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Disability and Distress: The Effect of Disability Programs on Financial Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Manasi Deshpande

    (University of Chicago, Department of Economics)

  • Tal Gross

    (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health)

  • Yalun Su

    () (University of Chicago)

Abstract

We provide the first evidence on the relationship between disability programs and markers of financial distress: bankruptcy, foreclosure, eviction, and home sale. Rates of these adverse financial events peak around the time of disability application and subsequently fall for both allowed and denied applicants. To estimate the causal effect of disability programs on these outcomes, we use variation induced by an age-based eligibility rule and find that disability allowance substantially reduces the likelihood of ad- verse financial events. Within three years of the decision, the likelihood of bankruptcy falls by 0.81 percentage point (30 percent), and the likelihood of foreclosure and home sale among homeowners falls by 1.7 percentage points (30 percent) and 2.5 percentage points (20 percent), respectively. We find suggestive evidence of reductions in eviction rates. Conversely, the likelihood of home purchases increases by 0.86 percentage point (20 percent) within three years. We present evidence that these changes reflect true reductions in financial distress. Considering these extreme events increases the optimal disability benefit amount and suggests a shorter optimal waiting time.

Suggested Citation

  • Manasi Deshpande & Tal Gross & Yalun Su, 2019. "Disability and Distress: The Effect of Disability Programs on Financial Outcomes," Working Papers 2019-020, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2019-020
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chetty, Raj, 2006. "A general formula for the optimal level of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1879-1901, November.
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    3. Elliot Anenberg & Edward Kung, 2014. "Estimates of the Size and Source of Price Declines Due to Nearby Foreclosures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2527-2551, August.
    4. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
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    6. 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.
    7. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hamish Low & Luigi Pistaferri, 2020. "Disability Insurance: Theoretical Trade‐Offs and Empirical Evidence," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(1), pages 129-164, March.
    2. Katie M. Jajtner & Sophie Mitra & Christine Fountain & Austin Nichols, 0. "Rising Income Inequality Through a Disability Lens: Trends in the United States 1981–2018," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-34.
    3. Philip Armour & Melanie A. Zaber, 2020. "Does Student Loan Forgiveness Drive Disability Application?," NBER Working Papers 26787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Katie M. Jajtner & Sophie Mitra & Christine Fountain & Austin Nichols, 2020. "Rising Income Inequality Through a Disability Lens: Trends in the United States 1981–2018," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 81-114, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    disability; bankruptcy; eviction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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