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Washington Group Short Set Composite Disability Indicator

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults, DISABWGSS is the Washington Group Short Set Composite Disability Indicator, indicating whether they have a disability. Here, disability is defined as being at a greater risk than the general population for experiencing restrictions in participation because of difficulties doing certain universal, basic actions. If sample adults reported "a lot of difficulty" in performing an activity or that they "cannot do [activity] at all" for any of the following six activities, they were classified on DISABWGSS as having a disability:

  1. 1. Amount of trouble with vision (VDIFAMOUNT)

  2. 2. Amount of trouble with hearing (HRPROBAMT)

  3. 3. Amount of difficulty walking or climbing steps (LAWALKCLIMDIF)

  4. 4. Amount of difficulty communicating in usual language (LACOMDIFEGO)

  5. 5. Amount of difficulty washing or dressing (LAWASHDRESDIF)

  6. 6. Amount of difficulty remembering or concentrating (LAMEMCONDIF)

The Washington Group on Disability Statistics 

In 2019, functioning and disability measures included on the NHIS questionnaire were modified to align with validated, internationally-comparable disability measures developed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG). For more information about the WG initiative, other WG functioning and disability measures included on the NHIS questionnaire, and guidance for researchers about how to use the WG measures in analyses, please see our user note on the Washington Group Disability Measures.


There are no comparability issues with this variable.


  • 2019-2021: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 2019-2021