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Singleton article on federal policy and disability enrollment published in Jour of Law & Econ

Apr 30, 2020

Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence from the VA's Disability Compensation Program

Mark Duggan, Robert Rosenheck & Perry Singleton

The Journal of Law & Economics, April 2010

Perry Singleton

Perry Singleton

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs compensates 13 percent of the nation’s military veterans for service‐related disabilities through the Disability Compensation (DC) program. In 2001, a legislative change made it easier for Vietnam veterans to receive benefits for diabetes associated with military service. In this paper, the authors investigate this policy’s effect on DC enrollment and expenditures as well as the behavioral response of potential beneficiaries.

The authors' findings demonstrate that the policy increased DC enrollment by 6 percentage points among Vietnam veterans and that an additional 1.7 percent experienced an increase in their DC benefits, which increased annual program expenditures by $2.85 billion in 2007. Using individual‐level data from the Veterans Supplement to the Current Population Survey, the authors find that the induced increase in DC enrollment had little average impact on the labor supply or health status of Vietnam veterans but did reduce labor supply among their spouses.