The effect of disability insurance receipt on mortality

Bernard Black*, Eric French, Jeremy E McCauley, Jae Song

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105033
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Early online date29 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was begun when French was an IPA at SSA; French thanks the hospitality of the SSA during his stay. We are grateful for excellent research assistance from Sreevidya Ayyar, and comments from the Editor (Sarah Miller), three referees, Camille Landais, Magne Mogstad, Timothy Moore, Owen O’Donnell, Francesca Salvati, and participants from the IFS-ONS conference on administrative data; Conference on The Welfare State and the Labour Market: Micro meets Macro; UBC; Columbia Law School; ETH-Zurich; NBER Conference on Working Longer; the Labour Market with an Ageing Population Conference, Uppsala; Haifa; Erasmus-Rotterdam; Health and Labor Workshop, Nantes; Bocconi-CEPR workshop; and Queen’s University Belfast; and also funding from the Social Security Administration through the Michigan Retirement Research Center (MRRC grant UM17-15 ) and the Economic and Social Research Council (Centre for Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the Institute for Fiscal Studies ( RES-544-28-50001 ) and Grant Inequality and the insurance value of transfers across the life cycle ( ES/P001831/1 )). The views in this paper are not necessarily those of the above funding agencies or the Social Security Administration.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Health


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