State Unemployment Rates and Disability Insurance (DI)
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) studied the relationship between state unemployment rates and the SSA’s disability programs during a 4-year period (2007-2011) and reported its findings.
The OIG’s study found that the 27% increase in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications during the 4-year period studied corresponded to a 1% decrease in allowance rates in 8 of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates. Moreover, allowance rates declined (by 6%) at the hearing level as well.
The OIG’s study also found that in the 4-year period studied, there was an increase in the length of time that SSI and SSDI claimants waited to file applications after stopping work. According to the OIG’s researchers, the availability of extended unemployment benefits was likely responsible for this increase. In other words, people were less likely to claim SSI or SSDI immediately if they had regular access to other assets, such as unemployment benefits.