How Did Suspending In-Person Services Affect DI and SSI Applications and Allowances?
Michael Anderson, Monica Farid, and Gina Freeman, Mathematica and Chris Earles, U.S. Social Security Administration
This project will study the causal impacts of suspending in-person applications to DI and SSI during the COVID pandemic on the volume of applications, composition of applicants, and initial acceptance rates. We will first document the characteristics of 2019-2021 DI and SSI applicants by mode of application and the association between application mode and likelihood of initial acceptance. Then we will use difference-in-differences methods to compare areas with high field office coverage to those with low field office coverage (which are less affected by office service suspensions) pre- and post-March 2020. This approach will allow us to isolate the impacts of suspending in-person services at SSA field offices from other aspects of the pandemic. Our results will inform SSA’s understanding of the effects of in-person service suspensions and whether certain populations’ access to services was impacted more than others.