Panel Paper: The Role of Internal Migration in Disability Program Applications and Awards

Friday, November 9, 2018
8224 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Philip Armour and James Marrone, RAND Corporation

There has long been substantial geographic variation in participation in Social Security administered disability programs; much of this variation is due to underlying demographic, labor market, and health differences. However, an as-of-yet unexamined factor in explaining this variation is internal migration, or movements within the US, which varies considerably across regions and over time. Notably, since the early 1980s, rates of internal migration have fallen; coincident with this fall has been a rise in disability program participation, yet prior research has not examined the decreasing prevalence of migration in driving disability rates. This project estimates the impact of changing internal migration rates on Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income applications and awards through both descriptive and quasi-experimental techniques, providing insight as to how barriers to migration have contributed to rising and geographically varied disability program participation.