Thursday, May 9, 2019

Two new datasets released today on provide details on government programs available to children with disabilities and their families: the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the state supplemental payment (SSP) programs.

The datasets capture and analyze key features of social security laws over 22 years, from January 1, 1996 through November 1, 2018, including eligibility requirements and exemptions, benefit rates and rate calculations, and which state entities are responsible for administering SSP programs.

“SSI and SSP benefits can lessen the financial burden of vulnerable individuals, reduce insecurity, and improve children’s lives,” said CPHLR Policy Surveillance Program Director Lindsay Cloud, Esq. “This resource provides the longitudinal legal data that is necessary to understand the impact income security laws have on the health and well-being of American families.”

The data reveal a few notable trends and findings:

  • Not all states provide optional supplementation, but the program has expanded over time: In 1996, 39 states offered state supplementation in addition to the federal SSI benefit. As of November 1, 2018, 45 states offered SSP supplementation to eligible individuals.
  • Only about half of all US states offer supplemental payment programs for children with disabilities, and that number has remained relatively unchanged in 22 years — 21 states made the programs available to children in 1996, and as of November 1, 2018, there were 23 states with SSPs available to children.
  • In four states as of November 1, 2018, eligibility for SSP depends on residence, which can include group homes, foster care, community homes, and medical institutions, among other living arrangements.
  • Laws in 18 states explicitly provide information on the amount a recipient receives under the SSP program, as of November 1, 2018. Eight of those states explicitly provide a dollar amount, and 10 others provide a formula to determine the payment amount.
  • In states where the law indicates a specific dollar amount for payments to children with disabilities, support payment amounts ranged from $3.13 in Utah to $60.43 in Illinois.

These datasets were produced by the Policy Surveillance Program at the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research. The datasets were supported by cooperative agreement between ChangeLab Solutions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.