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Research Details

UM17-Q1 - 1) A Review Comparing Federal and State Means-Tested Programs; and 2) Assessing the Impact of Changing SSI Resource Limits Using TRIM Model

Robert Moffitt

1) This project will present a review of the main means-tested programs in the U.S.: how they operate, common features, and the rules governing eligibility. The emphasis will be on a comparative analysis across programs. The U.S. programs covered will include, in addition to SSI, the SNAP (Food Stamp) program, child food and nutrition programs (school lunch and school breakfast), Medicaid, TANF, subsidized housing programs, child care programs, and job training programs. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will receive some attention but less than the others because it is quite different in goals and operation and is unlike a traditional means-tested program like SSI. 2) This project will use the TRIM model to quantitatively assess the impact of changing SSI resource limits on the SSI caseload. The TRIM model is a microsimulation model using the Current Population Survey as the representative-population database. It contains rules of all major tax and transfer programs in the U.S., and simulates the number of individuals and families eligible for each program and the amount of benefit each should receive. It also has a participation-rate algorithm which simulates the fraction of eligibles who are likely to participate, since participation rates of eligibles in most programs are generally less than 100 percent, and often substantially so.

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