In addition to our demonstrations, we conduct other projects examining ways to change and improve the disability process and programs.


Benefit Offset—Ancillary Research

We are conducting ancillary research that uses the Benefit Offset National Demonstration data and data from other sources to provide policymakers with additional information on the potential effects of a change in the SSDI program rules that would allow beneficiaries to work and keep a portion of their benefits. The ancillary research falls within two themes. The first is research that will allow us to produce better estimates on the potential for induced entry into the SSDI program resulting from a change in the SSDI program rules. The second is research that will allow us to produce better estimates on the effect of changes in the structure of a benefit offset on costs and benefits of a new SSDI benefit offset policy.

A paper that describes the strengths and limitations of various research designs to estimate induced entry is available here.

A report that develops specific research designs to estimate induced entry is available here.

Occupational Information System Project

In our disability adjudication process, we need information about work that exists nationally to determine whether claimants’ impairments prevent them from doing not only their past work, but other work in the U.S. economy.  We currently use the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and its companion volume, the Selected Characteristics of Occupations, as our primary sources of information about jobs and job requirements.  However, the Department of Labor (DOL) last updated the DOT in 1991 and has no plans to conduct further updates.  As a result, we have signed an interagency agreement with the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics to test the feasibility of using the National Compensation Survey platform to collect updated occupational information that will meet our program needs.  For more information about the project, please visit our OIS project page.

Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE)

We are working with the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services to improve outcomes for youths who receive Supplemental Security Income and their families by facilitating positive changes in: health status; physical and emotional development; completion of education and training; and, eventually, employment opportunities. The Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services awarded grants to the following five States: Arkansas, California, Maryland, New York, and Wisconsin; and one consortium of States made up of Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, and Arizona.  The States designed and will provide the program services, and we awarded a contract to Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) to evaluate the programs.

For more information about the PROMISE evaluation, visit our PROMISE project page.  For more information on the PROMISE projects, see the Department of Education’s PROMISE web site.

Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) Predictive Model and the Fast-Track Processes

The Predictive Model is a computer-based screening tool that we use to identify potential electronic cases for the QDD process.

We originally implemented the QDD process in the six States in our Boston Region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) in August 2006. We then implemented the QDD process nationally between October 2007 and February 2008.

View the final rule in the Federal Register.

For additional information on the QDD Predictive Model, see the Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) homepage. For additional information on the Fast-Track Processes, see the Fast-Track Processes homepage. For the Fast-Track Processes public use files, see the Public Use Files homepage.

Work Incentives Simplification Pilot

The Work Incentives Simplification Pilot (WISP) is a proposed demonstration to test whether simplifying Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) work incentives would encourage beneficiaries to work.  In preparation for WISP, we formed a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) to advise us on how best to conduct the demonstration.  For more information see the WISP TAP report. Under WISP, SSDI beneficiaries will retain benefit eligibility as long as their impairment continues.  WISP will encourage beneficiaries to try working by preventing termination of a beneficiary’s entitlement to SSDI and health care benefits solely due to substantial gainful activity (SGA). WISP will not change the definition of disability or the rules for establishing initial eligibility to benefits.  It will, however, simplify SSDI rules and remove some of the uncertainty associated with current work attempts. WISP will encourage work by:

  • Eliminating the trial work period, extended period of eligibility, expedited reinstatement and other work incentives;
  • Paying benefits for months in which earnings are below an earnings threshold equal to the SGA level and suspending benefits for months in which earnings are at or above the threshold;
  • Eliminating disability cessation due to work;
  • Making the SSDI treatment of earnings more consistent with the SSI program; and
  • Maintaining eligibility for SSDI and health benefits as long as the disabling impairment continues