Geographic Variation in Disability Insurance Application and Awards in the Wake of the Coronavirus Epidemic

Published: 2021
Project ID: UM21-02


The enormous health and economic burdens imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic may impact Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application and receipt in several ways. Patients who recover from COVID-19 can have long-term health consequences that preclude work, others will delay care due to supply constraints and social distancing, and unemployed workers may increasingly turn to the SSDI program as alternative source of financial support. In this project, we explore state-level determinants of short-term changes in SSDI application and receipt following the COVID-19 pandemic, including the contributions of state policies such as unemployment benefits and timing of shelter in place orders; workforce characteristics, including the share of the population working in the health care and long-term care sectors, as well as those able to work from home; and the disease shock’s severity as measured by hospitalization and mortality data.


Lauren Nicholas