dates to begin measurement of disability status in order to learn how the disabled subpopulation differs from others on the key topics covered by the surveys.
The discussion that follows outlines the characteristics of several large, ongoing federal data collection efforts, some of which do include measurement of impairments, functional limitations, and work limitations and disability. Each of these potential partner surveys has strengths and weaknesses that have to be assessed in light of the questions enumerated above.
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey The household component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey is designed as a continuous, overlapping panel design, in which members of each panel are interviewed for a two-year period concerning health care use, expenditures, sources of payment, and insurance coverage. Approximately 6,000 households are selected from those responding in the prior year to the National Health Interview Survey; household members are then interviewed five times over a 24-month field period, yielding information on approximately 15,000 persons for each panel. To produce estimates for any one particular calendar year, the data can be pooled across two distinct nationally representative samples, yielding an effective sample size of approximately 30,000 persons annually. The MEPS sample design targets for oversampling those with family income less than 200 percent of the poverty level, working age adults predicted to have high health care expenditures (based on information obtained in the NHIS interview), and adults 18 years of age and older classified as having a functional limitation, measured in terms of activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). In addition to the household panel survey, the MEPS design includes a survey of medical providers identified by MEPS respondents; data are collected from these medical providers to verify and supplement information provided by the household respondents. A second supplemental data collection involves contacting employers and other providers of health insurance identified by the household respondents so as to collect information on insurance characteristics that household respondents cannot usually provide.
The U.S. Bureau of the Census conducts two surveys of interest, the American Community Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.