Supplemental Social Insurance and the Health of the Poor
NBER Working Paper No. 1062
In 1974 the federal government instituted Supplemental Social Insurance(SSI). The eligible group was the elderly on welfare and disabled individuals.The program distributed extra income and made people eligible for Medicaid in all states except Arizona which did not have Medicaid. We used subjective and objective health information in the Retirement History Survey (RHS) to examine the impact of the program. The RHS is a sample that began in 1969 and included heads of households who were 58 to 63 years old. The respondents or widows were resurveyed every second year through 1977. Before 1974 those who subsequently received SSI were in much worse health than those who did not.After1974 the differences in health were small and not statistically significant.