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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4305.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 5:24 PM

Abstract #114675

Do benefits counseling and employment supports boost employment for SSI recipients with psychiatric illness? Results from a large-scale randomized demonstration

Deborah N. Peikes, PhD, MPA, Mathematica Policy Research, 600 Alexander Park, Princeton, NJ 08540, 609 750-2005, dpeikes@mathematica-mpr.com

This paper presents estimates of the impacts of New York Works, a project funded by the Social Security Administration as part of the State Partnership Initiative, on a randomized sample of 5,809 working-age SSI recipients with mental illness. NY Works randomized individuals to three conditions: (1) a control group who received usual care, (2) a treatment group who received benefits counseling, and (3) another treatment group who received benefits counseling and employment supports. Methods. The results are based on an intent-to-treat design, where all observations are included in the analysis whether or not they participated in the treatment to which they were assigned (approximately one-third of people in the treatment groups participated). Impacts are estimated using a difference-in-difference approach to control for any fixed, pre-existing differences between the treatment and control groups. We find that benefits counseling alone had no effect on employment rates. In one site, it appears to have reduced earnings, while in the other site it had no effect on earnings. The second intervention tested--benefits counseling with employment supports-- increased employment rates substantially. Among participants, the employment rate increased by 16.5 percentage points, and is driven by the treatment group's ability to maintain employment while the control group's employment rate decreased over time. Despite increasing the employment rate, the intervention had no effect on overall earnings, but appears to have increased earnings among the subgroup who was previously unemployed in one site.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Disability Policy, Mental Illness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

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The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA