Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: POD BOND Comparison Report
Social Security Administration
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) is carrying out the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration (POD) to evaluate a benefit offset rule for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. This offset rule reduces benefits by $1 for every $2 earned above the Trial Work Period level, defined as $910 in 2020. It replaces current rules, which are more complex and may result in a sharper loss of all benefits (a “cash cliff”) for beneficiaries who engage in substantial work activity for a sustained amount of time.
- POD follows another recent demonstration, the Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND), which also used a $1-for-$2 benefit offset but differed in several other ways from POD. POD and BOND had different rules regarding the use of the offset as well as differences in the design and implementation of the demonstrations.
- This brief focuses on the second stage of BOND (BOND Stage 2), which recruited volunteers, as it is the most comparable to POD.
- This brief contains a detailed comparison of POD and BOND that explains the benefit offset rules and recruitment processes, summarizes characteristics of beneficiaries who enrolled in the demonstrations, and analyzes early use of the benefit offset.
- POD and BOND differed substantially in the benefit offset rules and their approaches to recruitment. By design, the structure of the POD offset rules will lead to greater usage of the benefit offset than would occur under BOND rules at similar levels of earnings.
- The use of the benefit offset was more than three times as high in POD as in BOND during the first year after enrollment.
- POD and BOND enrollees had similar recent rates of employment, which indicated a greater work-orientation relative to other SSDI beneficiaries. However, POD and BOND enrollees differed in terms of other program and demographic characteristics, likely because of the varying recruitment processes of the two demonstrations.
- Differences in rules regarding the benefit offset between the two demonstrations drove the higher offset usage in POD relative to BOND, rather than differences in the characteristics of enrollees.
- Future POD reports will document whether higher usage of the benefit offset in POD leads to impacts on other beneficiary outcomes, especially employment and earnings.