An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process
We provide an empirical analysis of the Social Security disability application, award, and appeal process using the Health and Retirement Survey. We show that the appeal option increases the award probability from 46\% to 73\%. However, this comes at the cost of significant delays: the duration between application and award is over three times longer for those who are awarded benefits after one or more stages of appeal. Our results reveal the importance of self-selection in application and appeal decisions. In particular, an individual's self- assessed disability status emerges as one of the most powerful predictors of application, appeal, and award decisions.
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