Improving the Effectiveness of the Supplemental Security Income Program

Client: Congressional Research Service
Faculty: Charles Brecher, Maria Doulis
Team: Michelle Choi, Stephen Friday, Ginny Glenn, Diana Huynh, Lily Williamson
Year: 2011
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) works for the U.S. Congress to identify and clarify policy problems, explore policy options and potential impacts, monitor and assess program implementation and oversight, and help lawmakers understand legislative procedures and processes. CRS was interested in understanding why the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pro­gram, which acts as a safety net against poverty for the elderly, blind, and dis­abled, has not grown in enrollment as rap­idly as other income assistance programs. The client requested a Capstone team to study the effects of proposed SSI policies on enrollment, program cost, and the per­centage of recipients under the federal poverty line. The Capstone team consid­ered the effects of three SSI policy propos­als, including the elimination of Social Security income, to calculate SSI benefits. The team also paid special attention to the incidence of poverty among the elderly recipients, particularly those individuals aged 85 and older.