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Key Findings Details

Does Delay Cause Decay? The Effect of Administrative Decision Time on the Labor Force Participation and Earnings of Disability Applicants
David Autor, Nicole Maestas, Kathleen Mullen and Alexander Strand
WP 2011-258

  • We find that longer processing times of disability applications reduce the employment and earnings of SSDI applicants in the years after their initial decision.
  • We estimate that the SSDI determination process directly reduces the post-application employment of denied applicants by about 7% and allowed applicants by about 33%.
  • The mean determination time for allowed applicants significantly exceeds that of denied applicants (14.1 versus 9.7 months) because half of beneficiaries are allowed only after a lengthy appeal.