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Policy Watch: U.S. Disability Policy in a Changing Environment

  • Richard V. Burkhauser
  • Mary C. Daly

In this paper we provide a context for evaluating the goals and effectiveness of current disability policy. We review the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs and examine trends in disability benefit receipt and employment among working-age people with disabilities. We discuss the difficulties in crafting efficient and equitable programs for this difficult to target, heterogeneous population. We conclude that changes in policy rather than in underlying health are most likely behind the increases in disability benefit receipt and the declines in employment of working-age people with disabilities over the 1990s business cycle.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 16 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 213-224

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:1:p:213-224
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0895330027067
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  1. Mary Daly & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2003. "The Supplemental Security Income Program," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 79-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard V. Burkhauser & Mary C. Daly & Andrew J. Houtenville & Nigar Nargis, 2001. "Economic outcomes of working-age people with disabilities over the business cycle: an examination of the 1980s and 1990s," Working Paper Series 2001-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Bound, John & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1999. "Economic analysis of transfer programs targeted on people with disabilities," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 51, pages 3417-3528 Elsevier.
  4. 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.
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