Summarizes research findings from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability Transition Project, which aimed to build knowledge about ways to encourage work among TANF recipients with disabilities, facilitate informed decisions about applying for SSI when appropriate, and help eligible SSI applicants receive awards as quickly as possible while also reducing administrative costs.
“In order to understand how to best help TANF recipients with disabilities, ACF and SSA contracted with MDRC and its partners…to conduct the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project (TSDTP)… This project conducted field assessments of existing services for TANF recipients who may have disabilities, tested pilot programs targeted to this population, and analyzed national- and state-level program data.  This brief [discussed] some of the implications for policy and future research that emerged from the TSDTP” (p.1).  It also provided information about the TANF and SSI system interactions, an analysis of the data “stories” shared by each system, and the findings from three sites that piloted new interventions between systems. 

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “The level of overlap between the TANF and SSI programs is not particularly large” (p.4). • “TANF recipients who apply for SSI are not markedly different from other SSI applicants” (p.5). • “TANF recipients who applied for SSI were somewhat less likely to be awarded it, especially at the initial level, than other SSI applicants” (p.5). • “Most TANF recipients who apply for SSI do so long before nearing their federal benefit time limits” (p.5.) • “The proportion of TANF recipients applying for SSI and the proportion of SSI applicants receiving TANF both varied substantially by state and locality” (p.6). The author recommends further research on some promising strategies that may help TANF recipients with the SSI application process and help recipients with disabilities become self-sufficient, including: • SSI advocacy services (p.11). • Assessments (p.11). • Individual placement and support (IPS) services (p.11). • Other employment services for clients with disabilities (p.12). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)