What Are Pathways to Overpayments?
Denise Hoffman, Michael Anderson, Monica Farid, and Serge Lukashanets, Mathematica Policy Research and John Jones, U.S. Social Security Administration
This paper studies the experiences of the 2008 cohort of first-time Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries who were at risk of overpayment because they engaged in substantial gainful activity after completing the trial work period and grace period (work incentives allowing beneficiaries to test work). It uses data from the December 2020 Disabled Beneficiaries and Dependents extract from the Social Security Administration’s Master Beneficiary Record to describe overpayment rates, amounts, and temporal characteristics of overpayments. Drawing on the 2019 Disability Analysis File and Master Earnings File, it also documents the sequence of program milestones overpaid beneficiaries experienced and compares the experiences of overpaid beneficiaries with those whose benefits were concurrently suspended or terminated for work and not overpaid. This analysis focuses on the first occurrence of program milestones. Understanding beneficiary pathways to overpayments might help policymakers design policies that minimize overpayments or, if they occur, help beneficiaries maintain their connection to employment.