National Beneficiary Survey

Prepared for
Social Security Administration
graphic with word survey under a magnifying glass

The National Beneficiary Survey (NBS), sponsored by the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, collects data on the employment-related activities of working-age beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Mathematica has conducted six rounds of the survey since the NBS began in 2004, and we will implement a seventh round in 2019. The first four rounds of the survey—in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010—helped glean information about beneficiary impairments; health; living arrangements; family structure; occupation before disability; and use of non-SSA programs (for example, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). Rounds 1–4 also evaluated the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program. In Rounds 5–7, we seek to uncover important information about the factors that promote beneficiary self-sufficiency and, conversely, the factors that impede beneficiary efforts to maintain employment.

Surveys for Rounds 5, 6, and 7 address five major questions:

  1. What are the work-related goals and activities of SSI and SSDI beneficiaries, particularly as they relate to long-term employment?
  2. What are the short-term and long-term employment outcomes for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries who work?
  3. What supports help SSA beneficiaries with disabilities find and keep jobs and what barriers to work do they encounter?
  4. What are the characteristics and experiences of beneficiaries who work?
  5. What health-related factors, job-related factors, and personal circumstances hinder or promote employment and self-sufficiency?

SSA will combine data from the NBS with SSA administrative data to provide critical information on access to jobs and employment outcomes for beneficiaries. As a result, SSA and external researchers who are interested in disability and employment issues may use the survey data for policymaking and program planning efforts.

Read the case study.