Social Security Disability Beneficiaries: Characteristics, Work Activity, and Use of Services

Social Security Disability Beneficiaries: Characteristics, Work Activity, and Use of Services

Published: Nov 30, 2007
Publisher: In "Ticket to Success? Early Findings from the Ticket to Work Evaluation," special issue, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, edited by Craig Thornton, Robert Weathers, and David Wittenburg, vol. 27, no. 2

Gina A. Livermore

Nanette Goodman

Debra Wright

This article presents findings from the 2004 National Beneficiary Survey, a nationally representative survey of Social Security disability beneficiaries conducted by Mathematica for SSA as part of its Ticket to Work program evaluation. The data provide an overview of the health and sociodemographic characteristics of Social Security disability beneficiaries, and highlight their employment activity, work aspirations, and use of employment-related services. Although most beneficiaries have significant health problems that limit their ability to work, the data suggest that there is potential demand for employment and employment-related services among Social Security disability beneficiaries. The data also suggest, however, that even if beneficiaries have employment aspirations and attempt to work, many potential challenges need to be addressed. In addition to the activity limitations and poor health associated with their disabling conditions, most beneficiaries have low levels of education that might limit their employment opportunities; are living at or near poverty, suggesting that they and their families may rely on public programs for which eligibility could be jeopardized by earnings; and many have experienced work-related obstacles, such as a lack of reliable transportation, inaccessible workplaces, and discouragement from work either by others or through their own experiences.

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