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Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the Veterans Affairs' Disability Compensation Program

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  • Mark Duggan
  • Robert Rosenheck
  • Perry Singleton

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs compensates 13 percent of the nation's military veterans for service-related disabilities through the Disability Compensation (DC) program. In 2001, a legislative change made it easier for Vietnam veterans to receive benefits for diabetes associated with military service. In this paper, we investigate this policy's effect on DC enrollment and expenditures as well as the behavioral response of potential beneficiaries. Our findings demonstrate that the policy increased DC enrollment by 6 percentage points among Vietnam veterans and that an additional 1.7 percent experienced an increase in their DC benefits, which increased annual program expenditures by $2.85 billion in 2007. Using individual-level data from the Veterans Supplement to the Current Population Survey, we find that the induced increase in DC enrollment had little average impact on the labor supply or health status of Vietnam veterans but did reduce labor supply among their spouses. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Duggan & Robert Rosenheck & Perry Singleton, 2010. "Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the Veterans Affairs' Disability Compensation Program," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 379-398, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:53:y:2010:i:2:p:379-398
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Mark Duggan & Robert Rosenheck & Perry Singleton, 2006. "Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the VA's Disability Compensation Program," NBER Working Papers 12323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Courtney Coile & Mark Duggan & Audrey Guo, 2015. "Veterans' Labor Force Participation: What Role Does the VA's Disability Compensation Program Play?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 131-136, May.
    2. Boyle, Melissa A. & Lahey, Joanna N., 2016. "Spousal labor market effects from government health insurance: Evidence from a veterans affairs expansion," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 63-76.
    3. David H. Autor & Mark Duggan & Kyle Greenberg & David S. Lyle, 2016. "The Impact of Disability Benefits on Labor Supply: Evidence from the VA's Disability Compensation Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 31-68, July.
    4. Kauer, Lukas, 2014. "The Effect of Cutting Disability Insurance Benefits on Labor Supply in Households," Economics Working Paper Series 1401, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    5. Davies, Paul S. & Purcell, Patrick J. & Engelhardt, Gary V., 2015. "Vietnam-era military service and DI participation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 5-8.
    6. Katharine G. Abraham & Melissa S. Kearney, 2018. "Explaining the Decline in the U.S. Employment-to-Population Ratio: A Review of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 24333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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