The Other Welfare
Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy
Publication Year: 2013
The Other Welfare offers the first comprehensive history of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), from its origins as part of President Nixon's daring social reform efforts to its pivotal role in the politics of the Clinton administration. Enacted into law in 1972, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) marked the culmination of liberal social and economic policies that began during the New Deal. The new program provided cash benefits to needy elderly, blind, and disabled individuals. Because of the complex character of SSI-marking both the high tide of the Great Society and the beginning of the retrenchment of the welfare state-it provides the perfect subject for assessing the development of the American state in the late twentieth century.
SSI was launched with the hope of freeing welfare programs from social and political stigma; it instead became a source of controversy almost from its very start. Intended as a program that paid uniform benefits across the nation, it ended up replicating many of the state-by-state differences that characterized the American welfare state. Begun as a program intended to provide income for the elderly, SSI evolved into a program that served people with disabilities, becoming a primary source of financial aid for the de-institutionalized mentally ill and a principal support for children with disabilities.
Written by a leading historian of America's welfare state and the former chief historian of the Social Security Administration, The Other Welfare illuminates the course of modern social policy. Using documents previously unavailable to researchers, the authors delve into SSI's transformation from the idealistic intentions of its founders to the realities of its performance in America's highly splintered political system. In telling this important and overlooked history, this book alters the conventional wisdom about the development of American social welfare policy.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Download PDF (25.3 KB)
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (73.6 KB)
Download PDF (56.0 KB)
Download PDF (91.7 KB)
This book refl ects a collaboration between an academic and a public historian. Since collaboration on a historical monograph is relatively rare, it might help orient the reader to explain this one. Ed Berkowitz is an academic historian. His attraction to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program stems from the ways the program intersects with much of his previous work. In par tic u lar, he ...
Download PDF (125.3 KB)
In 1972 Congress, with the active support of the Nixon administration, created a new welfare program to replace three older programs. The older welfare pro-grams depended on federal grants to the states, and much of the policy action in terms of benefi t levels and administrative rules took place on the state level. Known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the new program relied upon ...
1. Creating a New Welfare Program: The Politics of Welfare and Social Security Reform in the Nixon Administration
Download PDF (199.6 KB)
By putting welfare reform on the policy agenda in 1969, President Richard Nixon started the pro cess that led to the passage of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in 1972. Richard Nixon, a Republican, presided over a major expansion of the welfare state that, although it did not include the Family Assistance Plan (FAP) that he unveiled in 1969, did include the creation of a major new welfare ...
2. A Year in Transition: Why Planning for the New Program Became Difficult
Download PDF (228.9 KB)
If the Social Security Administration (SSA) had learned any lesson between 1935 and 1972, it was that the pro cess of implementation mattered. New programs, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), could not be launched without exten-sive preparation. Part of the drill involved encouraging SSA employees that the task ahead of them was important and persuading them that it would end in suc-...
3. Launching the Program: Why the Program Began Badly
Download PDF (183.5 KB)
When Disneyland opened to the public on July 10, 1955, many things went wrong with the rides and other attractions, but no one seemed to mind. Disneyland became a conspicuous success in 1950s America— the perfect blend of high tech and nostalgia. When Supplemental Security Income (SSI) began operations on January 1, 1974, the program also experienced many glitches. In the case of ...
4. The Emergence of a Disability Program: How the Program’s Fundamental Identity Changed
Download PDF (175.8 KB)
In what had become something of a ritual, Social Security offi cials appeared be-fore a House Ways and Means Subcommittee in the fall of 1976 to talk about the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The Regional Commissioner for New York testifi ed about how his agency had issued leafl ets in Yiddish, Spanish, Chinese, Rus sian, Polish, Italian, German, Greek, and French informing the ...
5. The Continuing Disability Reviews: How the Politics of Controversy Hindered the Program
Download PDF (276.6 KB)
Just as the passage of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) tended to put an end to discussions of comprehensive welfare reform in 1972, so the 1980 disability law should have cleared the agenda. The rise in the disability rolls, which moti-vated the 1980 law, receded as a topic of po liti cal debate. Responsibility for the management and oversight of SSI fell back on the bureaucrats in the Social Se-...
6. The Courts and Other Sources of Program Growth: How the Program Expanded in a Conservative Age
Download PDF (212.3 KB)
During the Reagan and fi rst Bush years, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) operated in a manner that was out of sync with prevailing po liti cal sentiment. The program continued to grow in an era characterized by concern over the ris-ing government debt and welfare de pen den cy. The era culminated in spectacular growth in the number of children on the SSI rolls, the product of forces un-...
7. The Welfare Reform of 1996: How the Program Became Swept Up in the Narrative of Welfare Fraud and Abuse
Download PDF (246.0 KB)
In 1994 the Republicans gained full control of Congress for the fi rst time since 1952. Only two years later, Bill Clinton became the fi rst Demo cratic president since Franklin Roo se velt to win a second term in offi ce. In those three eventful po liti cal years, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) emerged as an object of po-liti cal controversy that centered on three groups whose receipt of benefi ts came ...
8. Post-1996 Developments: A Brief Postscript
Download PDF (150.0 KB)
Although the 1996 welfare reforms marked a point of real change in America’s welfare state, Congress soon scaled back the changes in Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Congress experienced buyers’ remorse with respect to childhood disability benefi ts and benefi ts for noncitizens. Then the cycle repeated itself so that by early 2011 policymakers again raised concerns about too many undeserv-...
Download PDF (114.3 KB)
The creators of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a triumvirate of Nixon administration offi cials, Social Security Administration (SSA) employees, and Congressional staff members, envisioned a program that would bring the dig-nity of the Social Security approach to el der ly and disabled people who lived in poverty. The new program had a means test, and it obtained its funding from ...
Download PDF (365.7 KB)
Download PDF (105.1 KB)
Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013