The Decline in Earnings Prior to Application for Disability Insurance Benefits

by Jackson Costa
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 77 No. 1, 2017
Table equivalent for Chart 1. Percentage of DI applicants with any earnings and with earnings exceeding SGA in the 10 years prior to application, by claim outcome: Applications filed 2004–2013
Years prior to application Claim allowed Claim denied
Any earnings Earnings exceeding SGA a Any earnings Earnings exceeding SGA a
10 89.17 68.47 85.09 52.13
9 90.94 70.25 86.69 53.60
8 92.20 71.61 87.48 54.75
7 93.12 72.59 87.80 55.53
6 93.69 72.89 87.57 55.58
5 93.73 72.19 86.58 54.37
4 92.78 70.98 84.31 52.33
3 90.75 68.10 81.06 48.82
2 87.24 63.16 76.63 43.69
1 80.38 52.91 69.68 34.48
0 60.56 22.39 57.90 16.55
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data.
NOTES: Sample includes individuals concurrently applying for SSI payments.
Year 0 = year of application.
a. Earnings in nominal dollars.
Table equivalent for Chart 2. Average earnings in year of maximum earnings and in year before DI application, by primary general diagnosis and claim outcome: Applications filed 2004–2013
Impairment Claim allowed Claim denied
Maximum Year before application Maximum Year before application
Mental impairments
Autistic disorders 20,467.96 8,914.56 22,829.69 8,581.17
Developmental disorders 24,145.09 10,623.73 20,060.70 7,030.39
Childhood and adolescent disorders not elsewhere classified 30,355.19 11,430.35 24,547.02 8,018.34
Intellectual disability 17,056.07 8,303.54 17,982.42 6,905.58
Mood disorders 38,060.44 16,283.93 29,099.16 10,288.43
Organic mental disorders 41,954.33 20,770.35 27,216.23 10,313.34
Schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders 29,663.73 10,397.98 23,531.56 7,256.18
Other mental impariments 36,543.96 16,071.50 27,719.37 9,362.13
Nonmental impairments
Congenital anomalies 32,871.57 17,663.90 28,508.73 12,163.71
Diseases of the—
Blood and blood-forming organs 39,778.14 21,523.61 29,484.37 12,322.26
Circulatory system 42,738.55 22,066.06 33,999.39 14,001.40
Digestive system 43,001.30 18,729.58 32,101.70 11,778.79
Genitourinary system 42,550.34 24,525.65 29,831.58 12,201.79
Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue 42,780.28 19,396.81 34,330.35 13,222.55
Nervous system and sense organs 43,181.18 23,720.52 31,742.83 13,150.83
Respiratory system 38,108.70 18,875.99 28,080.76 10,328.06
Skin and subcutaneous tissue 38,062.08 17,672.57 29,946.02 11,327.92
Endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic disorders 37,809.84 17,072.27 29,986.86 11,101.98
Infectious and parasitic diseases 39,528.64 19,556.81 30,822.58 12,063.83
Injuries 42,908.21 20,819.33 33,659.85 14,172.32
Neoplasms 48,087.68 29,326.20 37,477.83 19,704.92
Other nonmental impairments 44,085.28 22,535.60 36,585.71 15,939.98
Unknown 35,433.52 17,345.75 24,027.63 7,423.80
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data.