Disabled Workers and the Indexing of Social Security Benefits

by Alexander Strand and Kalman Rupp
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4, 2007

Text description for Chart 1.
Distribution of total benefits (OASDI and SSI) for disabled- and retired-worker beneficiaries

This chart has two separate panels of bar charts. One panel shows data for disabled-worker beneficiaries and the other shows data for retired-worker beneficiaries.

In both panels, the horizontal axis shows total benefit dollar amounts and the vertical axis shows the percentage of beneficiaries. Vertical bars in each panel indicate the percentage of beneficiaries with benefits at certain dollar amounts.

In the disabled-worker panel, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: two percent at 160 dollars; five percent at 320 dollars; 33 percent at 480 dollars; 18 percent at 640 dollars; 16 percent at 800 dollars; 10 percent at 960 dollars; nine percent at 1,120 dollars; four percent at 1,280 dollars; one percent each at 1,400, 1,600, and 1,760 dollars; and one-half of one percent at 1,930 dollars.

In the retired-worker panel, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: two percent at 120 dollars; eight percent at 350 dollars; 17 percent at 570 dollars; 23 percent at 800 dollars; 11 percent at 1,030 dollars; nine percent at both 1,260 and 1,490 dollars; 13 percent at 1,720 dollars; six percent at 1,940 dollars; and one-half of one percent at both 2,170 and 2,400 dollars.

In addition to the bars, a line labeled Kernal density function appears on both panels. The line roughly follows the tops of the vertical bars. For disabled workers, the line is generally slightly above the tops of the bars; for retired workers, it is generally slightly below the tops of the bars.

Table equivalent for Chart 2. Average family income by source as a percent of the average for all disabled-worker beneficiaries, by selected subgroups (in percent)
Subgroup OASDI SSI Other
Below poverty line 67 252 8
Lowest PIA quartile 55 339 89
Less than high school 93 157 68
Aged 18–34 at award 79 178 91
Mental impairment 83 174 83
SOURCES: Calculations based on the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: OASDI and SSI values are for the sample reference person if unmarried and for the reference person and spouse combined if married (spouse present).
OASDI = Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance; SSI = Supplemental Security Income; PIA = primary insurance amount.

Text description for Chart 3.
Distribution of simulated changes in benefits under price indexing for disabled- and retired-worker beneficiaries

This chart shows four separate panels of bar charts. The first two panels show data for OASDI benefits, one panel for disabled-worker beneficiaries and one panel for retired-worker beneficiaries. The final two panels show data for OASDI plus SSI benefits, one panel for disabled-worker beneficiaries and one panel for retired-worker beneficiaries.

In all panels, the horizontal axis shows the percent change in benefits under price indexing and the vertical axis shows the percentage of beneficiaries. Vertical bars in each panel indicate the percentage of beneficiaries with benefits changing by certain percentages.

In the panel for disabled-worker OASDI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 18 percent of beneficiaries at minus 16 percent; 19 percent of beneficiaries at minus 15 percent; 16 percent of beneficiaries at minus 13 percent; 11 percent of beneficiaries at minus 11 percent; six percent of beneficiaries each at minus 9.5 percent, minus 7.7 percent, and minus 6.0 percent; two percent of beneficiaries at minus 4.3 percent; four percent of beneficiaries at minus 2.6 percent; and 11 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.9 percent.

In the panel for retired-worker OASDI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 14 percent of beneficiaries at minus 16 percent; nine percent of beneficiaries each at minus 15 percent, minus 13 percent, and minus 11 percent; 21 percent of beneficiaries at minus 9.5 percent; eight percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.8 percent; seven percent of beneficiaries at minus 6.0 percent; five percent of beneficiaries each at minus 4.3 percent and minus 2.6 percent; and 12 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.9 percent.

In the panel for disabled-worker OASDI plus SSI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 16 percent of beneficiaries at minus 16 percent; 17 percent of beneficiaries at minus 15 percent; 13 percent of beneficiaries at minus 13 percent; nine percent of beneficiaries at minus 11 percent; four percent of beneficiaries at minus 9.4 percent; five percent of beneficiaries each at minus 7.7 percent and minus 6.0 percent; two percent of beneficiaries at minus 4.3 percent; three percent of beneficiaries at minus 2.6 percent; and 25 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.9 percent.

In the panel for retired-worker OASDI plus SSI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 14 percent of beneficiaries at minus 16 percent; eight percent of beneficiaries at minus 15 percent; nine percent of beneficiaries each at minus 13 percent and minus 11 percent; 20 percent of beneficiaries at minus 9.5 percent; eight percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.8 percent; seven percent of beneficiaries at minus 6.0 percent; five percent of beneficiaries each at minus 4.3 percent and minus 2.6 percent; and 15 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.9 percent.

In addition to the bars, a line labeled Kernal density function appears on all panels. The line roughly follows the tops of the vertical bars.

Table equivalent for Chart 4. Poverty rate of disabled and retired workers under baseline and price indexing simulations
Case Disabled workers Retired workers
Base case 24.0 8.7
Simulation case 26.1 10.4
SOURCES: Calculations based on the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation mateched to Social Security administrative records.
Table equivalent for Chart 5. Percentage of disabled-worker beneficiaries with reductions of 10 percent or more in benefits and income, by family income as a percentage of poverty threshold
Reductions of 10 percent
or more in—
75 percent
or less
76–100
percent
101–125
percent
126–200
percent
201 percent
or more
Individual OASDI 61 55 66 67 69
OASDI plus SSI a 25 42 54 61 66
Family income 20 26 25 21 2
SOURCES: Calculations based on the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation matched to Social Security administrative records.
NOTES: Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) values are for the sample reference person if unmarried and for the reference person and spouse combined if married (spouse present).
a. Values are for the sample reference person if unmarried and for the reference person and spouse combined if married (spouse present).

Text description for Chart A-1.
Distribution of simulated changes in benefits under life expectancy indexing for disabled- and retired-worker beneficiaries

This chart shows four separate panels of bar charts. The first two panels show data for OASDI benefits, one panel for disabled-worker beneficiaries and one panel for retired-worker beneficiaries. The final two panels show data for OASDI plus SSI benefits, one panel for disabled-worker beneficiaries and one panel for retired-worker beneficiaries.

In all panels, the horizontal axis shows the percent change in benefits under life expectancy indexing and the vertical axis shows the percentage of beneficiaries. Vertical bars in each panel indicate the percentage of beneficiaries with benefits changing by certain percentages.

In the panel for disabled-worker OASDI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 18 percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.8 percent; 20 percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.0 percent; 16 percent of beneficiaries at minus 6.2 percent; six percent of beneficiaries at minus 5.3 percent; 10 percent of beneficiaries at minus 4.5 percent; six percent of beneficiaries each at minus 3.7 percent and minus 2.9 percent; two percent of beneficiaries at minus 2.1 percent; four percent of beneficiaries at minus 1.2 percent; and 11 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.4 percent.

In the panel for retired-worker OASDI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 15 percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.8 percent; nine percent of beneficiaries each at minus 7.0 percent and minus 6.2 percent; six percent of beneficiaries at minus 5.4 percent; 25 percent of beneficiaries at minus 4.5 percent; eight percent of beneficiaries at minus 3.7 percent; six percent of beneficiaries each at minus 2.9 percent and minus 2.1 percent; five percent of beneficiaries at minus 1.2 percent; and 12 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.4 percent.

In the panel for disabled-worker OASDI plus SSI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 16 percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.8 percent; 17 percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.0 percent; 13 percent of beneficiaries at minus 6.1 percent; five percent of beneficiaries at minus 5.3 percent; eight percent of beneficiaries at minus 4.5 percent; five percent of beneficiaries each at minus 3.7 percent and minus 2.9 percent; two percent of beneficiaries at minus 2.0 percent; three percent of beneficiaries at minus 1.2 percent; and 25 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.4 percent.

In the panel for retired-worker OASDI plus SSI beneficiaries, the bars reach the following approximate coordinates: 14 percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.8 percent; eight percent of beneficiaries at minus 7.0 percent; nine percent of beneficiaries at minus 6.2 percent; five percent of beneficiaries at minus 5.4 percent; 24 percent of beneficiaries at minus 4.5 percent; eight percent of beneficiaries at minus 3.7 percent; six percent of beneficiaries at minus 2.9 percent; five percent of beneficiaries each at minus 2.1 percent and minus 1.2 percent; and 15 percent of beneficiaries at minus 0.4 percent.

In addition to the bars, a line labeled Kernal density function appears on all panels. The line roughly follows the tops of the vertical bars.