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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits

Health Factors: Income
Decision Makers: State Government Federal Government
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter for aged, blind or disabled people with little or no income. Benefits issued by the federal government can be supplemented with additional state contributions (SSA).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased income
Reduced poverty
Improved well-being

Evidence of Effectiveness

Social insurance programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are widely used by governments to increase the income of those unable to work, such as the elderly and individuals with disabilities severe enough to prevent gainful employment. Available evidence suggests that SSI receipt can increase total household income and reduce the likelihood of child poverty (Duggan 2007a). Loss of SSI benefits has been shown to increase the likelihood of hardships such as hunger, homelessness (Norris 2003a), and unmet medical needs (Hemmeter 2011). Additional evidence is needed to confirm optimal program targeting and benefit amounts.


United States

Application for SSI disability benefits is a function of health but is also influenced by program rules and benefits. Six states do not pay SSI supplements: Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The federal Social Security Administration implements SSI supplements for fourteen states; other states implement their own (SSA-SSI 2013).


Wisconsin provides an SSI supplement for those who qualify for the federal program (WI DHS-SSI).  

Citations - Description

SSA - US Social Security Administration (SSA). What is supplemental security income? Accessed on May 20, 2016

Citations - Evidence

Duggan 2007a - Duggan MG, Kearney MS. The impact of child SSI enrollment on household outcomes. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 2007;26(4):861-86. Accessed on December 22, 2015
Hemmeter 2011* - Hemmeter J. Health-related unmet needs of Supplemental Security Income youth after the age-18 redetermination. Health Services Research. 2011;46(4):1224-42. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Norris 2003a* - Norris J, Scott R, Speiglman R, Green R. Homelessness, hunger and material hardship among those who lost SSI. Contemporary Drug Problems. 2003;30:241-73. Accessed on March 1, 2016

Citations - Implementation

SSA-SSI 2013 - Social Security Administration (SSA). SSI recipients by state and county, 2012. Washington, DC; 2013. Accessed on November 24, 2015
WI DHS-SSI - Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). Supplemental Security Income in Wisconsin. Accessed on November 9, 2015

Page Last Updated

January 2, 2014

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