United States Disability Policy in a Changing Environment

FRB of San Francisco Working Paper No. 2002-21

20 Pages Posted: 2 May 2005

See all articles by Richard V. Burkhauser

Richard V. Burkhauser

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute

Mary C. Daly

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Date Written: September 2001

Abstract

Two factors are likely to cause the debate surrounding disability policy to intensify over the next decade. First, the protracted period of economic growth that the United States has experienced since 1992 cannot last forever. And, applications for DI and SSI are sensitive to the business cycle. A downturn in the economy will increase applications and heighten efforts to broaden the categorical definition of disability. This is even more likely since the welfare reforms of 1996 have made it more difficult for low-income people to be eligible for other programs. Second, the percentage of the population aged 50 and over is increasing. Given that the prevalence of disability rises sharply at these ages, applications for both DI and SSI are likely to rise. The effect of this demographic change is magnified by the fact that in 2000 the age of eligibility for full Social Security retirement benefits began to rise from 65 to 67. This increase in the normal retirement age will increase the relative value of DI and SSI benefits for workers considering exiting the labor market prior to age 67. All these factors suggest another major round of debate over disability policy and program expansion in the near future.

Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Suggested Citation

Burkhauser, Richard V. and Daly, Mary Colleen, United States Disability Policy in a Changing Environment (September 2001). FRB of San Francisco Working Paper No. 2002-21, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=709341 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.709341

Richard V. Burkhauser (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM) ( email )

120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
161 Barry Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Australia

Mary Colleen Daly

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco ( email )

101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

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