WI20-03: SSDI and Intergenerational Economic Mobility



Access to economic opportunity in the United States(US)is not uniform across the population. Previous research has identified stark differences in accessibility of the “American Dream” by race/ethnicity and geography; however, variation due to health is less often examined. This project analyzesvariation in a child’s access to opportunity in the USrelative to his/her parents’ experience with disability. Work disability is not uncommon in the US, making it a potentially important contributor to insights on wide disparities in access to opportunity. This project will linkdatafrom the Survey of Income and Program Participation andSocial Security Administration to corroborate previous estimates of heterogeneous intergenerational economic mobility (i.e. economic opportunity) by parent disability in race/ethnicity and genderusing a different, and significantlylarger, dataset. It also aims to analyze patterns inchildren’seconomic mobility relative to a parents’ experience with the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application process among persons who self-report a work-limiting disability thathinders orprevents fully engaging in the labor market. Comparisons will be drawn between work-limited parents who(a) never apply, (b) apply and are never accepted, (c) apply and are later accepted, and (d) apply and are initially accepted to DI/SSIprograms.Finally, this project aims to examine possible spatial and temporal variation in children’s economic mobility for parents who are awarded DI/SSI due to disability. Descriptive evidence from this project may inform policymakers on intergenerational spillovers of disability, ill health, and disability benefits.


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