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 ways to better serve persons 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 will be available in 2018. Beneficiaries in the BOND treatment groups who completed nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months on or before September 30, 2017 are eligible for a five-year BOND Participation Period starting the month after they completed their ninth TWP month. All BOND participation ends September 30, 2022.

Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE)

The Department of Education awarded grants to five States (Arkansas, California, Maryland, New York, and Wisconsin) and one consortium of States (Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah) to provide services that will improve outcomes for children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The services are designed to facilitate positive changes in health status, physical and emotional development, education and training, and employment. Project services to enrolled youth started in April 2014. Social Security has been tasked to evaluate the programs, whose services will continue through late 2018. All PROMISE projects provide vocational rehabilitation or employment services and all PROMISE participants in the treatment groups may qualify for protection under Section 301.

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD)

Section 823 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) instructs Social Security to conduct a new five-year demonstration project, the POD, to test a benefit offset. In general, benefits will be offset on a monthly basis $1 for every $2 earned above the greater of the Trial Work Period (TWP) amount ($850 for 2018) or itemized impairment-related work expenses, and the TWP and Extended Period of Eligibility will not apply, for all volunteers that are randomly assigned to a treatment group. There will be two treatment groups. After benefits reach $0 under the offset for 12 consecutive months, the members of one treatment group will remain in suspense and for members of the other treatment group, entitlement will be terminated, but Medicare coverage will continue for 93 months. All volunteers will provide written informed consent to participate and may withdraw from the project at any time. We are conducting the project in parts or all of either states:  Alabama, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, and Vermont.  Recruitment began in January 2018 and is scheduled to continue through December 2018.  Participation in the project, which is voluntary, will end June 2021.

Supported Employment Demonstration (SED)

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. This demonstration project focuses on individuals with mental illness under the age of 50 who applied for SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance disability benefits and received initial denial. SED will enroll 3,000 individuals for  random assignment  to one of two treatment groups or a control group. Social Security awarded a contract to implement and evaluate the SED to Westat, Inc in August 2016.  SED will operate through August 2022. Recruitment started in November 2017.  Eligible individuals are residing within catchment areas of one of 30 community mental health centers (20 urban and 10 rural) distributed across the United States. Participation received services for 36 months.

Current Events

To keep up with the latest developments and get information about local contacts, visit our Internet website at: www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch. 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.