- State Partnership Initiative
- Vocational Expert Study Panel
HOPE Congress provided $8 million annually in FY 2003, 2004, and 2005 directing SSA to use the appropriations to provide outreach and application assistance to “homeless and under-served populations.” We used this earmarked funding to establish the Homeless Outreach Projects and Evaluation (HOPE) program. The HOPE initiative focused on assisting eligible, chronically homeless individuals in applying for SSI and SSDI benefits. We developed the project to test the effectiveness of using skilled medical and social service providers to identify and engage homeless individuals with disabling conditions and assist them in filing for benefits within current policy.
We awarded $6.6 million in cooperative agreement funding to 34 public and private organizations in April 2004 and an additional $1.2 million in cooperative agreement funding to 7 organizations in November 2004. All HOPE projects were closed as of October 2009.
SEE: http://www.ssa.gov/homelessness/ for SSA’s Service to the Homeless Activities and related policies.
The Pediatric Medical Unit (PMU) project offered additional pediatric medical expertise to assist State and Federal adjudicators in their development and review of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) child disability cases. In January 2006, SSA contracted with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the PMU project. PMUs were established in seven locations across the nation and were staffed by personnel representing a range of medical disciplines. Sixteen Disability Determination Services (DDS) offices and several Hearing Offices (HO) were selected to participate in the PMU project through referral of selected cases to a designated PMU. Depending on the type of request received, the PMU would either provide a comprehensive case assessment based on the existing case record or conduct a face-to-face clinical assessment of the child. DDSs and HOs could then incorporate these PMU assessments in the case record as an additional basis for case decision-making.
By late 2007, SSA determined that the PMU project was no longer viable due to a number of significant operational and evaluative limitations, and the agency decided to cease all project operations by April 2008.
State Partnership Initiative The State Partnership Initiative (SPI) was designed to help Project States in the development of programs of employment support services for their residents with disabilities that would (1) increase job opportunities; (2) decrease dependence on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits; and (3) foster the development of community resources. SSA provided five-year funding to twelve States (California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wisconsin) to develop innovative projects to assist individuals with disabilities in their efforts to reenter the workforce. These awards helped States develop State-wide programs of services and support for their residents with disabilities that increased job opportunities for them and decreased their dependence on benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). California, Vermont, New York, and Wisconsin implemented SSI waivers to test alternative rules. The SPI projects began in 1998 and ended in 2004.
A link that says SPI Evaluations and Conclusions Reports
Vocational Expert Study Panel On January 11, 2006, SSA awarded a contract to SSDC Corporation to convene an expert panel of vocational and occupational medical experts and disability policy and program experts to study SSA’s use of vocational and occupational medical expertise throughout the disability determination process, what changes can be made to improve case adjudication, and what qualifications we should require.
SSA selected 21 vocational and occupational medical experts to serve on this panel including individuals with expertise in occupational medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, rehabilitation, occupational and physical therapy, nursing, case management, individuals with disabilities, and the disability community. In addition, SSA included disability determination services administrators and administrative law judges. After several discussions and the reviews of distributed background materials, this expert panel met in July 2006 to prepare a report including recommendations for the Commissioner.
We received the Final Core Report from SSDC, "Use of Functional/Vocational Expertise", on March 27, 2007.