Research & Analysis by Robert A. Rosenheck

Homeless People Whose Self-Reported SSI/DI Status Is Inconsistent with Social Security Administration Records
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67, No. 1 (released August 2007)
by Marc I. Rosen, Thomas J. McMahon, and Robert A. Rosenheck

Clinicians routinely ask indigent new clients whether they receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments or Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits, and this information is incorporated into treatment planning. Using questionnaire responses by 7,220 homeless people with mental illness, we first determined what demographic and clinical factors were associated with reporting receipt of SSI or DI benefits and not being in the SSA database and, second, what factors were associated with reporting not receiving benefits but have SSA records indicating otherwise. The low agreement between client reports and administrative records suggests that clinicians should verify the information provided by clients, especially those who are psychotic or medically ill, because that information is often inaccurate.