The Changing Role of Disabled Children Benefits

Source: Richard V. Burkhauser and Mary C. Daly, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, FRBSF Economic Letter, September 3, 2013

The U.S. federal government’s program that provides cash benefits to low-income families with a disabled child has grown rapidly over the past 25 years. This growth reflects changes in the implementation of the program rather than declines in children’s health or family income. Unfortunately, most disabled children from families that receive such benefits do not become employed when they grow up, so these policy changes may relegate these children to lifetime government support—probably near the poverty threshold—at the expense of taxpayers.