Promoting Opportunity Demonstration

State(s) / Location(s) Involved

We conducted this project in eight sites across the country:

  • Alabama (all counties);
  • California (Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties);
  • Connecticut (all counties);
  • Maryland (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties; Baltimore City);
  • Michigan (Kent, Ionia, Clinton, Eaton, Shiawassee, Genesee and Lapeer counties);
  • Nebraska (Adams, Buffalo, Douglas, Hall, Lancaster, and Sarpy counties);
  • Texas (Bexar, Dallas, and Tarrant counties; and starting in 08/2018, Bell, Collin, Comal, Denton, Ellis, Harris, Hays, Johnson, Kaufman, Montgomery, Parker, Travis, and Williamson counties); and
  • Vermont (all counties).

Start / Enrollment Date

January 2018



The Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) tested simplified work incentives and a benefit offset in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program to determine its effects on outcomes such as earnings, employment, and benefit payments.  Section 823 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 directed the agency to carry out POD. 

We reduced benefits by $1 for every $2 earned above the POD threshold, which was the greater of the current Trial Work Period level or the amount of a participant's itemized impairment-related work expenses (up to Substantial Gainful Activity). We used a random assignment design to assign 10,000 volunteers to three groups of approximately 3,333 beneficiaries each, a control group and two treatment groups.  The control group continued under usual rules. Treatment group 1 was subject to the offset and we suspended benefits for any months SSDI benefits were reduced to zero. Treatment group 2 was subject to the offset and we terminated SSDI entitlement when benefits were reduced to zero for 12 consecutive months. Both treatment groups were eligible for POD-specific benefits counseling. 

We awarded contracts to Abt Associates for the implementation and to Mathematica Policy Research for the evaluation of POD.


Recruitment ended December 2018 and as of January 2019, we enrolled over 10,000 volunteers for POD. Participation for all volunteers ended June 30, 2021. Evaluation for the demonstration ended as of December 2021. Implementation will continue through November 2022 to complete project winddown activities and to assist former participants as needed with their transition to current law work rules.

Related Links

The Promoting Opportunity Demonstration Technical Expert Panel Report summarizes the feedback from an April 2016 meeting.

POD Evaluation Design Report (2018_10)

POD Evaluation Reports

POD Special Topics reports

  1. Recruitment Pilot (2019_01)
  2. Effectiveness of Reminder Messages for Recruitment
  3. POD BOND Comparison Report
  4. Summary of the Interim Findings
  5. Using Web Surveys for People with Disabilities
  6. Trends in Treatment Group Outcomes and the COVID-19 Pandemic
  7. Description of Overpayments and Stakeholder Experiences
  8. Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: Treatment Group Members’ Perspectives