IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/h/nbr/nberch/9748.html
   My bibliography  Save this book chapter

Guaranteed Income. SSI and the Well-Being of the Elderly Poor

In: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform

Author

Listed:
  • Kathleen M. McGarry

Abstract

Discussions of changes in the Social Security program must necessarily consider the impact of such changes on the well-being of the poor elderly. Under the current system, the financial needs of this population are met by the Supplement Security Income program (SSI). SSI has done much to improve situation of the poorest elderly but has the potential to do more. This paper examines that potential. One of the most surprising aspect of the program is that many of those eligible for benefits are not enrolled. Here I examine the correlates of participation for a sample of eligible individuals and use the results to simulate the effect of changes in eligibility criteria on participation and on costs. The largest expansion considered in the paper, providing an income guarantee for all elderly individuals that is equal to the poverty line, increases payments directed towards the elderly by 90 percent, to just over 8 billion in 1993 dollars. Although large, this $8 billion is less than half of the expenditures for the SSI disabled population in that year. Modifications to SSI that increase income disregards, eliminate the asset test, or base income eligibility solely on Social Security income, would be less costly, but would also provide less relief to the poor. Importantly, all programs, including the current system, could have substantially greater effects on poverty if participation rates were increased.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Kathleen M. McGarry, 2002. "Guaranteed Income. SSI and the Well-Being of the Elderly Poor," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 49-84, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9748
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c9748.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fraker, Thomas & Moffitt, Robert, 1988. "The effect of food stamps on labor supply : A bivariate selection model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 25-56, February.
    2. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
    3. Beth Osborne Daponte & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 1999. "Why Do Low-Income Households not Use Food Stamps? Evidence from an Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 612-628.
    4. Martin Feldstein, 1998. "Privatizing Social Security," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld98-1.
    5. Jennifer L. Warlick, 1982. "Participation of the Aged in SSI," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 236-260.
    6. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Kathleen McGarry & Robert F. Schoeni, 2015. "Understanding Participation in SSI," Working Papers wp319, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Agneta Stark & Nancy Folbre & Lois Shaw & Timothy Smeeding & Susanna Sandstrom & Lois Shaw & Sunhwa Lee & Kyunghee Chung, 2005. "Poverty And Income Maintenance In Old Age: A Cross-National View Of Low Income Older Women / Growing Old In The Us: Gender And Income Adequacy / Gender And Aging In South Korea," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 163-197.
    3. Andreea Balan-Cohen, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? The Impact of the Old Age Assistance Program on Elderly Mortality in the United States," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0719, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    4. Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 15181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Deanna Sharpe, 2008. "Economic Status of Older Asians in the United States," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 570-583, December.
    6. Susanna Sandström & Timothy Smeeding, 2005. "Poverty and Income Maintenance in Old Age: A Cross-National View of Low Income Older Women," LIS Working papers 398, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Kathleen McGarry, 1995. "Factors Determining Participation of the Elderly in SSI," NBER Working Papers 5250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Blanco Mariana & Vargas Juan F., 2014. "Can SMS Technology Improve Low Take-up of Social Benefits?," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(1), pages 61-81, January.
    3. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-383, June.
    4. Zantomio, Francesca, 2008. "The route to take-up: raising incentives or lowering barriers?," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-35, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Momi Dahan & Udi Nisan, 2006. "Low Take-up Rates: The Role of Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 1829, CESifo.
    6. Sylvain Chareyron, 2016. "Le non-recours aux aides sociales sous conditions de ressources," Erudite Ph.D Dissertations, Erudite, number ph16-01 edited by Yannick L'Horty & François Legendre, October.
    7. David Coady & César Martinelli & Susan W. Parker, 2013. "Information and Participation in Social Programs," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 27(1), pages 149-170.
    8. E. J. Bird, "undated". "Exploring the stigma of food stamps," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1097-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    9. Huffman, Sonya Kostova & Jensen, Helen H., 2003. "Do Food Assistance Programs Improve Household Food Security?: Recent Evidence From The United States," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22219, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    10. Momi Dahan & Udi Nisan, 2010. "The effect of benefits level on take-up rates: evidence from a natural experiment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(2), pages 151-173, April.
    11. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-589, August.
    12. Robert A. Moffitt & Matthew V. Zahn, 2019. "The Marginal Labor Supply Disincentives of Welfare: Evidence from Administrative Barriers to Participation," NBER Working Papers 26028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ha Trong Nguyen & Huong Thu Le & Luke B Connelly, 2021. "Who's declining the “free lunch”? New evidence from the uptake of public child dental benefits," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 270-288, February.
    14. Friedrichsen, Jana & König, Tobias & Schmacker, Renke, 2018. "Social image concerns and welfare take-up," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 174-192.
    15. H. Hoynes & R. Moffitt, "undated". "The effectiveness of financial work incentives in DI and SSI: Lessons from other transfer programs," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1073-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    16. Russell, Blair D. & Moulton, Stephanie & Greenbaum, Robert T., 2014. "Take-up of mortgage assistance for distressed homeowners: The role of geographic accessibility," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 57-74.
    17. Huffman, Sonya Kostova & Jensen, Helen H., 2002. "An Empirical Analysis Of Joint Decision On Food Stamp Program, Temporary Assistance For Needy Families And Labor Force Participation," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19824, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    18. Ariel Marek Pihl, 2018. "Head Start and Mothers' Work: Free Child Care or Something More?," Working Papers 18-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    19. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson & Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, 2012. "Work incentives and the Food Stamp Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 151-162.
    20. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Discrete Hours Labour Supply Modelling: Specification, Estimation and Simulation," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(5), pages 697-734, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9748. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.