Could State and Local DI Programs Shed Light on Trends in SSDI?

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Roughly one in four state and local workers are not covered by Social Security and, unless they have a sufficient work history in the private sector, will rely solely on their employer for pensions and disability insurance. While state and local pensions have received a great deal of attention in recent years, it has been decades since researchers have examined the disability insurance offered by state and local employers. This project created a comprehensive database of benefit provisions and claiming trends that includes programs associated with the 100 largest retirement systems in the Public Plans Database, as well as a few smaller systems. To show the types of research questions that can be addressed using this new database, the project produced two issue briefs. The first brief provided an overview of the types of information available in the new database and explored the extent to which workers who are outside of the Social Security system receive an adequate level of protection against disability. The second brief investigated the potential of the database for assessing the more general topic of how DI program structure affects claiming and other outcomes.