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

Author

Listed:
  • Till von Wachter
  • Jae Song
  • Joyce Manchester

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Till von Wachter & Jae Song & Joyce Manchester, 2011. "Trends in Employment and Earnings of Allowed and Rejected Applicants to the Social Security Disability Insurance Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3308-3329, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3308-29
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-134, February.
    2. Eric French & Jae Song, 2014. "The Effect of Disability Insurance Receipt on Labor Supply," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 291-337, May.
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 71-96, Summer.
    6. Bound, John, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1427-1434, December.
    7. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise in the Disability Rolls and the Decline in Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-206.
    8. Parsons, Donald O, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1419-1426, December.
    9. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128.
    10. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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