Supported Employment Demonstration

State(s) / Location(s) Involved

Individuals from 30 urban and rural-urban mixed catchment areas at community mental health agency sites across the U.S. are recruited for the voluntary study. Staff at agencies participating in SED provide services and the interventions.

SED Sites are located in these states: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Start / Enrollment Date

November 2017.



The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (Pub. L. 113-235) appropriated funds to design, develop, and implement an early intervention demonstration to test innovative strategies aimed at helping people with disabilities remain in the workforce.

In August 2016, SSA awarded a contract to Westat, Inc. to implement and evaluate whether offering evidence-based interventions of integrated vocational, medical, and behavioral health services to individuals with behavioral health challenges can significantly reduce the demand for disability benefits and help individuals remain in the labor force.

The Supported Employment Demonstration (SED) uses a random assignment design to assign 3,000 participants to one of two treatment groups (Full Services or Basic Services) or to a control group (Usual Services).  For 36 months, participants receives varying degrees of services based on their assignment.  These services include systematic medication management, health care management and care-coordination services, and long-term employment services following the evidence-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model. 


Individuals aged 18 to 50 years who want to work; who applied for disability benefits (DI or SSI) alleging mental impairment in the past 30-60 days; and who received an initial denial decision from SSA.


The SED period of performance is from August 2016 through August 2022.

Related Links

The Federal Expert Panel Report summarizes the panel’s recommendations from a June 2015 meeting.


  • Process Reports (2019, 2021),  Participation Report (2020), and Impact and Cost-Benefit Report (2022); and
  • Preparation of evaluation reports and public-use data files (2022)


Recruitment ended in March, 2019, after 3,000 participants were enrolled. All SED services and interventions are proceeding as planned.