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The Importance of State Anti-Discrimination Laws on Employer Accommodation and the Movement of their Employees onto Social Security Disability Insurance


  • Richard V. Burkhauser

    (Cornell University)

  • Lauren H. Nicholas

    (University of Michigan)

  • Maximilian D. Schmeiser

    (Federal Reserve Board of Governors)


The rate of application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, as well as the number of beneficiaries has been increasing for the past several decades, threatening the solvency of the SSDI program. One possible remedy is to promote continued employment amongst those experiencing the onset of a work limiting disability through the provision of workplace accommodations. Using the Health and Retirement Study data linked to Social Security administrative records and a state fixed effects model, we find that the provision of workplace accommodation reduces the probability of application for SSDI following disability onset. We estimate that receipt of an accommodation reduces a worker’s probability of applying for SSDI by 30 percent over five years and 21 percent over 10 years. We then attempt to control for the potential endogeneity of accommodation receipt by exploiting exogenous variation in the implementation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws to estimate the impact of workplace accommodation on SSDI application in an instrumental variables (IV) model. While our coefficients continue to indicate that accommodation reduces SSDI application, we obtain implausibly large estimates of this effect. Overall our results imply that increasing accommodation is a plausible strategy for reducing SSDI applications and the number of beneficiaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard V. Burkhauser & Lauren H. Nicholas & Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2011. "The Importance of State Anti-Discrimination Laws on Employer Accommodation and the Movement of their Employees onto Social Security Disability Insurance," Working Papers wp251, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp251

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mary C. Daly & John Bound, 1995. "Worker Adaptation and Employer Accommodation Following the Onset of a Health Impairment," NBER Working Papers 5169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Richard V. Burkhauser & J. S. Butler & Yang-Woo Kim & Robert R. Weathers II, 1999. "The Importance of Accommodation on the Timing of Disability Insurance Applications: Results from the Survey of Disability and Work and the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 589-611.
    3. Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2003. "The Labor Market Experience of Workers with Disabilities: The ADA and Beyond," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lmewd, November.
    4. Richard V. Burkhauser & J. S. Butler & Gulcin Gumus, 2004. "Dynamic programming model estimates of Social Security Disability Insurance application timing," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 671-685.
    5. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Butler, J. S. & Kim, Yang Woo, 1995. "The importance of employer accommodation on the job duration of workers with disabilities: A hazard model approach," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 109-130, June.
    6. Christine Jolls & J.J. Prescott, 2004. "Disaggregating Employment Protection: The Case of Disability Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 10740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. F. Thomas Juster & Richard Suzman, 1995. " An Overview of the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages s7-s56.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Duguet & Christine Le Clainche, 2016. "Une évaluation de l’impact de l’aménagement des conditions de travail sur la reprise du travail après un cancer," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 67(1), pages 49-80.

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