The think tanks are really churning out reports on the Social Security disability programs. The latest comes from Kathy Ruffing of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Her report includes this interesting chart:
Claims filed are highly sensitive to business cycle? Note that applications for disability benefits began soaring not in 2008 when unemployment soared but in 1998, ten years earlier, at a time of relatively low unemployment. Note also the inverse relationship between unemployment and the disability claim rate in the early 1980s. How do you explain these facts if claims filed are so sensitive to business cycles?