Accounting for Geographic Variation in Social Security Disability Program Participation

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Publication cover image
Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L
Commonwealth Medicine
John Gettens, PhD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Pei-Pei Lei, MA
Commonwealth Medicine

A team from our Center for Health Policy and Research dig into data on Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplementary Security Income across the United States to discover the cause of the variation in participation from state to state. Previously, some people may have assumed the variation in participation rates was simply the result of administrative inconsistencies between states.

Our researchers set out to test this assumption and reveal other potential explanations for these large inconsistencies. Their findings strongly suggest geographic variation in program participation is most likely a result of socioeconomic differences and disability prevalence. Their evidence did not support the assumption that inconsistencies in program administration was a major cause of variation.