Mathematica Policy Research Inc.    [Disclaimer] has completed the following report as part of the Ticket to Work Evaluation.

Work Activity and Use of Employment Supports under the Original Ticket to Work Regulations

Papers from the Fifth Evaluation Report

“Highlights of the Fifth Ticket to Work Evaluation Report,” Final Report

December 2010

In this summary, we present the key findings from nine studies in the fifth evaluation report conducted in 2009–2010.  These studies update and fill gaps in knowledge about the work activities of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries and the challenges they face in returning to work at levels that lead to exit from the disability rolls.  They focus on the employment efforts of working-age (age 18 to full retirement age) SSI and DI beneficiaries and the social security program features designed to encourage and facilitate beneficiary employment.  Three of these reports specifically concern Ticket to Work (TTW) participants and program issues, while the other six are studies on more general topics related to beneficiary employment and social security work supports other than TTW.  Collectively, these nine studies constitute the fifth report of the Ticket to Work program evaluation.

“Process Evaluation of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Program,” Final Report.

February 2009

This report examines the initial period of Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program implementation.  We focus on three objectives.  First, the evaluation captures stakeholder experiences with the program during start-up.  Second, it identifies early opportunities for improvement so the program can implement changes quickly and before they become institutionalized.  Third, it informs future program data collection, evaluations, and outcomes analyses, ensuring that we base such activities upon an accurate understanding of program operations.  This report focuses first on the early WIPA rollout through the fall of 2007 and the transition of the program from the Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach (BPAO) program—the WIPA program’s predecessor—to WIPA.  It then examines WIPA program implementation as of fall 2008, how WIPA projects provide services to beneficiaries, partnerships with community agencies, data collection, and the training and technical assistance WIPA staff receive.

This is the first of three planned reports from our evaluation of the WIPA program.

“Characteristics, Employment, and Sources of Support among Working-Age SSI and DI Beneficiaries," Final Report.

April 2009

In this paper, we provide findings from the 2006 National Beneficiary Survey (NBS).  It updates earlier findings, and provides more in-depth analyses on non-social security sources of income, health insurance coverage, the characteristics of employed beneficiaries, and the reasons working beneficiaries leave employment.  We also present new findings in two important areas: how work and work expectations by beneficiaries have changed over the three annual NBS surveys and the wages beneficiaries would expect to earn if they did go to work (known as the “reservation wage”).

“Participation in Ticket to Work Continues to Grow but Assignments under the Traditional Payment System Still Dominate," Final Report.

September 2009

In this paper, we provide findings on TTW participation through December 2006.  The report shows that the TTW participation rate in Phase 1 states had risen to 2.2 percent, up from 1.8 percent 12 months earlier.  Much of this paper confirms earlier participation findings, but the paper also includes new information indicating that TTW has created a more substantial change to the market for employment services in some areas, and among some groups of beneficiaries.

“2006 National Beneficiary Survey: Methodology and Descriptive Statistics," Final Report.

October 2009

In this paper, we provide a description of the sampling design and the data collection activities for Round 3 (2006) of the Social Security Administration (SSA) National Beneficiary Survey (NBS).  The NBS collects data from a national sample of working-age (age 18 to 64) DI and SSI beneficiaries and a sample of TTW participants.  We have completed three rounds of the NBS, in 2004, 2005, and 2006.  In this paper, we update the descriptive statistics from the appendices to earlier TTW evaluation reports.  It does not include analysis, but rather is a data resource to support the analyses conducted in other papers for the fifth report and for general information about social security beneficiaries with disabilities.

“SSI and DI Beneficiaries with Work-Related Goals and Expectations,” Final Report.

October 2009

Previous TTW evaluation reports used the National Beneficiary Survey (NBS) to identify “work-oriented” beneficiaries who have engaged in recent employment-related activities and those who have goals and expectations that include work. In this paper, we examine these work-oriented beneficiaries to see how they differ from other beneficiaries and whether there are important differences across the SSI and DI programs. Of particular interest, these work-oriented beneficiaries told us in 2004 that they “saw themselves” working and/or leaving social security benefits in the near future. We therefore use agency administrative data to look at how successful these work-oriented beneficiaries were at reaching employment and benefit-termination outcomes through 2007, the three years following their interview in the 2004 NBS.

We have summarized the major findings of this paper in a disability policy brief, “Work-Oriented Social Security Disability Beneficiaries: Characteristics and Employment-Related Activities.”

“Benefits Planning, Assistance, and Outreach (BPAO) Service User Characteristics and Use of Work Incentives,” Final Report.

May 2010

In this paper, we examine the characteristics and use of work incentives of beneficiaries who used Benefits Planning, Assistance, and Outreach (BPAO) services from 2001-2005. In this analysis, we matched BPAO program data to our agency administrative data to look at the characteristics of BPAO users, the type of BPAO services they received, their use of our work incentive provisions and the likelihood of them leaving the rolls during the year of and three years after initial receipt of BPAO services. In 2006, the agency replaced the BPAO program with the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program. This analysis of the BPAO program thus provides information for comparison to WIPA program that replaced it.

“Longitudinal Statistics for New Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries,” Final Report.

December 2010

In this paper, we examine the extent to which new Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries return to work and use DI work incentives in the ten years after they begin receiving SSDI benefits. For this analysis, we use our administrative data on SSDI beneficiaries who began receiving benefits in 1996 and follow them through 2006. It tracks all employment related activity over the decade, including use of employment services, employment while on SSDI benefits, use of the Trial Work Period incentive program, suspense of SSDI cash benefits, termination of SSDI cash benefits, and return to SSDI cash benefits after termination. The period of our analysis precedes the implementation of the new TTW regulations instituted in July 2008 and therefore reflects experiences under the original TTW rules as well as prior to TTW.

We have summarized the major findings of this paper in a disability policy brief, “How Many SSDI Beneficiaries Leave the Rolls for Work? More Than You Might Think.”

“Time That Beneficiaries Spend Off the Rolls Due to Work and the Payments Generated for Employment Networks (ENs),” Final Report.

December 2010

In this paper, we examine the extent to which Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries had their benefits suspended or terminated because of earnings during the period 2002 to 2006 (before the 2008 changes in the Ticket to Work [TTW] regulations). We examine the duration of these suspension and termination spells and compare time in suspense or termination status due to work for both TTW participants and non-participants. We also consider the extent to which TTW participants generated payments for Employment Networks under two of the three TTW payment systems: Milestone-Outcome and Outcome-Only. We do not examine payments to state vocational rehabilitation agencies under the traditional payment system agencies, but we do study the experiences of beneficiaries who assign their Tickets under the traditional system.

We have summarized the major findings of this paper in a disability policy brief, “How Many Disability Beneficiaries Forgo Cash Benefits Because of Work? Evidence from a New Measure.”

“Longitudinal Experiences of an Early Cohort of Ticket to Work Participants,” Final Report.

May 2010

In this paper, we present findings of an analysis of the longitudinal experiences of a group of Ticket to Work (TTW) participants who enrolled in the program during the first 18 months of its implementation. Using data from the 2004-2006 National Beneficiary Surveys matched to our administrative data, the report follows an early cohort of Phase 1 TTW participants for approximately three years to assess changes in their service use, health status, employment, and income sources. The period is prior to the implementation of the new TTW program regulations in July 2008, and so reflects experiences under the original TTW rules.