AEIdeas

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Discussion: (4 comments)

  1. re: ” The ultimate test of our concern for poor children with or without disabilities is how successful we are in providing them with the education and training they need to enter the work force as adults. SSI fails that test.”

    SSI is supposed to educate kids? Who knew?

  2. I thought the purpose of SSI was to supplement the income of parents with a disabled child because their work ability could be limited. But it seems school have to take almost every child and receive a lot of extra funds for education of “special needs” children. So if the kids are in school – why do we need to pay Mom or Dad to stay home?

  3. Shawn Fremstad

    “In 1974, its first year of operation, this program provided benefits to about 10 per 1,000 poor children. By 2007, however, enrollment had grown eightfold to 80 per 1,000.”

    Comparing child participation rates in a mature program with ones from the very first year of implementation of a new one (especially one that a period where very different attitudes about the appropriateness of institutionalization of the disabled still prevailed) seems quite unwise to me. Why not look at recent participation trends–which haven’t changed much–especially since you also note that disability trends haven’t changed much since the late 1990s?

    Also, why are “poor children” (i.e., under 100% of FPL) the denominator here. SSI child eligibility is means-tested but does not end at the poverty line, which is a very good think if we care about work and marriage penalties.

    “Increasingly, this program is turning into a more general welfare program. And the interaction between Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and SSI is partially responsible for the program’s growth.”

    What is the real-world (non-anecdotal) evidence for this claim? Looking at the actual data for SSI and TANF, it appears to me that parents of SSI children are more likely to be working than parents receiving TANF (despite the extensive bureaucratic machinery TANF requires states to dedicate toward employment). And there is little support in the data on participation trends in the two programs to support the idea that the decline in receipt of TANF over the last decade—one that happened despite increasing child poverty—has had anything more than an extremely modest impact on children’s SSI enrollments. Personally, I was surprised that by the lack of evidence of any impact when I looked at the data—but that initial surprise hasn’t stood in the way of my adjusting my initial uninformed view.

    Finally, why does this commentary not mention the important published research by Melissa Kearney and Mark Duggan finding that children’s SSI reduces poverty and reduces reliance on food stamps and other means-tested benefits without adverse impacts on parental employment? This seems a stunning oversight, especially since I distinctly recall attending an AEI event in the mid-2000s where the Kearney/Duggan research was featured positively. Is it no longer consistent with the “makers vs. takers” line that AEI sadly now seems wedded to?

    1. ” What is the real-world (non-anecdotal) evidence for this claim? Looking at the actual data for SSI and TANF, it appears to me that parents of SSI children are more likely to be working than parents receiving ”

      there is none.. this is just more drum-beating by the AEI “scholars”.

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