With millions of Americans’ unemployment benefits expiring, and as the Social Security Administration comes under increasing pressure to reform its financially-troubled entitlement program, policymakers are asking whether a significant amount of Americans are bilking disability benefits from federal coffers. A new study from Columbia Business School sheds light on the answer.
The research, titled “Unemployment Insurance and Disability Insurance in the Great Recession,” refutes the idea that the jobless and uninsured flock to disability benefits when their unemployment benefits expire.
“Contrary to the beliefs of many, even in policy circles, our research proves that the unemployed do not directly file for disability following the exhaustion of benefits,” says Columbia Business School Professor Andreas Mueller, who helmed the study. “The evidence is just not there. As a matter of fact, fewer than 2% of workers whose unemployment benefits had expired actually applied for disability insurance.”