Social Security Receipt and Children's Economic Well-Being
Chad Newcomb, U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)
When most people think of Social Security (also known as Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance, or OASDI), they tend to focus on benefits paid to retirees, or to people unable to work because of a disability. But the Social Security system is a family insurance program that also extends benefits to the spouses and children of retired, disabled, or deceased workers. This paper utilizes Social Security Administration records matched to the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine the distribution of child benefits and their importance to children's financial well-being. The incidence of child benefit receipt is examined according to children's age, sex, race, ethnicity, and family income level. The impact of these benefits is measured by their effect on family income and child poverty among beneficiary families and for the population as a whole.