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Disability Policy Research Forum Archives: 2012

SSA's Disability Programs: New Findings on the Dynamics of Employment and Health
December 6, 2012

Presentation: Webinar recording
PowerPoint presentation (PDF)
Issue brief: "The Work Experiences of New SSI Beneficiaries: A Longitudinal Perspective"


Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Researcher, Mathematica
Jeffrey Hemmeter, Office of Program Development and Research, Social Security Administration
Shelley Stegman, Office of Program Development and Research, Social Security Administration
Craig Thornton, Senior Vice President, Managing Director of the Health Research Division, Mathematica (Discussant)

Speaker bios

Overview: Some 14 million non-elderly adults received Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) benefits in September 2012. This forum presented new findings on the extent to which these adults leave the rolls, and remain off, because they found work or recovered from a medical condition. Topics included:

  • New analyses of longitudinal statistics for SSI awardees that highlight their employment,
    use of work incentives, and months without benefit payments after they give them up because of work, for up to 11 years after entry
  • Return to the SSD or SSI rolls following benefit termination due to medical improvement
  • New findings on the impacts of providing health insurance during the Medicare waiting period, based on SSA's Accelerated Benefits Plus program

Obstacles and Opportunities: The U.S. Economy, State VR Programs, and SSDI Beneficiaries
October 4, 2012

Presentation: Webinar recording
Transcript (PDF)
PowerPoint presentation (PDF)



Gina Livermore, Senior Researcher, Mathematica
Todd Honeycutt, Researcher, Mathematica
Frank Martin, Researcher, Mathematica
Jack Smalligan, Chief, Income Maintenance Branch, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President (Discussant)

Speaker bios
Overview: The economic fortunes of working-age people with disabilities have been declining relative to those of others for several decades, and the recent recession accelerated that decline. Among adults age 18 to 64, only a third of people with disabilities are employed, compared to nearly 73 percent of their counterparts without disabilities.

This forum presented new findings on the employment and program participation of people with disabilities. Topics included:
  • The employment experiences of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries before and after the Great Recession, based on statistics from the Current Population Survey and from the 2006 and 2010 National Beneficiary Surveys
  • The impact of long wait times at state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies on the employment-related outcomes of SSDI beneficiaries, based on VR administrative records matched to records from the Social Security Administration
  • The extent to which state VR agencies serve clients who are en route to SSDI entry

Coordinating Care and Services for Dual Eligibles: Bringing Medicare and Medicaid Together for People with High Needs and High Costs
June 28, 2012

Presentation: Webinar recording
PowerPoint presentation (PDF)
Speakers: Randy Brown, Vice President and Director of Health Research, Mathematica
Jim Verdier, Senior Fellow, Mathematica
Melanie Au, Researcher, Mathematica
Lindsay Barnette, Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office (Discussant)
Overview: Over 9.1 million older Americans and younger persons with disabilities are covered for health care services under both Medicare and Medicaid. These Medicare-Medicaid enrollees ("dual eligibles") tend to be among the poorest and highest-need beneficiaries in both programs, and their care needs account for a disproportionate source of spending across both programs.

This policy forum presented data highlighting key characteristics of dual eligibles and examined the policy, programmatic, and financial challenges associated with meeting their care needs most effectively. The panel also highlighted approaches that more than half of the states are taking to better integrate care for dual eligibles via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' State Demonstrations to Integrate Care for Dual Eligible Individuals and its Financial Alignment Initiative. These federal demonstration programs seeks to reduce costs and more effectively integrate care of dual Medicare-Medicaid enrollees by increasing access to, while eliminating duplication of, services across the two programs.

The forum highlighted:
  • Key characteristics of the dual-eligible population
  • Medical and financial barriers to adequately serving this population under current law and regulations
  • State-level approaches and innovations to efficiently coordinate care of the dually enrolled
  • Evidence on the effectiveness of these new approaches, as well as areas for continued research

The Future for Young Americans with Disabilities: Economic Success or Dependence?
May 16, 2012

Presentation: Webinar recording
PowerPoint presentation (PDF)
Speakers: Todd Honeycutt, Researcher,Mathematica
Bonnie O’Day,
Senior Researcher, Mathematica
Crystal Blyler, Senior Researcher, Mathematica
Charlie Lakin, Director, NIDRR, Discussant
Overview: The public cost of providing support to youth and young adults is considerable. In 2009, more than 1.2 million young people age 13 to 25 with disabilities received approximately $8.5 billion in Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, and most receive benefits from other programs as well—notably Medicaid and/or Medicare.  As these and other young adults with disabilities transition into adulthood, they face a host of challenges that can affect their future well-being. Notably, access to services and supports can be altered because of program eligibility rule changes at age 18, and they encounter a fragmented support system primarily designed to support those who are unable to work. 

Forum participants discussed:

  • A disability framework to identify, compare, and contrast youth and young adults with disabilities
  • Results from qualitative research highlighting barriers to economic independence as young people transition to adulthood
  • Findings from a new synthesis of outcomes for youth and young adults with psychiatric conditions in supported employment programs

Causes of the Chasm: Factors that Impact Employment Among Persons with Disabilities
March 15, 2012

Presentation: Webinar recording
PowerPoint presentation
Speakers: John O'Neill, Professor, Hunter College
David Vandergoot, President, Center for Essential Management Services
Purvi Sevak, Associate Professor, Hunter College
Frank Martin, Researcher, Mathematica
Overview: Approximately 17.5 million working-age people in the United States live with a disability. Just 33 percent of these individuals are employed, compared with 73 percent of those with no disability. Underlying this persistent gap is a wide range of employment rates by disability type and demographic characteristics, but little is systematically understood about which groups have fared relatively well and why. The variation of employment outcomes across subgroups represents an opportunity to identify the factors that may reduce the employment gap and help facilitate the development of more effective policies, programs, and services. The Individual Characteristics Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, has synthesized the recent literature to examine what is known about the individual characteristics that are facilitators or barriers to employment for those with disabilities, and to clarify where further research is needed.

The Transition to 21st-Century Disability Policy in an Era of Fiscal Austerity: A Road Map
January 20, 2012

Presentation: Webinar recording
PowerPoint presentation (PDF)
Related issue brief: "A Roadmap to a 21st-Century Disability Policy" (January 2012)
Speakers: Bonnie O'Day, Senior Researcher, Mathematica
David Mann, Researcher, Mathematica
David Stapleton, Director, Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica
Kelly Buckland, Executive Director, National Council on Independent Living
Overview: The current support system for working-age people with disabilities is failing to meet the economic aspirations of this population and driving up governmental expenditures for their support. Drawing on years of research, the speakers will review the failings of current policy and then discuss an approach to major structural reforms that could improve the economic status of people with disabilities, while reducing growth in government expenditures for their support. They will call for a demonstration period to build the evidence base and political consensus needed to support major structural change. This proposal could be incorporated into an effort to address the nation's long-term fiscal problems while protecting those relying on existing programs in the short term.