Children with Special Health Care Needs, Supplemental Security Income, and Food Insecurity
This study assesses food insecurity in low-income households with young children with/without special health care needs (SHCN) and evaluates relationships between child Supplemental Security Income (SSI) receipt and food insecurity. Of the 6,724 children included in the study sample, 81.5% screened negative for SHCN, 14.8% positive for SHCN (no SSI), and 3.7% had SHCN and received SSI. After covariate control, households, with versus without a child with SHCN, were more likely to experience household and child food insecurity. Among households with children with SHCN, those with children receiving, versus not receiving SSI, were more likely to report household but not child food insecurity. Low-income households with young children having SHCN are at risk for food insecurity, regardless of child SSI receipt and household participation in other public assistance programs. Policy recommendations include reevaluation of assistance programs’ income and medical deduction criteria for households with children with SHCN to decrease the food insecurity risk faced by these children and their families.