Modernizing the Ssdi Eligibility Criteria: A Reform Proposal that Eliminates the Outdated Medical-Vocational Grid

40 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2018

See all articles by Mark Warshawsky

Mark Warshawsky

Government of the United States of America - Social Security Administration

Ross Marchand

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Date Written: 04/28/2015

Abstract

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, designed to assist individuals unable to work because of permanent disability, has grown substantially over the past 10 years. We document this growth, adjusting for the changing demographics of the US population, and find that the program is covering a higher percentage of the workforce over time despite the fact that actual disability rates are falling. We explain that the medical-vocational grid guidelines that are used to determine whether someone is disabled are an important part of the explanation for increased disability awards. The grid applies much looser standards for applicants as young as 45 and 50. We propose that age be eliminated as a deciding criterion, as well as language ability and education level. We also note that the guideline's list of impairments is outdated and needs to reflect a modern workforce that has access to remedying medical technologies.

Suggested Citation

Warshawsky, Mark and Marchand, Ross, Modernizing the Ssdi Eligibility Criteria: A Reform Proposal that Eliminates the Outdated Medical-Vocational Grid (04/28/2015). MERCATUS WORKING PAPER. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3191389 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3191389

Mark Warshawsky (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Social Security Administration ( email )

Washington, DC 20254
United States

Ross Marchand

Taxpayers Protection Alliance ( email )

1401 K Street NW
Suite 502
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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