Evaluation of the Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income PROMISE Grants

Prepared For

Social Security Administration


Youth with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) face substantial barriers to economic independence in transitioning to adult life. The barriers are related to their health status, social isolation, service needs, and potential loss of disability benefits. As a result, the education and employment outcomes for youth SSI recipients are frequently less favorable than those for their peers without disabilities, leading to greater dependence on public programs and poorer overall economic well-being as adults.

Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE)—is a joint initiative of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services, and Labor. PROMISE sought to address many of the barriers to economic independence faced by youth SSI recipients and their families. As the lead agency for the demonstration, ED funded six model demonstration projects to promote positive changes in education and employment outcomes for the target population. To achieve these outcomes, the PROMISE projects provided innovative educational, vocational, and other services to youth and their families. The projects also made better use of existing resources by improving service coordination among state and local agencies. Youth SSI recipients age 14 to 16 were eligible to enroll in the PROMISE study.

ED provided total funding of approximately $230 million to the following six states or group of states to implement PROMISE projects over a five- to six-year period starting October 2013:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Wisconsin
  • The six-state ASPIRE consortium: Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah

SSA contracted with Mathematica to evaluate the demonstration. The evaluation, which is based on an experimental research design, addresses whether providing services and supports to SSI children ages 14 through 16 and their families results in better education and employment outcomes. Mathematica will conduct the national evaluation over a nine-year period, from October 2013 through September 2022.

The evaluation has documented how each state implemented PROMISE; implementation challenges and successes; PROMISE service delivery outcomes; the impacts of PROMISE on youth and family service use, employment, and other outcomes as of 18 months and five years after their enrollment in PROMISE; and an exploration of a number of special topics related to PROMISE and youth transitions.

Links to key PROMISE evaluation publications are below.

PROMISE evaluation design report:

Process analysis reports for each PROMISE project:

Interim (18-month) impact study:

Five-year impact and benefit-cost study:

Lessons learned from the PROMISE evaluation:

Additional reports and articles:

Data collection plans and supporting documents:


Related Staff

Thomas Fraker

Thomas Fraker

Senior Fellow Emeritus

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Karen  CyBulski

Karen CyBulski

Principal Survey Researcher

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Gina Livermore

Gina Livermore

Senior Fellow; Director, Center for Studying Disability Policy

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Holly Matulewicz

Holly Matulewicz

Principal Survey Researcher

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Jacqueline Kauff

Jacqueline Kauff

Principal Researcher       

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