving DI benefits for at least 2 years.

Family income indicates the resources of which an SSI recipient may have access in addition to his or her personal income. Most recipients only have a 4-month total personal income in the $2,000–$2,499 category (Table 6); this is the same value as four times the monthly federal benefit rate of $545 for an individual in 2002. While most recipients have more family income than personal income, family income levels are still relatively low, below $5,000 for 4 months (Table 7). However, SSI is an important contributor to income; over half of the recipients rely on SSI for at least 90 percent of their personal income (Table 8). Recipients aged 65 or older, with between 13 and 15 years of education, or widowed report the lowest reliance on SSI, with less than 40 percent of those subgroups relying on SSI for 90 percent or more of personal income. Although family income is greater than personal income, SSI still represents nearly half of the recipient's total family income (Table 9). The remainder of the family's income is primarily divided between earnings and Social Security benefits. Those SSI recipients with a relatively large proportion of family income from Social Security benefits tend to be aged, widow(er)s, or living alone. Earnings are a relatively larger percentage of family income for recipients who live with relatives and families where the SSI recipient is a child.

Table 7. Number and percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by age group and household and family characteristics, December 2002
Household and family characteristic Number Percentage of all recipients
Total Under
18
18–64 65 or
older
Total Under
18
18–64 65 or
older
All recipients 6,537,289 894,924 3,707,490 1,934,875 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Household type
Family
Married couple present 1,823,870 291,380 951,713 580,777 27.9 32.6 25.7 30.0
No married couple, male householder 562,682 130,516 325,031 107,135 8.6 14.6 8.8 5.5
No married couple, female householder 1,792,952 457,344 978,318 357,290 27.4 51.1 26.4 18.5
Nonfamily
Male householder 857,022 11,706 615,662 229,654 13.1 1.3 16.6 11.9
Female householder 1,407,968 3,978 787,498 616,492 21.5 0.4 21.2 31.9
Group quarters 92,795 0 49,268 43,527 1.4 0 1.3 2.2
Ownership status of living quarters
Owned 2,568,180 396,889 1,351,669 819,622 39.3 44.3 36.5 42.4
Not owned 3,969,110 498,036 2,355,821 1,115,253 60.7 55.7 63.5 57.6
Residence in public housing 900,057 94,897 492,404 312,756 13.8 10.6 13.3 16.2
Household receipt of a
Energy assistance 845,858 92,509 558,367 194,982 12.9 10.3 15.1 10.1
Housing assistance 587,092 60,502 404,539 122,051 9.0 6.8 10.9 6.3
Food stamps 2,639,649 266,874 1,612,194 760,581 40.4 29.8 43.5 39.3
Household size
1 person 2,012,592 10,666 1,168,993 832,933 30.8 1.2 31.5 43.0
2 persons 1,659,818 95,042 1,008,874 555,901 25.4 10.6 27.2 28.7
3–4 persons 1,698,301 378,930 988,920 330,451 26.0 42.3 26.7 17.1
5 or more persons 1,166,579 410,287 540,703 215,589 17.8 45.8 14.6 11.1
Family size
1 person 2,407,208 27,105 1,489,110 890,994 36.8 3.0 40.2 46.0
2 persons 1,472,381 102,934 843,991 525,455 22.5 11.5 22.8 27.2
3–4 persons 1,573,085 374,948 890,041 308,096 24.1 41.9 24.0 15.9
5 or more persons 1,084,616 389,938 484,348 210,330 16.6 43.6 13.1 10.9
Under age 18 in family
None 4,414,924 . . . 2,764,987 1,649,937 67.5 . . . 74.6 85.3
1 person 884,630 278,576 464,762 141,292 13.5 31.1 12.5 7.3
2–3 persons 568,220 238,114 233,072 97,034 8.7 26.6 6.3 5.0
4 persons 538,669 291,046 202,627 44,996 8.2 32.5 5.5 2.3
5 or more persons 130,846 87,188 42,042 1,616 2.0 9.7 1.1 0.1
Total household income b (dollars)
Less than 2,500 1,650,376 61,675 971,619 617,082 25.2 6.9 26.2 31.9
2,500–4,999 1,670,612 138,718 931,235 600,660 25.6 15.5 25.1 31.0
5,000–7,499 797,341 175,504 419,023 202,814 12.2 19.6 11.3 10.5
7,500–9,999 626,538 190,643 354,184 81,711 9.6 21.3 9.6 4.2
10,000–14,999 763,068 197,454 418,955 146,659 11.7 22.1 11.3 7.6
15,000–19,999 415,858 91,671 225,183 99,005 6.4 10.2 6.1 5.1
20,000 or more 613,496 39,259 387,292 186,945 9.4 4.4 10.4 9.7
Total family income b (dollars)
Less than 2,500 1,850,592 78,114 1,147,688 624,790 28.3 8.7 31.0 32.3
2,500–4,999 1,768,508 158,626 990,465 619,417 27.1 17.7 26.7 32.0
5,000–7,499 753,430 166,315 381,672 205,443 11.5 18.6 10.3 10.6
7,500–9,999 612,554 191,183 332,899 88,472 9.4 21.4 9.0 4.6
10,000–14,999 687,997 199,072 354,340 134,585 10.5 22.2 9.6 7.0
15,000–19,999 338,837 71,103 185,626 82,108 5.2 7.9 5.0 4.2
20,000 or more 525,371 30,511 314,801 180,059 8.0 3.4 8.5 9.3
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving SSI payments in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those with a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those without a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,535 SSI recipients: 223 recipients aged 17 or younger; 1,614 recipients aged 18 to 64; and 698 recipients aged 65 or older.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption. A household includes related family members and all the unrelated persons, if any, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees who share the housing unit. A person living alone in a housing unit or a group of unrelated persons sharing a housing unit as partners is also counted as a household.
. . . = not applicable
a. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
b. Household and family data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.
Table 8. SSI payments as a percentage of personal income for SSI recipients, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Number Percentage
of all
recipients
Percentage distribution
Total Under 25
percent of
income
25–49
percent
of income
50–74
percent
of income
75–89
percent
of income
90 percent
or more
of income
All recipients 6,537,289 100.0 100.0 20.2 15.1 8.2 3.6 52.8
Sex
Male 2,785,278 42.6 100.0 19.8 12.1 5.0 3.3 59.8
Female 3,752,012 57.4 100.0 20.5 17.3 10.6 3.8 47.7
Age group
Under 18 894,924 13.7 100.0 1.7 2.6 1.8 1.6 92.4
18—64 3,707,490 56.7 100.0 19.0 14.2 9.8 4.6 52.6
65 or older 1,934,875 29.6 100.0 31.2 22.7 8.2 2.7 35.1
Race
White 4,029,801 61.6 100.0 22.1 15.8 8.6 3.2 50.2
Black 1,881,924 28.8 100.0 18.9 15.4 7.7 4.4 53.8
American Indian, Alaska Native 147,799 2.3 100.0 25.6 5.7 7.4 3.6 57.7
Asian, Pacific Islander 477,765 7.3 100.0 7.6 11.0 6.9 4.2 70.4
Ethnicity
Hispanic 1,276,321 19.5 100.0 19.0 15.2 9.5 3.7 52.8
Non-Hispanic 5,260,968 80.5 100.0 20.5 15.1 7.9 3.1 53.2
Marital status
Married 1,305,490 20.0 100.0 18.8 14.7 7.2 4.7 54.7
Widowed 1,034,499 15.8 100.0 34.8 24.3 8.8 2.1 30.1
Divorced or separated 1,409,835 21.6 100.0 22.7 16.5 10.9 2.8 47.0
Never married 2,787,465 42.6 100.0 14.2 11.2 7.1 4.1 63.4
Years of education
0–8 1,938,638 29.7 100.0 22.7 19.0 9.2 2.9 46.2
9–11 1,352,379 20.7 100.0 17.8 13.0 8.3 3.8 57.2
12 1,720,756 26.3 100.0 19.9 16.2 9.8 4.6 49.5
13–15 683,816 10.5 100.0 30.1 16.8 8.3 5.8 39.0
16 or more 297,926 4.6 100.0 29.3 15.2 6.1 2.5 46.9
Unknown 543,775 8.3 100.0 1.0 1.0 0.3 0.5 97.2
Living arrangement
Lives alone 2,012,592 30.8 100.0 28.3 18.5 7.6 2.1 43.4
Lives with relatives 4,298,987 65.8 100.0 16.6 13.3 8.4 4.3 57.3
Lives only with nonrelatives 225,711 3.5 100.0 17.1 20.1 8.8 2.9 51.1
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving SSI payments in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those with a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those without a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,535 SSI recipients: 223 recipients aged 17 or younger; 1,614 recipients aged 18 to 64; and 698 recipients aged 65 or older.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
Personal income data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.
Table 9. Percentage distribution of family income for SSI recipients, by income source and selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Total Social
Security
Public assistance Earnings Other a
Supplemental
Security
Income
Other
public
assistance
All recipients 100.0 23.0 45.8 1.9 22.4 6.9
Sex
Male 100.0 19.8 45.5 1.5 25.6 7.6
Female 100.0 25.4 46.1 2.2 20.0 6.3
Age
Under 18 100.0 9.0 36.9 1.7 43.5 8.9
18–64 100.0 19.8 50.7 2.4 19.7 7.4
65 or older 100.0 35.6 40.6 1.1 17.7 5.0
Race
White 100.0 24.9 43.7 1.5 22.2 7.7
Black 100.0 22.4 48.2 2.5 21.0 5.9
American Indian, Alaska Native 100.0 20.8 54.5 3.3 18.6 2.8
Asian, Pacific Islander 100.0 9.8 51.9 3.2 30.8 4.3
Ethnicity
Hispanic 100.0 22.0 43.1 1.5 27.2 6.2
Non-Hispanic 100.0 23.2 46.5 2.0 21.2 7.1
Marital status
Married 100.0 19.4 47.5 2.0 24.2 6.9
Widowed 100.0 37.5 37.6 1.5 16.6 6.8
Divorced or separated 100.0 26.6 55.8 2.0 10.2 5.4
Never married 100.0 17.5 43.0 2.0 29.8 7.7
Years of education
0–8 100.0 28.9 47.1 1.3 17.4 5.3
9–11 100.0 21.9 49.5 2.7 19.7 6.2
12 100.0 21.0 46.3 2.1 23.6 7.0
13–15 100.0 26.1 44.5 2.4 17.0 10.0
16 or more 100.0 23.0 46.0 1.4 22.3 7.3
Unknown 100.0 6.9 32.2 1.5 50.0 9.4
Living arrangement
Lives alone 100.0 34.1 59.0 1.1 2.3 3.5
Lives with relatives 100.0 18.2 38.5 2.4 32.6 8.3
Lives only with nonrelatives 100.0 15.5 68.0 0.6 7.7 8.2
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving SSI payments in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those with a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those without a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,535 SSI recipients: 223 recipients aged 17 or younger; 1,614 recipients aged 18 to 64; and 698 recipients aged 65 or older.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income data are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.
a. Very few SSI recipients have property income. Because of concerns about statistical reliability of the estimates, the property income data have been collapsed into "Other."

Nearly half of SSI recipients live in families with income below their poverty threshold, even after receiving an SSI payment (Table 10). However, SSI does serve an important role as a social safety net moving many recipients out of extreme poverty, when the family's income is below 50 percent of the poverty threshold (Chart 5). The fraction of SSI recipients in extreme poverty is reduced from 41 percent to 5 percent when SSI payments are included, a trend that continues across all age subgroups (Table 11). Overall, SSI is also responsible for reducing the aggregate difference between the poverty threshold and family income of those below their poverty threshold—the aggregate poverty gap—by 66 percent, with similar results across all sex, age, race, and ethnic subgroups (Table 12).

Table 10. Percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by poverty status and selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Total Family income relative to poverty threshold
Under 100 percent 100–124
percent
125–149
percent
150–199
percent
200–299
percent
300
percent
or more
Subtotal Under 50
percent
50–99
percent
All recipients 6,537,289 48.9 4.7 44.2 11.6 7.5 10.7 10.1 11.2
Sex
Male 2,785,278 43.7 5.1 38.6 12.3 7.6 12.2 12.0 12.3
Female 3,752,011 52.8 4.4 48.4 11.1 7.5 9.5 8.8 10.4
Age group
Under 18 894,924 33.5 7.9 25.6 15.6 8.6 23.6 14.5 4.2
18–64 3,707,490 52.1 5.1 47.0 9.7 6.0 9.8 10.0 12.5
65 or older 1,934,875 49.8 2.3 47.5 13.3 10.1 6.3 8.4 12.1
Race
White 4,029,801 47.8 4.5 43.3 12.3 6.5 11.0 11.0 11.5
Black 1,881,924 54.2 5.4 48.8 9.8 8.4 12.0 7.2 8.5
American Indian, Alaska Native 147,799 64.1 8.8 55.3 16.3 4.9 5.2 3.4 6.0
Asian, Pacific Islander 477,765 32.6 2.2 30.4 10.7 13.9 4.9 16.6 21.2
Ethnicity
Hispanic 1,276,321 44.7 5.3 39.4 12.8 7.3 13.7 9.4 11.0
Non-Hispanic 5,260,968 49.9 4.5 45.4 11.3 7.6 9.9 10.3 12.2
Marital status
Married 1,305,490 42.7 5.6 37.1 11.9 12.1 10.1 11.6 11.6
Widowed 1,034,499 53.0 3.6 49.4 12.6 8.0 5.0 8.7 12.7
Divorced or separated 1,409,835 67.0 3.5 63.5 11.2 3.3 5.8 5.9 6.9
Never married 2,787,465 41.0 5.2 35.8 11.3 7.4 15.5 12.1 12.7
Years of education
0–8 1,938,638 52.2 4.8 47.4 12.2 7.9 9.5 8.1 10.2
9–11 1,352,379 53.5 5.9 47.6 10.3 8.2 10.8 9.2 7.8
12 1,720,756 46.0 3.3 42.7 11.2 6.2 9.8 13.0 13.8
13–15 683,816 51.2 4.5 46.7 12.1 7.2 7.1 7.7 14.6
16 or more 297,926 49.7 2.3 47.4 6.0 6.6 4.3 9.6 23.8
Unknown 543,774 31.0 6.7 24.3 16.2 9.7 25.3 13.9 3.8
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving SSI payments in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those with a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those without a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,535 SSI recipients: 223 recipients aged 17 or younger; 1,614 recipients aged 18 to 64; and 698 recipients aged 65 or older.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income data and poverty thresholds are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.
Chart 5.
Family income relative to the poverty threshold before SSI and after SSI payments, by age group or recipient, December 2002
Bar chart illustrating the totals by age group from Table 11.
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
Table 11. Percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by poverty status before and after SSI payments and age group, December 2002
Family income relative to
poverty threshold before
SSI payments (percents)
Total Family income relative to poverty threshold after SSI payments
Number Percent Under 50
percent
50–99
percent
100–124
percent
125–149
percent
150–199
percent
200–299
percent
300
percent
or more
All recipients
Total 6,537,289 100.0 4.7 44.2 11.6 7.5 10.7 10.1 11.2
Under 50 2,703,141 41.3 11.3 73.4 9.4 3.4 2.2 0.3 0.1
50–99 1,665,943 25.5 . . . 54.3 26.4 11.4 6.0 1.9 0.0
100–124 402,486 6.2 . . . . . . 16.3 35.9 40.4 7.0 0.4
125–149 300,336 4.6 . . . . . . . . . 22.0 69.4 7.6 1.0
150–199 434,410 6.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . 38.5 59.8 1.7
200–299 449,222 6.9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69.5 30.5
300 or more 581,751 8.9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100.0
Under age 18
Total 894,924 100.0 7.9 25.6 15.6 8.6 23.6 14.5 4.2
Under 50 266,846 29.8 26.6 61.9 8.7 2.8 0.0 0.0 0.0
50–99 208,348 23.3 . . . 30.6 41.7 15.1 12.5 0.0 0.0
100–124 130,544 14.6 . . . . . . 22.5 23.6 41.9 12.0 0.0
125–149 83,229 9.3 . . . . . . . . . 8.7 84.8 6.6 0.0
150–199 130,444 14.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . 46.2 53.8 0.0
200–299 54,326 6.1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70.4 29.6
300 or more 21,189 2.4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100.0
Aged 18–64
Total 3,707,490 100.0 5.1 47.0 9.7 6.0 9.8 10.0 12.5
Under 50 1,740,898 47.0 10.8 76.8 7.3 1.7 2.7 0.4 0.1
50–99 794,390 21.4 . . . 50.8 27.2 12.5 6.6 2.9 0.0
100–124 177,717 4.8 . . . . . . 9.2 36.5 49.9 3.3 1.0
125–149 146,412 3.9 . . . . . . . . . 18.2 68.0 11.8 2.0
150–199 221,030 6.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . 34.2 62.5 3.3
200–299 265,283 7.2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67.4 32.6
300 or more 361,760 9.8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100.0
Aged 65 or older
Total 1,934,875 100.0 2.3 47.5 13.3 10.1 6.3 8.4 12.1
Under 50 695,398 35.9 6.5 69.4 14.7 7.8 1.6 0.0 0.0
50–99 663,206 34.3 . . . 65.9 20.6 8.9 3.3 1.3 0.0
100–124 94,226 4.9 . . . . . . 20.9 51.8 20.4 6.9 0.0
125–149 70,695 3.7 . . . . . . . . . 45.8 54.2 0.0 0.0
150–199 82,935 4.3 . . . . . . . . . . . . 37.8 62.2 0.0
200–299 129,613 6.7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73.4 26.6
300 or more 198,802 10.3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100.0
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving SSI payments in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those with a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those without a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,535 SSI recipients: 223 recipients aged 17 or younger; 1,614 recipients aged 18 to 64; and 698 recipients aged 65 or older.
The sum of individual categories may not equal the total because of rounding.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income data and poverty thresholds are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.
. . . = not applicable
Table 12. Poverty gap before and after SSI payments for SSI recipients, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2002
Demographic characteristic Aggregate poverty gap (thousands of dollars) Percentage reduction
in poverty gap
Before
SSI
After
SSI
Total 11,244,091 3,761,204 66.55
Sex
Male 4,764,873 1,538,289 67.72
Female 6,479,218 2,222,915 65.69
Age group
Under 18 1,587,556 672,933 57.61
18–64 6,970,380 2,315,095 66.79
65 or older 2,686,155 773,176 71.22
Race
White 6,402,952 2,149,580 66.43
Black 3,661,459 1,326,190 63.78
American Indian, Alaska Native 342,016 114,929 66.40
Asian, Pacific Islander 837,664 170,505 79.65
Ethnicity
Hispanic 2,139,240 726,424 66.04
Non-Hispanic 9,104,851 3,034,780 66.67
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), waves 6 and 7, December 2002 and SIPP-based interviews of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program participants, December 2002 matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Individuals receiving SSI payments in the month of December are identified using Social Security administrative data for those with a valid Social Security number and using self-reported SIPP data for those without a valid number. The total unweighted sample is composed of 2,535 SSI recipients: 223 recipients aged 17 or younger; 1,614 recipients aged 18 to 64; and 698 recipients aged 65 or older.
When a beneficiary's family income is below the poverty threshold, the difference between the poverty threshold and family income is referred to as the poverty gap. The smallest individual poverty gap is zero if family income is equal to or greater than the poverty threshold. The largest poverty gap is equal to the poverty threshold for those with no family income at all. The aggregate poverty gap is the sum of the individual poverty gaps for all SSI recipients.
A family is a group of two or more persons residing together related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income data and poverty thresholds are based on September, October, November, and December of 2002.

Notes

1. Additional information about the DI and SSI programs can be found on the Social Security Administration's Web site at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/.

2. The Core questionnaire includes questions on basic demographics, labor force and program participation, and income designed to measure a person's economic situation. Additional information on the SIPP can be found in the SIPP User's Guide, 2001, available at http://www.sipp.census.gov/sipp/usrguide/sipp2001.pdf.

3. Information on the underlying methodology for combining public-use file data with that from the oversample of beneficiaries is available upon request from the authors.

4. Consistent with the definition used in other SSA publications, SSI recipients are identified on the basis of the monthly benefit actually received, rather than the amount for which they are eligible (Pickett and Scott 1996). Also consistent with the definition used in other SSA publications, DI beneficiaries are identified on the basis of the monthly benefit due before the deductions for Medicare premiums.

5. In 2002, the poverty threshold for an individual was $9,183 and for a family of four it was $18,392 (U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty 2002, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/povdef.html#2).

6. Almost all persons aged 65 or older are automatically entitled to Medicare Part A for hospital expenses. Part A also provides coverage, after a 24-month waiting period, for persons under age 65 who are receiving Social Security cash benefits on the basis of disability (Committee on Ways and Means 2004).

References

Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives. 2004. Green Book. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Pickett, Clark, and Charles G. Scott. 1996. Reinventing SSI statistics: SSA's new longitudinal file. Social Security Bulletin 59(2): 31–56.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2003. Current Population Survey: Annual Social and Economic Supplements. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/povdef.html#2.