Does Broadband Access Affect DI Award Rates?

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Barbara A. Butrica and Jonathan Schwabish, Urban Institute

This paper examines the association between Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) awards, disability, and technology access. It uses multiple data sources, regression analyses, and geospatial analysis to document the geographic variation in these relationships. Our initial hypothesis was that any relationship between DI awards, disability, and technology access (e.g., computers, internet, and broadband) would simply reflect the rural/non-rural broadband gap, but we find that disparities hold even after taking into account these geographic differences.