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Key Findings Details

Trends in the Composition and Outcomes of Young Social Security Disability Awardees
Yonatan Ben-Shalom and David Stapleton
WP 2013-284

  • The number of Social Security Disability (SSD) awards in 2007 to individuals under the age of 40, 153,000, was only slightly higher than in 1996, 148,000, but this masks considerable change in the composition of awardees over that 11-year span.
  • In 2007, compared to 1996, relatively more SSD awards to individuals under age 40 went to Disabled Adult Children (DAC) versus disabled workers; to disabled workers and DAC who had received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, especially as children, versus those with no SSI history; and to disabled workers and DAC with psychiatric disorders versus those with other types of impairments.
  • Disabled workers who were on SSI as children are far more likely than those who were not on SSI as children to earn more than $1,000 (in 2007 dollars) annually as of the fifth post-award year.
  • Compared to disabled workers, DAC are considerably less likely to work and earn more than $1,000 annually.
  • Both disabled workers and DAC are far less likely to have annual earnings in excess of 12 times the non-blind substantial gainful activity than they are to earn more than $1,000.

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