Panel Paper: Characterizing Long-Term Trajectories of Work-Place Disability and Subsequent Social Security Claiming Behavior

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8223 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Amal Harrati and Mark R. Cullen, Stanford University

How are late-life disability and retirement decisions affected by patterns of employment, disability, and leaves across a working life? How much does this have to do with the characteristics of workers and of the jobs in which they are employed? Which sorts of workers or jobs are prone to greater likelihood of early retirement as a function of relatively more or less frequent periods of disability and leave? These are important questions that have largely gone unanswered because opportunities to track individuals through long periods of their working life are rare.

Using a unique database of over 40,000 employees at a large manufacturing firm with daily data on employee-sponsored disability episodes and a diversity of jobs and geographic locations, we propose first to characterize trajectories of periods of work, disability and leave across worker’s entire working histories at the firm. Then, we estimate the extent to which these trajectories are associated with i) SSDI application and receipt and ii) early retirement decisions, both alone and relative to other demographic, job and health factors. To do so, we will link our individual-level data to that of Social Security data to track worker’s SSA-related outcomes. This project will be one of the first to explore the extent to which the long-term cumulative effects of work experience impacts federal disability claiming behavior and early retirement decisions.