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SSI and Adults with Disabilities: Background, Trends, and a Study of Participation

Article Summary

Ozawa (2002) examined rates of participation in SSI among workers age 18 - 64 to determine specific trends for these individuals. She believed the rates of participation in SSI by working-age adults in a specific county would reflect rates of unemployment in that county.

Ozawa found a statistically significant relationship between SSI participation and the unemployment rate in the counties where the individuals live. She also found that racial composition of a county was related to the rate of participation in SSI. When the county had a higher percentage of blacks and Hispanics, there was a lower rate of participation in SSI. There were also considerable differences in the SSI participation rates in different regions where counties were located. SSI participation rates were lower in the Southwest than that of counties in the Southeast. The findings of this study indicate that programs ranging from vocational rehabilitation to wage subsidies to moving expenses as well as other goods and services should be implemented to bring back as many adults with disabilities as possible into the workforce.

Ozawa concludes, "We need to look at the situations of people with disabilities not totally as individual problems but as problems stemming from the interface of individual situations and the economic conditions in which they live. In addition, "When economic policymakers face a difficult trade-off between high inflation and high unemployment, they need to recognize the impact of their decision on low-wage, low-skilled workers with disabilities. When they choose to deal with high inflation, neglecting high unemployment, the communities are affected will witness displacement of such marginal workers into the SSI payment rolls."

Reference Ozawa, M. N. (2002). SSI and adults with disabilities: Background, trends, and a study of participation. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 13 (3), 153 - 162.