Using the Health and Retirement Study for Disability Policy Research: A Review

Publisher: Forum for Health Economics & Policy (online ahead of print, subscription required)
Oct 11, 2017
Jody Schimmel Hyde and David C. Stapleton

Key Findings:

  • The HRS is positioned to help researchers answer questions that will be at the forefront of disability policy research for the indefinite future.
  • Pilit testing the six-question disability sequence used on other nationally representative surveys would benchmark the HRS to other studies.
  • The linkage to Social Security administration data is valuable, but so far underutilized. 

The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a preeminent data source for research related to the experiences of workers nearing retirement, including the large share of those workers who experience a health shock or disability onset after age 50. In this article, we highlight key information collected from HRS respondents that benefits disability policy research and the body of knowledge that has resulted from this information. Our main goal is to identify from this research experience potential improvements in data collection and documentation that would further strengthen the HRS as a data source for disability policy researchers.