BOTH public assistance and social insurance programs have positive effects as well as serious faults with regard to resolving the problems of poverty. Tables 3.1 and 3.2 list the various social insurance and public assistance programs operated by the federal government and by a combination of federal and state programs. It is helpful to describe each of the programs in an examination of their achievements and faults in the fulfillment of their purpose--prevention and resolution of poverty.
SSI is operated under the general policies and laws established by the Congress and under regulations of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). These programs were originally operated by the individual states under state and federal matching grants, under the designation Old Age Assistance (OAA). Beginning in 1974, these programs were transferred to the Social Security Administration, and all applications were then referred to the federally operated local Social Security offices. Grants are administered through the same machinery as other clients of the Social Security Administration.
OAA is still restricted to persons over age sixty-five who have limited assets and who are able to pass the means test. Earnings and other income are deducted from the calculated needs budget. The family budget is determined by calculating the authorized need as defined by the program. For a number of years, OAA was criticized for certain of its defects. The multistate administration of the program placed it in a position of differential accessibility and availability, and many states provided less than a minimal existence budget for the aged. (The latter defect has been rectified with federalization.) Many states, probably because they were reluctant to expend funds among massive minority populations, gave their