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Westat Awarded Exits Study, Informing Policy Leading to Self-Sufficiency for Those Exiting Social Security Disability Programs

September 1, 2021

The Social Security Administration has tapped Westat to conduct the Exits from Disability Evidence Study, which collects information about the service, medical, and employment needs of individuals exiting Social Security disability programs because of medical improvement.  It also serves to produce testable policy recommendations that help the study population become self-sufficient.  

Westat will conduct qualitative and quantitative data activities, including focus groups and a survey, to gather information about the needs of Exiters and Possible Exiters from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs after a determination of medical improvement.  

This effort will involve small-scale use of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to gain more insight about their needs and what motivation is necessary to promote work activity among this population.  

The ultimate goal of this information gathering is to identify potential interventions and to inform policy recommendations that are likely to help Exiters and Possible Exiters achieve sustainable, substantial employment leading to self-sufficiency.

“This will be the first study to identify the needs of the Exiters and the reasons that they might return to SSDI,” notes Mustafa C. Karakus, Ph.D., a Westat Associate Director for Social Policy and Economics Research and project director for the study. “Such information is very critical in the design of an effective intervention.”

Focus Areas

Social Services


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