Health Policy| Volume 12, ISSUE 6, P489-494, November 2012

Potential Savings From Redetermining Disability Among Children Receiving Supplemental Security Income Benefits

Published:September 17, 2012DOI:



      To compare the costs of redetermining disability to potential savings in Supplemental Security Income payments associated with different strategies for implementing Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) among children potentially enrolled in SSI from 2012 to 2021.


      We reviewed publicly available reports from the Social Security Administration and Government Accountability Office to estimate costs and savings. We considered CDRs for children ages 1–17 years, excluding mandated low-birth weight and age 18 redeterminations that SSA routinely has performed.


      If in 2012 the Social Security Administration performs the same number of CDRs for children as in 2010 (16,677, 1% of eligibles) at a cessation rate of 15%, the agency would experience net savings of approximately $145 million in benefit payments. If CDR numbers increased to the greatest level ever (183,211, 22% of eligibles, in 1999) at the same cessation rate, the agency would save approximately $1.6 billion in benefit payments.


      Increasing the numbers of CDRs for children represents a considerable opportunity for savings. Recognizing the dynamic nature of disability, the agency could reassess the persistence of disability systematically; doing so could free up resources from children who are no longer eligible and help the agency better direct its benefits to recipients with ongoing disability and whose families need support to meet the extra costs associated with raising a child with a major disability.


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