CSDP Forum: Improving Employment Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities

May 12, 2015
Washington, DC, and Online

The cost of federal disability benefits for teenagers and young adults is substantial. In 2013, 1,156,000 individuals from ages 13 to 25 received $8.7 billion in Supplemental Security Income benefits. These young people face distinct challenges in transitioning to work and economic self-sufficiency. To help them overcome these challenges, the Social Security Administration sponsored the Youth Transition Demonstration from 2003 to 2012. Promising interventions to help navigate the transition to work were developed and tested. The interventions featured employment and education counseling, job placement services, benefits counseling, and financial planning.

The demonstration also included financial incentives to encourage young people to continue working. Certain SSA disability program rules were waived to let participants keep more of their benefits as their earnings increased.

Mathematica evaluated the implementation and impact of six demonstration projects. At the three-year follow-up, we found that three of the projects helped young people find work and achieve other positive outcomes.

Our speakers discussed:

  • Three-year follow-up data on the six projects and their impact on participant employment, earnings, and other outcomes
  • The Broadened Horizons, Brighter Futures project in Miami-Dade County, which improved more outcomes than any of the other five evaluated projects did
  • An analysis of the effect of early work experience on later paid employment for youth ages 18 to 20 who have disabilities 

The speakers included:

  • Arif Mamun, Mathematica
  • Kelli Crane, TransCen, Inc.
  • Lori Timmins, Mathematica
  • Jamie Kendall, Administration on Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

For more information, please contact disabilityforums@mathematica-mpr.com.