Methods: We extracted data from the 2020 National Health Interview Survey, which added a set of COVID-related questions halfway through the year to evaluate the impact of the pandemic on receipt of healthcare and at home support. Our sample (N=16576) compared households with SSI and/or SSDI beneficiaries (N=1184) to households without beneficiaries (N=15392). Respondents were 48.0% male and 63.7% non-Hispanic white, with an average age of 49. We compared demographic characteristics (age, race, sex, income, education, employment, health status) between the two groups. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to predict COVID-19-related outcomes (delaying medical care, not receiving needed medical care, and not receiving needed personal and household care at home), incorporating strata and weights to produce nationally representative estimates.
Results: Respondents from households with SSI/SSDI beneficiaries with disabilities had lower educational attainment, higher unemployment, and worse health and were more likely to be from minoritized racial and ethnic groups compared to households without beneficiaries. Regression analyses suggested net of demographic factors, households with beneficiaries were associated had significantly greater odds of delaying medical care (OR = 1.29), not receiving needed medical care (OR = 1.42), and not receiving needed personal and household care at home (OR = 1.95) due to COVID-19 (p < .001) compared to households without beneficiaries.
Conclusions and Implications: Our findings provide preliminary evidence that individuals with disabilities and their families have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the racial, ethnic, and sociodemographic disparities seen among SSI and SSDI beneficiaries with disabilities point to significant social and structural determinants of health among this community that can detrimentally influence the ways in which households receive care amidst public health emergencies. Results may inform public health efforts in providing a more robust, inclusive approach to navigating healthcare during a pandemic and preventing future disease.