Journal of Public Economics
In 1974, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) federalized cash welfare programs for the elderly, blind, and individuals with disabilities, imposing a national minimum benefit, and differentially raising payment levels in states that paid below its benefit floor. We show that this increased disability participation, but shrank non-disability cash transfer programs. For every four new SSI recipients, three came from other welfare programs. Each dollar of per capita SSI income increased total per capita transfer income by just over 50 cents. Federalizing part of a patchwork safety net need not increase redistribution by as much as traditional models of fiscal federalism suggest.
Disability policy, Program interactions, Supplemental Security Income
© 2019 by Andrew Goodman-Bacon and Lucie Schmidt.
Goodman-Bacon, Andrew and Schmidt, Lucie, "Federalizing Benefits: the Introduction of Supplemental Security Income and the Size of the Safety Net" (2020). Economics: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.