Previous studies have identified occupational differences in disabling illness among recipients of Social Security Administration (SSA) disability awards. Interpreting such differences as evidence of excess risk, however, assumes that medical factors are the primary criteria for receipt of benefits. The present study examined the influence of demographic, occupational, and medical factors on awareness, application, and receipt of SSA disability benefits. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses indicated that awareness, benefit application, and receipt of awards were not well predicted by demographic, health-related, or occupation variables. Occupation explained less than 1% of the variance in awareness, benefit application, and disability awards among severely disabled persons. The results suggest that occupational differences in disabling illnesses among SSA disability beneficiaries are not merely reflections of differences in awareness of the SSA benefit program or less frequent application for benefits.
©1989 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine