What Are the County-Level Drivers of DI and Early OASI Benefit Claims During COVID?
R. Vincent Pohl and David Mann, Mathematica Policy Research and Kai Filion, U.S. Social Security Administration
The COVID-19 pandemic likely affected applications and awards for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This paper uses Social Security Administration (SSA) administrative data on applications and awards, combined with county-level data on COVID-19 severity, unemployment, and proximity to an SSA field office, to understand drivers of application and award rates. Specifically, it examines how changes from 2019 to 2020 in SSI and SSDI application and award rates were related to county-level factors affected by the pandemic.