Projects

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) Evaluation

2017–2022

Project Overview

Objective

To test modifications to Social Security Disability Insurance program rules to learn whether they promote employment, reduce dependence on benefits, and lessen administrative complexity.

Project Motivation

As part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Congress directed the Social Security Administration (SSA) to test intervention projects that might enhance the labor force attachment of SSDI beneficiaries.

Partners in Progress

Insight Policy Research

Prepared For

Social Security Administration

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the largest federal program that provides cash supports for qualifying people with disabilities. The Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) tested modifications to SSDI program rules to determine if a benefit offset formula can promote employment, reduce people’s dependence on benefits, and decrease the program’s administrative complexity.
Promoting Opportunity Demonstration

Under current rules, beneficiaries with earnings that exceed substantial gainful activity (SGA) limits can lose all of their benefits. In 2019, the monthly SGA amount for non-blind beneficiaries was $1,220. POD replaced this sudden loss of benefits—often called the “cash cliff”—with a $1 for $2 benefit offset for earnings above either the POD threshold or the beneficiary’s impairment-related work expenses, whichever amount was higher. POD also included modifications for other current rule provisions, such as removing the Trial Work Period.

“Before [POD], I was very concerned about losing my benefits, especially medical coverage, because I knew that my benefit check could potentially disappear…. It worried me that if I were to go out and find a job, and I wasn't able to hold it, I could potentially have lost my benefits. But [in] POD…, it just gave me more peace of mind to look for a job and accept that position.” 

Experience shared by an SSDI beneficiary that volunteered for POD

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Related Staff

David  Wittenburg

David Wittenburg

Senior Fellow

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Martha Kovac

Martha Kovac

Principal Survey Researcher

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Noelle Denny-Brown

Noelle Denny-Brown

Principal Researcher

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Stacy  Dale

Stacy Dale

Principal Researcher

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Denise Hoffman

Denise Hoffman

Principal Researcher

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David Mann

David Mann

Senior Researcher

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Sarah Croake

Sarah Croake

Senior Researcher

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