Selected Research & Analysis: Work and Employment > After DI or SSI Claiming (Return to Work)
When Every Dollar Counts: Comparing Reported Earnings of Social Security Disability Program Beneficiaries in Survey and Administrative Records
This article examines differences between survey- and administrative data–based estimates of employment and earnings for a sample of Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program beneficiaries. The analysis uses linked records from SSA's National Beneficiary Survey and administrative data from the agency's Master Earnings File. The authors find that estimated employment rates and earnings levels based on administrative data are higher than those based on survey data for beneficiaries overall and by sociodemographic subgroup. In proportional terms, the differences between survey and administrative data tend to be greater among subgroups with survey-reported employment rates that are lower than that of beneficiaries overall.
Social Security Administration Payments to State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies for Disability Program Beneficiaries Who Work: Evidence from Linked Administrative Data
This article's authors use linked administrative data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration to evaluate SSA's investment in services provided by the federal-state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. A unique data resource permits a comparison of the value of SSA payments to state VR agencies for services provided to disability program beneficiaries who find and maintain a substantial level of work with the value of the cash benefits those beneficiaries forgo because of work. The authors find that the value of cash benefits forgone by beneficiaries after applying for VR services is substantially greater than the value of SSA payments to state VR agencies for those services, although the portion of the difference that is attributable to VR services cannot be determined.
Possible State Intervention Options to Serve Transition-Age Youths: Lessons from the West Virginia Youth Works Demonstration Project
The Social Security Administration funded the West Virginia Youth Works intervention as part of the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) to improve the employment and independent-living outcomes of youths with disabilities. This project was one of six that constituted the full YTD evaluation. This article examines Youth Works implementation and outcomes to provide a potential case study for other states interested in expanding services to youths with disabilities.
This article summarizes findings from randomized controlled trials of six Youth Transition Demonstration projects that were funded by the Social Security Administration. The projects provided specialized employment-focused services and enhanced disability program work incentives for youths aged 14–25 with disabilities. Three of the projects had positive and statistically significant effects on employment rates in the third year after youths enrolled in project evaluations.
Changes to the Ticket to Work Regulations in 2008 Attracted Providers and Participants, but Impacts on Work and Benefits Are Unclear
In this article, the authors use administrative data from the Social Security Administration to explore employment service provider and beneficiary participation in the Ticket to Work program over time and to assess the extent to which participants had earnings sufficient to have their cash benefits suspended or terminated for work. The authors focus on the effects of 2008 regulatory changes to the program on participation and participant earnings.
A significant share of individuals who are first awarded Social Security benefits because of a disability is aged younger than 40. Using administrative data on young adults aged 18–39 who were first awarded benefits from 1996 through 2007, the authors produce descriptive statistics on beneficiary characteristics at award, prior Supplemental Security Income program participation status, and 5-year employment outcomes. The authors track cross-cohort changes over the study period and examine potential contributing factors.
In determining Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility and payment levels for child applicants and recipients, the Social Security Administration attributes part of parental income to the child using a process called deeming. Parental-income deeming ends at age 18, relaxing a key SSI eligibility criterion for youths at that point. Using Social Security administrative records, this article presents data on the number and characteristics of youths who apply for SSI shortly before and after they turn 18. The author finds that the number of applications spikes at age 18 and that 18-year-old applicants are more likely than 17-year-olds to be allowed into the program. The author also compares the relative likelihood of subsequent employment for allowed and denied youth applicants.
Long-Term Work Activity and Use of Employment Supports Among New Supplemental Security Income Recipients
Long-term cumulative statistics on the employment activities of Supplemental Security Income recipients offer a different perspective than the Social Security Administration's published statistics, which are based on monthly or annual data, and have important policy implications.
The authors present an overview of the Benefit Offset National Demonstration project and the opportunities it provides to participants. They also share the experiences of three individuals who are successfully reaching their return-to-work goals as they participate in this project.
Recruitment in the Mental Health Treatment Study: A Behavioral Health/Employment Intervention for Social Security Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries
The recent development of evidence-based behavioral health and vocational rehabilitation interventions for persons with serious psychiatric impairments created the impetus for exploring the efficacy of those interventions if they were widely available to Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries. As a first step in this endeavor—a multisite randomized trial for providing interventions to beneficiaries with psychiatric impairments—the Mental Health Treatment Study was implemented. The authors report on the subject recruitment patterns for the study, including assessment of take-up rates, and on the statistical analysis of the relationships between beneficiaries' characteristics and the probability of enrollment. Results indicated that take-up rates among potential MHTS subjects with confirmed telephone contacts met or exceeded rates for previous Social Security Administration randomized trials, and beneficiaries with administrative records of recent vocational or labor-market activity were most likely to enroll. The authors discuss implications of their analyses on recruitment in similar interventions in the future.
Earnings and Disability Program Participation of Youth Transition Demonstration Participants after 24 Months
This article presents earnings and Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program payment outcomes for youths participating in SSA's Youth Transition Demonstration project. Participants were randomly assigned to treatment or control groups at each of six project sites. The author provides overviews of the project sites and compares treatment- and control-group youths' earnings 1 year and 2 years after random assignment, and disability program payment receipt 24 months after random assignment.
This article presents an overview of two projects in the Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration: California's Bridges to Youth Self-Sufficiency and Mississippi's Model Youth Transition Innovation. We describe the projects' organization and the services they delivered. We also provide statistics on earnings and Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance receipt 5 years after project enrollment and provide case studies of two project participants.
How Common is "Parking" among Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries? Evidence from the 1999 Change in the Earnings Level of Substantial Gainful Activity
The authors explore the extent to which Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries restrain their earnings below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level in order to maintain their cash benefits. The extent of "parking" is measured by exploiting the 1999 change in the nonblind SGA earnings level from $500 to $700 and assessing its effect on cohorts of DI beneficiaries who completed their trial work period, one of which was affected by the SGA change, and one that was not.
Longitudinal Statistics on Work Activity and Use of Employment Supports for New Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries
Longitudinal statistics on the employment activities of Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries offer a different perspective than the Social Security Administration's published statistics, which are based on annual data, and have important policy implications.
This study uses survey and administrative data to analyze the characteristics of working-age Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries who report having work goals or expectations, and the extent to which these beneficiaries become employed and leave the disability rolls during a 4-year period.
This article introduces and highlights the key findings of the other articles presented in this special issue, which focuses on the employment of beneficiaries in the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs.
Using linked administrative data from program and earnings records, we summarize the 2007 employment rates of working-age (18–64) Social Security disability program beneficiaries at the national and state levels, as well as changes in employment since 1996. Substantial variation exists within the population. Disability Insurance beneficiaries and those younger than age 40 were much more likely to work relative to other Social Security beneficiaries. There are also strong regional differences in the employment rates among disability beneficiaries of working age, and these differences are persistent over time.
Using data from the 2004–2006 National Beneficiary Surveys matched to Social Security administrative data, this study follows a cohort of disability beneficiaries participating in the Ticket to Work program for several years to assess changes in their service use, health status, employment, and income.
The authors use longitudinal Social Security administrative data to produce statistics on the number of Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)-only beneficiaries whose cash benefits were first suspended or terminated because of work and on the number of months thereafter that those beneficiaries remained in nonpayment status before their return to the program rolls, attainment of the full retirement age, or death—for each year from 2002 through 2006. We also explore differences by program title (DI versus SSI-only) and by participation in the Ticket to Work program. Finally, we examine outcome payments made on behalf of Ticket to Work participants in months of nonpayment status following suspension or termination because of work.
This article examines the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), which is part of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SEIE is an incentive for work and education. The article presents statistics on the demographic characteristics of SSI recipients with SEIE; on the prevalence and intensity of SEIE use; on the seasonal patterns in SEIE use; and on the factors driving these seasonal patterns—including changes in earnings, student status, age, and SSI eligibility, as well as the effects of the annual SEIE limit.
Although the Social Security Administration actively encourages Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to work, relatively little is known about how the occupations of those who do work compare with occupations of the nonrecipient population. This article uses the 2007 American Community Survey to estimate dissimilarity indices, which are used to compare the predicted and actual occupational distributions of working SSI recipients with the occupational distributions of the nonrecipient populations with and without disabilities. Although the actual occupational distributions are quite different between these groups, much of the difference can be explained by demographic characteristics, human capital, and disability type.
Using the New Beneficiary Data System, this article examines the reservation wages of a sample of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries with work capabilities. It analyzes the magnitude of the reservation wages of DI beneficiaries compared to the last wage earned and to benefit amounts. In addition, the article discusses the determinants of reservation wages for DI beneficiaries.
How Post Secondary Education Improves Adult Outcomes for Supplemental Security Income Children with Severe Hearing Impairments
This article uses a unique longitudinal dataset based on administrative data from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) linked to Social Security Administration (SSA) microdata to conduct a case study of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) children who applied for postsecondary education at NTID. The authors estimate the likelihood that SSI children who apply to NTID will eventually graduate relative to other hearing impaired applicants, as well as the influence of graduation from NTID on participation in the SSI program as adults and later success in the labor market. Findings indicate that SSI children are substantially less likely to graduate from NTID than their fellow deaf students who did not participate in the SSI program as children, but that those who do graduate spend less time in the SSI adult program and have higher age-earnings profiles than those who do not graduate.
The International Social Security Association recently completed a six-nation comparative study of work incapacity and reintegration that focused on workers with back disorders. This article discusses the findings of the U.S. national study and discusses their policy implications.
This article looks at the history of earnings in covered employment for the 300,000 disabled SSI beneficiaries who were working in December 1997. It provides background information on beneficiaries essential to SSA's efforts to help them return to work.
The Net Effects of the Project NetWork Return-to-Work Case Management Experiment on Participant Earnings, Benefit Receipt, and Other Outcomes
This article summarizes the results of a major social experiment initiated by the Social Security Administration to test case management as a tool of promoting employment among persons with moderate to severe disabilities. This comprehensive analysis shows the benefits of using an experimental design to derive realistic net outcome estimates. While the results cannot be generalized to other case management interventions, they are nevertheless instructive for planning new initiatives.
Improving Return-to-Work Strategies in the United States Disability Programs, with Analysis of Program Practices in Germany and Sweden
This article examines suggestions by the General Accounting Office (GAO) to improve the rate of rehabilitation of workers on the disability rolls. It examines GAO's suggestions within the context of research by experts on return-to-work practices in Germany, Sweden, and the United States. It also discusses lessons learned from the European experiences and current and past return-to-work initiatives used in the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs.
This article describes the development of SSA's administrative records database for the Project NetWork return-to-work experiment targeting persons with disabilities. The article is part of a series of papers on the evaluation of the Project NetWork demonstration. In addition to 8,248 Project NetWork participants randomly assigned to receive case management services and a control group, the simulation identified 138,613 eligible nonparticipants in the demonstration areas. The output data files contain detailed monthly information on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance (DI) benefits, annual earnings, and a set of demographic and diagnostic variables. The data allow for the measurement of net outcomes and the analysis of factors affecting participation. The results suggest that it is feasible to simulate complex eligibility rules using administrative records, and create a clean and edited data file for a comprehensive and credible evaluation. The study shows that it is feasible to use administrative records data for selecting control or comparison groups in future demonstration evaluations.
This article uses the New Beneficiary Data System to describe the first job held after award of Disability Insurance benefits, in terms of occupation and industry. It examines work activity within sectors of employment, and looks at the issues of whether work return in certain industries and occupations varies according to the demographic characteristics of the beneficiaries. The article also presents data on sector-specific employer accommodations that can aid in sustained work return.
Postentitlement work was fairly evenly distributed across occupational and industrial sectors. Persons with higher levels of educational attainment were found to be in white-collar employment sectors. There were noticeable differences in the availability of employer accommodations across postentitlement occupations and industries.
Work Efforts of Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries: Preliminary Findings From the New Beneficiary Followup Survey
Income of New Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries and Their Families: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
Characteristics of the Longest Job for New Disabled Workers: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
Testing the Predictive Power of a Proportional Hazards Semi-Markov Model of Postentitlement Histories of Disabled Male Beneficiaries
In the Disability Amendments of 1980 (P.L. 96-265), Congress mandated that certain experiments be carried out which are designed to encourage disabled beneficiaries to return to work and save trust fund monies. A research plan has been developed which would offer alternative program provisions, experimentally, to different samples of beneficiaries. An observation period of three to four years will be possible before a report to Congress must be written. However, a period of this length is not sufficient to observe, fully, the postentitlement experience of disabled beneficiaries. In order to estimate the long run effects of the experiments, a method is needed which can project postentitlement behavior beyond the observation period.
This paper tests the ability of proportional hazards semi-Markov model to make accurate predictions in this type of setting. The data are divided into two segments: the first 14 calendar quarters and the last 16 quarters. Various types of rate functions including proportional hazards rate functions are estimated on the first segment, then projected over the entire 30 quarters and compared to the actual data. The proportional hazards rate functions are then used in a simulation to estimate monthly benefit cost to the social security disability trust fund over the last 16 quarters, using an age-dependent, absorbing, semi-Markov model. The model does a very good job of capturing the dynamics of the process and should prove quite useful as one of the major components in an analysis of the Work Incentive Experiments.