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Supplemental security income use by older immigrants from Latin America: Impact of federal and state policy

TitleSupplemental security income use by older immigrants from Latin America: Impact of federal and state policy
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsGerst, K
UniversityGerst, Kerstin: U Massachusetts Boston, US
Accession NumberDissertation Abstract: 2009-99130-457
Keywords*Citizenship, *Immigration, *Income Level, *Latinos/Latinas, Developmental Psychology [2800], Employment Status, Government Policy Making, Human Adulthood (18 yrs & older), supplemental security income, older immigrants, Latin America, citizenship, Welfare Services (Government)
AbstractThe Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 drew the first legal distinction between non-citizens and citizens applying for welfare and had a major impact on welfare usage of immigrants. Using the 1990 and 2000 Census data, this study estimates the impact of federal and state policy on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) use among a particularly vulnerable group of elders: older immigrants from South and Central America. This study uses decomposition techniques to examine the influence of the rate of use of SSI and population composition effects by country of origin. Additionally, multilevel models of welfare receipt are used to investigate the effects of state welfare policy and state economic environment on immigrant welfare receipt while also evaluating individual factors. The results suggest that the effect of welfare reform was a more drastic decline in SSI use among non-citizens from Central and South America compared to U.S.-born Hispanics, which is suggestive of a chilling effect. Differences in the generosity of state welfare policies did not moderate this effect. Policy implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).