• Description

This paper presents options for incorporating a strong return-to-work focus in the disability eligibility requirements for the Social Security Administration's (SSA) disability programs. In developing options, we first review alternative disability concepts from other private and public disability programs that focus on an individual's residual capacity to work, rather than an inability to work. We then examine the potential implications of applying different components of these alternative conceptualizations to the current disability eligibility requirements. Our analysis illustrates that policy makers must struggle with the real costs of creating a more expansive set of disability eligibility criteria that focus on work (which will significantly increase the size of the caseload), with the other costs of having an all-or-nothing disability definition.