Applications, Denials, and Appeals for Social Security Disability Insurance

30 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2008

See all articles by Olivia S. Mitchell

Olivia S. Mitchell

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Pension Research Council; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

John W. R. Phillips

National Institutes on Aging

Date Written: July 2002

Abstract

This project explores the process by which older workers apply for, and are awarded, Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits. Our focus is on how and whether DI serves as a path out of the labor market at older ages. This research is important to the extent that proposals to raise the early retirement age under Social Security alter the opportunity set available to older workers. Identifying the characteristics of older workers who apply for DI under current rules, those who are rejected after application, and those who then go on to appeal, can provide policymakers with insight regarding the potential well-being of the "at risk" population if the early retirement age were to rise. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to compare older workers prior to application, and use these characteristics to predict future DI application and award patterns. The findings indicate that older people initially in poor health and with low economic status are more likely to apply for DI thereafter, as compared to those reporting no health problems and with more assets. Nevertheless few factors distinguish statistically between applicants awarded versus denied benefits, and between those who appeal rejected applications versus those who do not.

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, Olivia S. and Phillips, John W. R., Applications, Denials, and Appeals for Social Security Disability Insurance (July 2002). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. WP 2002-032. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1089052 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1089052

Olivia S. Mitchell (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Pension Research Council ( email )

3302 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall
3620 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6302
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John W. R. Phillips

National Institutes on Aging ( email )

Building 31, Room 5C27
31 Center Drive, MSC 2292
Bethesda, MD 20892
United States

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