Secretaries' Innovation Group

Conference Materials: Disability

**To view power point presentations and supporting materials, click on * bold, underlined title.

Reducing the Negative Effects of Disability Benefits on Labor Force Participation - June 2018

​* Helping People Facing Obstacles
   Grant Collins, Senior Vice President, Fedcap
Opportunities for States to Help Workers with Medical Conditions Keep Their Jobs
   Dave Stapleton, Senior Fellow, Mathematica

  • Fundamentally, the disability program is projected to run out of funds because it has evolved away from its original design. The number of disabled beneficiaries has increased from around 1.5 million in 1970 to 8.8 million in 2016, driven by changing legal and societal standards.  Loosening criteria for assessing severity of pain as well as mental illness has increased eligibility. During periods of slow economic growth, applications for disability benefits surge, but they have not fallen back to earlier levels during subsequent expansions.   
  • State vocational programs have been largely left out of efforts to help keep workers inside the labor force.  Yet a seventeen year old program in NYC has been conducting independent medical assessments for TANF recipients who claim health issues and has redirected tens of thousands of recipients into jobs and vocational rehabilitation.  Separately, an innovative Workers’ Comp program operating in Washington State has significantly reduced claimants’ period out of work after a health shock.   

Stay at Home and Return to Work - December 2017

Stay at Work/Return to Work: Innovative Approaches for Maintaining a Strong State Workforce

   Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability and Employment Policy, Department of Labor

  • Is work good for your health?   With national rates of disability sharply increasing, enrollment in federal disability programs e.g. SSI and SSDI  is often associated with decline in recipients’ well-being - - physical health, mental health, substance abuse and family conflict.   It is essential that public policies favor staying at work upon the onset of a health problem, and that those who leave work temporarily return as soon as possible before their absence leads to permanent withdrawal from the labor force.   DOL has funds available for state experimentation.

The Positive Health Effects of Work: Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed Despite Medical Conditions - July 2017

Loss of Livelihood Is a Devastating Health Outcome
   Dr. Jennifer Christian, Webility Corporation

  • The likelihood that an individual will return to employment and close his or her disability case after enrolling in SSDI or SSI is under five percent over their lifetime. Research shows the loss of one’s livelihood is a devastating health outcome.  This session will shed light on the process by which jobs and livelihoods are lost – and the harm it creates. Part of the solution is to “upstream” private sector programs and interventions before deterioration leads to permanent disability. The cost-benefit numbers reveal under current national policies there is a misalignment between the economic interests of workers, government, and private sector employers.  A better solution will be proposed.   

Disability state demonstrations - November 2016​         

PROMISE (Promoting the Readiness Of Minors In Supplemental Security IncomE)     

   Ellie Hartman, Promise Grant Project Manager, Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

  • Wisconsin has enrolled over a thousand high school students receiving SSI into a program of work readiness and work experience to help merge them into employment upon graduation. The pilot, in its third year, is being evaluated using experimental design.   How is it going and what lessons can be learned so far?  

Disability - November 2015

Disability: Inherent Problems, Practical Solutions and Action for Reform
   Richard Burkhauser, Professor, Cornell University
Listen: NPR Disability Program 30 minute segment

  • Rapid growth threatens to undermine large swaths of working adults.  The welfare population is migrating to SSI and its more generous benefits and no work requirements.   SIG calls for federal changes and state experimentation.

February 2015
DC Disability Event February 2015

November 2014

Better Off Working
   Maura Corrigan, Director, Department of Human Services
Disability Considerations for Reform
   Jason Turner, Executive Director, Secretaries' Innovation Group

  • Disability and Michigan’s Better Off Working proposals to Ways and Means

New York City and Helping TANF Recipients Adopt a Life of Work Over Disability
   Grant Collins, Senior Vice President, Workforce Development and Executive Director of Fedcap

  • Independent medical evaluation combined with vocational intervention to keep TANF adults in the labor force, rather than to SSI.

December 2013
DC Disability Event December 2013
Disability - August 2013

* Listen: Trends with Benefits condensed version (This American Life)
   Chana Joffe-Walt, Reporter, National Public Radio
The Social Security Disability Determination Process
   Pam Mazerski, Mazek and Associates
How to Create or Avert Needless Work Disability: Implications of New Models for Practice, Policy & Research
   Jennifer Christian, MD, President and Chief Medical Officer, Webility Corporation
Intervention Strategies for Individuals Receiving Disability Cash Benefits
   Michael Greco, Administrator, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Development
   Lea Collin-Worachek, Workforce Development Area Director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Development
PRIDE: A Model for Wellness and Employment
   Marcia Salovitz, Consultant, New York City Department of Homeless Services

April 2013
​         DC Disability Event April 2013