Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides cash welfare to the families of 1.4 million low-income children with disabilities. SSI youth face unique challenges in the transition to adulthood and have poor labor market outcomes (Davies et al. 2009; Deshpande 2016). Each year, 50,000 children turn 18 and undergo an age 18 redetermination to determine if they qualify for the program based on adult medical criteria. Evidence indicates that families underestimate the likelihood of removal at age 18 and, as a result, may underinvest in their child’s human capital because they expect the child’s SSI benefits to continue in adulthood.
In Year 1, (NB18-Q2, funded in the FY18 DRC budget) we proposed an intervention to improve the outcomes of SSI children by providing personalized information to families about the likelihood that a child will be removed from SSI at age 18, as well as resources to help SSI youth with the transition. Given delays in the SSA process for approving our protocols, we are requesting approval to extend beyond September 29, 2019 to allow time to implement the project as proposed. We have partnered with the NORC to implement a randomized controlled trial of “knowledge” – personalized information about the likelihood and consequences of age 18 removal – and “nudges,” which will guide families to make key investments in their children’s human capital.