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Codes and Frequencies

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For all persons (except for the 1997 survey), SSDIAPPLY reports whether the person has ever applied for disability benefits from Social Security even if the claim was denied (1997 onward). From 1993 to 1996, there were no instructions about claims that were denied.

In 1993, this question was only asked of persons who were interviewed in quarters 3 and 4. In 1997, this was asked for persons who did not receive disability benefits from Social Security or for whom this was unknown.


Social Security payments can be made to persons who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria for a disabling condition may qualify for benefits. Users can refer to the Social Security website for qualifying criteria (

Please use the IPUMS NHIS drop down menu and search functions for related variables.


From 1993 to 1996, SSDIAPPLY is part of the Family Resources supplement that provides information on individuals' health benefits, amount of coverage and income received from employment, welfare benefits, public assistance, and savings. From 1997 onward, this variable is part of the core person questionnaires.

Questions in the Family Resources supplement are different from those in the core survey in terms of the content and the treatment of missing data. Questions in the Family Resources were normally asked of the month prior to the interview while the core survey asked of the last calendar year. All missing data in the Family Resources supplement were imputed by NHIS. Users can refer to the imputation flag variable SSDIAPPLYFL to identify persons with imputed data.


Slight changes in the universe in 1997 reduce comparability. Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. For 1993-1996 and 1998 forward, there are no comparability issues. As always, data users should use the prescribed IPUMS NHIS weights.


  • 1993: All persons in quarters 3 and 4.
  • 1994-1996: All persons.
  • 1997: Persons who did not receive Social Security Disability Insurance or for whom this was unknown.
  • 1998-2018: All persons.


  • 1993-2018