Red Book

Red Book Home

Introducing The Red Book

What's New In 2024?

Contacting Us

How Do We Define Disability?

Overview Of Our Disability Programs

Returning To Work

How Do Employment Supports Help?

Resources To Assist You Return To Work

Resources To Assist Youth With the Transition To A Successful Adulthood

SSDI and SSI Employment Supports

SSDI Only Employment Supports

SSI Only Employment Supports

Special Rules For Persons Who Are Blind

Additional Help With Health Care For Persons With Disabilities

Example of Concurrent Benefits With Employment Supports

Demonstration Projects Update


< Previous Section   Table of Contents   Next Section >

Demonstration Projects Update

Social Security conducts numerous research and demonstration projects to study ways to improve services to our current and future beneficiaries. These projects can lead to better ways to serve people with disabilities, as well as potentially changing program rules to allow for better coordination among other federal and state programs.

Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND)

BOND tests a $1 reduction in Disability Insurance benefits for every $2 in earnings over substantial gainful activity (SGA) levels in combination with benefits counseling, with the goal of helping beneficiaries with disabilities return-to-work. The demonstration allows beneficiaries to face a gradual reduction in their benefits, eliminating the abrupt loss of cash benefits under current rules. BOND services to participants began in 2011. A final report was completed in 2018; and is now available at Beneficiaries in the BOND treatment groups who completed nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months on or before September 30, 2017, are eligible for a 5-year BOND Participation Period starting the month after they completed their 9th TWP month. All BOND participation ended September 30, 2022.

Supported Employment Demonstration (SED)

The SED is a demonstration project that evaluates whether offering an evidence-based package of integrated vocational, medical, and mental health services to recently denied disability applicants fosters employment that contributes to self-sufficiency; improved mental health and quality of life; and a reduced demand for disability benefits. A primary feature of the SED is the provision of supported employment services following guidelines for the evidence-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model. The demonstration focuses on individuals under the age of 50 with mental health challenges who applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) disability benefits and received an initial denial. Social Security awarded a contract to implement and evaluate the SED to Westat, Inc. in August 2016. Eligible participants reside within 30 catchment areas of community mental health centers (20 urban and 10 rural) in 20 states. Recruitment started in November 2017 and continued through March 2019. The SED enrolled 3,000 individuals for random assignment to one of two treatment groups or a control group. SED interventions provided 36 months of services to participants in the treatment groups. Services to all participants concluded in March 2022, and the final reports for the project, including a process implementation report, and an impact and cost-benefit analysis report, was completed in the fall of 2022. The SED demonstration concluded in December 2022.

Retaining Employment & Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN)

RETAIN is a joint demonstration with the Department of Labor (DOL) testing early interventions to help workers stay at work or return to work quickly after experiencing the onset of a work-threatening injury, illness, or disability. The ultimate policy goal is to reduce long-term disability – including the need for SSDI or SSI benefits – and increase labor force participation among those individuals. Participants are individuals who have recently experienced the onset of an injury, illness, or disability that might affect their ability to continue working, and who have not yet applied for Social Security disability benefits. (Participation in RETAIN does not affect a worker’s eligibility for SSDI or SSI benefits). DOL awarded cooperative agreements to states to implement RETAIN projects, and SSA will evaluate the project.

In September 2018, DOL awarded Phase 1 grants to 8 states (California, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington) to conduct initial planning and pilot activities. In October 2018, we awarded a contract to Mathematica Policy Research to evaluate the RETAIN state projects. The final evaluation report is expected to be published in 2026.

In April 2021, DOL awarded Phase 2 funds for Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, and Vermont to build upon their work in RETAIN Phase1. Phase 2 projects began enrolling participants as early as October 2021 and will conclude enrollment in 2024. In each state, RETAIN provides 6 weeks of rehabilitation-oriented services with referrals to appropriate providers if additional care is needed after participants exit the project. Although the states are each implementing their own unique models, all RETAIN projects are centered around early coordination of health care and employment-related supports and services for participating workers. Many of the projects have a particular focus on workers with musculoskeletal conditions. The state projects test a variety of ways to improve the early coordination of health care and employment-related supports and services for participating workers. These include training health care providers in occupational health best practices and facilitating communication and return-to-work efforts between workers, their employers, and their health care providers. Final evaluation reports for the project will be delivered in 2016.

Promoting Work through Early Interventions Project Demonstration (PWEIPD)

The PWEIPD is a 5-year joint undertaking of Social Security and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The project seeks to evaluate early intervention programs and employment support models designed to produce favorable economic outcomes among low-income individuals who have little to no work experience and ties to broader public assistance programs (e.g., Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and SNAP).  Social Security’s primary interests include evaluations of programs that support individuals with current or foreseeable disabilities who may apply for SSI as well as people facing opioid and other substance abuse issues.  As part of this arrangement, we will begin supporting the evaluations and service provisions of select programs associated with 2 existing ACF projects, Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families and the Next Generation of Enhanced Employment Strategies beginning in 2019 through 2023.

Current Events

To keep up with the latest developments and get information about local contacts, visit This site provides information on major activities such as our demonstration projects work incentive policies, and other relevant resources. You can also sign up to get e-mail notices when we post updates.