IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

What Is the Long-Term Impact on Zebley Kids?

Listed author(s):
  • Norma B. Coe
  • Matthew S. Rutledge

In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Sullivan v. Zebley case fundamentally changed, albeit temporarily, the criteria under which children qualified for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program based on disability. Instead of a system based on medical criteria alone, 1996 enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) tied children’s eligibility for SSI, in part, to the effects of their medically determinable impairments on their ability to function day-to-day in age-appropriate activities at home, at school, and in their communities. This paper examines what happened to the Zebley cohort after the age of 18 relative to cohorts who received SSI payments under stricter criteria. This paper evaluates the long-term impact on educational attainment, earnings, SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) participation, and other markers of adult development for the Zebley cohort. We find that, overall, SSI receipt in childhood is associated more positive outcomes than negative ones. The Zebley cohort has a longer attachment to the labor force and a lower likelihood of welfare receipt in adulthood, but also a higher likelihood of lacking health insurance coverage. In addition, those with health conditions most likely to be affected by the new evaluation criteria appear to substitute welfare benefits for disability benefits These results are consistent with the hypothesis that SSI receipt at the margin improves adult outcomes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2013-3.

in new window

Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2013-3
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Hovey House, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Phone: (617) 552-1762
Fax: (617) 552-0191
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2013-3. 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: (Amy Grzybowski)

or (Christopher F Baum)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.