The following tables and figures provide SSI program data:
- Tables SSI 1 through SSI 5 present national caseload and expenditure trend data on the SSI program;
- Table SSI 6 presents demographic characteristics of the SSI caseload; and
- Tables SSI 7 and SSI 8 present state-by-state trend data on the SSI program through fiscal year 2001.
From 1990 to 1995, the program increased from 4.8 million beneficiaries to 6.5 million beneficiaries, an average growth rate of over 6 percent per year. Between 1995 and 2000, the number of beneficiaries fluctuated between 6.5 and 6.6 million persons. In December 2001, there were 6.7 million beneficiaries. Table SSI 1 presents information on the total number of persons receiving SSI payments in December of each year from 1974 through 2001, and also presents recipients by eligibility category (aged, blind and disabled) and by type of recipient (child, adult age 18-64, and adult age 65 or older). See also Table IND 4c in Chapter II for further data on trends in recipiency and participation rates.
The composition of the SSI caseload has been shifting over time, as shown in Table SSI 1. The number of beneficiaries eligible because of age has been declining steadily, from a high of 2.3 million persons in December 1975 to less than 1.3 million persons in December 2001. At the same time, there has been strong growth in blind and disabled beneficiaries, from 1.7 million in December 1974 to 5.4 million in December 2001. Moreover, the number of disabled children has increased dramatically, particularly during the 1990s, when the number of disabled children receiving SSI increased from 340,000 in December 1990 to 955,000 in December 1996. The number of disabled children fell in the next three years, stabilized at 847,000 in 1999 and 2000, and rose to 882,000 in 2001.
Several factors have contributed to the growth of the Supplemental Security Income program. Expansions in disability eligibility (particularly for mentally impaired adults and for children), increased outreach, overall growth in immigration, and transfers from state programs were among the key factors identified in a 1995 study by the General Accounting Office (GAO). GAO concluded that three groups – adults with mental impairments, children, and non-citizens – accounted for nearly 90 percent of the SSI program’s growth in the early 1990s. The growth in disabled children beneficiaries is generally believed to be due to outreach activities, the Supreme Court decision in the Zebley case, expansion of the medical impairment category, and reduction in reviews of continuing eligibility.1
1 The GAO study estimated that 87,000 children were added to the SSI caseload after the IFA for children was initiated.
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