Poster Paper: Estimating the Additional Costs Associated with Disability In the United States

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Liberty A & B (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Navena Felicia Chaitoo, Fordham University

This project examines the relationship between disability and standard of living. I use the standard of living approach, as in Zaidi and Burchardt (2005), in order to indirectly estimate the additional costs associated with living with a disability in the United States. The data used in this project is from the 2008 Survey on Income and Program Participation. Descriptive statistics indicate that individuals with disabilities have lower income and wealth than individuals without disabilities. Although results vary across disability measures, overall preliminary results suggest that individuals with disabilities experience additional costs and a resulting lower standard of living because of the reallocation of their limited resources towards needs pertaining to their disability.

The results of this study affects disability policy as it relates to asset limits and earned income requirements in federally-funded programs in the United States such as Individual Development Accounts, which, if utilized for assistive technology purchases, could enhance the standard of living of individuals with disabilities. The findings of this study on the relative levels of income and wealth for individuals with disabilities with respect to individuals without disabilities also offers insight into the efficacy of legislation pertaining to individuals with disabilities. In particular, this study justifies a disability policy, which, at least in part, focuses on the financial needs of living with a disability.