The Relationship Between Disability Insurance Receipt and Food Insecurity
Barbara A. Butrica, Stipica Mudrazija, and Jonathan Schwabish, Urban Institute
This paper examines the relationship between rates of food insecurity, people with disabilities, and awards for the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program from 2010 to 2019. It uses unique data on food establishment locations combined with estimates of food insecurity and food prices from Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap project, and DI award rates from the Social Security Administration, as well as demographic and socioeconomic information from the American Community Survey. The paper documents the geographic variation in rates of disability, DI awards, and food insecurity using maps and regression analyses to explore the relationship between them. By controlling for local access to food (operationalized as the number or share of food establishments), the paper accounts more accurately for the association between disability and food insecurity. The findings are descriptive and should not be interpreted causally.