The Effect of Disability Insurance Receipt on Mortality


This paper estimates the effect of Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income receipt on mortality for individuals on the margin of being allowed versus denied benefits. Exploiting the random assignment of administrative law judges to disability insurance cases, we find that benefit allowance increases 10-year mortality rates by 2.8 percentage points for marginal beneficiaries. However, using a Marginal Treatment Effects approach, we find evidence that benefit receipt reduces mortality for inframarginal beneficiaries, who are typically less healthy than marginal beneficiaries. Furthermore, we find suggestive evidence that allowance reduces mortality among those with expensive health conditions such as cancer.

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