The medical-vocational grid is a decision tool used to assess whether disability applicants have skills that are transferable to jobs that are feasible given their residual functional capacity. The basic structure of the grid has not been reassessed over time, even as there have been profound changes in the nature of work, and vocational allowances have been a growing portion of disability awards. Research on the vocational grid is a priority research area for SSA, and this project will provide new evidence from recent data about the suitability of the grid in the contemporary labor market. Specifically, we will use administrative data and the unique structure of the grid to do the following:
• Determine Who is Affected by the Grid. We will use the age discontinuities in the grid to estimate the share of applicants who would be affected if the grid were altered.
• Estimate Work Capacity of Applicants Affected by the Grid. We will use the age discontinuities to estimate the residual work capacity of applicants affected by the grid.
• Assess Interaction with Labor Markets. We will investigate if the share affected by the grid and their work capacity vary systematically across local labor markets.