SSI and DI Beneficiaries with Work-Related Goals and Expectations
In this report we present findings of an in-depth analysis of working-age Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries who report having work goals and/or expectations. We refer to these individuals as “work-oriented” beneficiaries. Using data from the 2004 National Beneficiary Survey (NBS), we classify working-age SSI and DI beneficiaries by their work-orientation status and analyze their characteristics, service use patterns, awareness of Social Security Administration (SSA) work supports, and employment expectations. We also used four years (2004 – 2007) of SSA administrative data matched to the 2004 NBS to analyze the use of selected SSA work incentives and employment activity during the year including and three years following the 2004 NBS interview.
Because the period of our analysis precedes SSA’s implementation of new Ticket to Work (TTW) regulations (instituted July 2008), the report reflects experiences under the original TTW rules. We found that beneficiary work and work preparation activities were highly concentrated among the 40 percent of those classified as work-oriented. Relative to other beneficiaries, work-oriented beneficiaries were younger, had more education, had been on the disability rolls a shorter time for their most recent period of entitlement, had lower levels of non-SSA benefits and income from assistance programs, and reported being in better health. Just over half of this group were employed or engaged in work preparation activities around the time they were interviewed in 2004. Service use patterns and reported reasons for not working differed in many respects between beneficiaries who were work-oriented and those who were not. The same was true among work-oriented beneficiaries according to their program status. About half of all work-oriented beneficiaries were employed at some point during the 2004-2007 period, and of those who worked, about half did so in all four years. Although many were working, relatively few work-oriented beneficiaries used SSA work supports for which they were eligible during these four years. Just 10 percent left the disability rolls due to earnings for at least one month during this period. Although the administrative data suggest that many work-oriented beneficiaries fell short of their reported employment expectations, the findings suggest that most are actively attempting to work and many have experienced some success.
This is the fifth in a series of reports that make up the fifth Ticket to Work evaluation report.