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Health-Related Unmet Needs of Supplemental Security Income Youth after the Age-18 Redetermination

Keywords: Supplemental Security Income (SSI); unmet health needs; youth

Objective. Young adults who exit Supplemental Security Income (SSI) after their age-18 eligibility redetermination may have greater health-related unmet needs than those who remain on SSI. The objective of this paper is to determine the magnitude and causes of this gap.

Data Sources. Uses the 2001– 2002 National Survey of SSI Children and Families, a nationally representative survey of SSI youth.

Study Design. Self-reported unmet medical, dental, and prescription drug needs of 869 individuals ages 19– 23 who have had their SSI eligibility redetermined are compared. In addition to raw differences in unmet needs, logistic regressions are used to determine the sources of these differences.

Principal Findings. Young adults who exit SSI are almost twice as likely to have health-related unmet needs subsequent to their exit as those who remain on SSI after the age-18 redetermination. Access to care, particularly insurance coverage (either Medicaid or non-Medicaid), accounts for much of the difference between these two groups; measures of health status do not explain much of the difference.

Conclusion. Policies addressing access to health care are likely to be more successful in addressing unmet needs than policies focused on disability-specific issues in health for youth who lose access to SSI after their age-18 redetermination.

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