Since early 1981, there has been a large-scale removal of persons from the SSI and Social Security disability programs as a result of the Social Security Disability Amendments of 1980. This article reports on the findings of a national survey designed to determine whether the removal of persons from the federal disability programs had an impact on state and local General Assistance programs and the extent to which older recipients of General Assistance are in need of long-term income assistance for health and other reasons.

Some states and jurisdictions have noticed an increase in applications as a result of federal cutoffs and tightened administrative policies which is an indicator that state and local programs are sensitive to changes in federal policies. Since General Assistance programs are serving persons terminated from federal disability programs and a significant number of older clients who are in need of long-term income assistance, this article suggests that consideration should be given to modifying the disability criteria for the SSI program, at least for older persons.