Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Economics

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 106 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kajal Lahiri

Committee Members

Pinka Chatterji, Baris K. Yoruk


Disability insurance, Social security

Subject Categories



Since the inception of the Social Security Administration's Disability Insurance (SSDI) program in 1956, policy makers have grappled with the moral hazard problem present in a program offering payments to workers who leave the labor force due to disability. Disincentives exist for beneficiaries to return to work and earn more than the program-allowable level of income. Some insured workers may overestimate the severity of their impairment and underestimate their ability to work in order to qualify for and retain SSDI payments and the accompanying Medicare insurance benefits. While other measures of health outcomes have experienced noticeable improvement due to technological advancements in medicine, the SSDI rolls have increased from 13.6 to 30.9 beneficiaries per thousand population between 1984 and 2017. With planned program budget cuts of $72 billion by 2028, identifying ways to improve efficiency in the SSDI application, determination, and termination processes are critical to survival of the program.

Included in

Economics Commons