Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants, 2010 Update

by Michelle Stegman Bailey and Jeffrey Hemmeter
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-02 (released February 2014)

Michelle Stegman Bailey and Jeffrey Hemmeter are economists with the Office of Program Development, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration.

Acknowledgments: The authors thank David Weaver, Susan Wilschke, Susan Kalasunas, Paul Davies, Michael Stephens, Jim Twist, and Joyce Nicholas for their valuable suggestions and comments, and Thuy Ho and Jim Fahlfeder for their assistance with the data.

The findings and conclusions presented in this note are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Social Security Administration.

Introduction

DI Disability Insurance
SIPP Survey of Income and Program Participation
SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
SSA Social Security Administration
SSI Supplemental Security Income

The Social Security Administration (SSA) produces several statistical publications based on the data used to administer the Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Although these data are extensive, they do not capture many of the economic and demographic characteristics of program participants. To better understand those beneficiary populations, SSA matches information from its administrative records with data collected by the Census Bureau in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). DeCesaro and Hemmeter (2008) contains tables describing the characteristics of DI and SSI program participants based on 2002 data. This note updates those tables with data for 2010.

Data

The SIPP is a household survey of the noninstitutionalized resident population of the United States. The survey broadly measures the economic situations of households, paying particular attention to the role of government transfer and service programs. Within a given SIPP wave, each participating household is tracked for several years and is interviewed every 4 months.1 In addition to the core questions about income and program participation, each interview includes questions from a rotating module on a topic such as marital history or education.

Although the previous iteration of this analysis included a special sample of known DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients, such a sample was not interviewed in the 2008 SIPP, which provided the data for this note. Thus, the estimates presented here are based on smaller samples of DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients included in the public-use SIPP data file. Additionally, the definitions of some of the characteristics differ from those used in the previous work. Those changes were necessary to avoid disclosing information about individual sample members.

To improve the quality of the data, SIPP results are matched to Social Security administrative records based on the respondent's validated Social Security number. For individuals with valid numbers, we use the administrative records to determine whether they received DI benefits or SSI payments and, if so, the amounts received. For individuals who did not provide a valid Social Security number, we use self-reported values from the SIPP. We identify individuals as DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients if they received a payment in December 2010.2 Consistent with the prior edition of this study, we define SSI receipt only in terms of federal payments; that is, we do not include state SSI supplements (even those that are federally administered) in our definition. In tabulations of SSI recipients' Medicaid coverage, we recode the SIPP Medicaid variable to reflect the automatic Medicaid coverage of SSI recipients in certain states under Section 1634 of the Social Security Act.

We weight the SIPP results using December 2010 Social Security administrative data adjusted for institutional status.3 We use data for September, October, November, and December 2010 to measure income and poverty. Those months span waves 7 and 8 of the 2008 SIPP. All demographic characteristics other than income and SSI and DI benefit amounts are based on SIPP data for December 2010.

Discussion of the Estimates

This section highlights selected estimates from the tables and charts.

DI Beneficiaries

DI beneficiaries in this sample comprise disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children. Because 89 percent of the beneficiaries in this sample were disabled workers, the tables present information separately for that subgroup, although we do not discuss those results in the text. For convenience and consistency with other publications, we refer to all these groups as DI beneficiaries regardless of whether their benefits are paid from the Disability Insurance or the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and as long as their eligibility is based on disability.4

Although DI beneficiaries are eligible for Medicare, coverage does not begin until 24 months after the first month of benefit receipt. In December 2010, 64 percent of DI beneficiaries reported Medicare coverage (alone or in combination with other coverage), 43 percent reported Medicaid coverage, and 33 percent had private health insurance (Chart 1). Nearly one-quarter of beneficiaries held joint Medicare and Medicaid coverage and a similar proportion had only Medicare coverage (Table 1). About 8 percent of DI beneficiaries in the sample reported having no health insurance.

Chart 1.
DI beneficiaries, by type of health insurance coverage, December 2010 (in percent)
Bar chart. Four bars. Medicaid = 42.7%. Medicare = 64.3%. Private = 32.5%. None = 7.7%.
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTE: Individuals may have more than one type of coverage.
Table 1. Number and percentage distribution of DI beneficiaries, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Number Percent
All disabled beneficiaries Disabled workers All disabled beneficiaries Disabled workers
All beneficiaries 8,993,173 8,031,344 100.0 100.0
Sex
Men 4,613,671 4,155,490 51.3 51.7
Women 4,379,502 3,875,854 48.7 48.3
Race
White 6,732,147 5,951,064 74.9 74.1
Black 1,801,612 1,658,014 20.0 20.6
Other 459,414 422,266 5.1 5.3
Ethnicity
Hispanic 961,876 888,398 10.7 11.1
Non-Hispanic 8,031,297 7,142,946 89.3 88.9
Marital status
Married 3,472,334 3,432,746 38.6 42.7
Widowed 705,296 501,970 7.8 6.3
Divorced or separated 2,291,473 2,240,468 25.5 27.9
Never married 2,524,070 1,856,160 28.1 23.1
Years of education
0–11 1,519,369 1,254,822 16.9 15.6
12 3,449,413 2,914,750 38.4 36.3
13–15 2,511,658 2,411,218 27.9 30.0
16 or more 1,512,733 1,450,554 16.8 18.1
Health insurance
Medicaid only 1,267,596 1,080,531 14.1 13.5
Medicare only 2,002,125 1,828,470 22.3 22.8
Private only 1,040,313 994,086 11.6 12.4
Medicaid and Medicare 2,120,409 1,737,020 23.6 21.6
Medicaid and private 223,931 214,141 2.5 2.7
Medicare and private 1,426,962 1,329,801 15.9 16.6
Medicaid, Medicare, and private 222,292 190,264 2.5 2.4
None 689,545 657,031 7.7 8.2
Source of income a
Public assistance
SSI 1,770,455 1,469,973 19.7 18.3
Other b 2,911,810 2,534,996 32.4 31.6
Earnings 979,632 813,472 10.9 10.1
Property income 2,767,635 2,576,508 30.8 32.1
Other income 2,603,976 2,424,101 29.0 30.2
Veteran status
Veteran 1,034,102 1,012,043 11.5 12.6
Nonveteran 7,959,071 7,019,301 88.5 87.4
Total 4-month personal income c ($)
Less than 1,500 64,276 51,120 0.7 0.6
1,500–1,999 112,071 89,209 1.2 1.1
2,000–2,499 159,042 126,605 1.8 1.6
2,500–2,999 1,268,725 1,088,653 14.1 13.6
3,000–3,499 964,634 832,578 10.7 10.4
3,500–3,999 912,619 780,486 10.1 9.7
4,000–4,499 881,662 744,647 9.8 9.3
4,500–4,999 601,835 547,683 6.7 6.8
5,000 or more 4,028,309 3,770,364 44.8 46.9
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: "DI beneficiaries" includes disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children, but excludes nondisabled individuals receiving DI benefits as dependents of disabled workers.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
a. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
b. Includes state SSI supplementation, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, General Assistance, food assistance (including food stamps and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), clothing assistance, short-term assistance, transportation assistance, and other welfare.
c. September–December 2010.

Many of those who reported Medicaid coverage were likely to be among the 20 percent of disabled beneficiaries who also received SSI payments. Other forms of income included earnings (received by 11 percent of DI beneficiaries), property income from all assets (received by 31 percent), and other public assistance (received by 32 percent).

The majority of DI beneficiaries had 4-month personal income below $5,000 (Table 1). DI benefits were an important income source, constituting 75–100 percent of personal income for more than one-half of DI beneficiaries (Table 2).

Table 2. DI beneficiaries, by percentage of personal income attributable to Social Security benefits and selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Number Percent Percentage distribution
Total Under 50% of income 50–74% of income 75–99% of income 100% of income
  All disabled beneficiaries
Total 8,993,173 100.0 100.0 20.5 20.7 27.8 31.0
Sex
Men 4,613,671 51.3 100.0 20.8 19.9 26.2 33.1
Women 4,379,502 48.7 100.0 20.2 21.5 29.6 28.7
Age
Under 40 1,354,823 15.1 100.0 30.0 24.5 23.9 21.6
40–49 1,622,598 18.0 100.0 16.5 17.9 26.4 39.2
50–59 3,335,921 37.1 100.0 17.2 18.6 28.5 35.7
60 or older 2,679,831 29.8 100.0 22.2 23.1 29.9 24.9
Race
White 6,732,147 74.9 100.0 19.0 20.1 28.3 32.7
Black 1,801,612 20.0 100.0 24.9 23.4 24.8 26.9
Other 459,414 5.1 100.0 25.7 19.4 33.3 21.7
Ethnicity
Hispanic 961,876 10.7 100.0 20.9 14.1 27.9 37.1
Non-Hispanic 8,031,297 89.3 100.0 20.4 21.5 27.8 30.2
Marital status
Married 3,472,334 38.6 100.0 19.2 18.6 28.5 33.7
Widowed 705,296 7.8 100.0 15.6 36.0 24.5 23.9
Divorced or separated 2,291,473 25.5 100.0 20.5 20.5 28.1 30.9
Never married 2,524,070 28.1 100.0 23.6 19.5 27.6 29.2
Years of education
0–11 1,519,369 16.9 100.0 19.5 17.1 29.1 34.3
12 3,449,413 38.4 100.0 19.7 21.9 28.7 29.8
13–15 2,511,658 27.9 100.0 20.1 20.2 27.1 32.7
16 or more 1,512,733 16.8 100.0 24.1 22.4 26.0 27.5
Living arrangement
Lives alone 2,433,990 27.1 100.0 19.2 20.3 30.8 29.6
Lives with relatives 5,989,639 66.6 100.0 21.6 20.2 26.6 31.6
Lives only with nonrelatives 569,543 6.3 100.0 14.3 27.9 28.0 29.8
  Disabled workers
Total 8,031,344 89.3 100.0 20.6 20.2 28.1 31.2
Sex
Men 4,155,490 46.2 100.0 20.7 19.6 26.4 33.3
Women 3,875,854 43.1 100.0 20.5 20.8 29.8 28.8
Age
Under 40 966,097 10.7 100.0 31.0 24.8 24.5 19.7
40–49 1,515,879 16.9 100.0 17.1 17.8 26.4 38.7
50–59 3,094,287 34.4 100.0 16.6 18.4 28.5 36.5
60 or older 2,455,081 27.3 100.0 23.7 22.1 29.9 24.3
Race
White 5,951,064 66.2 100.0 18.9 19.5 28.5 33.1
Black 1,658,014 18.4 100.0 25.7 23.0 24.6 26.8
Other 422,266 4.7 100.0 23.6 19.0 35.9 21.5
Ethnicity
Hispanic 888,398 9.9 100.0 20.1 12.6 28.6 38.7
Non-Hispanic 7,142,946 79.4 100.0 20.6 21.1 28.0 30.2
Marital status
Married 3,432,746 38.2 100.0 19.1 18.6 28.6 33.7
Widowed 501,970 5.6 100.0 17.7 33.0 24.6 24.6
Divorced or separated 2,240,468 24.9 100.0 20.5 20.3 28.3 31.0
Never married 1,856,160 20.6 100.0 24.2 19.6 27.6 28.6
Years of education
0–11 1,254,822 14.0 100.0 20.0 16.1 29.2 34.7
12 2,914,750 32.4 100.0 19.6 21.5 29.2 29.7
13–15 2,411,218 26.8 100.0 20.4 20.2 26.8 32.6
16 or more 1,450,554 16.1 100.0 23.4 21.1 26.8 28.7
Living arrangement
Lives alone 2,170,268 24.1 100.0 19.7 19.9 30.9 29.6
Lives with relatives 5,421,511 60.3 100.0 21.5 19.6 27.1 31.8
Lives only with nonrelatives 439,566 4.9 100.0 13.4 29.7 26.2 30.7
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: "DI beneficiaries" includes disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children, but excludes nondisabled individuals receiving DI benefits as dependents of disabled workers.
Personal income is for September–December 2010.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Two out of three DI beneficiaries reported a family size of one or two individuals, and one-third of DI beneficiaries reported that two or more individuals in the household received any Social Security disability, old-age, or survivor benefits (Table 3). About one-half of DI beneficiaries had 4-month family income below $10,000. Nearly 60 percent owned their own home and very few relied on energy assistance (8 percent) or housing assistance (2 percent). However, nearly 32 percent of DI beneficiary households relied on food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program).

Table 3. Number and percentage distribution of DI beneficiaries, by household and family characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Number Percent
All disabled beneficiaries Disabled workers All disabled beneficiaries Disabled workers
All beneficiaries 8,993,173 8,031,344 100.0 100.0
Household type
Family
Married couple 3,916,336 3,710,600 43.5 46.2
Male householder 521,339 450,181 5.8 5.6
Female householder 1,452,533 1,178,582 16.2 14.7
Nonfamily
Male householder 1,484,598 1,327,084 16.5 16.5
Female householder 1,535,784 1,321,529 17.1 16.5
Group quarters 82,581 43,368 0.9 0.5
Ownership of residence a
Owned 5,326,043 4,851,666 59.2 60.4
Not owned
Public housing 987,867 844,240 11.0 10.5
Other 2,679,263 2,335,438 29.8 29.1
Household receipt of assistance b
Energy 686,566 589,022 7.6 7.3
Housing 215,951 191,963 2.4 2.4
Food (SNAP) 2,869,935 2,520,941 31.9 31.4
Household size
1 2,433,990 2,170,268 27.1 27.0
2 3,157,919 2,883,796 35.1 35.9
3–4 2,639,041 2,300,104 29.3 28.6
5 or more 762,222 677,177 8.5 8.4
Family size
1 3,224,642 2,799,596 35.9 34.9
2 2,714,032 2,509,403 30.2 31.2
3–4 2,432,191 2,154,457 27.0 26.8
5 or more 622,308 567,889 6.9 7.1
Children younger than age 18 in family
None 7,258,075 6,416,081 80.7 79.9
1 908,614 840,395 10.1 10.5
2 542,357 513,679 6.0 6.4
3–4 259,037 236,099 2.9 2.9
5 or more 25,089 25,089 0.3 0.3
Social Security c beneficiaries in household
1 5,893,060 5,368,511 65.5 66.8
2 2,191,239 1,911,282 24.4 23.8
3 or more 908,874 751,551 10.1 9.4
Total 4-month household income d ($)
Less than 2,500 73,865 60,247 0.8 0.8
2,500–4,999 1,756,029 1,549,562 19.5 19.3
5,000–7,499 1,226,634 1,096,352 13.6 13.7
7,500–9,999 1,023,618 925,286 11.4 11.5
10,000–14,999 1,605,413 1,393,084 17.9 17.3
15,000–19,999 1,206,228 1,060,589 13.4 13.2
20,000 or more 2,101,385 1,946,222 23.4 24.2
Total 4-month family income d ($)
Less than 2,500 101,204 73,267 1.1 0.9
2,500–4,999 2,173,574 1,854,130 24.2 23.1
5,000–7,499 1,369,261 1,225,648 15.2 15.3
7,500–9,999 926,061 855,080 10.3 10.6
10,000–14,999 1,399,550 1,256,642 15.6 15.6
15,000–19,999 1,100,551 968,802 12.2 12.1
20,000 or more 1,922,972 1,797,776 21.4 22.4
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: "DI beneficiaries" includes disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children, but excludes nondisabled individuals receiving DI benefits as dependents of disabled workers.
A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. A "household" includes related family members and any unrelated persons, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees, who share the housing unit. A household may comprise a person living alone in a housing unit or a group of unrelated persons sharing a housing unit as partners.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
a. Refers to ownership by any member of the household, not necessarily the beneficiary.
b. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
c. Includes disability, old-age, and survivors benefits.
d. September–December 2010.

As Table 4 shows, the two largest sources of family income for DI beneficiaries were their Social Security benefits (58 percent) and earnings (23 percent). Among the marital-status groups, the contribution of earnings toward family income was highest for married DI beneficiaries; those who were divorced or separated relied more heavily on their DI benefits. For beneficiaries with fewer than 12 years of education, benefits accounted for 63 percent and earnings accounted for 18 percent of family income. For those with at least 16 years of education, benefits accounted for 52 percent and earnings accounted for 26 percent of family income.

Table 4. Percentage distribution of family income of DI beneficiaries, by income source and selected demographic characteristics, September–December 2010
Characteristic Total Social Security a Public assistance Earnings Property income Other
SSI Other
  All disabled beneficiaries
Total 100.0 57.7 4.9 1.7 22.7 0.7 12.3
Sex
Men 100.0 58.9 4.1 1.8 21.8 0.7 12.7
Women 100.0 56.4 5.7 1.7 23.7 0.8 11.7
Age
Under 40 100.0 50.4 8.7 3.2 27.3 0.5 9.9
40–49 100.0 58.1 5.7 1.6 24.9 0.3 9.4
50–59 100.0 59.1 3.4 1.6 23.0 0.7 12.2
60 or older 100.0 59.4 4.4 1.3 18.6 1.2 15.1
Race
White 100.0 57.8 3.8 1.5 23.5 0.9 12.5
Black 100.0 56.7 9.0 2.6 20.1 0.2 11.4
Other 100.0 59.6 4.4 1.8 20.5 0.7 13.0
Ethnicity
Hispanic 100.0 52.7 7.4 1.4 30.1 0.1 8.3
Non-Hispanic 100.0 58.3 4.6 1.8 21.8 0.8 12.7
Marital status
Married 100.0 44.9 2.4 1.2 36.3 1.2 14.0
Widowed 100.0 64.3 3.1 2.1 16.5 0.6 13.4
Divorced or separated 100.0 69.5 6.6 1.9 9.4 0.4 12.2
Never married 100.0 62.8 7.4 2.2 17.7 0.5 9.4
Years of education
0–11 100.0 63.0 10.0 2.5 17.9 0.4 6.2
12 100.0 57.6 4.5 1.7 24.2 0.4 11.6
13–15 100.0 58.2 4.3 1.7 21.6 0.8 13.4
16 or more 100.0 51.9 1.8 1.1 25.7 1.7 17.8
Living arrangement
Lives alone 100.0 77.4 6.0 1.7 3.9 0.3 10.7
Lives with relatives 100.0 47.8 4.1 1.7 31.8 1.0 13.6
Lives only with nonrelatives 100.0 77.6 8.7 2.4 6.4 0.4 4.5
  Disabled workers
Total 100.0 57.2 4.6 1.7 23.1 0.8 12.6
Sex
Men 100.0 58.8 3.6 1.8 21.7 0.7 13.4
Women 100.0 55.4 5.6 1.7 24.7 0.8 11.8
Age
Under 40 100.0 48.1 7.8 3.4 29.6 0.5 10.6
40–49 100.0 57.8 5.7 1.6 24.9 0.3 9.7
50–59 100.0 59.1 3.1 1.6 23.5 0.7 12.0
60 or older 100.0 58.1 4.6 1.4 19.0 1.3 15.6
Race
White 100.0 57.2 3.4 1.5 24.2 0.9 12.8
Black 100.0 56.5 9.0 2.7 20.0 0.2 11.6
Other 100.0 59.7 4.1 1.7 20.3 0.7 13.5
Ethnicity
Hispanic 100.0 53.5 6.7 1.4 29.5 0.1 8.8
Non-Hispanic 100.0 57.7 4.3 1.8 22.4 0.8 13.0
Marital status
Married 100.0 44.9 2.4 1.2 36.3 1.2 14.0
Widowed 100.0 64.2 2.8 2.5 16.4 0.4 13.7
Divorced or separated 100.0 69.9 6.5 2.0 9.2 0.4 12.0
Never married 100.0 62.7 6.8 2.3 17.4 0.5 10.3
Years of education
0–11 100.0 62.6 10.0 2.5 18.4 0.3 6.2
12 100.0 56.5 3.9 1.7 25.4 0.5 12.0
13–15 100.0 58.0 4.3 1.7 21.5 0.8 13.7
16 or more 100.0 52.6 1.6 1.2 25.4 1.7 17.5
Living arrangement
Lives alone 100.0 77.1 6.0 1.7 3.8 0.3 11.1
Lives with relatives 100.0 47.5 3.8 1.7 32.3 1.0 13.7
Lives only with nonrelatives 100.0 78.0 7.4 2.3 6.0 0.5 5.8
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: "DI beneficiaries" includes disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children, but excludes nondisabled individuals receiving DI benefits as dependents of disabled workers.
A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
a. Includes disability, old-age, and survivor benefits.

Although 29 percent of DI beneficiaries had family income of at least 300 percent of the poverty threshold, nearly 20 percent were in poverty (Table 5). Female DI beneficiaries and beneficiaries who were not married were among those most likely to have family income below the poverty threshold. The proportions of DI beneficiaries above 300 percent of the poverty threshold differed widely by educational attainment. Only 11 percent of those with fewer than 12 years of education were above 300 percent of the threshold, compared with 45 percent of those with 16 years or more of education (Chart 2).

Table 5. Percentage distribution of DI beneficiaries, by poverty status and selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Total Family income relative to poverty threshold
Less than 100% 100–124% 125–149% 150–199% 200–299% 300% or more
  All disabled beneficiaries
Total 8,993,173 19.5 9.9 8.0 15.9 18.0 28.7
Sex
Men 4,613,671 15.9 10.3 7.8 17.3 18.1 30.6
Women 4,379,502 23.4 9.5 8.2 14.4 17.9 26.6
Age
Under 40 1,354,823 23.2 7.5 9.4 18.1 16.8 25.0
40–49 1,622,598 21.1 12.2 6.5 13.4 20.0 26.8
50–59 3,335,921 17.5 10.4 9.1 16.9 16.9 29.2
60 or older 2,679,831 19.1 9.2 6.7 15.0 19.0 31.0
Race
White 6,732,147 17.4 10.0 7.7 15.2 18.8 30.9
Black 1,801,612 27.9 8.9 9.0 17.0 16.2 21.2
Other 459,414 17.8 13.1 8.4 21.8 13.9 25.0
Ethnicity
Hispanic 961,876 23.0 7.9 6.3 20.7 19.3 22.8
Non-Hispanic 8,031,297 19.1 10.2 8.2 15.3 17.9 29.4
Marital status
Married 3,472,334 6.2 5.5 5.7 16.1 21.0 45.5
Widowed 705,296 24.3 11.8 11.9 11.7 23.2 17.1
Divorced or separated 2,291,473 32.8 12.3 10.0 15.9 16.1 12.8
Never married 2,524,070 24.5 13.3 8.2 16.7 14.3 23.1
Years of education
0–11 1,519,369 32.8 15.9 10.2 18.3 11.7 11.0
12 3,449,413 18.6 9.1 8.0 16.5 20.7 27.2
13–15 2,511,658 18.4 9.1 7.1 15.3 18.4 31.7
16 or more 1,512,733 10.0 7.1 7.2 13.1 18.0 44.7
  Disabled workers
Total 8,031,344 18.4 9.9 7.7 16.0 18.3 29.6
Sex
Men 4,155,490 15.1 10.0 7.7 17.3 18.4 31.6
Women 3,875,854 21.9 9.8 7.8 14.7 18.2 27.5
Age
Under 40 966,097 22.2 8.2 9.2 18.0 16.9 25.5
40–49 1,515,879 22.1 12.0 6.5 13.0 19.8 26.6
50–59 3,094,287 17.0 9.6 9.3 17.1 17.4 29.7
60 or older 2,455,081 16.5 9.7 6.0 15.7 19.1 33.0
Race
White 5,951,064 16.0 9.8 7.4 15.3 19.3 32.1
Black 1,658,014 26.8 9.2 8.7 17.4 16.1 21.8
Other 422,266 19.1 13.7 9.1 20.4 12.6 25.2
Ethnicity
Hispanic 888,398 23.7 8.2 6.3 19.7 18.4 23.6
Non-Hispanic 7,142,946 17.7 10.1 7.9 15.6 18.3 30.4
Marital status
Married 3,432,746 6.1 5.6 5.5 16.0 21.2 45.6
Widowed 501,970 17.0 14.6 10.5 13.9 26.3 17.8
Divorced or separated 2,240,468 33.4 12.3 10.2 15.9 15.5 12.8
Never married 1,856,160 23.5 13.7 8.2 16.7 14.2 23.6
Years of education
0–11 1,254,822 31.6 16.9 11.3 17.7 11.4 11.1
12 2,914,750 16.8 8.5 7.6 17.3 21.8 28.0
13–15 2,411,218 18.4 9.4 6.3 15.6 18.3 32.1
16 or more 1,450,554 10.3 7.4 7.4 12.6 17.5 44.8
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: "DI beneficiaries" includes disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children, but excludes nondisabled individuals receiving DI benefits as dependents of disabled workers.
A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income is for September–December 2010.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
Chart 2.
DI beneficiaries with family incomes at selected percentages of the poverty threshold, by years of education, December 2010 (in percent)
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: A “family” is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income is for September–December 2010.

As part of the social safety net, DI benefits help keep some individuals out of poverty. If DI benefits were removed from their income, one-half of disabled beneficiaries would have been in poverty in 2010 based on their family income level (Table 6). With DI benefits included in family income, only 20 percent of beneficiaries had income below the poverty threshold. Beneficiaries' economic behavior would likely change if they did not receive disability benefits; thus, hypothetical estimates that simply exclude DI benefits do not fully capture the economic situation beneficiaries would experience in the absence of the program. Rather, these estimates represent how the program contributes to the reduction in poverty under existing patterns of behavior. Receiving DI benefits reduced the aggregate poverty gap, or the aggregate difference between family income and the poverty threshold for those below the threshold, by 87 percent (Table 7).

Table 6. Percentage distribution of DI beneficiaries, by poverty status with and without DI benefits, September–December 2010
Family income minus DI benefits as a percentage of poverty threshold Total Actual family income as a percentage of poverty threshold
Number Percent Total Under 100% 100–150% 150% or more
All disabled beneficiaries 8,993,173 100.0 100.0 19.5 17.9 62.6
Under 100% 4,540,240 50.5 100.0 38.6 34.0 27.3
100–150% 1,034,894 11.5 100.0 . . . 6.2 93.8
150% or more 3,418,039 38.0 100.0 . . . . . . 100.0
Disabled workers 8,031,344 100.0 100.0 18.4 17.6 64.0
Under 100% 3,997,802 49.8 100.0 37.0 34.1 28.9
100–150% 915,120 11.4 100.0 . . . 5.9 94.1
150% or more 3,118,422 38.8 100.0 . . . . . . 100.0
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: "DI beneficiaries" includes disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children, but excludes nondisabled individuals receiving DI benefits as dependents of disabled workers.
A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
. . . = not applicable.
Table 7. Poverty gap with and without DI benefits for families with DI beneficiaries, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Aggregate poverty gap (thousands of dollars) Reduction in poverty gap (%)
If DI benefits were excluded With DI benefits
Total 13,787,968 1,754,290 87.3
Sex
Male 7,076,164 748,254 89.4
Female 6,711,804 1,006,036 85.0
Age
Under 40 1,932,316 414,840 78.5
40–49 2,516,821 369,936 85.3
50–59 5,451,543 574,884 89.5
60 or older 3,887,288 394,629 89.8
Race
White 10,086,296 1,168,938 88.4
Black 2,970,752 515,134 82.7
Other 730,920 70,218 90.4
Ethnicity
Hispanic 1,413,066 245,870 82.6
Non-Hispanic 12,374,901 1,508,420 87.8
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: "DI beneficiaries" includes disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children, but excludes nondisabled individuals receiving DI benefits as dependents of disabled workers.
"Poverty gap" refers to the difference between family income and the poverty threshold for a family in poverty. Aggregate poverty gap is the sum of individual poverty gaps for all families with DI beneficiaries.
A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
Family income data and poverty thresholds are for September–December 2010.

SSI Recipients

SSI recipients in this sample include aged, blind, and disabled individuals. Our SSI tables show results for three subgroups: children (younger than age 18), working-age adults (18–64), and the aged (65 or older).5 The maximum monthly SSI payment amount, called the federal benefit rate, can be reduced for individuals with countable earnings and unearned income. In 2010, the federal benefit rate was $674 for an individual and $1,011 for a couple in which both members were eligible.

Working-age SSI recipients were more likely to have higher levels of education than aged recipients in December 2010. Among working-age recipients, 68 percent had at least 12 years of education, compared with 47 percent of aged recipients (Chart 3). About 37 percent of aged recipients had fewer than 9 years of education, compared with 12 percent of working-age recipients (Table 8). We note that a substantial proportion of aged SSI recipients reported Social Security benefits in the SIPP (72 percent); however, according to SSA records, only 56 percent of SSI recipients aged 65 or older had Social Security benefits (SSA 2012, Table 7.D2).

Chart 3.
SSI recipients, by educational attainment and age group, December 2010 (in percent)
Bar chart. Two categories with two bars each. In the 18 to 64 age group, 31.6% had fewer than 12 years of education and 68.4% had 12 or more years. In the 65 or older age group, 52.7% had fewer than 12 years of education and 47.3% had 12 or more years.
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
Table 8. Number and percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by age group and selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Number Percent
Total Under 18 18–64 65 or older Total Under 18 18–64 65 or older
All recipients 7,497,490 1,193,848 4,367,934 1,935,708 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Sex
Male 3,246,059 789,201 1,857,618 599,240 43.3 66.1 42.5 31.0
Female 4,251,430 404,647 2,510,315 1,336,468 56.7 33.9 57.5 69.0
Race
White 4,382,409 611,252 2,696,922 1,074,235 58.5 51.2 61.7 55.5
Black 2,284,788 472,286 1,292,364 520,139 30.5 39.6 29.6 26.9
Other 830,292 110,310 378,648 341,335 11.1 9.2 8.7 17.6
Ethnicity
Hispanic 1,538,306 284,124 717,034 537,148 20.5 23.8 16.4 27.7
Non-Hispanic 5,959,184 909,724 3,650,900 1,398,560 79.5 76.2 83.6 72.3
Marital status
Married 1,295,186 . . . 802,368 492,819 17.3 . . . 18.4 25.5
Widowed 674,295 . . . 121,842 552,452 9.0 . . . 2.8 28.5
Divorced or separated 1,689,446 . . . 1,092,029 597,417 22.5 . . . 25.0 30.9
Never married 3,838,563 1,193,848 2,351,695 293,020 51.2 100.0 53.8 15.1
Years of education a
0–8 1,234,240 . . . 514,541 719,700 16.5 . . . 11.8 37.2
9–11 1,165,887 . . . 866,353 299,535 15.6 . . . 19.8 15.5
12 2,408,456 . . . 1,852,198 556,258 32.1 . . . 42.4 28.7
13–15 995,359 . . . 802,789 192,570 13.3 . . . 18.4 9.9
16 or more 499,699 . . . 332,054 167,645 6.7 . . . 7.6 8.7
Health insurance b
Medicaid 7,111,729 1,132,184 4,155,033 1,824,512 94.9 94.8 95.1 94.3
Medicaid only 3,836,070 998,838 2,787,849 49,382 51.2 83.7 63.8 2.6
Medicare 3,025,004 . . . 1,139,658 1,885,346 40.3 . . . 26.1 97.4
Medicaid and Medicare only 2,687,546 . . . 1,023,125 1,664,421 35.8 . . . 23.4 86.0
Private 656,951 147,436 386,393 123,122 8.8 12.3 8.8 6.4
None 167,555 47,573 119,982 0 2.2 4.0 2.7 0.0
Source of income b
Social Security c 2,901,367 104,688 1,407,967 1,388,712 38.7 8.8 32.2 71.7
Public assistance other than SSI d 4,051,129 32,261 2,861,015 1,157,853 54.0 2.7 65.5 59.8
Earnings 480,650 . . . 426,306 54,345 6.4 . . . 9.8 2.8
Property income 986,580 . . . 715,101 271,479 13.2 . . . 16.4 14.0
Other income 680,722 . . . 517,709 163,013 9.1 . . . 11.9 8.4
Veteran status a
Veteran 132,375 . . . 93,726 38,649 1.8 . . . 2.1 2.0
Nonveteran 6,171,267 . . . 4,274,208 1,897,059 82.3 . . . 97.9 98.0
Total 4-month personal income e ($)
Less than 2,000 700,118 241,416 344,627 114,074 9.3 20.2 7.9 5.9
2,000–2,499 514,928 150,429 232,175 132,324 6.9 12.6 5.3 6.8
2,500–2,999 3,159,526 726,975 1,551,991 880,560 42.1 60.9 35.5 45.5
3,000 or more 3,122,919 75,028 2,239,140 808,750 41.7 6.3 51.3 41.8
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
. . . = not applicable.
a. Adult population only.
b. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
c. Includes disability, old-age, and survivor benefits.
d. Includes state SSI supplementation, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, General Assistance, food assistance (including food stamps and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), clothing assistance, short-term assistance, transportation assistance, and other welfare.
e. September–December 2010.

Unlike Medicare coverage under DI, which begins only after 24 months in the program, Medicaid coverage begins immediately for SSI recipients in most states. In December 2010, 95 percent of all SSI recipients had Medicaid coverage and 40 percent had Medicare coverage. A majority (64 percent) of working-age SSI recipients was covered by Medicaid only, while 23 percent reported having joint Medicare and Medicaid coverage but no private insurance. The percentage of aged SSI recipients with Medicare coverage is undoubtedly high, although perhaps not quite the 97 percent reported in the SIPP.6 Private health insurance covered almost 9 percent of SSI recipients. All aged SSI recipients had at least one type of health insurance; however, 4 percent of children and 3 percent of working-age recipients had no coverage.

Table 8 also shows that 54 percent of recipients reported receiving public assistance other than SSI (such as General Assistance), and 6 percent reported earnings. Nearly 39 percent of SSI recipients reported receiving Social Security benefits and 9 percent reported other sources of income.

A majority of SSI adult recipients did not own their own home, and most received SNAP food assistance (Table 9). SSI recipients were typically unique in their households with regard to type of recipient. For example, 78 percent of child recipients resided in households where they were the sole SSI child recipient. Similarly, for working-age SSI recipients, 76 percent resided in households where there was only one working-age recipient.

Table 9. Number and percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by age group and household and family characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Number Percent
Total Under 18 18–64 65 or older Total Under 18 18–64 65 or older
All recipients 7,497,490 1,193,848 4,367,934 1,935,708 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Household type a
Family
Married couple 1,818,347 . . . 1,248,580 569,767 28.8 . . . 28.6 29.4
Male householder 386,973 . . . 283,644 103,329 6.1 . . . 6.5 5.3
Female householder 1,724,357 . . . 1,376,503 347,854 27.4 . . . 31.5 18.0
Nonfamily or group quarters 2,373,965 . . . 1,459,206 914,758 37.7 . . . 33.4 47.3
Ownership of residence b
Owned 2,577,932 358,762 1,439,837 779,333 34.4 30.1 33.0 40.3
Not owned
Public housing 1,738,110 205,676 1,001,939 530,495 23.2 17.2 22.9 27.4
Other 3,181,448 629,410 1,926,158 625,880 42.4 52.7 44.1 32.3
Household receipt of assistance c
Energy 947,151 183,339 561,358 202,454 12.6 15.4 12.9 10.5
Housing 370,305 77,503 219,972 72,831 4.9 6.5 5.0 3.8
Food (SNAP) 4,631,961 712,601 2,835,501 1,083,859 61.8 59.7 64.9 56.0
Household size
1 1,832,665 . . . 998,093 834,572 24.4 . . . 22.9 43.1
2 1,841,895 121,396 1,179,662 540,837 24.6 10.2 27.0 27.9
3–4 2,321,434 558,997 1,409,515 352,922 31.0 46.8 32.3 18.2
5 or more 1,501,496 513,454 780,664 207,377 20.0 43.0 17.9 10.7
Family size
1–2 4,094,297 146,082 2,510,508 1,437,706 54.6 12.2 57.5 74.3
3–4 2,145,348 566,412 1,255,671 323,264 28.6 47.4 28.7 16.7
5 or more 1,257,845 481,353 601,754 174,738 16.8 40.3 13.8 9.0
Children in family
None 4,833,116 . . . 3,142,251 1,690,864 64.5 . 71.9 87.4
1 908,935 308,752 469,360 130,822 12.1 25.9 10.7 6.8
2 940,760 393,882 485,326 61,552 12.5 33.0 11.1 3.2
3 or more 814,679 491,214 270,996 52,470 10.9 41.1 6.2 2.7
Child SSI recipients in household
None 4,103,253 . . . 4,103,253 . . . 54.7 . . . 93.9 . . .
1 1,133,659 925,020 208,639 . . . 15.1 77.5 4.8 . . .
2 or more 324,870 268,828 56,042 . . . 4.3 22.5 1.3 . . .
Suppressed 1,935,708 . . . . . . 1,935,708 25.8 . . . . . . 100.0
Adult SSI recipients in household
None 930,224 930,224 . . . . . . 12.4 77.9 . . . . . .
1 4,969,724 204,936 3,308,142 1,456,645 66.3 17.2 75.7 75.3
2 or more 1,597,541 58,687 1,059,792 479,063 21.3 4.9 24.3 24.7
Total 4-month household income d ($)
Less than 5,000 2,579,932 170,855 1,411,874 997,203 34.4 14.3 32.3 51.5
5,000–7,499 1,353,736 226,168 860,000 267,568 18.1 18.9 19.7 13.8
7,500–9,999 780,717 175,786 487,583 117,348 10.4 14.7 11.2 6.1
10,000–14,999 939,943 227,218 528,213 184,513 12.5 19.0 12.1 9.5
15,000–19,999 676,808 165,138 359,387 152,283 9.0 13.8 8.2 7.9
20,000 or more 1,166,353 228,682 720,879 216,793 15.6 19.2 16.5 11.2
Total 4-month family income d ($)
Less than 5,000 3,109,838 206,267 1,826,829 1,076,742 41.5 17.3 41.8 55.6
5,000–7,499 1,404,896 242,715 875,097 287,085 18.7 20.3 20.0 14.8
7,500–9,999 693,297 195,468 388,757 109,072 9.2 16.4 8.9 5.6
10,000–14,999 779,525 206,808 432,861 139,856 10.4 17.3 9.9 7.2
15,000–19,999 573,461 140,579 286,523 146,359 7.6 11.8 6.6 7.6
20,000 or more 936,473 202,010 557,867 176,595 12.5 16.9 12.8 9.1
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTE: A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. A "household" includes related family members and any unrelated persons, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees, who share the housing unit. A household may comprise a person living alone in a housing unit or a group of unrelated persons sharing a housing unit as partners.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
a. Adult recipients only.
b. Refers to ownership by any member of the household, not necessarily the recipient.
c. Individuals may be counted in more than one category.
d. September–December 2010.

The majority of SSI recipients (58 percent) had 4-month total personal income below $3,000 and most of those individuals had income between $2,500 and $2,999 (Table 8). We note that SSI payments for a recipient who qualified for the federal benefit rate of $674 in 2010 would amount to $2,696 over a 4-month period, which would fall within that range. Although family income was generally higher than personal income for SSI recipients, total family income across 4 months was still less than $7,500 ($1,875/month) for 60 percent of SSI recipients (Table 9). SSI payments accounted for 100 percent of personal income for 34 percent of working-age SSI recipients and for 19 percent of SSI recipients aged 65 or older (Table 10).

Table 10. SSI payments as a percentage of personal income for working-age and aged SSI recipients, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Number Percent Percentage distribution
Total Under 25% of income 25–49% of income 50–74% of income 75–99% of income 100% of income
All recipients 6,303,642 100.0 100.0 24.3 16.1 18.2 12.1 29.3
Sex
Male 2,456,858 39.0 100.0 27.3 14.2 18.0 11.8 28.7
Female 3,846,784 61.0 100.0 22.3 17.3 18.4 12.2 29.8
Age group
18–64 4,367,934 69.3 100.0 19.5 13.3 19.5 14.0 33.7
65 or older 1,935,708 30.7 100.0 35.1 22.3 15.4 7.7 19.4
Race
White 3,771,157 59.8 100.0 26.5 16.7 17.0 12.9 26.9
Black 1,812,502 28.8 100.0 21.2 17.2 20.4 9.2 32.0
Other 719,982 11.4 100.0 20.1 10.3 19.5 14.8 35.4
Ethnicity
Hispanic 1,254,182 19.9 100.0 24.7 15.9 20.8 10.3 28.3
Non-Hispanic 5,049,460 80.1 100.0 24.2 16.1 17.6 12.5 29.6
Marital status
Married 1,295,186 20.5 100.0 22.4 16.2 14.9 11.9 34.7
Widowed 674,295 10.7 100.0 37.1 26.8 8.9 6.1 21.1
Divorced or separated 1,689,446 26.8 100.0 29.2 15.8 19.4 11.7 24.0
Never married 2,644,715 42.0 100.0 18.7 13.5 21.5 13.9 32.2
Years of education
0–8 1,234,240 19.6 100.0 27.3 18.6 14.6 10.9 28.6
9–11 1,165,887 18.5 100.0 16.5 13.9 25.8 8.8 35.0
12 2,408,456 38.2 100.0 26.8 14.6 18.1 12.4 28.2
13–15 995,359 15.8 100.0 22.8 21.2 15.7 15.0 25.4
16 or more 499,699 7.9 100.0 25.8 12.1 15.3 15.2 31.5
Living arrangement
Lives alone 1,832,665 29.1 100.0 33.4 14.7 16.6 10.7 24.5
Lives with relatives 3,961,819 62.8 100.0 20.5 16.5 18.3 13.0 31.6
Lives only with nonrelatives 509,158 8.1 100.0 20.6 17.5 23.3 9.3 29.3
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: Personal income data and poverty thresholds are for September–December 2010.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Family income for SSI recipients primarily comprised SSI payments, Social Security benefits, and earnings (Table 11). SSI payments accounted for 44 percent of family income, earnings accounted for 23 percent, and Social Security benefits accounted for 22 percent. The share of family income contributed by earnings was higher for families with child SSI recipients than for those with working-age recipients (38 percent versus 20 percent). The majority of family income for SSI recipients aged 65 or older was provided by the combination of Social Security benefits (37 percent) and SSI payments (36 percent).

Table 11. Percentage distribution of family income for SSI recipients, by income source and selected demographic characteristics, September–December 2010
Characteristic Total Social Security a Public assistance Earnings Other
SSI Other
All recipients 100.0 22.0 43.9 5.3 22.5 6.3
Sex
Male 100.0 20.4 42.6 5.2 25.4 6.4
Female 100.0 23.2 45.0 5.4 20.4 6.0
Age group
Under 18 100.0 8.0 42.6 4.0 37.6 7.8
18–64 100.0 19.1 47.7 6.4 19.9 6.9
65 or older 100.0 37.2 36.3 3.8 19.3 3.4
Race
White 100.0 23.3 41.1 4.9 24.1 6.6
Black 100.0 21.5 49.2 5.8 18.2 5.3
Other 100.0 16.5 44.2 6.3 26.5 6.5
Ethnicity
Hispanic 100.0 20.4 41.1 4.2 28.8 5.5
Non-Hispanic 100.0 22.4 44.6 5.6 20.9 6.5
Marital status
Married 100.0 21.6 42.9 5.5 24.4 5.6
Widowed 100.0 35.8 32.0 3.6 22.8 5.8
Divorced or separated 100.0 30.8 48.8 6.2 9.6 4.6
Never married 100.0 15.8 44.2 5.1 27.6 7.3
Years of education
0–8 100.0 29.9 40.6 5.7 19.5 4.3
9–11 100.0 21.7 50.6 6.1 14.6 7.0
12 100.0 23.6 40.5 5.2 24.4 6.3
13–15 100.0 26.4 48.6 5.7 14.4 4.9
16 or more 100.0 20.2 46.8 5.2 19.6 8.2
Unknown 100.0 8.0 42.6 4.0 37.6 7.8
Living arrangement
Lives alone 100.0 35.8 53.3 5.5 2.1 3.3
Lives with relatives 100.0 16.9 38.5 5.2 31.7 7.7
Lives only with nonrelatives 100.0 23.7 63.6 5.8 4.5 2.4
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTE: A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
a. Includes disability, old-age, and survivor benefits.

A substantial minority (43 percent) of SSI recipients had family income below the poverty level in December 2010 (Table 12). Among those most likely to fall under the poverty threshold were aged SSI recipients, those who were widowed, those who were divorced or separated, and recipients with 13–15 years of education. Although families with a child SSI recipient were somewhat less likely than families with an adult recipient to be in poverty, almost one-third were below the poverty line.

Table 12. Percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by poverty status and selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Total Family income relative to poverty threshold
Under 100% 100–124% 125–149% 150–199% 200–299% 300% or more
All recipients 7,497,490 42.9 13.6 8.1 14.0 11.1 10.3
Sex
Male 3,246,059 36.8 15.1 8.5 15.1 11.3 13.2
Female 4,251,430 47.6 12.5 7.8 13.1 11.0 8.0
Age group
Under 18 1,193,848 31.6 16.2 9.7 16.9 14.6 10.9
18–64 4,367,934 43.4 12.7 8.7 14.0 9.8 11.3
65 or older 1,935,708 48.7 14.2 5.6 12.1 12.0 7.4
Race
White 4,382,409 40.9 13.1 8.7 13.1 11.7 12.5
Black 2,284,788 50.0 14.8 6.3 13.1 10.0 5.7
Other 830,292 33.8 13.3 9.9 20.9 11.3 10.8
Ethnicity
Hispanic 1,538,306 40.5 11.8 7.7 18.5 13.2 8.3
Non-Hispanic 5,959,184 43.5 14.1 8.2 12.8 10.6 10.7
Marital status
Married 1,295,186 32.1 22.2 11.9 16.9 9.9 7.0
Widowed 674,295 49.6 10.5 3.9 6.5 20.2 9.3
Divorced or separated 1,689,446 62.4 10.5 7.5 9.0 6.0 4.7
Never married 3,838,563 36.8 12.7 7.8 16.5 12.2 14.0
Years of education a
0–8 1,234,240 48.3 15.6 8.2 8.9 10.6 8.4
9–11 1,165,887 49.8 14.7 8.2 12.4 11.1 3.8
12 2,408,456 37.8 12.8 6.8 17.4 11.3 14.0
13–15 995,359 55.4 10.3 7.1 11.4 6.8 9.1
16 or more 499,699 40.2 11.0 11.8 11.8 12.2 12.9
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Family income is for September–December 2010.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
a. Adult recipients only.

SSI payments helped some families move above the poverty line, but most families remained within 150 percent of the poverty threshold. Without counting SSI payments in family income, the poverty rate would be 65 percent, compared with the actual rate (43 percent) when SSI payments are included (Table 13). The percentage of child SSI recipients with family income below the poverty line falls from 58 percent to 32 percent when SSI is counted. Thus, of children whose family income without SSI would be below the poverty line, about 46 percent are not in poverty when SSI payments are included in family income. The impact of SSI payments on family income of aged recipients is somewhat smaller, helping 28 percent move above the poverty threshold. SSI payments reduced the aggregate poverty gap by 71 percent (Table 14). The reduction was slightly larger for aged SSI recipients and slightly smaller for child recipients. As with the estimated impacts of DI benefits on poverty, these estimates do not capture any changes in the economic behavior of SSI recipients that could result from the presence or absence of SSI payments.

Table 13. Percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by poverty status with and without SSI payments and age group, September–December 2010
Family income minus SSI payments as a percentage of poverty threshold Total Actual family income as a percentage of poverty threshold
Number Percent Total Under 100% 100–150% 150% or more
All recipients 7,497,490 100.0 100.0 42.9 21.7 35.4
Under 100% 4,894,873 65.3 100.0 65.7 27.3 6.9
100–150% 900,151 11.8 100.0 . . . 32.3 67.7
150% or more 1,702,466 23.0 100.0 . . . . . . 100.0
Under age 18 1,193,848 100.0 100.0 31.6 25.9 42.5
Under 100% 692,696 58.0 100.0 54.5 36.3 9.3
100–150% 187,481 15.7 100.0 . . . 31.1 68.9
150% or more 313,670 26.3 100.0 . . . . . . 100.0
Aged 18–64 4,367,934 100.0 100.0 43.4 21.4 35.1
Under 100% 2,899,741 66.4 100.0 65.4 26.6 8.0
100–150% 498,345 11.4 100.0 . . . 33.1 66.9
150% or more 969,848 22.2 100.0 . . . . . . 100.0
Aged 65 or older 1,935,708 100.0 100.0 48.7 19.8 31.5
Under 100% 1,302,436 67.3 100.0 72.4 24.3 3.4
100–150% 214,325 11.1 100.0 . . . 31.6 68.4
150% or more 418,947 21.6 100.0 . . . . . . 100.0
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
. . . = not applicable.
Table 14. Poverty gap with and without SSI payments for families with SSI recipients, by selected demographic characteristics, December 2010
Characteristic Aggregate poverty gap (thousands of dollars) Reduction in poverty gap (%)
If SSI payments were excluded With SSI payments
Total 15,390,849 4,423,993 71.3
Sex
Male 6,600,996 1,916,465 71.0
Female 8,789,854 2,507,528 71.5
Age group
Under 18 3,176,588 1,136,064 64.2
18–64 9,408,465 2,585,928 72.5
65 or older 2,805,797 702,000 75.0
Race
White 8,019,139 2,207,033 72.5
Black 5,791,516 1,870,553 67.7
Other 1,580,194 346,407 78.1
Ethnicity
Hispanic 3,088,345 863,756 72.0
Non-Hispanic 12,302,504 3,560,237 71.1
SOURCE: Social Security administrative records matched to 2008 SIPP wave 7 and 8 results for December 2010.
NOTES: A "family" is two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
"Poverty gap" refers to the difference between family income and the poverty threshold for a family in poverty. Aggregate poverty gap is the sum of individual poverty gaps for all families with SSI recipients.
Family income data and poverty thresholds are for September–December 2010.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Notes

1 Beginning in 2014, the Census Bureau will conduct SIPP interviews yearly rather than every 4 months. SSA is funding a supplemental interview that the Census Bureau will field about halfway through the first year of the redesigned survey.

2 As in the prior edition of this study, SSI payment amounts are identified as actual payments received (rather than payments due), and DI benefits are identified as the monthly amount due before Medicare premium deductions.

3 We use a range of 1.1–24.2 percent in our estimates of the percentages of DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients residing in an institution, depending on DI and SSI program participation. These are based on internal estimates and are the same percentages used in the prior edition of this study. Although the weights used for this analysis may be antiquated, they are the best currently available.

4 Nondisabled dependents of disabled workers may also receive auxiliary DI benefits, but we exclude those individuals from this analysis. Therefore, the tables (and the accompanying discussion) cover only individuals who are entitled to DI benefits based on their own disability. In December 2010, nondisabled dependents accounted for less than 17 percent of DI beneficiaries (SSA 2011, Table 1).

5 SSI recipients who are both disabled and aged 65 or older are counted in the aged category.

6 Many respondents who reported Medicare coverage likely fell within the 72 percent of aged SSI recipients in our sample who had any Social Security income, many of whom would thus be eligible for Medicare. A few others may have received Medicare coverage through Railroad Retirement or other programs. However, we suspect that the self-reported 97 percent Medicare coverage rate is partially due to confusion between Medicare and Medicaid among SSI recipients.

References

DeCesaro, Anne, and Jeffrey Hemmeter. 2008. “Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants.” Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/rsnotes/rsn2008-02.html.

[SSA] Social Security Administration. 2011. Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2010. Washington, DC: SSA. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2010/index.html.

———. 2012. Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2011. Washington, DC: SSA. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/2011/index.html.