People who can't find jobs are applying for disability insurance when their unemployment insurance runs out.


Since 1995 the number of disabled workers has doubled and expenditures have increased even faster than disabled workers, tripling since 1995. The increase in workers receiving disability insurance has come at the same time as the US working age population has become healthier. A large fraction of the increase in disability has come from increases in hard-to-verify back pain and mental problems (see Autor and Duggan and more recently Autor).

After the 2001 recession, disability applications also shot up and they never fell back to their old levels. We may be reaching a new, permanently higher, plateau.

Disabled workers do not count as unemployed, they have been bought out of the labor force.

So can we call Obama the "disability president"?

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