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Research on financial vulnerability receives fourth year of funding

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The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Financial Security (CFS), as part of the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium (RDRC), has been awarded $2.2 million in a fourth year of funding from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). One of just four RDRC centers in the country supported by SSA, the UW–Madison center has a particular focus on the financial well-being of economically vulnerable families, older people, people with disabilities, low-wealth households, and children.

“The pandemic has really highlighted how financial vulnerable families are, and how important safety net programs are to keep people financially stable,” says CFS Faculty Director Dr. J. Michael Collins, Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance in the School of Human Ecology, and Professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs. “We are grateful for the Social Security RDRC to be able to support this research, including work related to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 for disability, retirement and social insurance programs.”

This year’s award funds 13 major research studies, over half of which are led by University of Wisconsin—Madison faculty. In addition, the funding renews support for mentored fellowships and for the Junior Scholars in Training (JSIT) program, which trains and mentors early-career researchers and junior faculty in the retirement and disability fields. This year also included new support a training program aimed at developing undergraduate researchers: the Social Insurance Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).

As part of the RDRC, the CFS will share research findings through newsletters, websites, social media, virtual and in-person collaborations, as well as seminars and conferences.

The RDRC is an extramural research collaboration. Projects receiving funding within the CFS RDRC for 2020-2021 follow.


  • The Effect of Public Policies on Work Disability
  • Exploring Worker and Firm Characteristics that Drive Use of Accommodation for Workers with Disabilities
  • Housing for SSI Recipients: Expenditures, Quality, and Trends


  • Household Composition, Resource Use and the Resilience of Older Adults Aging in Community During COVID-19
  • Family Proximity and Co-Residence in Retirement: Heterogeneity in Residential Changes Across Older Adults’ Economic and Care Contexts
  • Parents of Children with Disabilities and Retirement
  • The COVID-19 Pandemic and Older Adults’ Employment and Economic Security: Insights from Earnings and Credit Panel Data
  • Enhancing Trust in the Social Security Administration and E-Government Among People Targeted by Fraud

Social Insurance

  • Social Security Interactions with Child Tax Credit Expansion
  • The Power of Linked Administrative Data: Understanding Racial and Ethnic Differences in SSA and Means-Tested Benefit Receipt and Their Anti-Poverty Effects for Children in Multigenerational Families
  • The Geography of Long-Term Care: Implications for SSI and Understanding Disparities in Living Arrangements Among Older Adults
  • The Downstream Health Effects of SSI Take-up Among Older Adults
  • Health, Health Insurance, and Financial Security

For abstracts of these projects, please visit https://cfsrdrc.wisc.edu/projects/2022.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Center for Financial Security Retirement and Disability Research Center (CFS RDRC) is an applied research program which develops evidence that can assist policymakers, the public, and the media in understanding issues in Social Security, retirement, and disability policy, especially related to economically vulnerable populations. The CFS RDRC incorporates diversity of viewpoints and disciplines, develops diverse emerging scholars, and generates research findings that are used in policy and practice.

Read the full article at: https://cfsrdrc.wisc.edu/projects/2022