We study the effect of application costs on the targeting of disability programs. We identify these effects using the closings of Social Security Administration field offices, which provide assistance with filing disability applications. Closings lead to a persistent 16 percent decline in the number of disability recipients in surrounding areas, with the largest effects for applicants with moderately severe conditions and low education levels. Disability applications fall by only 10 percent, implying that the closings reduce targeting efficiency based on current eligibility standards. Increased congestion at neighboring offices appears more important as a channel than higher travel or information costs.

Read on the American Economic Journal

More Research From These Scholars

BFI Working Paper Mar 4, 2019

Disability and Distress: The Effect of Disability Programs on Financial Outcomes

Manasi Deshpande, Tal Gross, Yalun Su
Topics:  Economic Mobility & Poverty, Employment & Wages