Panel Paper: Early Impacts of Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE)

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8224 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Arif A. Mamun, Mathematica Policy Research

The number of children with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments has been growing rapidly, creating concerns about both the current cost of those payments and the long-term cost of future payments, as the child SSI program is an important pathway to the adult SSI program. PROMISE—Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI—is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to fund and evaluate programs to promote positive changes in the lives of youth ages 14 through 16 who were receiving SSI, and their families. With $229 million awarded by ED to six entities across 11 states, PROMISE programs are providing educational, vocational, and other services to eligible youth and their families, while seeking to make better use of existing resources by improving service coordination among state and local agencies. Using a rigorous randomized controlled methodology, the PROMISE national evaluation team is assessing whether these services were effective in helping youth with disabilities and their families achieve greater independence and economic self-sufficiency.

This presentation will report the findings from the 18-month impact analysis for the six PROMISE programs. The study examines the impacts of PROMISE on outcomes in several domains for youth and their families, including receipt of services, education and training, employment and earnings, youth self-determination, and economic well-being. The study leverages an experimental design under which over 12,000 youth were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. Treatment group youth were eligible to receive PROMISE services, while those in the control group could receive the usual services available in their communities, independent of the PROMISE initiative.

The data on outcomes come from an 18-month follow-up survey and administrative records from SSA, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, and state Medicaid agencies. The survey focused on outcomes such as employment, earnings, education, self-determination, and public program participation. Data from administrative records allowed us to estimate the impacts of PROMISE on vocational rehabilitation service reciept, SSA benefits, earnings reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Medicaid enrollment and expenditures. The early findings reported in this presentation shed light on whether the PROMISE programs were successful in facilitating youth’s and parents’ receipt of more and better transition services and education and training credential as well as in improving their employment and earnings in the short term.