Examining Factors Used in Social Security’s Process for Determining Disability in Adults – New Report March 1

The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two programs that provide benefits based on disability.  The Social Security Disability Insurance program provides disability benefits to people under the full retirement age who are no longer able to work because of a disabling medical condition or a terminal illness. The Supplemental Security Income program is a means-tested income-assistance program for disabled, blind, and aged people who have limited income and resources regardless of their prior participation in the labor force. 

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examines to what extent and in which ways health care utilization, such as in-patient hospitalizations, emergency department use, and hospital readmission, reflects impairment severity and SSA’s definition of disability -- an impairment or combination of impairments severe enough to prevent a person from performing any gainful activity regardless of age, education, or work experience. 

Advance copies of Health-Care Utilization as a Proxy in Disability Determination will be available to reporters only beginning at noon EST on Wednesday, Feb. 28.  The report is embargoed and not for public release before 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, March 1.  To obtain an embargoed copy of the report, reporters should contact the National Academies’ Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or email news@nas.edu