The Time Between Disability Onset and Application for Benefits: How Variation Among Disabled Workers May Inform Early Intervention Policies

by Matt Messel and Alexander Strand
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 79 No. 3, 2019
Table equivalent for Chart 1. 2013–2014 DI applicants, by filing time (in percent)
Months after onset Percent in month Cumulative percentage
0 14.20 14.20
1 8.35 22.55
2 6.51 29.06
3 5.22 34.28
4 4.75 39.03
5 4.38 43.42
6 4.29 47.71
7 3.63 51.33
8 3.18 54.51
9 2.89 57.39
10 2.58 59.97
11 2.56 62.53
12 2.59 65.12
13 2.28 67.40
14 1.95 69.36
15 1.76 71.12
16 1.65 72.77
17 1.52 74.29
18 1.39 75.68
19 1.24 76.92
20 1.16 78.07
21 1.03 79.11
22 0.99 80.10
23 0.93 81.03
24 0.99 82.02
25 0.87 82.88
26 0.78 83.66
27 0.76 84.42
28 0.69 85.11
29 0.67 85.78
30 0.62 86.40
31 0.59 86.99
32 0.58 87.57
33 0.52 88.09
34 0.53 88.62
35 0.49 89.11
36 0.53 89.64
37 0.47 90.11
38 0.45 90.56
39 0.42 90.98
40 0.39 91.37
41 0.38 91.75
42 0.36 92.11
43 0.35 92.46
44 0.33 92.80
45 0.33 93.12
46 0.30 93.43
47 0.30 93.72
48 0.34 94.06
49 0.29 94.35
50 0.28 94.64
51 0.26 94.90
52 0.25 95.15
53 0.23 95.38
54 0.23 95.62
55 0.21 95.83
56 0.20 96.03
57 0.20 96.23
58 0.19 96.42
59 0.19 96.61
60 0.18 96.79
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Adult Disability Report data.
Table equivalent for Chart 2. Median, 25th-, and 75th-percentile filing times, by age at onset: 2013–2014 DI applicants (in months)
Age at onset 25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile
25 3.420 11.304 27.000
26 3.552 11.592 27.360
27 3.516 11.508 27.240
28 3.552 11.400 26.160
29 3.552 11.436 26.400
30 3.324 10.908 25.080
31 3.348 10.896 24.480
32 3.420 10.680 24.240
33 3.216 10.392 24.120
34 3.384 10.416 23.880
35 3.252 10.380 24.000
36 3.120 10.320 24.060
37 3.384 10.740 25.440
38 3.444 10.836 25.440
39 3.552 11.076 25.680
40 3.552 11.004 25.440
41 3.324 10.344 24.240
42 3.252 10.020 23.520
43 3.084 9.852 23.760
44 3.156 10.056 24.360
45 3.252 10.560 25.320
46 3.288 10.512 25.080
47 3.288 10.344 24.240
48 2.988 9.624 22.320
49 2.820 8.940 21.240
50 2.592 8.316 19.920
51 2.532 8.052 19.440
52 2.460 7.848 18.720
53 2.328 7.524 17.880
54 2.196 7.032 16.920
55 2.136 6.864 16.680
56 2.040 6.600 15.840
57 1.944 6.312 15.120
58 1.872 6.048 14.160
59 1.704 5.484 12.600
60 1.548 4.956 11.304
61 1.248 3.972 8.940
62 1.212 4.308 10.320
63 1.152 3.780 8.448
64 0.924 2.928 6.540
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Adult Disability Report data.
Table equivalent for Chart 3. Percentage distributions of EAO and LAO beneficiaries, by filing time and selected characteristics, 2013–2014
Characteristic Less than 6 months 6–11 months 12–23 months 24 months or more
  EAO beneficiaries
All 36 18 20 26
Men 37 17 20 26
Women 36 18 20 26
Less than high school 32 17 21 30
High school 34 18 21 27
Less than 4 years of college 35 19 21 25
At least 4 years of college 37 20 21 22
Intellectual disability 34 15 19 32
Mental disorders 32 18 22 28
Back impairments 28 19 23 30
Arthritis 28 18 23 31
Metabolic or endocrine disorders 37 16 18 29
Respiratory impairments 35 17 20 28
Injuries 41 19 20 20
Cardiovascular impairments 50 15 15 20
Neoplasms 60 19 12 9
Sensory impairments 45 16 16 23
Other impairments 40 18 19 23
Worked after onset 22 15 22 41
  LAO beneficiaries
All 48 20 17 15
Men 49 20 17 14
Women 47 20 18 15
Less than high school 48 18 18 16
High school 48 20 17 15
Less than 4 years of college 46 21 18 15
At least 4 years of college 45 22 18 15
Intellectual disability 44 16 18 22
Mental disorders 39 21 21 19
Back impairments 41 22 20 17
Arthritis 41 21 20 18
Metabolic or endocrine disorders 53 17 16 14
Respiratory impairments 44 19 19 18
Injuries 49 22 17 12
Cardiovascular impairments 59 17 13 11
Neoplasms 66 19 10 5
Sensory impairments 50 18 16 16
Other impairments 50 19 17 14
Worked after onset 34 19 22 25
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Adult Disability Report data.
Table equivalent for Chart 4. Work after disability onset: Percentage of EAO and LAO applicants who work with or without modifications to work hours or responsibilities, and average duration among those who work, by selected characteristics
Characteristic Percentage working after onset— Average months worked
Without modified hours or responsibilities With modifications
  EAO beneficiaries
All 9 15 11.0
Men 9 14 11.5
Women 10 17 10.7
Less than high school 11 13 12.0
High school 10 15 11.3
Less than 4 years of college 9 17 10.2
At least 4 years of college 7 17 10.2
Intellectual disability 21 15 17.1
Mental disorders 11 17 12.0
Back impairments 9 16 11.8
Arthritis 9 16 12.0
Metabolic or endocrine disorders 11 16 11.9
Respiratory impairments 10 16 11.0
Injuries 7 11 11.0
Cardiovascular impairments 8 12 9.1
Neoplasms 7 12 4.3
Sensory impairments 12 14 10.3
Other impairments 10 16 10.0
  LAO beneficiaries
All 6 11 6.2
Men 6 10 6.0
Women 7 13 6.4
Less than high school 7 10 6.5
High school 6 11 6.3
Less than 4 years of college 6 12 6.6
At least 4 years of college 6 12 6.9
Intellectual disability 15 17 10.2
Mental disorders 7 11 8.2
Back impairments 6 11 7.0
Arthritis 7 12 7.7
Metabolic or endocrine disorders 7 12 5.9
Respiratory impairments 7 11 7.3
Injuries 5 8 6.5
Cardiovascular impairments 6 9 5.3
Neoplasms 6 11 2.9
Sensory impairments 6 12 6.1
Other impairments 6 12 6.1
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Adult Disability Report data.
Table equivalent for Chart 5. Numbers of EAO applicants who worked and did not work after disability onset: Five key subgroups, 2013–2014
Subgroup Work after onset No work after onset
Intellectual disability 1,438 2,503
Mental disorders 47,712 124,138
Back impairments 44,319 138,219
Arthritis 22,292 65,499
Less than high school education 36,304 114,544
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Adult Disability Report data.