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Trends in the Composition and Outcomes of Young Social Security Disability Awardees


  • Yonatan Ben-Shalom

    (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc)

  • David Stapleton

    (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc)


A large share of new Social Security Disability (SSD) beneficiaries -- disabled workers and disabled adult children (DAC) -- are under age 40. Better information on the backgrounds, impairments, personal characteristics, and employment outcomes of these beneficiaries would help policymakers develop programs tailored to the needs and circumstances of various subgroups of such beneficiaries. We use administrative data on young SSD awardees first awarded benefits between 1996 and 2007 to examine trends in these awardees’ composition and outcomes. We find that the composition of young SSD awardees changed substantially during this period. In 2007, compared to 1996, relatively more SSD awards to individuals under age 40 went to DAC versus disabled workers; to disabled workers and DAC who had received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, especially as children, versus those with no SSI history; and to disabled workers and DAC with psychiatric disorders versus those with other types of impairments. We also find that disabled workers who received SSI as children are far more likely than those who did not receive SSI as children to earn more than $1,000 annually (in 2007 dollars) as of the fifth post-award year; that compared to disabled workers, DAC are considerably less likely to work and earn more than $1,000 annually; and that both disabled workers and DAC are significantly less likely to earn more than 12 times the non-blind substantial gainful activity level (SGA) annually than they are to earn more than $1,000 annually. We discuss factors that may have contributed to the observed trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Yonatan Ben-Shalom & David Stapleton, 2013. "Trends in the Composition and Outcomes of Young Social Security Disability Awardees," Working Papers wp284, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp284

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Fraker, 2013. "The Youth Transition Demonstration: Lifting Employment Barriers for Youth with Disabilities," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 9d97695eb9f34403b430d227a, Mathematica Policy Research.
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    5. Anu Rangarajan & Thomas Fraker & Todd Honeycutt & Arif Mamun & John Martinez & Bonnie O'Day & David Wittenburg, "undated". "The Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration Projects: Evaluation Design Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports dc181046c9a041e6b63bb1b57, Mathematica Policy Research.
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    9. Jody Schimmel & David C. Stapleton & Jae Song, 2010. "How Common is "Parking" Among Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Beneficiaries? Evidence from the 1999 Change in the Level of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)," Working Papers wp220, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    10. Anu Rangarajan & Debbie Reed & Arif Mamun & John Martinez & Thomas Fraker, "undated". "The Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration Projects: Analysis Plan for Interim Reports," Mathematica Policy Research Reports cb30bac5a91a40e099c70615e, Mathematica Policy Research.
    11. Peiyun She & Gina A. Livermore, "undated". "Long-Term Poverty and Disability Among Working-Age Adults," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 41595767070647e0897513126, Mathematica Policy Research.
    12. Nicole Maestas & Kathleen J. Mullen & Gema Zamarro, 2012. "Induced Entry into the Social Security Disability Program: Using Past SGA Changes as a Natural Experiment," Working Papers wp262, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    13. Arif Mamun & Paul O'Leary & David C. Wittenburg & Jesse Gregory, 2011. "Employment Among Social Security Disability Program Beneficiaries 19962007," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 8dc9f0dfbb5c4b61ba1ea525a, Mathematica Policy Research.
    14. Yonatan Ben-Shalom & Arif A. Mamun, 2013. "Return-to-Work Outcomes Among Social Security Disability Insurance Program Beneficiaries," Mathematica Policy Research Reports a3df4af277654d27ab9139c1a, Mathematica Policy Research.
    15. Norma B. Coe & Matthew S. Rutledge, 2013. "What Is the Long-Term Impact on Zebley Kids?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2013-3, Center for Retirement Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. David R. Mann & Arif Mamun & Jeffrey Hemmeter, 2013. "Employment, Earnings, and Primary Impairments Among Beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Programs," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 63edd5c75c2e42baa4dcd9a23, Mathematica Policy Research.
    2. repec:mpr:mprres:7999 is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare
    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics

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