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Trends in Employment and Earnings of Allowed and Rejected Applicants to the Social Security Disability Insurance Program

  • Till von Wachter
  • Jae Song
  • Joyce Manchester

Longitudinal administrative data show that rejected male applicants to the Disability Insurance (DI) program who are younger or have low-mortality impairments such as back pain and mental health problems exhibit substantial labor force attachment. While we confirm that employment rates of older rejected applicants are low, continued high numbers of younger and low-mortality beneficiaries have raised the potential employment of DI beneficiaries. Three findings support economic inducement to apply. Mean preapplication earnings have fallen, rejected applicants experience preapplication declines in earnings, and beneficiaries whose first applications were rejected at the DDS level but who ultimately received benefits exhibit substantial employment. (JEL: H55, J14, J28, J31)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 3308-29

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3308-29
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  1. David Autor & Mark Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," NBER Working Papers 12436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Bound & Richard Burkhauser & Austin Nichols, 2001. "Tracking the Household Income of SSDI and SSI Applicants," Working Papers wp009, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Kerwin Kofi Charles, 2003. "The Longitudinal Structure of Earnings Losses among Work-Limited Disabled Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
  4. Chen, Susan & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "The work disincentive effects of the disability insurance program in the 1990s," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 757-784, February.
  5. Till von Wachter & Jae Song & Joyce Manchester, 2008. "Long-Term Earnings Losses due to Job Separation During the 1982 Recession: An Analysis Using Longitudinal Administrative Data from 1974 to 2004," Discussion Papers 0708-16, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128, February.
  7. 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.
  8. Eric French & Jae Song, 2009. "The effect of disability insurance receipt on labor supply," Working Paper Series WP-09-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Till von Wachter & Jae Song & Joyce Manchester, 2008. "The Employment Effects of Social Security Disability Insurance in the Past 25 Years: A Study of Rejected Applicants Using Administrative Data," Discussion Papers 0809-05, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  10. Parsons, Donald O, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1419-26, December.
  11. Bound, John, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1427-34, December.
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