Disability Insurance Screening and Worker Outcomes

This work estimates the returns to more targeted disability insurance (DI) programs in terms of labor force participation, program spillovers, and worker health. To do so, it analyzed workers after a workplace injury that experience differential levels of application screening. This work finds that when workers face stricter screening requirements, they are less likely to receive DI benefits and are more likely to remain in the labor force, and it observed no differences in any physical or mental health outcomes. The findings imply that imposing stricter DI screening has large fiscal benefits but does not yield any detectable health costs, on the margin.