Identification Number:
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 Ending 06/30/2021
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI)
Link To Reference:See Reference at the end of this EM.
Retention Date: 06/30/2022

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) will end for all participating beneficiaries on 06/30/2021.

B. Background

The POD tests the effects of reducing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits by $1 for every $2 earned above a certain threshold. The POD threshold is 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 should report their earnings and IRWE to our contractor, Abt Associates, on a monthly basis.

SSA began recruiting volunteers—who may be 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 is reduced to $0 for 12 consecutive months). Treatment group 1 members would 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 member’s earnings were subject to current SSDI rules.

The POD ends 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 will return to regular processing rules for SSDI. All work and earnings reports for the period beginning 07/01/2021 should be processed per standard SSDI rules.

If a beneficiary inquires about their POD participation period, or attempts to submit a reconsideration or late earnings reports for months within their participation period, please advise the beneficiary to contact the POD toll-free number. NOTE: Do not accept any earnings based documentation for a period during the beneficiary's POD participation period (see the MBR HIST DEMO line or DCF DEMO screen for participation period information). All documentation for months in the POD participation period must be submitted to the POD contractor, Abt Associates.

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 stop in TWP, EPE, and IRP during their duration in the demonstration. In order for eWork to halt 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 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.

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 - Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) beneficiary participation Ending 06/30/2021 - 06/21/2021