Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 61, No. 4

(released October 1998)
by Thomas M. Parrott, Lenna D. Kennedy, and Charles G. Scott

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, established by the Social Security Amendments of 1972 (Public Law 92-603), was designed to provide cash assistance to needy aged, blind, and disabled citizens, and noncitizens lawfully admitted for permanent residence or permanently residing under color of law. Since then, this means-tested program has undergone many legislative changes that affect the eligibility status of noncitizens. This article, presented in three parts, discusses the legislative history of noncitizen eligibility, and details relevant laws enacted since the program's inception; provides current data on the trends and changes of the noncitizen population; and describes the larger population of foreign-born SSI recipients, of which the noncitizens are a part. Data on the number of SSI recipients born abroad but who had become citizens before applying for SSI payments were not previously available. Analytical data are from the Supplemental Security Record (SSR) matched to the Social Security Number Identification (Numident) file.

by Harriet Orcutt Duleep and Mark C. Regets

This article asks whether information about immigrants beyond their age, education, and years since migration can be productively used to project their earnings. Although many factors could affect immigrant earnings, what is most useful for Social Security modelling purposes is relevant information that is readily available on a continuous basis. Country of origin is a good candidate, as it is regularly and readily available from several administrative and survey data sources.

In this article, microdata samples from the 1960-90 censuses are used to examine the relationship between country of origin and the earnings of immigrants. By following cohorts of immigrants over 10-year intervals, we learn how country of origin affects the initial earnings of immigrants and how the relationship between country of origin and immigrant earnings changes as immigrants continue to live in the United States. The article also presents theoretical insights and empirical evidence about the underlying causes of the link between country of origin and immigrant earnings.