State Partnership Initiative (SPI) Evaluation


We designed the State Partnership Initiative (SPI) to help Project States develop programs of employment support services for their residents with disabilities.


The SPI projects began in 1998 and ended in 2004.

SPI projects’ key activities were to (1) increase job opportunities; (2) decrease dependence on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits; and (3) foster the development of community resources. We provided five-year funding to twelve States (California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wisconsin) to develop innovative projects to assist individuals with disabilities in their efforts to reenter the workforce. These awards helped states design statewide programs of services and support for their residents with disabilities that increased job opportunities for them and decreased their dependence on benefits. California, Vermont, New York, and Wisconsin implemented SSI waivers to test alternative rules.

SPI interventions, which address the major areas of concern, fall into 3 corresponding categories: benefits planning and assistance services; direct employment supports; and increased health care. Most state projects targeted beneficiaries with severe mental illness, although many also targeted people with other disabilities. The interventions implemented by the 12 SPI projects targeted the service and policy gaps that were identified at the time that the projects began in 1998. All SPI projects provided benefits planning and assistance services; all SPI projects except North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma had Medicaid Waivers and Buy-ins; most SPI projects provided interventions involving One-Stop Centers, case management and placement assistance services; and relatively few State Projects provided other types of services such as mental health and developmental disabilities support and peer mentoring. SPI projects began prior to the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-170), Benefits Planning, Assistance, and Outreach (BPAO), Medicaid Buy-In (Nine of the SPI states started buy-in programs by 2005) and Indexing of the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Amount (1999). The initiatives described above created a dynamic environment that complicated the SPI evaluation. Although employment and training evaluations have long faced the challenge of accounting for local variation in service environments, introduction of these new initiatives took place during the SPI effort, and, in many cases, the new initiatives offered service interventions that the state projects also offered. They therefore affected the mix of services available to participants and potential comparison group members at the same time that the SPI state projects tried to deliver new services to participants. The SPI represented a unique collaboration among SSA, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), all working in conjunction with the Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities. Each SPI project submitted a final evaluation report. These final evaluation reports provided an update on system changes accomplished by the projects as well as presented outcome findings of the impacts of the interventions.

Not applicable at this time.

Not applicable at this time.