Project Contact: Purvi Sevak, Hunter College
This project will draw inferences about the potential impacts of proposed reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program by synthesizing implications from the relevant evidence base. It is motivated by the growing policy debate regarding the impending exhaustion of the SSDI trust fund. Policymakers would like to reduce reliance on SSDI by increasing employment among workers with disabilities. However, specific proposals often lack objective evidence about the extent to which they would increase employment, especially at a level considered to be substantial gainful activity (SGA) under SSDI.
It is critical for policymakers to know how sensitive the employment and economic well-being of workers and their families are to specific changes in the SSDI program. Although it is not possible to answer this question definitively for every potential change from available research, that research is informative about the plausible range of outcomes. This project will identify and describe that range in a manner that will help policymakers draw conclusions about the potential impact of reforms, through a review and synthesis of the existing evidence base.
Although published papers on SSDI provide literature reviews, a comprehensive policy-oriented synthesis of the implications for reforms does not exist. Our project aims to fill this gap in the resources available to policymakers as they consider changes to SSDI at this critical juncture. Our goal is to draw objective conclusions about the potential employment and economic outcomes under policy environments that are much more supportive of employment than the current SSDI program.