Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: Interim Evaluation Report

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: Interim Evaluation Report

Published: Apr 16, 2021
Publisher: Mathematica
Associated Project

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) Implementation and Evaluation

Time frame: 2017–2021

Prepared for:

Social Security Administration


Arif Mamun

Rebecca Coughlin

Heather Gordon

Rachel Holzwart

Brittany McGill

Aleksandra Wec

Congress directed the Social Security Administration (SSA) to carry out the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD). POD’s motivation is to simplify the complexities of the work rules for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

Under current rules, beneficiaries with earnings exceeding certain levels can lose their entire benefit. POD replaced this sudden loss of benefits—often called the cash cliff—with a $1 for $2 benefit offset for earnings above the higher of the POD threshold or the beneficiary’s impairment related work expenses.

The POD evaluation is a randomized controlled trial. Enrollees were randomly assigned to either a control group or one of two treatment groups. Control group members are subject to current rules, whereas treatment group members are subject to POD rules and counseling services. From January 2018 to January 2019, there were 10,070 working-age SSDI beneficiaries voluntarily enrolled in POD.

This report presents interim process, participation, and impact findings for POD through 2019—the first year after enrollment activities were completed. We organized the analyses around five research questions.

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