This article estimates the causal effect of benefit levels on elderly enrollment in two public assistance programs by using the variation in eligibility and benefit levels introduced by old-age pension benefits. The findings are threefold. First, the low take-up among the elderly is not driven by changes in the composition of the eligible pool. Second, old-age pensions decrease the use of public assistance programs by decreasing the gain of participation – the potential benefits. Third, we find program-specific responses: a $100 increase in potential Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits leads to a 4–6 percentage point increase in the take-up probability, but we are unable to estimate consistent results for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Together with the fact that eligible individuals who begin receiving old-age pensions continue to participate in SSI more often than they maintain SNAP enrollment, the different program response could be due to preference for cash over in-kind transfers.
Coe, N. and Yanyuan Wu, A. (2014), "What Impact does Old-age Pension Receipt Have on the Use of Public Assistance Programs Among the Elderly?", Safety Nets and Benefit Dependence (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 39), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 259-295. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0147-912120140000039007Download as .RIS
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