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Poverty Law

Resources for getting started on research related to laws and legal issues impacting the poor.

Government Site

Social Security Administration

The U.S. Social Security Administration is an independent, federal U.S. agency that administers a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivor benefits.


Welfare by Norman P. Barry (University of Minnesota Press, 1990)

Explores welfare in the context of public policy, the economy, and history. Tracing the concept's origin, the book discusses the critiques and ethics of welfare. (USC Libraries)


Welfare Law by Lucy A. Williams (Routledge, 2017)


A collection of articles discussing welfare challenges and their importance. (USC Libraries)


Social Security Handbook (Social Security Agency, updated on an ongoing basis)


Basic guide to federal Social Security programs. (SSA)



Social Security Law and Practice (Westlaw, 2022)

Discusses controlling cases, statutory provisions, regulations, rulings, and agency manuals on old-age, survivors, and disability insurance, supplementary security income, Medicare, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, and other Social Security benefits. (Westlaw)


Social Security Bulletin


Articles and research analyses on Social Security programs. (SSA)


Poverty & Public Policy


Articles and research on poverty, income distribution, and welfare programs around the globe. (Wiley)


Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment

This page contains numerous studies addressing economic self-sufficiency, reducing public assistance dependency, and alternative welfare-to-work strategies.  The studies were conducted by offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, primarily the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (under the Administration for Children and Families).