Does Work Pay? The Impact of Paid Employment on the Economic Well-Being of Working-Age People with Disabilities in the U.S.

Julia A. Rivera Drew, University of Minnesota

Americans with disabilities experience high rates of poverty and joblessness. Implicit in policies to increase employment among people with disabilities is the idea that working for pay will improve their economic well-being. This study addresses two research questions: First, do employed people with disabilities experience better economic well-being than jobless people with disabilities? Second, relative to not working, does working ensure higher levels of economic well-being? In this question, I ask two converse questions: If jobless people with disabilities were to become employed, would their economic well-being improve? And if employed people with disabilities were to stop working, would they fare as well as jobless people with disabilities? Using the SIPP, I estimate endogenous switching models to evaluate whether working improves the economic well-being of jobless people with disabilities. Understanding what people with disabilities lose by working allows for policies that improve the chances that employment leads to economic self-sufficiency.

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Presented in Poster Session 7