|Association between longest-held occupation and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits receipt
|Year of Publication
|Asfaw, A, Pana-Cryan, R, Quay, B
|American Journal of Industrial Medicine
|Cox proportional hazard model, longest-held occupation, multiple imputation, Social Security Disability Insurance
Introduction The cost of the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program has increased over time though recent reports showed that disability incidence and prevalence rates have started declining. We explored whether occupation was one of the risk factors for the rising number of disabled workers who received DI benefits during 1992-2016. Methods We used a cohort of 16 196 Health and Retirement Survey respondents between the age of 51 and 64 years who were followed from their date of entry until they received DI benefits, died, reached full retirement age, or reached the end of the follow-up period (2016). We used the extended stratified Cox proportional hazard model. Because one-third of the respondents in our cohort did not report their longest-held occupation, we used a multiple-imputation method. Results The hazard of receiving DI benefits was 51%, 78%, 81%, and 85% higher among workers with longest-held occupations in sales, mechanics and repair, protective services, and personal services, respectively than among workers with longest-held occupations in the reference managerial occupation. The hazard of receiving DI benefits was more than double among workers with longest-held occupations in the construction trade and extractors, transportation operation, machine operators, handlers, and food preparation than among workers with the longest-held occupation in the reference managerial occupation. Conclusion Improving the overall working conditions in these occupations would help reduce worker suffering and the number of applicants for DI benefits, thereby reducing the burden of workplace injury and illness on the DI program.