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The employment of working-age people with disabilities in the 1980s and 1990s: what current data can and cannot tell us
A new and highly controversial literature argues that the employment of working-age people with disabilities fell dramatically relative to the rest of the working-age population in the 1990s. Some dismiss these results as fundamentally flawed because they come from a self-reported work limitation-based disability population that captures neither the actual population with disabilities nor its employment trends. In this paper, we examine the merits of these criticisms. We first consider some of the difficulties of defining and consistently measuring the population with disabilities. We then ...
Left behind: SSI in the era of welfare reform
SSI was established in 1972, born out of a compromise at the time between those wanting to provide a guaranteed income floor and those wishing to limit it to individuals not expected to work: the aged, blind, and disabled. SSI is now the largest federal means-tested program in the United States, serving a population dominated by low-income adults and children with disabilities. With other forms of federal support devolving to state programs (e.g., welfare), policymakers pressing to redefine social expectations about who should and should not work, and the Americans with Disabilities Act ...
United States disability policy in a changing environment
Two factors are likely to cause the debate surrounding disability policy to intensify over the next decade. First, the protracted period of economic growth that the United States has experienced since 1992 cannot last forever. And, applications for DI and SSI are sensitive to the business cycle. A downturn in the economy will increase applications and heighten efforts to broaden the categorical definition of disability. This is even more likely since the welfare reforms of 1996 have made it more difficult for low-income people to be eligible for other programs. Second, the percentage of the ...
Disability and work: the experiences of American and German men
This paper compares the economic well-being of men with disabilities in the United States and Germany. The results indicate that while the prevalence of disability is similar, the social institutions developed in the two countries result in quite different patterns of employment, transfer receipt, and economic well-being among the population with disabilities. However, while work is more important among German men with disabilities, it also is a very important component of the economic well-being of American men with disabilities. Furthermore, at least initially, a significant fraction of men ...
Self-reported work limitation data: what they can and cannot tell us
Data constraints make the long-term monitoring of the working-age population with disabilities a difficult task. Indeed, the Current Population Survey (CPS) is the only national data source that offers detailed work and income questions and consistently asked measures of disability over a 20-year period. Despite its widespread use in the literature, the CPS and surveys like it have come under attack of late, with critics discounting the results of any research obtained from such data. We put these criticisms in perspective by systematically examining what the CPS data can and cannot be used ...