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Applications, Denials, and Appeals for Social Security Disability Insurance

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Author Info

  • Olivia S. Mitchell

    (University of Pennsylvania and NBER)

  • John W.R. Phillips

    (Social Security Administration)

Abstract

This project explores the process by which older workers apply for, and are awarded, Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits. Our focus is on how and whether DI serves as a path out of the labor market at older ages. This research is important to the extent that proposals to raise the early retirement age under Social Security alter the opportunity set available to older workers. Identifying the characteristics of older workers who apply for DI under current rules, those who are rejected after application, and those who then go on to appeal, can provide policymakers with insight regarding the potential well-being of the “at risk” population if the early retirement age were to rise. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to compare older workers prior to application, and use these characteristics to predict future DI application and award patterns. The findings indicate that older people initially in poor health and with low economic status are more likely to apply for DI thereafter, as compared to those reporting no health problems and with more assets. Nevertheless few factors distinguish statistically between applicants awarded versus denied benefits, and between those who appeal rejected applications versus those who do not.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp032.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp032.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp032

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Web page: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/papers/
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  1. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2001. "Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance," Working Papers wp011, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-34, February.
  3. Benitez-Silva, Hugo & Buchinsky, Moshe & Chan, Hiu Man & Rust, John & Sheidvasser, Sofia, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-178, June.
  4. Phillip B. Levine & Olivia S. Mitchell & John W. Phillips, . "A Benefit of One's Own: Older Women's Retirement Entitlements Under Social Security," Pension Research Council Working Papers 2000-5, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Kreider, Brent, 1999. "Social Security Disability Insurance: Applications, Awards, and Lifetime Income Flows," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 784-827, October.
  6. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2000. "Non Random Selection in the HRS Social Security Earnings Sample," Working Papers 00-01, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  7. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2000. "Retirement Responses to Early Social Security Benefit Reductions," NBER Working Papers 7963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jianting Hu & Kajal Lahiri & Denton R. Vaughan & Bernard Wixon, 2001. "A Structural Model Of Social Security'S Disability Determination Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 348-361, May.
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