A Causal Model of the Effect of Employer Accommodation on the Timing of Application for Social Security Disability Insurance Following the Onset of a Disability: Evidence from Employment Protection Laws

Published: 2011
Project ID: UM11-02


Over the past several decades a variety of policies have been implemented at state and federal levels aimed at encouraging employment among the disabled, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, by mandating reasonable accommodation by employers for persons with disabilities. While previous studies have examined the effect of accommodation on subsequent application for SSDI benefits, none has effectively addressed the potential endogeneity between the provision of accommodation by an employer and the likelihood that a disabled person will subsequently apply for SSDI. Using an instrumental variables identification strategy, we exploit exogenous variation in accommodation generated by the presence and type of state and federal employment protection laws to estimate the causal effect of accommodation on application for SSDI within 1, 5, and then 10 years of the onset of a work limitation.