Disability Insurance and Men’s Employment

September 28, 2017

In the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Nick Timiraos highlighted a paper, published by the Mercatus Center, that points to a “rising number of men in their prime working years…who are getting federal disability benefits” as “one big contributor” to the long-term decline in men’s labor force participation. I haven’t read the paper yet, but in an earlier CEPR blog post, I highlighted one of the weaknesses of these kinds of claims: at least over the last two decades, the number of mid-age men (30–49 years old) receiving Social Security Disability Insurance has been flat, even as the number not in the labor force increased by a million. Certainly, we need to do more to allow people with disabilities to work and prosper economically, including expanding and strengthening Medicaid, but cutting Social Security and other benefits for people with disabilities will do little to further that goal.

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