WI-IRP19-01: Effects of SNAP-Associated Work Requirements on Disability Claiming



Between 2010 and 2017, 42 states added work requirements as a food assistance eligibility criterion for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). As these work requirements apply only to ABAWDs, who are aged 18-49 and not administratively determined to have a disability, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) would enable an individual to receive food assistance without meeting the work requirements. This study is the first to examine whether work requirements associated with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) lead to an increase in disability claiming. Based on difference-in-differences and event study analyses of administrative claims data from the Social Security Administration, no overall change in disability applications or receipt for SSI and SSDI is evident between 2010 and 2017. However, I find evidence of a 4 percent increase in SSI applications in the first half of the sample period (2010-2013) and delayed increases in SSI applications and receipt documented among states that had work requirements reinstated earlier in the sample period. Further, I use the Current Population Survey (CPS) data to explore the demographics driving these effects and find an increase in SSI receipt among individuals with self-reported disabilities and incomes below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. These results are strongest among women, Whites, and those with less than a high school education or disabilities other than blindness. These results indicate that overall effects from work requirements are not large, but that the affected population is particularly vulnerable.


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IRP19-01: Effects of Work Requirements on Employment, Educational Attainment & Disability Status

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