JSIT22-04: Does Broadband Affect Social Security Applications?



Policymakers have recently been paying enormous attention to broadband connectivity in the US, with about $65 billion allocated for high-speed internet across states. It is, however, unclear whether broadband technologies affect an individual's likelihood of applying for Social Security Insurance (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This paper evaluates whether better availability of broadband services affects the probability of applying for SSI and SSDI among the most vulnerable age group, i.e., older adults aged 50+. I found broadband rollout statistically significantly increased the probability of applying for SSI and SSDI over time (dynamic treatment effect); however, there was a small and insignificant positive increase in the likelihood of applications as the average treatment effects (ATE). The estimates from this paper highlight the unmeasured benefits of the broadband expansion and have important policy implications on policies related to SSI and SSDI and broadband availability.


Download PDF


JSIT22-04: Does Broadband Technology affect the Applications Rates of the Social Security Benefits?: Evidence during the Closure of Social Security field offices

Publication Year