What Do We Know About the Intersection of Welfare and Disability Programs?
Both Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) serve low-income individuals with disabilities. Yet the two programs’ differences in approach and structure pose challenges to coordinating services. To understand how best to help TANF recipients with disabilities, the Administration for Children and Families and the Social Security Administration, the parent agencies of TANF and SSI, contracted with MDRC and its partners to conduct the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project. The following publications were all produced as part of that research effort.
Overall, the project found that the overlap in populations between TANF and SSI is not large, suggesting that the interaction between the two programs has little to do with TANF recipients being pushed toward SSI due to changes in TANF policy, as some had thought. This new understanding of the interaction between welfare and disability may better position policymakers to address other important questions, including how best to provide services to meet the special employment and support needs of low-income adults with disabilities. Toward that end, the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project profiled three promising pilot interventions in California, Michigan, and Minnesota that are intended to address how TANF and SSI can work together. Finally, the project developed two practice briefs — one a guide to SSI for TANF staff members and the other a description of assessment strategies used by local TANF agencies to identify the needs of clients with disabilities and offer them appropriate services.
This brief summarizes the project’s findings overall, covering the analysis of merged data, field assessments, and the pilot interventions.
This brief uses MDRC’s analysis of merged national-level TANF and SSI data — two rich data sources that have never before been linked — to better understand the extent of the two programs’ overlap.
This report describes the implementation and findings of three promising pilot interventions intended to address how TANF and SSI can work together.
This brief compares the SSI disability determination process with TANF procedures, discusses how some TANF agencies gauge who is likely to qualify for SSI, and reviews the employment support programs of both.
This practice brief describes assessment strategies used by local TANF agencies and organizations to identify the needs of clients with disabilities and offer them appropriate services. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of these various strategies and offers points to consider in choosing methods.