TANF and SSI: The Rest of the Story

Mar 29, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Bash

In last week's This American Life episode, which focuses on income support programs for people with disabilities, one segment reports on contractors who are paid by states or counties to assist individuals receiving TANF benefits in applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an income support program for low-income individuals who are unable to work due to disability.   While not directly stated, many listeners may have been left with the impression that states are helping people who are not really disabled qualify for SSI, or that such efforts have been a significant driver of the growth in the numbers of individuals receiving SSI benefits.  Neither of these is true.

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