Social Security Administration
Extending a long tradition of being at the forefront of studying disability policy issues at the national level, Mathematica subcontracted with MDRC to evaluate the Accelerated Benefits Demonstration for the Social Security Administration (SSA). This demonstration tested the efficacy of providing immediate medical benefits to SSDI beneficiaries. Under current law, these beneficiaries must wait 24 months before becoming eligible for Medicare. During this time, a beneficiary's health may deteriorate for a number of reasons—including the natural progression of a medical condition, lack of access to medical care, and physical inactivity. Our team examined the effects of providing earlier access to health insurance coverage on several outcomes, including a beneficiary’s health, medical expenditures, employment, earnings, and continued participation in SSDI. The study included rigorous evaluation using random assignment, extensive process analysis to track project implementation and fidelity to program models, and cost-benefit analyses to help SSA decide whether to offer accelerated access to health insurance on a wider basis.
Mathematica provided technical assistance in developing the intervention. We also conducted a baseline interview to enroll participants in the demonstration and two follow-up interviews to measure changes in health and employment outcomes, as well as providing assistance in all aspects of the evaluation, including the impact, process, and cost-benefit analysis.
Evidence & Insights From This Project
The Accelerated Benefits Demonstration and Evaluation Project: Impacts on Health and Employment at Twelve Months
This final report of the Accelerated Benefits (AB) Demonstration found that participants made extensive use of program services, AB health care benefits increased health care use and reduced reported unmet medical needs, and AB Plus services encouraged people to look for work but did not increase employment levels in the first year.Learn More
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