A First Step to Helping California Workers Keep Their Jobs: Identifying Likely SSDI Entrants Using State Disability Claims

DRC Brief Number: 2017-01
Publisher: Washington, DC: Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research
Feb 01, 2017
Authors
Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Frank Neuhauser, and David Stapleton

Key Findings:

  • The annual number of SDI and WC claims that last for 12 months is close to 80 percent of the number of SSDI awards made to California workers each year.
  • The diagnostic characteristics of 12-month SDI and WC claimants are similar to those of national SSDI awardees.
  • The characteristics of SDI and WC claims can be used to predict claims likely to last 12 months, but more information would be needed to effectively target early intervention services to the claimants.
  • As time passes, those who return to work quickly remove themselves as candidates for early intervention, making it easier to identify those likely to enter SSDI.
This brief discusses whether it is possible to identify the bulk of a state’s likely Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) entrants based on disability claims they file before they apply for SSDI. Identifying SSDI entrants at this initial stage increases the chance that “early interventions”—services designed to help workers avoid long-term disability—will succeed. We looked at California’s data on State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Workers’ Compensation (WC) claimants to identify workers who receive benefits for 12 months, putting them at high risk of SSDI entry. The number of such claims from these two programs is close to 80 percent of the number of SSDI awards made to California workers each year. Although we could not see which SDI or WC claimants actually entered SSDI, the diagnostic characteristics of 12-month SDI and WC claimants are similar to those of national SSDI awardees. We also found that we could use the characteristics of SDI and WC claims to predict claims likely to last 12 months, but more information would be needed to effectively target early intervention services to the claimants. As time passes, those who return to work quickly remove themselves as candidates for early intervention, making it easier to identify those likely to enter SSDI. But waiting means possibly missing good opportunities to intervene early. Such opportunities could potentially be preserved by collecting additional information at SDI or WC entry or soon thereafter.
Project

Disability Research Consortium

Funders

Social Security Administration

Time Frame

2012-2015

Senior Staff

Yonatan Ben-Shalom
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David Stapleton
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