Panel Paper: Using the ACS to Calculate National and State Program Participation Ratios for Working-Age People with Disabilities

Thursday, November 6, 2014 : 1:00 PM
Santa Ana (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

David Stapleton and Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Mathematica Policy Research
Recent studies have extensively documented the participation of working-age people with disabilities in safety-net programs at the national level. Less is known about state-level variation in program participation. The state-level statistics are important because they support assessments of how well each state is meeting the needs of its working-age disability population and how changes in states’ policies and economic conditions affect participants and expenditures. We produce national and state-level statistics on the number of participants in federal disability programs, drawn from administrative data, relative to the estimated size of the working-age population with any self-reported disability based on the American Community Survey (ACS). For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) combined, cross-state variation in the participation ratio is remarkably wide, with the two highest estimates (Massachusetts and New York) being more than twice as large as the lowest estimate (Alaska). There is also considerable variation across states in the distribution of participants across the three program categories (SSDI-only, SSI-only, and concurrent SSDI and SSI). The variation in combined Medicare and Medicaid participation across states follows a similar pattern as for SSDI and SSI, but is somewhat greater, mostly reflecting the extent to which each state’s Medicaid program covers individuals with disabilities who are neither SSDI nor SSI participants. The participation ratios may have biases that go in opposite directions; in combination, we are not able to determine whether they are biased upwards or downwards.