Occupational impairment and disability among applicants for Social Security disability benefits in Pennsylvania.
The study goal was to assess the extent of workplace-related disease and injury among Social Security Disability Insurance applicants.A convenience sample of 240 consecutive applicants to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination was studied to assess the prevalence of work-related disorders. An applicant had a work-related condition if there was a clear statement of a workplace illness or injury associated with the impairment, or if the applicant had worked at an occupation with a high likelihood of exposures known or suspected to contribute to the condition of interest.Of the 240 applicants, 166 (69%) were awarded disability insurance benefits; a total of 27 (11%) had work-related conditions, including 14 of the 166 (8%) who were found to be disabled. Forty percent of the 27 had a disorder that was musculoskeletal in origin. Of 59 applicants with cancer, 10.2% had some work-related etiological component. Of an estimated 71,680 adult disability insurance applicants in Pennsylvania in 1990, 5134 new insurance beneficiaries had a projected occupationally related disability.A substantial number of applicants for disability insurance benefits suffer from an impairment caused or exacerbated by prior workplace exposures. These individuals may serve as sentinel events for initiating follow-up surveillance and prevention activities.
Bresnitz, EA; Frumkin, H; Goldstein, L; Neumark, D; Hodgson, M; Needleman, C
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