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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Braun, R. Anton ; Kopecky, Karen A.; Koreshkova, Tatyana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Poor heath, large acute and long-term care medical expenses, and spousal death are significant drivers of impoverishment among retirees. We document these facts and build a rich, overlapping generations model that reproduces them. We use the model to assess the incentive and welfare effects of Social Security and means-tested social insurance programs such as Medicaid and food stamp programs, for the aged. We find that U.S. means-tested social insurance programs for retirees provide significant welfare benefits for all newborn. Moreover, when means-tested social insurance benefits are of the scale in the United States, all individuals would prefer to be born into an economy with no Social Security. Finally, we find that the benefits of increasing means-tested social insurance are small or negative, if we hold fixed Social Security contributions and benefits at their current levels. (Author abstract)

    Poor heath, large acute and long-term care medical expenses, and spousal death are significant drivers of impoverishment among retirees. We document these facts and build a rich, overlapping generations model that reproduces them. We use the model to assess the incentive and welfare effects of Social Security and means-tested social insurance programs such as Medicaid and food stamp programs, for the aged. We find that U.S. means-tested social insurance programs for retirees provide significant welfare benefits for all newborn. Moreover, when means-tested social insurance benefits are of the scale in the United States, all individuals would prefer to be born into an economy with no Social Security. Finally, we find that the benefits of increasing means-tested social insurance are small or negative, if we hold fixed Social Security contributions and benefits at their current levels. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gould, Elise; Cooper, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Policymakers considering changes to social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare must consider the economic realities confronting elderly Americans. Many of America’s 41 million seniors are just one bad economic shock away from significant material hardship. Most seniors live on modest retirement incomes, which often are barely adequate—and sometimes inadequate—to cover the costs of basic necessities and support a simple, yet dignified, quality of life. For these seniors, and even for those with greater means, Social Security and Medicare are the bedrock of their financial security. Any proposed changes to these programs must be evaluated not just for their impact on future budget deficits, but for their impact on living standards of the elderly. In this study, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) from the U.S. Census Bureau to assess the economic health of the elderly population in the United States, overall and by age, gender, and race and ethnicity. Using evidence on elderly economic insecurity from Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), we identify...

    Policymakers considering changes to social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare must consider the economic realities confronting elderly Americans. Many of America’s 41 million seniors are just one bad economic shock away from significant material hardship. Most seniors live on modest retirement incomes, which often are barely adequate—and sometimes inadequate—to cover the costs of basic necessities and support a simple, yet dignified, quality of life. For these seniors, and even for those with greater means, Social Security and Medicare are the bedrock of their financial security. Any proposed changes to these programs must be evaluated not just for their impact on future budget deficits, but for their impact on living standards of the elderly. In this study, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) from the U.S. Census Bureau to assess the economic health of the elderly population in the United States, overall and by age, gender, and race and ethnicity. Using evidence on elderly economic insecurity from Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), we identify the share of the elderly population that is particularly vulnerable to changes in social programs. Our analysis enables us to estimate how proposed increased cost-sharing by Medicare beneficiaries or reduced Social Security benefits would impact the well-being of a significant portion of the elderly population. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Jansuwan, Sarawut; Chen, Anthony; Christensen, Keith
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    Older adults, low-income individuals, and individuals with disabilities are generally considered “low-mobility” individuals, having less access to transportation options and often marginalized in the social environment of the community. This study assessed the transportation needs of low-mobility individuals using three dimensions: (1) travel characteristics, (2) social strength in terms of transportation assistance received from their social networks, and (3) accessibility to public transportation. A mixed survey method combining an in-person interview at the collaborating organizations and a mail-back survey were used. Results showed that older adults remain mobile and make more frequent short trips. The results also showed a much higher reliance on private vehicles among older adults and individuals with low income, whereas a much higher reliance on public transportation and much lower reliance on private transportation was found among individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities were still active, as almost half of them travel to work frequently. However, the...

    Older adults, low-income individuals, and individuals with disabilities are generally considered “low-mobility” individuals, having less access to transportation options and often marginalized in the social environment of the community. This study assessed the transportation needs of low-mobility individuals using three dimensions: (1) travel characteristics, (2) social strength in terms of transportation assistance received from their social networks, and (3) accessibility to public transportation. A mixed survey method combining an in-person interview at the collaborating organizations and a mail-back survey were used. Results showed that older adults remain mobile and make more frequent short trips. The results also showed a much higher reliance on private vehicles among older adults and individuals with low income, whereas a much higher reliance on public transportation and much lower reliance on private transportation was found among individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities were still active, as almost half of them travel to work frequently. However, the number of nonwork trips made by individuals with disabilities was significantly low. These findings indicated a positive relationship between transportation mode choices and social dependence with family and friends. Individuals with stronger family social ties were more likely to receive adequate help meeting their transportation needs. The accessibility analysis revealed that low-mobility individuals in Cache County, Utah, have difficulties accessing transit due to the long walking distances from their residences. These findings may be used to guide policy for improving public transportation and paratransit services to meet low-mobility individuals’ needs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Sheran, Michelle; Swann, Christopher A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    Many children in private kinship care arrangements live in families that endure financial hardships. Even though these families are eligible for TANF child-only grants, only one in five receives cash assistance. The purpose of this study is to better understand the take-up of cash assistance for this group. Using national level data, we explore the relationships among child and caregiver characteristics and the receipt of cash assistance. We provide evidence that disadvantaged families are more likely to receive cash assistance than less disadvantaged families. For example, older caregivers and those with less education have higher take-up rates than their counterparts. Similarly, being poor and having received welfare in the past increase the likelihood that assistance is received. Nonetheless, it is important to note that take-up rates are low compared to other social programs. Our results suggest some possible reasons for this. For instance, our findings point to the possibility that many private kinship care families do not take-up cash assistance because they do not know...

    Many children in private kinship care arrangements live in families that endure financial hardships. Even though these families are eligible for TANF child-only grants, only one in five receives cash assistance. The purpose of this study is to better understand the take-up of cash assistance for this group. Using national level data, we explore the relationships among child and caregiver characteristics and the receipt of cash assistance. We provide evidence that disadvantaged families are more likely to receive cash assistance than less disadvantaged families. For example, older caregivers and those with less education have higher take-up rates than their counterparts. Similarly, being poor and having received welfare in the past increase the likelihood that assistance is received. Nonetheless, it is important to note that take-up rates are low compared to other social programs. Our results suggest some possible reasons for this. For instance, our findings point to the possibility that many private kinship care families do not take-up cash assistance because they do not know that they are eligible for it through the TANF program. This suggests that outreach may improve participation. It also raises the issue of whether the receipt of cash assistance could be improved if benefits were provided through a program other than TANF. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Butrica, Barbara; Smith, Karen E.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    Minority and divorced women have historically experienced double-digit poverty rates in retirement, and demographic trends will increase their representation in future retiree populations. We might expect an increase in the proportion of economically vulnerable divorced women in the future. Factors associated with higher retirement incomes include having a college degree; having strong labor force attachment; receiving Social Security benefits; and having pensions, retirement accounts, or assets, regardless of race and ethnicity. Because divorced minority women are less likely than divorced white women to have these attributes, their projected average retirement incomes are lower than those of divorced white women. (author abstract)

    Minority and divorced women have historically experienced double-digit poverty rates in retirement, and demographic trends will increase their representation in future retiree populations. We might expect an increase in the proportion of economically vulnerable divorced women in the future. Factors associated with higher retirement incomes include having a college degree; having strong labor force attachment; receiving Social Security benefits; and having pensions, retirement accounts, or assets, regardless of race and ethnicity. Because divorced minority women are less likely than divorced white women to have these attributes, their projected average retirement incomes are lower than those of divorced white women. (author abstract)

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