The Impact of Temporary Assistance Programs on Disability Rolls and Re-Employment
Workers who lose their jobs can draw from temporary assistance programs, apply for Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both. Whether participating in temporary assistance programs influences the application decision for DI and SSI is an important open question, which we address using the Survey of Income and Program Participation matched to administrative records on DI and SSI applications. We distinguish four programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Unemployment Insurance (UI), and Temporary Disability Insurance programs (TDI). We estimate the observed association between three outcomes after a job loss (re-employment, application for DI, and application for SSI) and participation in each of the four temporary assistance programs. Our results show that job losers are less likely to be reemployed if they participate in any of the four temporary assistance programs, that UI recipients are less likely to apply for SSI, TDI recipients are more likely to apply for DI, and SNAP participants are less likely to apply for DI and more likely to apply for SSI. Since associations are biased by selection into participation, we use state-level policy as exogenous variation to identify the causal effect of participation on the three outcomes. Our results suggest that expansions of UI reduce applications for DI, but expansions of SNAP may increase applications for SSI. Participation in assistance programs seems to influence applications for DI and SSI, but the strength and direction of the net effect depends on specific characteristics of the programs.