Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: Summary of the Interim Findings

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: Summary of the Interim Findings

Published: Jun 25, 2021
Publisher: Mathematica
Associated Project

Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) Evaluation

Time frame: 2017–2022

Prepared for:

Social Security Administration

Key Findings
  • Beneficiary understanding of current and POD rules is limited. Without understanding the rules, beneficiaries may find it hard to adjust earnings to take advantage of rule simplifications.
  • Nearly one in four treatment group members used the benefit offset, though this often led to overpayments. The average monthly offset amount among offset users was $462.
  • POD had no impact on beneficiary earnings, substantive employment (defined as annual earnings greater than the annual Substantial Gainful Activity amount), SSDI benefit amounts, or income. However, positive impacts among a few employment-related secondary outcomes suggest POD might motivate some beneficiaries to increase work.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) carried out the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) to evaluate a benefit offset rule for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries that reduces benefits by $1 for every $2 earned above a key threshold. POD includes a rigorous evaluation to measure the impacts of the simplified work rules.

This brief summarizes interim findings through the first year of POD’s implementation. We report on beneficiary understanding of work rules, use of the benefit offset, and impacts on earnings, benefit receipt, and income.

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