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BOND Stage 1 First Interim Process, Participation, and Impact Report


March 20, 2017

As part of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, Congress directed the Social Security Administration (SSA) to test alternative Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) work rules designed to increase the incentive for SSDI beneficiaries to work and reduce their reliance on benefits. In response, SSA has undertaken the Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND), a random assignment test of variants of SSDI program rules governing work and other supports. BOND incorporates a $1 for $2 benefit offset that allows beneficiaries to retain more of their monthly cash benefit while working.

The BOND project includes two stages. Stage 1 supports an evaluation of how a national $1 for $2 benefit offset would affect earnings and program outcomes for the entire SSDI population. In contrast, Stage 2 supports a more in-depth evaluation of impacts on those beneficiaries more likely to use the offset (recruited and informed volunteers) and an investigation of the degree to which enhanced counseling services—focused on work incentives—affect impacts.

This report, the first of two Stage 1 Interim Process, Participation, and Impact Reports, uses several data sources to document findings from Stage 1. The report tracks process and participation findings using a combination of service-use data and interviews with BOND subjects to document events through 2015. It also includes a review of the administrative processes associated with implementing the offset and related outcomes, such as overpayments following a retroactive benefit adjustment, based on administrative data and interviews with staff involved in these activities. An impact analysis compares outcomes for all Stage 1 treatment subjects (T1 subjects) with those for all Stage 1 control subjects (C1 subjects), using administrative data through 2014 and a 2014 survey of random samples of T1 and C1 subjects, to determine if the BOND intervention affects SSDI benefits, earnings, and other outcomes in 2014, the most recent year with data.