Impact of Federal Policies on an Aging Workforce with Disabilities

Research Report

Impact of Federal Policies on an Aging Workforce with Disabilities

June 18, 2012

Abstract

This review of federal policy toward older workers with disabilities highlights the work disincentives built into the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) system. For example, DI does not pay benefits or provide rehabilitation services until workers are fully disabled, by which time intervention is often too late to promote employment. Because partial benefits are unavailable, DI beneficiaries risk losing all cash benefits (and eventually Medicare coverage) by earning just a dollar more than the earnings limit, reducing the use of DI work supports. Rules governing Social Security retirement, Medicare, and phased retirement also discourage employment by older adults with disabilities.

Cross-Center Initiative

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