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KWIC Indicator Narrative

Children and Youth Receiving Supplemental Security Income

Data Provider: NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance


Related Indicators:

Life Area:

Economic Security


The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly cash benefits to aged, blind and disabled persons with income and resources below certain limits. Unlike state-administered public assistance programs, the bulk of SSI benefit determination is handled by the federal Social Security Administration according to uniform national standards.[1] Children in New York State receive SSI if they meet the blindness or disability criteria and meet the income and resource requirements for eligibility.

SSI income and resource standards are generally higher than those for public assistance. Moreover, SSI benefits paid on behalf of the child are significantly higher than public assistance benefits received for children.

[1] In New York and many other states, the SSI benefit consists of a federal benefit amount and a state supplement, the latter of which varies by state and recipient living arrangement.  In New York, the state supplement portion of the benefit is administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), so the state must maintain information necessary to determine and pay the state supplement.  Further, the disability determination portion of the eligibility process for the SSI program is subcontracted by the Social Security Administration to states. OTDA performs the disability determination for New York.


SSI benefits are intended to meet the basic economic needs of the child, not to provide special services that may be required by children with disabilities. Therefore, the number and percent of children receiving SSI due to blindness or disability serve primarily to count the additional children, other than those receiving public assistance, that are dependent on the government for their basic support needs.


A disabled child receiving SSI in a family that receives public assistance (either Family Assistance or Safety Net assistance) is counted among children receiving SSI and generally will not appear in the counts of children receiving public assistance for the same time period. However, many of the children that receive SSI are part of households that receive SNAP and are, therefore, included in the counts of children receiving SNAP benefits.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 required a more stringent test for some types of childhood disabilities. This change was applied to new applicants as well as those receiving SSI at the time.

Starting in 2010 the data contained in this report is for children 0-17 years of age. Previous to 2010 the report counted persons up to age 19. Thus, comparisons between years should be done only within the pre-2010 and post-2009 time periods.


  • At the end of 2021, 74,608 children received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in New York State, or 1.8 percent of children in New York. The rate was higher in New York City (2.2 percent) than in Rest of State (1.4 percent).
  • Rates of SSI receipt ranged from 0.3 percent in Putnam and Nassau County to 4.5 percent in Bronx County.
  • The percent of children that received SSI in New York State decreased 0.37%, from 2.1% to 1.8% between 2015 and 2021. However, there was an absolute decrease of 15,483 children, or -17.2 percent.

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