Panel: New Perspectives on Challenges before and after Disability Program Entry
(Poverty and Income Policy)

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 2:45 PM-4:15 PM
Santa Ana (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Mathematica Policy Research
Panel Chairs:  David Wittenburg, Mathematica Policy Research
Discussants:  Philip Armour, Cornell University and Norma Coe, University of Washington

Identifying Where Cost Effective Interventions Can Reduce Transitions to Social Security Disability Insurance
Frank Neuhauser1, Yonatan Ben-Shalom2 and David Stapleton2, (1)University of California, Berkeley, (2)Mathematica Policy Research

The number of working-age adults receiving benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program has risen sharply in recent decades, resulting in mounting fiscal pressure. Policy solutions are needed to address challenges that exist both before and after SSDI/SSI entry. The first paper in this panel, “Identifying Where Cost Effective Interventions Can Reduce Transitions to Social Security Disability Insurance,” addresses a pre-entry challenge: how to identify likely SSDI applicants and what can be done to help them stay in the labor force. The authors use California’s experience with its State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Workers’ Compensation (WC) programs to learn about the potential for early intervention among workers who experience disability onset and become potential SSDI applicants with high likelihood of an allowance. The second paper in this panel, “SSA Payments to VR Providers and the Potential for Savings Due to Beneficiary Returns to Work,” addresses a post-entry challenge: how to promote earnings outcomes for beneficiaries that are sufficiently high and long-term that beneficiaries forgo their cash disability benefits, thereby reducing SSA program costs. The authors explore the employment success of Social Security disability beneficiaries who use VR services, which may be covered by SSA once beneficiaries achieve certain employment targets, and assess whether work activity among beneficiaries served by VR results in a net savings to the federal government. The third paper in this panel, “Health and Financial Consequences of the Medicare Waiting Period for Disability Insurance Recipients”, addresses another post-entry challenge: how do new SSDI beneficiaries obtain health care during the Medicare waiting period? The author uses panel data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to explore the transition of the DI population from private health insurance to public coverage.
See more of: Poverty and Income Policy
See more of: Panel