Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study finds much different work histories for disability benefits rejects, beneficiaries

Date:
May 24, 2011
Source:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Summary:
Male disability applicants rejected for U.S. federal benefits tend to have lower earnings and labor force participation rates over the decade prior to applying for federal disability benefits.

Male disability applicants rejected for federal benefits tend to have lower earnings and labor force participation rates over the decade prior to applying for federal disability benefits, a new study finds.

Related Articles


Rejected applicants also work less despite being in better health than accepted applicants, according to the research led by economist Seth Giertz of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

On average, the study found, those rejected for benefits made 8.5 percent less than beneficiaries six years before applying -- and nearly 22 percent less just prior to application. Also, applicants who were rejected left the workforce faster as their application dates approached than those who were approved for benefits.

The findings suggest that many of the rejections may have been because applicants were not entirely motivated by health reasons when seeking disability.

"This adds to a growing literature suggesting that financial factors may be a driving factor in a large number of disability applications," said Giertz, assistant professor of economics at UNL. "Federal disability programs have undergone tremendous growth in recent decades and appear to be discouraging able-bodied adults from staying in the labor force."

The work sheds light on the efficacy of the government's disability screening process by factoring in applicants' pre-application work characteristics, and implies that rejected and accepted disability applicants have much different labor-market experiences before applying. Most notably, the rejected applicants were worse-off economically -- consistent with other research examining disability claims for those in declining industries.

On a positive note, the study suggests that the screening process does, at least to a certain degree, separate out those applicants partially motivated by economic considerations from those facing more severe health issues.

"However, the rapid growth of the program over a period where health has improved and jobs have become less physically demanding suggests that the system is broken and in need of reform," Giertz said. "Without changes, the federal disability programs are on a fiscally unsustainable path. For some, disability may be becoming a transition to retirement.

"This 'early retirement option' will be more appealing to people with fewer or declining economic opportunities -- such as those in in industries experiencing a negative economic shock."

Applications to U.S. federal disability programs have grown considerably in recent decades. In 2005, more than 2.12 million people applied for benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance program, while the Supplemental Security Income program received nearly 1.1 million applications. For the former, that's more than five times the number of applications in 1960 and almost twice its 1990 levels.

For their analysis, the economists examined the behavior of respondents in the Health and Retirement Study who were linked to Social Security earnings records. That analysis also produced these findings:

  • Nearly 77 percent of applicants with less than a high-school diploma were eventually accepted, the highest rate of any education group.
  • Those ages 31 to 40 were the most likely to be accepted, at 86.5 percent, followed by ages 41 to 50, at 77.4 percent.
  • Accepted applicants were more likely to have heart, circulatory or blood conditions, but many of the other health conditions had similar acceptance rates.

"The direct fiscal stress resulting from the growth in federal disability benefits is exacerbated by the fact that disability beneficiaries become eligible for either Medicare or Medicaid, the two programs at the heart of the nation's long-term fiscal problems," Giertz said.

The research, co-authored by economics professor Jeffrey Kubik of Syracuse University, appears in the current edition of the Journal of Labor Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "Study finds much different work histories for disability benefits rejects, beneficiaries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524091339.htm>.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (2011, May 24). Study finds much different work histories for disability benefits rejects, beneficiaries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524091339.htm
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "Study finds much different work histories for disability benefits rejects, beneficiaries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524091339.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins