Outcomes Following Termination of Social Security Disability Insurance
Retirement and Disability Research Consortium
Social Security Administration
We examined the experiences of former Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries in the years following termination of benefits due to medical improvement or work. Using Social Security Administration data, we found about 16 percent of former beneficiaries whose benefits terminated due to medical improvement from 2005 to 2014 returned to DI within five years of termination. The rate of return to DI among those whose benefits terminated due to work (from 2005 to 2014) was significantly greater, about 32 percent. We found fewer than half of former beneficiaries whose benefits terminated due to medical improvement had average post-termination earnings that exceeded the poverty threshold. Beneficiaries whose benefits terminated due to work were more likely to have post-termination earnings above this threshold than those whose termination was due to medical improvement. Age and certain diagnoses, especially psychotic disorders and intellectual disabilities, were strongly associated with earnings below the poverty threshold and return to disability entitlement in the years following termination.
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