§ 404.1599. Work incentive experiments and rehabilitation demonstration projects in the disability program.

(a) Authority and purpose. Section 505(a) of the Social Security Disability Amendments of 1980, Pub. L. 96-265, directs the Commissioner to develop and conduct experiments and demonstration projects designed to provide more cost-effective ways of encouraging disabled beneficiaries to return to work and leave benefit rolls. These experiments and demonstration projects will test the advantages and disadvantages of altering certain limitations and conditions that apply to title II disabled beneficiaries. The objective of all work incentive experiments or rehabilitation demonstrations is to determine whether the alternative requirements will save Trust Fund monies or otherwise improve the administration of the disability program established under title II of the Act.

(b) Altering benefit requirements, limitations or conditions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, the Commissioner may waive compliance with the entitlement and payment requirements for disabled beneficiaries to carry our experiments and demonstration projects in the title II disability program. The projects involve altering certain limitations and conditions that currently apply to applicants and beneficiaries to test their effect on the program.

(c) Applicability and scope—(1) Participants and nonparticipants. If you are selected to participate in an experiment or demonstration project, we may temporarily set aside one or more of the current benefit entitlement or payment requirements, limitations or conditions and apply alternative provisions to you. We may also modify current methods of administering the Act as part of a project and apply alternative procedures or policies to you. The alternative provisions or methods of administration used in the projects will not disadvantage you in contrast to current provisions, procedures or policies. If you are not selected to participate in the experiments or demonstration projects (or if you are placed in a control group which is not subject to alternative requirements and methods) we will continue to apply to you the current benefit entitlement and payment requirements, limitations and conditions and methods of administration in the title II disability program.

(2) Alternative provisions or methods of administration. The alternative provisions or methods of administration that apply to you in an experiment or demonstration project may include (but are not limited to) one or more of the following:

(i) Reducing your benefits (instead of not paying) on the basis of the amount of your earnings in excess of the SGA amount;

(ii) Extending your benefit eligibility period that follows 9 months of trial work, perhaps coupled with benefit reductions related to your earnings;

(iii) Extending your Medicare benefits if you are severely impaired and return to work even though you may not be entitled to monthly cash benefits;

(iv) Altering the 24-month waiting period for Medicare entitlement; and

(v) Stimulating new forms of rehabilitation.

(d) Selection of participants. We will select a probability sample of participants for the work incentive experiments and demonstration projects from newly awarded beneficiaries who meet certain pre-selection criteria (for example, individuals who are likely to be able to do substantial work despite continuing severe impairments). These criteria are designed to provide larger subsamples of beneficiaries who are not likely either to recover medically or die. Participants may also be selected from persons who have been receiving DI benefits for 6 months or more at the time of selection.

(e) Duration of experiments and demonstration projects. A notice describing each experiment or demonstration project will be published in the Federal Register before each experiment or project is placed in operation. The work incentive experiments and rehabilitation demonstrations will be activated in 1982. A final report on the results of the experiments and projects is to be completed and transmitted to Congress by June 9, 1993. However, the authority for the experiments and demonstration projects will not terminate at that time. Some of the alternative provisions or methods of administration may continue to apply to participants in an experiment or demonstration project beyond that date in order to assure the validity of the research. Each experiment and demonstration project will have a termination date (up to 10 years from the start of the experiment or demonstration project).

[48 FR 7575, Feb. 23, 1983, as amended at 52 FR 37605, Oct. 8, 1987; 55 FR 51687, Dec. 17, 1990; 62 FR 38451, July 18, 1997]