Income Support and Children's Health Trajectories

Principal Investigators
NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Funded on

Approximately 16 percent of children in the U.S. live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, potentially creating negative long-term effects that are experienced over the life-course. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash assistance to low-income children with disabilities, expanding family budgets and potentially allowing low-income parents to better protect the health of vulnerable children. However, few studies have evaluated the impact of this policy.

Using Medicaid administrative records, the research team will estimate the causal effects of SSI receipt on children’s health, using a regression discontinuity design that exploits the rule that low-income children born below a birthweight threshold are automatically eligible for SSI. 

Evidence

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Approximately 16 percent of children in the U.S. live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold. This early-life exposure to poverty may have negative long-term health effects. In a new working paper, Hansoo Ko, Renata Howland, and Sherry Glied of the P4A Research Hub at New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, estimate the causal impacts of the Supplemental Security Income program on child health outcomes and medical expenditures.