Disability Perceptions Survey

The Disability Perceptions Survey (DPS) will collect information on knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from a nationally representative sample of working-age adults. SSA will use data from the DPS to assess survey respondents’ current knowledge about SSDI, whether there are specific segments of the population that have particular knowledge deficits or noteworthy perceptions, and acquire insight into potential future trends in applications for SSDI benefits among working-age adults. SSA will also be able to analyze the data collected to learn how surveyed individuals view their general health and the factors they consider in assessing their own future care needs should they face an impairment that impedes their ability to work. 

Survey topics include:

  • General knowledge about the program, including perspectives on causes of disability, eligibility requirements, the likelihood of receiving benefits, and the documentation required to apply for the program;
  • Perceptions of the impact of work-limiting impairments on participation in the workforce, employment outcomes, specific barriers to work, use of services, and knowledge about SSA programs designed to help individuals find and keep jobs; and
  • Thoughts about SSDI – based on personal experience, associations with SSDI beneficiaries, and other sources – including one’s own likelihood of seeking benefits due to changes in personal health status, the impact of reduced financial resources, and factors that may inform decisions about whether to apply for SSDI.


SSA awarded the contract to conduct the DPS project to NORC at the University of Chicago. The contractor will begin collecting responses to the survey information in the fall of 2021. SSA expects to collect about 5,000 responses. A final report, presenting analyses and a summary of findings, will be available in April 2023.