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Key Findings Details

Estimates of the Potential Insurance Value of Disability Insurance for Individuals with Mental Health Impairments
John Bound, Kyle J. Caswell and Timothy A. Waidmann
WP 2013-283

  • We find that while federal and state disability insurance programs may not fully make up for income and wealth deficits experienced by persons with mental disabilities, they are an important source of support.
  • For those without mental illness, the DI and SSI programs increase per capita household income of successful applicants above that of rejected applicants, but the same is not true for those with mental illness.
  • Persons with mental illness who have been denied DI or SSI benefits are worse off than those rejected applicants not reporting any mental illness on nearly every measure of well-being.
  • Successful applicants with mental illness are worse off than successful applicants with only physical disabilities.
  • The DI/SSI screening process may be accurately discriminating between applicants on unobservable characteristics, selecting those with the most difficulty generating income.

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