Forty states currently have work requirements for some individuals receiving nutritional assistance or “food stamps,” if they want to continue to receive benefits. This study will be the first to examine whether state-level work requirements associated with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) lead to an increase in disability claiming. As these work requirements apply only to Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) age 18-49, disability status enables an individual to continue to receive nutritional assistance without meeting the work requirements. The project will use data on self-reported disability status from the Current Population Survey and administrative data from the Social Security Administration on Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income applications, successful claimants, and terminations of benefits. Capitalizing on variation in work requirements across states and over time, the project will implement a quasi-experimental panel regression estimation approach to study the existence and extent of any increase in disability assistance claiming, successful or otherwise, as a consequence of work requirements. Secondly, we will evaluate whether the work requirements differentially incentivize those with poor health and limited mobility to apply or attempt to apply for disability benefits. This work has important implications beyond the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program with work requirements used in establishing continued Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), some housing assistance programs, and most recently Medicaid, with the last heavily litigated.
IRP19-01: Effects of Work Requirements on Employment, Educational Attainment & Disability Status