Four Reasons Why SSDI is Especially Important to Less-Educated Workers

Posted May 18, 2017 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® education

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) — which pays modest but vital benefits to people with severe and long-lasting medical impairments
— is particularly important to workers who have earned only a high-school diploma, or the less-educated. New research has identified several reasons why this group is far likelier to receive SSDI benefits than those who have gone to college. The new research, conducted
by three economists with the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), summarizes four major reasons why less-educated workers are likelier to collect SSDI benefits:

  • Poorer health. Less-educated workers consistently report worse health than workers with more education — and poor health was by far the best predictor of subsequent SSDI receipt. The links between education and health are complex, encompassing factors such as smoking, obesity, knowledge about health risks and ability to comply with complex care regimens, access to health insurance, and so forth.
  • Lower wealth. Differences in wealth between less-educated and more-educated workers are even starker than in health. Wealth isn’t directly tied to SSDI eligibility, but it may serve as a buffer for people who suffer health shocks, and its absence is harrowing for those at the economic margins.
  • Blue-collar work. People with less education often work in blue-collar jobs — which are often associated with heavy physical demands or challenging conditions like outdoor toil, exposure to hazardous substances, noisy conditions, etc. Furthermore, people with limited education cannot readily switch to more sedentary work — a reality that the Social Security Administration recognizes in its vocational criteria.
  • Employment. People must have a b work history to qualify for SSDI — but their ability to work falters as their disability worsens. Less-educated workers are less likely to be employed shortly before qualifying for SSDI than their more-educated peers, possibly because they can no longer do their old job, and they struggle to find another.

These associations help to explain why SSDI receipt varies geographically and is highest in areas with lower educational attainment. The researchers also note that overall educational attainment is rising; there will be fewer high-school dropouts, and
more college graduates, in the future pool of workers who might qualify for SSDI. If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical impairment, please contact us for a free case evaluation!Source: By: Thomas A. Klint
of Premier Disability Services, LLC®