(UM12-21) - The Great Recession, Workers with Disabilities and Implications for Retirement Security
Purvi Sevak and Lucie Schmidt
Evidence suggests that older workers with disabilities have been hit particularly hard by the recent recession. The increased difficulty in finding a job faced by individuals with disabilities, combined with the longer spells of unemployment experienced by all workers in this recession, could mean that laid-off disabled workers in their pre-retirement years may never return to work. In this paper, we use data from the 2004-2010 waves of the Health and Retirement Study to examine how the great recession has affected workers with chronic health conditions that put them at greater risk of disability. Our results suggest that increases in job losses were 30% greater for those with greater underlying risk of disability than for the general HRS population, and decreases in consumption were 20% greater. These results have important implications for the well-being of disabled individuals nearing retirement.