The Effect of Medicaid Expansion on the Take-up of Disability Benefits by Race and Ethnicity
Madeline S. Helfer and
Jessica Van Parys
No 31557, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Public disability programs provide financial support to 12 million working-age individuals per year, though not all eligible individuals take up these programs. Mixed evidence exists regarding the impact of Medicaid eligibility expansion on program take-up, and even less is known about the relationship between Medicaid expansion and racial and ethnic disparities in take-up. Using 2009-2020 Current Population Survey (CPS) data, we compare changes in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) take-up among people with disabilities living in Medicaid expansion states, compared to people with disabilities living in non-expansion states, before and after Medicaid expansion. We further explore heterogeneity by race/ethnicity. We find that Medicaid expansion reduced SSI take-up among White and Hispanic respondents by 10% and 21%, respectively, and increased SSDI take-up among White and Black respondents by 9% and 11%, respectively. We further find that Medicaid expansion reduced the probability that disabled respondents had employer-sponsored health insurance by approximately 8%, an effect primarily observed among Black and other-race respondents, suggesting that expansion reduced job-lock among the SSDI-eligible, contributing to the observed increase in SSDI take-up.
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