Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 59, No. 1

(released January 1996)
by Kalman Rupp and Charles G. Scott

We analyze the effects of trends in the age and diagnostic mix of new disability awardee cohorts from 1975 through 1993 on expected duration on the Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rolls. The 1975-93 shift toward younger awardees is estimated to increase duration by 1.4 years for DI and for about 5 years for SSI. Much of the increase in SSI duration is attributable to the recent influx of childhood awardees. For working-age adults, the DI and SSI trends are comparable. We also estimate that about half of the 1975-93 increase in DI duration is explained by the increase in the proportion of younger DI-insured workers. During the 1993-2006 period, the effect of changes in the age mix of DI-insured workers will be reversed. This will moderate, but not eliminate, likely upward pressures on caseloads arising from the anticipated rise in incidence rates and the future effects of past increases in expected duration.

by L. Scott Muller, Charles G. Scott, and Barry V. Bye

This article examines two important aspects of work behavior, labor-force participation, and earnings among persons who since 1976 have become entitled to SSI disability benefits and received payments for a full calendar year or longer during the intervening time period. A data set was developed containing the records of a random sample of all individuals who had ever received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits and matched to earnings records maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A multivariate analysis based on a pooled cross-sectional time series approach was employed using individual-level data to first estimate the probability of an SSI recipient performing work and then to estimate, among those who worked, the level of earnings. For this analysis, the SSI population was divided into three distinct groups based on their diagnosis: the nondevelopmentally disabled, the developmentally disabled (other than the mentally retarded), and the mentally retarded.

The analysis provides information about the impact that individual characteristics (such as age, education, diagnosis, and so forth) play in the decision to work and in determining the level of earnings. The analysis also addresses yearly variations in labor-force participation and earnings.

by Greg P. Hannsgen and Steven H. Sandell

This article examines a source of the growth in the SSI children's program: a relatively minor and little-noticed change in the financial eligibility rules. The way parental earnings were counted as income, or "deemed" to children (to use SSA language) was changed. The new, more generous financial eligibility rules added a small but significant number of recipients to the rolls after 1992 and also increased the benefit amounts for many of those already receiving SSI. Using SSA administrative data and a simulation technique, this article estimates how much the deeming policy change contributed to the expansion of the rolls and the cost of the program. We estimate that program costs of the deeming rule change were approximately $63 million annually in 1993 dollars. The change led to a 2-percent increase in the number of children on the rolls.

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.