Identification Number:
EM-21043 REV
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/OCO-CSTs/OHO/OARO
Originating Office:ORDP ORDES
Title:Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) beneficiary participation Ended 06/30/2021
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI)
Link To Reference:See Reference at the end of this EM.
Retention Date: Oct 07, 2023

Summary of Changes:

This EM replaces a prior updated version issued on June 21, 2021 and provides an update to processing procedures related to beneficiary POD participation.

Section C: Updated to advise the POD call center line has been decommissioned and to not advice former POD participants to contact the call center or their former counselors. The update also provides instructions for handling POD inquiries now that the demonstration is officially over.

A. Purpose

This emergency message (EM) provides notification for field offices (FO), National 800 Number Network (N8NN), and processing service centers (PSC) that the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) ended for all participating beneficiaries on 06/30/2021.

B. Background

The POD tested the effects of reducing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits by $1 for every $2 earned above a certain threshold. The POD threshold was equal to the greater of the applicable monthly Trial Work Period (TWP) amount or the total approved Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE) amount (up to the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount) for the month. During the project, participants reported their earnings and IRWE to our contractor, Abt Associates, monthly.

SSA began recruiting volunteers who were SSDI or concurrent beneficiaries for the POD in January 2018. Recruitment continued through December 2018, resulting in a total enrollment count of 10,070 participants. The random assignment process placed POD participants into one of three groups: two treatment groups and one control group. Treatment group 1 and treatment group 2 members both received the $1 for $2 offset. Treatment group 2 members had their entitlement to benefits terminated if they experienced 12 consecutive months in full offset (that is, when their SSDI benefit was reduced to $0 for 12 consecutive months). Treatment group 1 members did not have their entitlement to benefits terminated even if they experienced 12 consecutive months in full offset. The control group did not receive the $1 for $2 offset. Control group members’ earnings were subject to current SSDI rules.

The POD ended June 30, 2021 for all remaining participants. Participants had the ability to withdraw from the demonstration at any time during the project.

C. Handling work and earnings for post-POD cases

As of 07/01/2021, all treatment group participants in POD returned to regular SSDI entitlement. All work and earnings reports for the period beginning 07/01/2021 should be processed per standard SSDI rules.

If beneficiaries inquire about their POD participation period or attempt to submit a reconsideration or late earnings report for months within their participation period, please advise the beneficiaries that the POD program ended, and all POD related determinations are final. If applicable, good cause may be applied. In an event where good cause is requested, forward the reconsideration request to L5R via MDW. Waiver requests for POD overpayments may still be accepted and processed per standard waiver procedures.

The POD toll-free contact line has been decommissioned and is no longer receiving calls. Do not instruct former POD participants to contact the toll-free line or their former counselors.

NOTE: If a former POD beneficiaries submit work and earnings information for a period within their POD participation period, you may fax the materials into NDRED or eView. Newly submitted documentation will be uploaded to the beneficiary’s record only for informational purposes.

D. eWork for post-POD participants

Prior to POD starting in 01/2018, changes were made in eWork to account for the beneficiary’s participation period and special processing rules under POD. All POD participants experienced a pause in TWP, EPE, and IRP during their participation in the demonstration. For eWork to stop the counting of the TWP, EPE, and IRP, the period from the date of the participants’ last work CDR in eWork through the end of their POD participation period has been “greyed out.”

When initiating and conducting a work CDR for a post-POD participant, eWork will present the following red alert stating the claimant is a former POD participant:
                  Prior POD Participant
                  POD Stop date was mm/dd/yy

A user will also experience a review period start date equal to the month after POD participation. For most cases, this will be 07/01/2021, however it could be before that date if the participant withdrew from the demonstration prior to 06/30/2021. An eWork user will not have the ability to update the period prior to the post-POD review start date, as that period will be “greyed out” to account for the pause in TWP, EPE, and IRP during POD participation and to ensure the correct calculations are made moving forward.

NOTE: The review period start date equal to the month after POD participation is only for the first work CDR performed after POD participation, or for a reopening or reconsideration of the first work CDR performed post-POD. All subsequent work CDRs performed in eWork will have a review begin date equal to the month after the previous review.

E. POD reminders

      1. All POD overpayment waivers have been and will continue to be processed by the FO per standard waiver rules.
        2. POD participants assigned to a treatment group did not have a work CDR performed on earnings during the POD participation period.

        3. The POD participation period information is located on the HIST DEMO line on the MBR and the DCF DEMO screen.
    For more information on the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration, see DI 60075.000.

    Direct all program-related and technical questions to your Regional Office (RO) support staff or Processing Service Center (PSC) Operations Analysis (OA) staff. RO support staff or PSC OA staff may refer questions, concerns, or problems to their Central Office contacts.

    DI 60075.000 Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD)
    DI 60075.005 Overview of the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD)
    DI 60075.010 Who is Eligible to Participate in POD
    DI 60075.030 Field Office (FO), Processing Service Center (PSC), and National 800 Number
    Network Number Responsibilities under the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD)

    EM-21043 REV - Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) beneficiary participation Ended 06/30/2021 - 04/07/2023