This study examines the effect of health on SSDI outcomes. The effect is identified by a new antiretroviral therapy to treat the human immunodeficiency virus. Administrative data on SSDI applications come from the Disability Research File. According to the analysis, the new therapy had an immediate and persistent effect on program entry. By 1997, the therapy decreased applications by 35.2 percent and new awards by 36.7 percent. Among existing beneficiaries, the therapy decreased program exits through death, but did not substantially increase program exits for work. By 1999, the therapy increased HIV-related expenditures by $43.6 million.

Document Type

Working Paper


Fall 9-2015


Health, HIV, Social Security, Disability Insurance




Working Papers Series


Economics | Health Policy | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social Welfare



Additional Information

Working paper no. 182

The author thanks Kimberly Burham, Jeffrey Kubik, Timothy Moore, and David Pattison for helpful comments and suggestions. The author also thanks Patrice Cole for valuable data assistance. This research is supported by a personnel agreement between Syracuse University and the Social Security Administration. The views herein are the authors and do not reflect those of the Social Security Administration.

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