Evaluation of Initiatives to Improve Adult Outcomes and Employment Opportunities for Young Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

2017-2018
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Young people with disabilities, particularly those who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), face unique challenges as they transition into adulthood. Even with targeted support services, they often fall behind their peers in their educational and economic attainment as adults. This issue points to the need for a stronger evidence base of promising initiatives that can improve employment and other adult outcomes for young SSI recipients.

Through the SSI Youth Recipient and Employment Transition Formative Research project, Mathematica will contribute to this evidence base by identifying:

  • Promising programs and policies for youth receiving SSI, including potential research questions yet to be answered
  • Intervention models or strategies that could be tested for assisting young SSI recipients with the transition to sustained and gainful employment

Resources developed from this project will be informed by input from a panel of experts from federal and state agencies, practitioners, researchers, consumer groups, and other stakeholders, collectively known as the Community of Practice (CoP). With input from the CoP, Mathematica will produce several new resources for policymakers and program practitioners, including:

  • A short synthesis of strategies, models, and definitions related to the employment of young SSI recipients
  • A report that will identify the target population of such interventions
  • A report outlining potential evaluation design options to test innovations for this population
  • A brief description of the CoP and its activities

Issues and topics related to serving young SSI recipients will also be explored through a series of five webinars. Our first webinar, which focused on SSI benefits and benefits counseling services, occurred on January 17, 2018. Our second webinar on June 28, 2018 showcased viable employment services and pre-employment transition services for youth recipients of SSI. Our third webinar on July 31, 2018 highlighted education interventions that engage students, families, and professionals and promote the seamless transition from school to work. The fourth webinar on August 28, 2018 highlighted three projects from the Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) Model Demonstration.