The Social Security Administration has spent $3 billion on programs designed to incentivize disability recipients to go back to work over the past 16 years. So far, less than 3 percent of beneficiaries have signed up, with “no consistent evidence” the program has helped participants find a job.
The inspector general for the agency released an audit last week calling for Congress to evaluate the “viability” of the programs, including Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency (TTW) and Achieve Self-Support (PASS).
“SSA has spent about $3 billion administering two ongoing congressionally mandated return-to-work programs and a time-limited demonstration project designed to determine whether a policy change would help beneficiaries return to work,” the inspector general said. “However, these programs and demonstration project enticed a small percentage of disabled individuals to return to work.”
The Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program provides tickets to disabled beneficiaries that they can use at partnering organizations for a job or vocational rehabilitation.
The audit found the program can save taxpayers money, though few have signed up, and the program lacks evidence that recipients are actually finding employment.
Since it began in 2000, the TTW program has cost $2.8 billion and enrolled 1.2 million disabled welfare recipients, a participation rate of only 2.6 percent. Those beneficiaries have saved the government approximately $5.9 billion. For each beneficiary served, the government spent $2,300 through the program, as opposed to the average $5,000 benefits forgone.
An independent analysis of the program found it had a “limited, but positive, effect on the employment of disabled individuals and motivated some beneficiaries to pursue employment.”
The analysis, however, “failed to identify strong evidence of the TTW program’s impact on employment outcome and found no consistent evidence that TTW affected employment and benefit receipt.” read more