David Stapleton

David Stapleton

Senior Fellow; Director, Center for Studying Disability Policy
Areas of Expertise
  • Impacts of public policy on the employment and income of people with disabilities
  • Use of administrative and survey data for research on working-age people with disabilities
  • Disability
  • Education
  • Employment and Income Support
  • Health Care
  • Statistics and Measurement
  • Transition to Adulthood
About David

David Stapleton is director of Mathematica’s Center for Studying Disability Policy. He also directs Mathematica’s cooperative agreement with the Social Security Administration (SSA) for the agency's Disability Research Consortium. Since 1991, Stapleton’s research has focused on the impacts of public policy on the employment and well-being of people with disabilities. 

Stapleton, who joined Mathematica in 2007, co-directs the evaluation of SSA’s Benefit Offset National Demonstration and is a senior advisor to approximately 10 major projects for SSA, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and the National Institute of Disability and Independent Living Research. 

With more than 25 years of experience studying support programs for working-age people with disabilities, Stapleton regularly consults with federal and state officials about policy options to improve the economic well-being of these individuals and to reduce their reliance on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income, and other government programs. He has recently supported major efforts, organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, to develop proposals that address the pending exhaustion of the SSDI Trust Fund. He has testified on SSDI and employment issues before the Senate Finance Committee and the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways & Means. In addition, he has provided commentary to national media outlets such as The Hill, The Economist, National Public Radio, and the Wall Street Journal. A nationally recognized disability policy expert, Stapleton routinely presents at large research conferences hosted by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and the American Economic Association. His research has been published in numerous academic journals and books. 

Stapleton was formerly director of Cornell University’s Institute for Policy Research, senior vice president at the Lewin Group, and associate professor at both Dartmouth College and the University of Maryland, College Park. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Key Projects
  • Disability Research Consortium

    Mathematica is one of two policy research centers that lead the SSA's Disability Research Consortium. The DRC fosters new research from a team of disability policy experts from Mathematica and three universities.

  • blind person walking with a cane
    Evaluation of the Ticket to Work Program

    Mathematica conducted a 10-year evaluation of the Ticket to Work (TTW) program, a major initiative of the Social Security Administration to increase disability beneficiaries' employment and reduce their dependence on benefits.

Latest News
  • The Employment/Eligibility Service (EES) System

    The authors of a new working paper describe a proposal that would start the modernization of economic security for workers who experience work-threatening medical conditions by creating a new gateway for them to access employment supports and SSDI benefits.