Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) Evaluation

2018–2023
Prepared for
Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor are leading a demonstration called Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN). RETAIN will test promising early intervention approaches to improve the labor force participation and retention of people with recently acquired injuries and disabilities. The U.S. Department of Labor is funding the intervention approaches and programmatic technical assistance for the demonstration. The Social Security Administration is funding evaluation support for the demonstration, including evaluation-related technical assistance and the full evaluation.

The Social Security Administration has contracted with Mathematica to provide evaluation support for two phases of the project. In Phase 1, the U.S. Department of Labor will fund the implementation and program assistance for cooperative agreements in eight states to conduct planning and start-up activities, including the launch of a small pilot demonstration. In Phase 1, Mathematica will provide evaluation technical assistance and an evaluability assessment to assess the potential for state projects to conduct a full evaluation in Phase 2. In Phase 2, the U.S. Department of Labor will fund the operations and program technical assistance activities for the states recommended in Phase 1, and the Social Security Administration will fund the full set of evaluation activities. In Phase 2, Mathematica will lead a full evaluation of the selected states, an evaluation that includes a participation analysis, process analysis, impact analysis, and benefit-cost analysis. Mathematica will tailor the specific evaluation design for each state. The evaluations will draw on data collected from a baseline survey, three rounds of site visits, in-depth interviews with a small number of workers, two follow-up surveys with larger samples of workers (2 and 12 months after study intake), two follow-up surveys with providers (aligned with the worker survey timing), Social Security Administrative records on program participation and employment, and administrative data on services and costs from each state.