Beyond Benefits Study


The objective of the Beyond Benefits Study (BBS) is to understand the needs (e.g., service, medical and employment) of individuals who, due to medical improvement, have “exited” (known as Exiters) or are likely to “exit” (known as Possible Exiters) the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, or both.

The study aims to answer three primary research questions:

  1. What are the service, medical, and employment needs to achieve sustainable, substantive employment among individuals who exit SSDI/SSI programs?
  2. What types of services, resources, and interventions to help individuals exiting SSDI/SSI programs become or remain employed should SSA consider testing in a larger study?
  3. What policy recommendations will facilitate substantive and sustainable employment among individuals who exit SSDI/SSI programs?


The contract for the Beyond Benefits Study was awarded to Westat on August 25, 2021. The project started in September 2021 and is expected to end in November 2024. We conducted focus groups and survey development in 2022 and 2023 and will conduct a Motivational Interviewing pilot, additional focus groups, and interviews with study participants, providers, and state administrators of vocational rehabilitation programs beginning in 2024.

Westat is collecting quantitative and qualitative data for this study. Qualitative data collection methods include in-depth interviews, focus groups, and a Motivational Interviewing pilot. The Motivational Interviewing pilot will provide information about goal setting and personal reasons for seeking employment and other outcomes. Quantitative data will be collected from a representative sample of 4,000 participants using a survey developed for the study. We expect to publish final process and impact reports in fiscal year (FY) 2025 after data collections and analyses conclude.

This project does not yet have results. Interim documents are included below.

Motivational Interviewing Literature Review Memo posted January 2022

Process analysis expected FY2025

Final report expected FY2025

We will release a public use file containing deidentified data from the survey participants at the end of the study.

Not applicable at this time.