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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the political development of the nation’s two largest income support programs for people with disabilities, Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Although the creation of cash benefits for disabled workers was controversial, once established, disability benefits expanded steadily. Today DI and SSI cover a wide array of disabilities and provide support to children and adults, some of who have worked little, if at all. Yet despite dramatic program growth, disabilities still create great economic hardship. Moreover, despite the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a variety of work incentives, employment levels among the disabled are low, and DI and SSI face major challenges transitioning beneficiaries into paid employment and preparing disabled children for financial self-sufficiency in adulthood.

Keywords: Disability, disability benefits, people with disabilities, Supplemental Security Income, Disability Insurance, work incentives, Americans with Disabilities Act

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