Pre-Application Activities of Social Security Disability Insurance Applicants. Participation in Other Programs


Participation in Other Programs

SSDI applicants increased their participation in selected programs other than SSDI, particularly in the six months before application. We examined their participation in four types of programs: poverty-related benefits, disability-related benefits, health insurance, and employment-related benefits. In general, their program participation rates were greater than those of all people age 25-55, and they increased their participation during the six-month period before application. The exception to this pattern was employment-related benefits. Although greater than for the population ages 25-55, participation in this program remained stable for applicants over the 42-month period before application.

  • Poverty-Related Benefits. A larger proportion of SSDI applicants received means-tested benefits, compared to the general population, up to 42 months before applying for SSDI (Table 2). Between 10 percent and 21 percent of eventual SSDI applicants received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 4-8 percent received energy assistance, and 2-3 percent received housing assistance. Benefit receipt increased in the six-month period before SSDI application, and the proportion of applicants receiving poverty-related benefits across the 42-month period before application was typically greater than that of all people ages 25-55.

  • Disability-Related Benefits. The proportion of SSDI applicants receiving other disability-related benefits was typically small in the 7-42 months before SSDI application: between 2 percent and 6 percent received workers' compensation, and less than 3 percent received other disability-related benefits. As with poverty-related benefits, however, the proportion increased in the six months just before SSDI application: 9 percent of applicants received worker's compensation, and 7 percent received employer-based disability insurance.

  • Health Insurance. Most people had private health insurance before SSDI application, even in the six-month period immediately before it, although that percentage steadily declined over the 42-month period. In contrast, the percentage with Medicaid coverage increased as people approached application, from 11 percent at 37-42 months before application to 20 percent in the six-month period immediately before it.

  • Employment-Related Benefits. Relatively few SSDI applicants received unemployment or veterans' benefits during the 42 months before application; these proportions (5-8 percent for unemployment benefits and 2-4 percent for veterans' benefits) were stable across the observed periods.

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