Changes in New Disability Awards: Understanding Trends and Looking Ahead
Lindsay Jacobs, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This paper examined health, demographic, and disability trends over four birth-year cohorts using data from the Health and Retirement Study and restricted linked SSA data with the goal of understanding current and future SSDI prevalence. The analysis included (1) identifying physical and mental health responses in the HRS most predictive of SSDI receipt and how these responses and the likelihood of SSDI receipt have changed over cohorts and (2) a decomposition to determine what share of the changes in SSDI receipt can be attributed to differences in the effects of health and other factors over cohorts, while accounting for the changing selection into program coverage. Key aspects to be addressed in future work include analysis of the younger adult population and modeling application timing and behavior, as this work focused instead on ultimate SSDI application approval among older birth-year cohorts.