Other Research & Analysis
We conduct research, analysis, evaluations, and statistical modeling that support the agency goals to strengthen our disability programs and improve program integrity.
Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation, and Work (ARDRAW)
The goal of this program is to distribute small stipends ($10,000) to graduate students for innovative research relevant to rehabilitation, work, and the disability program. Policy Research, Inc. publishes a request for applications and proposals for a new cohort of student researchers each December. Applications are due on March 1 of each year.
Beyond Benefits Study
A Study to collect information about the service, medical, and employment needs of working-age adults exiting SSA disability programs due to medical improvement. Also, a memo on motivational interviewing to identify and address employment challenges among people with disabilities.
Quick Disability Determinations (QDD)
The QDD process uses a computer-based predictive model to screen initial applications to identify cases where a favorable disability determination is highly likely and medical evidence is readily available.
Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) Bias Investigation Project
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is contracting with Abt Associates to perform a research study to investigate if there is unintended inequity within the Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) process. QDD is an SSA fast-track process that uses predictive modeling to screen initial applications to identify cases where a favorable disability determination is highly likely and medical evidence is readily available.
In 2009, SSA commissioned a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of The National Academies on the criteria that SSA uses to evaluate disability in persons with cardiovascular disorders. The IOM published the report, Cardiovascular Disability: Updating the Social Security Listings, in 2010. The report recommended ways to improve the utility of the cardiovascular listings by improving the sensitivity and specificity of listing criteria for evaluating cardiovascular disorders.
Consultative Examination (CE) Study and Consultative Exam Baseline Study
A CE is a physical or mental examination performed by a treating source or other medical source when additional information is needed to make a disability determination. The CE Study featured medical consultants (MC) with administrative assistance from disability examiners reviewing initial and hearings level CEs, focusing on the CE processes, content, completeness, and quality. The CE Baseline Study analyzed the quality of CEs used in the disability determination; assessed if CEs complied with SSA regulations; and established a baseline for CE quality.
Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program (DDP) Final Report
The goal of this program was to improve the disability determination process by making small stipends ($10,000) available to graduate students for innovative research relevant to the disability program to allow graduate-level students to conduct supervised independent research on improving disability determination processes. The DDP program ended in August 2018, after the last cohort of students completed their projects. The DDP was replaced by the ARDRAW Small Grant Program.
Employment Network Payment Structure Evaluation Report
The objective of the research was to help SSA determine whether there are feasible alternatives to the Milestone/Outcome and Outcome payment systems that SSA currently uses to pay the Employment Networks (ENs) that serve beneficiaries in the Ticket to Work (TTW) program. Through this research, SSA sought recommendations for how payments to ENs could be structured, and how these payment structures, and the change in benefit rules, would affect the costs and benefits of TTW.
In 2009, SSA commissioned a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of The National Academies on the criteria that SSA uses to evaluate disability in persons with HIV infection. The IOM published the report, HIV and Disability: Updating the Social Security Listings, in 2010. The report recommended ways to improve the utility of the HIV infection listings by improving the sensitivity and specificity of listing criteria for evaluating HIV infection.
Pediatric Medical Unit (PMU)
The 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
SSI Youth Community Based Services and Supports
This is a report about community-based services and supports available for youth ages 14 to 25 with disabilities. In this age range, youth transition from being legal dependents to legal adults. This transition can be daunting because of the loss of federally guaranteed education and supports through the public school system and challenges in obtaining and maintaining employment. The report synthesizes the available evidence regarding the impact of community-based services on employment for youth with disabilities.
SSI Youth Employment Evidence Report
The purpose of this research project was to gather key information from researchers to identify the evidence and recommendations to design regulatory and policy changes to support employment for youth with disabilities. Studies of SSI youth suggest significant gaps in the awareness and use of services currently available to them. For this youth population, educational attainment, work, and earnings are at low levels throughout their transition years into adulthood.
TANF-SSI Disability Transition Project
To help us understand the relationship between the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and SSI populations better, we worked with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to launch the TANF-SSI Disability Transition Project (TSDTP). The ACF, TANF agencies, and low-income individuals with disabilities and their families all benefit from effective and efficient services — moving toward employment when possible, making informed decisions about applying for SSI, receiving SSI as quickly as possible, and reducing administrative costs.
See the Ticket to Work (TTW) evaluation reports for policy briefs summarizing key findings from the reports, and the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) evaluation reports (which we examined as part of the Ticket to Work evaluation). For information on TTW, visit The Work Site.
We initially conducted the National Beneficiary Survey (NBS) as part of the Ticket to Work evaluation. For more information on the NBS, please continue to the NBS page.
Vocational Expert Study Panel
SSA contracted with SSDC Corporation to convene an expert panel of vocational and occupational medical experts and disability policy and program experts to study the agency’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.
WIPA Service Model Analysis Report
The Social Security Administration (SSA) asked Abt Associates to develop evidence-based recommendations for potential changes that SSA might consider for the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program service model. The intent of the recommendations is to help SSA achieve its goals of serving people who receive SSI or SSDI with information about SSA work incentives and the effects of work on benefits within funding limitations while offering a service model that is reasonable and attractive to potential applicants for WIPA cooperative agreements.