Do Self-insurance and Disability Insurance Prevent Consumption Loss on Disability?



We show the extent to which public insurance and self-insurance mitigate the cost of health shocks that limit the ability to work. We use consumption data from the UK to estimate insurance provided by government disability programmes. Individuals with a work-limiting health condition, in receipt of disability insurance, have 9% lower consumption than those without such a condition. Self-insurance through savings and a work-active partner each improve outcomes by about 3%. Reduced generosity of disability insurance after 1995 is associated with increases in the consumption loss on disability, implying worse insurance, but with fewer false claimants, implying better targeting.