Twelve Ideas to Promote Employment for Youth with Disabilities: An Introduction to the SSI Youth Solutions Project

Twelve Ideas to Promote Employment for Youth with Disabilities: An Introduction to the SSI Youth Solutions Project

Published: Jun 02, 2021
Publisher: Mathematica
Associated Project

SSI Youth Solutions

Time frame: 2019 - 2021

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy


Todd Honeycutt

Key Findings
  • Four papers attempt to address the lack of coordination in the transition services landscape by making it easier to provide families with information and share information between service providers.
  • Two papers propose tailored education programs to target misconceptions about working as a person with disability. One of them addresses the lack of knowledge around available employment resources, while the other involves workplace readiness.
  • Five papers consider education programs that provide or expand access to postsecondary education. The papers span diverse strategies for increasing participation in postsecondary education, from training for special educators to direct provision of career and technical education to cash support.
  • One paper argues for a new regulation that allows SSA to delay using substantial gainful activity as an eligibility criterion for adult SSI until age 22.

As an array of supports have been proposed to aid youth receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with their transitions, the federal government is working to systematically identify particularly promising approaches. To generate testable ideas for improving outcomes among youth receiving SSI, the Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor initiated the SSI Youth Solutions project in 2019. The project gathered proposed ideas from 48 subject matter experts for testable program and policy solutions. ODEP and its federal partners reviewed the ideas and selected 12 to create fully developed papers—a process that included input from independent peer reviewers and staff from ODEP and its federal partners. This document briefly introduces the papers developed under the SSI Youth Solutions project. We provide background information on the SSI programs for children and adults and describe the transition landscape for this population. After outlining some of the common challenges experienced by youth receiving SSI and their families, we provide a brief overview of each of the 12 papers, highlighting key features and the challenges they attempt to address.

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