Decoupling Health Insurance and Disability Benefit Receipt: Impacts of the ACA on SSI and SSDI

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by Kevin Wood, University of Connecticut

There is a large interest in strategic behavior among recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Are they sick and reduce work effort without choice? Or are they capable of work and strategically reduce work effort to get access to health insurance? An important question is, if those experiencing health problems were provided with more access to insurance would they maintain work rather than becoming a beneficiary of SSI or SSDI? The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides an opportunity to learn about responses of individuals to the provision of lower cost health insurance in this context. In this paper, I will examine the effect of the ACA’s implementation on the working-aged (18-64) disabled population’s medical insurance coverage, SSI and SSDI enrollment, and labor force participation.

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