Testing Educational Tools to Demonstrate Returns to Work for Children Aging Out of the SSI-Disabled Children Program

by Richard V. Burkhauser, Mary C. Daly

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A substantial fraction of children receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits for disability (SSI-child) transition directly onto the SSI-adult program at age 18 without attempting to enter the labor market. Once this transition is complete, very few attempt to work while receiving SSI-adult benefits. The MDRC SSA Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) Project report (2008) identified lack of information about financial incentives/disincentives as a potential barrier to work for these youth. In the authors' Year 1 and Year 2 Financial Literacy Research Center projects they focused on this potential impediment. Their Year 1 analysis documented the financial value of working for young adults on SSI. With Year 2 funding they developed a financial calculator based on their analysis and tested whether it could be a tool for determining the value of work for young SSI recipients. Their results point to the potential for such financial education tools to help SSI youth and their families make more informed decisions about their financial future. They also underscore the need for additional development of these and other financial education tools for this vulnerable population.

This product is part of a deliverable to the Social Security Administration Financial Literacy Research Consortium. Working papers have been approved for circulation by RAND Labor and Population but have not been formally edited or peer reviewed.

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