The Economic Status of People with Disabilities and their Families since the Great Recession

2021-05 | March 1, 2021

People with disabilities face substantial barriers to sustained employment and stable, adequate income. We assess how they and their families fared during the long economic expansion that followed the Great Recession of 2007-09, using data from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) and the March CPS annual income supplement. We find that the expansion bolstered the well-being of people with disabilities and in particular their relative labor market engagement. We also find that applications and awards for federal disability benefits fell during the expansion. On balance, our results suggest that sustained economic growth can bolster the labor market engagement of people with disabilities and potentially reduce their reliance on disability benefits.

Supplemental Appendix (pdf, 909 kb)

Article Citation

Bengali, Leila, Mary C. Daly, Olivia Lofton, and Robert G. Valletta. 2021. “The Economic Status of People with Disabilities and their Families since the Great Recession,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2021-05. Available at https://doi.org/10.24148/wp2021-05

About the Authors
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Leila Bengali is a regional policy economist in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Learn more about Leila Bengali
Mary C. Daly
Mary C. Daly is president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Learn more about Mary C. Daly
Robert G. Valletta
Robert G. Valletta is senior vice president and associate director of research in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Learn more about Robert G. Valletta