Trends in SSDI Benefit Receipt: More Recent Birth Cohorts are Entering Sooner and Receiving Benefits Longer

Working Paper 55
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica
May 30, 2019
Yonatan Ben-Shalom, David Stapleton, and Alex Bryce

We provide the first available statistics on the extent to which successive birth cohorts have entered Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and on cross-cohort trends in the average number of years of SSDI benefit receipt among all individuals of a given birth cohort. Following cohorts born from 1955 to 1974, we find that the percentage of each birth cohort entering SSDI by a given age generally increased for both men and women, with some slowing of that growth in more recent years. Mean years of benefit receipt by a given age among all individuals in the birth cohort grew more rapidly, due to the combined effects of increased entry before that age and lower mortality after entry. For cohorts born in 1955 to 1964, mean years of benefit receipt by age 50 increased by 18 percent for men (0.54 to 0.64 years) and by 50 percent for women (0.38 to 0.57 years). These findings largely hold when we account for immigration, which is important because cross-cohorts trends in immigration may be masking important cross-cohort trends in SSDI entry.


Disability Statistics and Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (StatsRRTC)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research

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Senior Staff

Yonatan Ben-Shalom
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