Tuesday, March 17, 2020

APPAM DC Regional Student Conference CANCELLED

Given the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak, APPAM and American University leadership feels that it’s prudent to cancel the APPAM Washington DC Regional Student Conference on April 24-25.


Mathematica Hosts Disability Research Consortium Annual Meeting

On August 5-6 Mathematica's Center for Studying Disability Policy and the National Bureau of Economic Research hosted the Disability Research Consortiums Annual Meeting at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.Here's a recap of Day 1 of the conference.



Panel I: Return to Work and Early Intervention

The panel was moderated by David Stapleton, Mathematica Policy Research and presenters included:

The Role of Acute Health Shocks in the Evolution of Permanent Disability

  • Mark Cullen, Stanford University School of Medicine and Amal Harrati, Stanford University

Discussant: David Wittenburg, Mathematica Policy Research

The objective of this research was to estimate the consequences of an acute health shock for future work function, income and health, conditional on pre-shock demographic, socioeconomic, health, family and job demands.

Mark Cullen, Stanford University said, "Individuals with functional disabilities in recessions tend to apply for DI at increasing rates."

David Wittenburg, Mathematica Policy Research stated, "During recessions Disability Insurance claims increase while allowable claims have decreased."

Medical Care, Work and Income before Disability Application

  • David Cutler, Harvard University and NBER

Discussant: David Autor, MIT and NBER

Transitions from Workers' Compensation and State Disability Insurance to
Social Security Disability Insurance: Predictive Characteristics and Options
for Early Intervention

  • Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Mathematica Policy Research

Discussant: Jennifer Christian, Webility Corporation

Identifying the characteristics and medical condition of workers who transfer from STDI and WC to SSDI and SSI, as well as improving the understanding of the services and supports available to them can help policy develop early interventions designed to help such workers stay in the labor force rather than enter SSDI.

Dr. Jennifer Christian, Webility Corporation stated, "There are many issues in getting those who should receive SSDI in California on SSDI." "The State of California is not doing a good job with early intervention programs to get individuals back to work."
Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Mathematica Policy Research in discussing the state of SSDI in California said that he faced difficulty in getting data from the State of California. He went on to say, "Innovative early intervention programs have been key in returning individuals to the workforce."

Panel II: Health and Health-Related Supports

The panel was moderated by David Wise, NBER Disability Research Center and presenters included:

The Effect of Disability Insurance on Beneficiaries’ Mortality

  • Alexander Strand, Social Security Administration

Discussant: Robert Moffitt, Johns Hopkins University

A sizeable body of research has established that Disability Insurance (DI) has substantial work disincentive effects. This raises the possibility the DI has not only direct costs through transfer payments but also indirect costs via these disincentive effects. 

Alexander Strand, SSA stated, "The policy implications of DI benefit's impact on mortality must be more closely examined." He explained that his research compared individuals receiving DI to those not receiving DI. He said he found that, "those receiving higher payments have a lower mortality rate." The tightening of DI requirements closely correlated to mortality rates.
Unmet Need for Workplace Accommodation
  • Kathleen Mullen, RAND Corporation

Discussant: Harold Pollack, University of Chicago

A number of recent disability insurance reform proposals focus on ways to incentivize employers to retain employees after they experience the onset of a disability. For employers to retain disabled workers, they must accommodate their disability in some way so they can continue to be productive despite the existence of a health impairment that would otherwise impede work. There is limited evidence on the prevalence of workplace accommodations relative to need and on the effectiveness of such accommodations in prolonging employment.

Kathleen Mullen, RAND Corporation, explained, "Most people (83 %) who are accommodated in workplace say their health does not limit their work."
Harold Pollack, University of Chicago said, "There's a large difference between the amount of accommodations in the workplace and outside of the workplace. The need for workplace accommodations is not self-defining." "There are some limits to household research surveys."

Estimating the Cost and Utilization of Wrap-Around Coverage for Employed and Potentially Employed People with Disabilities

  • Alexis Henry, Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Discussant: Henry Claypool, Claypool Consulting

The low employment rate among people with disabilities might be reversed if workers with disabilities could access the health care service they need in order to work. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands access to private health insurance for millions of Americans, including people with disabilities. However, new market-based coverage may not meet all the needs of people with disabilities who want to stay employed and need extra help to do so. In this study, the costs and use of care for employed people with disabilities who use the Massachusetts Medicaid Buy-In program, CommonHealth (CHW), to supplement their primary insurance through Medicare or a private plan.  

Henry Claypool, Claypool Consulting stated, "Wraparound coverage is vital for low income recipients. There needs to be a national wraparound Program."
Alexis Henry, University of Massachusetts Medical School conducted research on the wraparound costs of employment support healthcare in Massachusetts. She found that, "High out of pocket costs and primary insurance limits necessitates the need for wraparound insurance."

Panel III: Household Composition and Income

The panel was moderated by Denise Hoffman, Mathematica Policy Research and presenters included:

Characteristics of SSI and SDDI Beneficiaries Who are Parents

  • Gina Livermore, Mathematica Policy Research

Discussant: Jeffrey Hemmeter, Social Security Administration

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs provide vital income support to working-age individuals with significant disabilities. A non-trivial share of SSI and SSDI beneficiaries are parents of children under 18. Parent beneficiaries may face a host of issues that differ from those of other beneficiaries without dependent children and that have implications for their employment and economic well-being. 

Gina Livermore, Mathematica Policy Research said, "Surveys show that a large percentage of Disability Insurance recipients have children."

Jeffrey Hemmeter, Social Security Administration emphasized, "We need to examine the impact of working parents receiving SSI on their children."

Household Composition, Earned Income Tax Credit Benefits and Explaining Spatial Variation in Disability Benefit Claiming

  • Day Manoli, University of Texas, Austin

Discussant: Robert Moffitt, Johns Hopkins University

Robert Moffitt, Johns Hopkins University said, "IRS data is helpful to use in research because of its data size and geographic information."

Disability Receipt, Consumption Insurance, and Family Labor Supply

  • David Autor, MIT and NBER

Discussant: Philip Armour, RAND Corporation

Over the past 50 years, disability insurance (DI) rolls have risen dramatically in many OECD countries. In the U.S., SSDI benefits receipt has risen from less than 1 percent to nearly 5 percent of the non-elderly adult population. To limit DI program growth, several countries have significantly tightened disability screening criteria, and many others are considering similar policies. These policies can reduce the fiscal burden of disability insurance, both by lowering the DI caseload and, if rejected applicants return to work, by increasing tax revenue. At the same time, stricter screening may result in net welfare losses for individuals and families that value public disability insurance at more than its fiscal cost. 

Panel IV: Beneficiary Work and Program Participation

The panel was moderated by Gina Livermore, Mathematica Policy Research and presenters included:

State Variation in Benefit Receipt and Work Outcome for SSI Child Recipients after the Age 18 Redetermination

  • David Mann, Mathematica Policy Research

Discussant: Jack Gettens, University of Massachusetts Medical School

As they approach adulthood, children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits face an important decision regarding their continued program participation. This research examined state variation in age 18 redetermination rates and subsequent outcomes.

David Mann, Mathematica Policy Research looked at Cessation Rates for 18 year olds on receiving SSI benefits. He found that the results varied by state. He stated, "Cessation rates are relatively higher in the Southeastern U.S. There are also wide variations county by county."

Nonmarket Work among Working-Age Disability Beneficiaries: evidence from the American Time Use Survey

  • Carrie Shandra, Department of Sociology/Program in Public Health, State University of New York and Stony Brook

Discussant: John Kregel,Virginia Commonwealth University

Over 8 million adults in the United States in 2012 had work disability severe enough to qualify them for income maintenance in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, a lack of attachment to the paid labor market does not mean that SSDI beneficiaries do not engage in other forms of labor inputs that contribute to economic production. This study used data from the 2003-2012 American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to provide an analysis of time use among working-age disability beneficiaries in the United States.

CarrieShandra, State University of New York Stony Brook said, "8M disabled workers received SSDI in 2012." She looked at nonmarket work among SSDI beneficiaries and found beneficiaries spent 30 hours per week in nonmarket work.

Social Security Administration Payments to State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agencies for Beneficiaries Who Work: Evidence from Linked Administrative Data

  • Jody Schimmel Hyde, Mathematica Policy Research

Discussant: James Smith, Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

This study examined the extent to which Social Security Administration (SSA) disability beneficiaries who apply for services from state vocational rehabilitation (SVRAs) agencies work at a substantial enough level to generate payments from SSA to SVRAs, and how these payments compare to the accrued benefit reductions to beneficiaries who generate the payments.



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