Forecasting Incidence of Work Limitations, Disability Insurance Receipt, and Mortality in Dynamic Simulation Models Using Social Security Administrative Records: A Research Note



In examining a number of important research questions related to the reform of the Social Security program, it is helpful to understand patterns of participation in the Disability Insurance (DI) program. DI beneficiaries comprise a large fraction, approximately 15 percent, of the pool of workers who receive Social Security benefits (Social Security Administration, 2001: Table 5.A16). They are a particularly vulnerable group in later life, with poverty rates more than twice as high as those for recipients of retirement or survivor benefits from Social Security (Thompson and Smith, 2002: Table A9-13c). Those who receive DI also have very different mortality experiences than those who do not (Zayatz, 1999), so careful modeling of the overlap between mortality and disability is essential when trying to determine the lifetime distributional consequences of Social Security reform. In addition, the larger disabled population, consisting of those who report work limitations but do not necessarily receive DI benefits, is also at higher risk of poverty and death than those who do not report work limitations…

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