Employment Patterns of SSI-First Awardees Who Enter SSDI After Achieving Disability-Insured Status

Employment Patterns of SSI-First Awardees Who Enter SSDI After Achieving Disability-Insured Status

Published: Jun 16, 2021
Publisher: Journal of Disability Policy Studies (online ahead of print)
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Associated Project

Disability Research Consortium

Time frame: 2012-2019

Prepared for:

Social Security Administration

Authors
Key Findings
  • On average, 2.3% of SSI-first awardees enter SSDI after they become disability insured within 5 years of their SSI award.
  • SSI-first awardees that enter SSDI after they become disability insured are younger than other SSI awardees and are more likely to achieve work-related milestones during the 5 years after SSI award.
  • Although awardees in this group show signs of an ability to work, they gradually start dropping out of the labor force starting 5 months before SSDI benefits begin and drop out in greater numbers through the first year of SSDI benefits.

This article uses administrative data from the Social Security Administration to explore the employment patterns and characteristics of individuals awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits between 2001 and 2009 who later became disability insured and qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). While these individuals are a small portion of all SSI and SSDI beneficiaries, they are particularly interesting because they demonstrate a desire and ability to work despite the health conditions that make them eligible for disability benefits. On average, 2.3% of SSI-first awardees enter SSDI after they become disability insured within 5 years of their SSI award. These SSI awardees are younger than other SSI awardees and are more likely to achieve work-related milestones during the 5 years after SSI award. Although awardees in this group show signs of an ability to work, they gradually start dropping out of the labor force starting 5 months before SSDI benefits begin and drop out in greater numbers through the first year of SSDI benefits. This suggests that some of them may work enough to achieve disability-insured status but stop when they enter SSDI.

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