Who Is Screened Out? Application Costs and the Targeting of Disability Programs

48 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2019

See all articles by Manasi Deshpande

Manasi Deshpande

University of Chicago

Yue Li

SUNY University at Albany

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 1, 2018


We study the effect of application costs on the targeting of disability programs. We identify these effects using the closings of Social Security Administration field offices, which provide assistance with filing disability applications. Closings lead to a persistent 16 percent decline in the number of disability recipients in surrounding areas, with the largest effects for applicants with moderately severe conditions and low education levels. Disability applications fall by only 10 percent, implying that the closings reduce targeting efficiency based on current eligibility standards. Increased congestion at neighboring offices appears more important as a channel than higher travel or information costs.

Suggested Citation

Deshpande, Manasi and Li, Yue, Who Is Screened Out? Application Costs and the Targeting of Disability Programs (November 1, 2018). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2019-27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3342780 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3342780

Manasi Deshpande (Contact Author)

University of Chicago

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Yue Li

SUNY University at Albany ( email )

1400 Washington Avenue
Hudson 241
Albany, NY 12222
United States

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