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SSDI Solutions Initiative Commissions Additional Research

For Immediate ReleaseJuly 11, 2018

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is a project dedicated to identifying practical policy changes to improve the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and other programs for people with disabilities.

Today the Initiative is announcing the commissioning of new research that will build upon policy proposals put forth in the Initiative’s 2016 published work, SSDI Solutions.

The papers announced today are:

  • “Auto-Enrollment in Private Group Disability Insurance: Evaluation of Evidence to Date” by Mark F. Meyer; and
  • “Targeting Early Intervention based on Health Care Utilization of SSDI Beneficiaries” by Joyce Manchester

These new papers are in addition to four other works recently commissioned as part of a new phase of the SSDI Solutions Initiative. This new phase will publish works and research detailing how some of the Initiative’s prior policy proposals could be implemented or tested, present new research building on prior proposals, and help set the stage for more comprehensive reform well in advance of the next solvency deadline.

Summaries of all the work commissioned to date as part of this new phase can be found below, as well as on the selected proposals page for the project.

  • “Auto-Enrollment in Private Group Disability Insurance: Evaluation of Evidence to Date” by Mark F. Meyer – This paper will examine the effects of recent state actions allowing employers to auto-enroll employees in private disability insurance plans. Building off his previous proposal with David F. Babbel in SSDI Solutions, the author will investigate how many additional employees participated in private disability insurance plans because of the auto-enrollment feature, the costs and benefits of employers’ implementation of this feature, the motivations of employers to participate, and whether state legislation affirmatively allowing auto-enrollment makes a difference in employers’ willingness to implement it. The author will use industry and case study data to evaluate the topic.
  • “Ensuring Successful Implementation of Community-Based Health & Work Centers” by Jennifer Christian, Thomas Wickizer, and Kim Burton – This paper will serve as a follow up to the author’s SSDI Solutions proposal for Community-Based Health & Work Centers that provide near-immediate assistance to individuals who experience a work-disrupting health episode, which the Department of Labor (DOL) is currently adapting into a demonstration project. The authors will review critical lessons learned from the implementation of similar programs in the United Kingdom and Washington State and present DOL with a series of observations, cautions, and recommendations aimed at ensuring the success of the demonstration.
  • “Lessons Learned - Developing Social Security Disability (SSDI) Reform Demonstrations to Improve Opportunities and Outcomes” by Jason Fichtner and Jason Seligman – There is strong interest in demonstration projects that test potential SSDI reforms, but outside observers agree that past SSDI demonstrations have suffered from substandard design and execution. This research paper will survey past demonstration and pilot projects and identify what works and what doesn’t work. The authors will then discuss how these lessons can be used to help maximize the success of future SSDI demonstrations.
  • “Preliminary Design for an Integrated Employment/Eligibility Services (EES) Demonstration” by David Stapleton, Yonatan Ben-Shalom, and David Mann – This paper will develop a preliminary demonstration design for an Employment/Eligibility Services (EES) system originally proposed by the authors in SSDI Solutions. The central idea of EES is to replace existing SSDI eligibility and return-to-work services with a system in which employment supports are integrated with the eligibility determination process and incentives are realigned to improve return-to-work efforts and reduce SSDI entry. The authors will specify key operational components of a draft demonstration while revising certain design features in order to maximize the likelihood of bipartisan support.
  • “Restructuring SSDI & SSI Administrative Adjudication” by Harold J. Krent – This paper will closely examine the Social Security Disability adjudication system and its strengths and weaknesses. It will then review administrative systems at the state, federal and international levels in an effort to learn from models that have worked more effectively than the SSDI adjudication framework. It will also consider the potential costs and benefits of different reform proposals, such as introducing adversarial hearings or streamlining the appeals process.
  • “Targeting Early Intervention based on Health Care Utilization of SSDI Beneficiaries by State, with Emphasis on Mental Disorder and Opioid Abuse” by Joyce Manchester – This paper will use Medicare Part B fee-for-service claims in 2012 for people under age 65 to examine health care utilization of people on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The author hopes to identify differences in types of care used across states that could help inform the early intervention efforts states should target. The paper will specifically focus on mental health services and services related to opioid abuse to better understand how the opioid crisis is affecting the SSDI population.

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is a project of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

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For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.