Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: Description of Overpayments and Stakeholder Experiences

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: Description of Overpayments and Stakeholder Experiences

Published: Mar 18, 2022
Publisher: Mathematica
Associated Project

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) Evaluation

Time frame: 2017–2022

Prepared for:

Social Security Administration

Key Findings
  • Beneficiaries experienced more frequent but smaller overpayments under POD compared to current rules.
  • The prevalence of overpayments was higher for treatment group members compared to control group members (17 percent versus 6 percent).
  • Among enrollees with an identified overpayment, the average monthly overpayment amount was $316 among treatment group members compared to $1,173 among control group members.
  • During interviews, POD treatment group members noted not expecting overpayments and sought support from their POD counselors.

The Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) tests modifications to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program rules and is intended to promote the labor force attachment of SSDI beneficiaries. Under current rules, beneficiaries with earnings that exceed substantial gainful activity (SGA) limits are generally not entitled to receive cash benefits. POD replaced this loss of benefits 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.

These modifications have implications for the prevalence and size of beneficiary overpayments. A work-related overpayment occurs when the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues benefits to a beneficiary who is not entitled to them on the basis of their work activity. Work-related overpayments in the SSDI program create financial challenges for beneficiaries (when repaying overpayments) and administrative challenges in collecting repayments.

This brief examines how POD treatment and control group members experienced overpayments.

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