Document Type



Final Published Version

Publication Title

Contemporary Drug Problems



Publication Date



The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for drug addicts and alcoholists (DA&A beneficiaries) ended in January 1997 without any special effort to create employment for those who lost benefits. Relying on data from a nine-site, two-year panel study of 1,764 former DA&A recipients and detailed semistructured interviews with subsamples in four sites, this paper examines employment outcomes and barriers to employment among 611 respondents who lost SSI and did not replace it with another form of publicly funded income assistance. Despite the tight labor market of the late 1990s, this group was plagued by widespread unemployment and sub-employment. At the two-year follow-up, only 25% earned $500 per month or more, and only 12% typically earned this much throughout the study. Given their age, health problems and limited human capital, it is likely that many former DA&A beneficiaries will remain indigent, returning to the SSI rolls when they requalify upon turning 65.

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