Request for Information on Strategies To Improve Adult Outcomes for Youth Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), 411-414 [2017-28397]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 2 / Wednesday, January 3, 2018 / Notices Directorate, 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22209–2425. A copy of the comments should be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Desk Officer, Selective Service System, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 3235, Washington, DC 20503. BILLING CODE 8015–01–P SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION [License No. 03/73–0239] Core Capital Partners II–S, L.P.; Notice Seeking Exemption Under Section 312 of the Small Business Investment Act, Conflicts of Interest sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Request for Information on Strategies To Improve Adult Outcomes for Youth Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Social Security Administration. Request for information. AGENCY: The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides means-tested payments to the elderly, blind, and disabled, including children. This request for information (RFI) seeks public input on strategies for improving the adult economic outcomes of youth ages 14 to 25 with disabilities receiving SSI. The input we receive will inform our deliberations about potential policy changes and the design of future demonstration projects for transition-age SSI recipients. DATES: Comments must be received by February 2, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of three methods—internet, fax, or mail. Do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method. Regardless of which method you choose, please state that your comments refer to Docket No. SSA–2017–0049 so that we may associate your comments with the correct docket. CAUTION: You should be careful to include in your comments only information that you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge you not to include in your comments any personal information, such as Social Security numbers or medical information. 1. Internet: We strongly recommend that you submit your comments via the internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. Use the ‘‘Search’’ function to find docket number SSA– 2017–0049. The system will issue a tracking number to confirm your submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately because we must post each comment manually. It may take up to a week for your comment to be viewable. 2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966– 2830. 3. Mail: Mail your comments to the Office of Regulations and Reports Clearance, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235–6401. Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal eRulemaking SUMMARY: [FR Doc. 2017–28383 Filed 1–2–18; 8:45 am] Notice is hereby given that Core Capital Partners II–S, L.P., 1717 K Street NW, Suite 920, Washington, DC 20006, a Federal Licensee under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, as amended (‘‘the Act’’), in connection with the financing of a small concern, has sought an exemption under Section 312 of the Act and Section 107.730, Financings which Constitute Conflicts of Interest of the Small Business Administration (‘‘SBA’’) Rules and Regulations (13 CFR 107.730). Core Capital Partners II–S, L.P. proposes to manage assets it sold to a third-party acquirer and held in a newly formed Special Purpose Vehicle (‘‘SPV’’) as the General Partner of SPV. The financing is brought within the purview of § 107.730(a) and (e) of the Regulations because SPV, an Associate of Core Capital Partners II–S, L.P., owns more than ten percent of the same assets held by Core Capital Partners II–S, LP, and therefore this transaction is considered a financing in which an Associate is used to manage Portfolio Concerns. Notice is hereby given that any interested person may submit written comments on the transaction, within fifteen days of the date of this publication, to the Associate Administrator for Investment, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416. Dated: December 13, 2017. A. Joseph Shepard, Associate Administrator, Office of Investment and Innovation. [FR Doc. 2017–28384 Filed 1–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8025–01–P 16:13 Jan 02, 2018 [Docket No. SSA–2017–0049] ACTION: Dated: December 27, 2017. Donald M. Benton, Director. VerDate Sep<11>2014 SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 411 portal at http://www.regulations.gov or in person, during regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified below. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katherine Bent, Associate Commissioner for Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235–6401, (410) 966–9036, for information about this notice. For information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 1–800–772– 1213 or TTY 1–800–325–0778, or visit our internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose The SSI program provides meanstested payments to the elderly and individuals with disabilities, including children. In 2016, the SSI program provided payments to over 9 million individuals, about 11 percent of whom were transition age, which we define as ages 14–25.1 While studies have shown that transition-age SSI recipients are at risk of poor economic outcomes—lower earnings and employment—when they become adults, it is not clear what supports could improve these outcomes or who should provide them. Understanding that SSI is only one part of the social safety net of programs intended to support individuals, SSA is interested in playing an appropriate role supporting broader Federal, State, and local efforts to improve the adult outcomes of youth SSI recipients. This RFI offers interested parties, including States, community-based and other non-profit organizations, philanthropic organizations, researchers, and members of the public, the opportunity to provide information and recommendations on effective approaches for improving adult outcomes for youth receiving SSI. For the purposes of this notice, ‘‘transition age’’ and ‘‘youth’’ are used interchangeably and refer to individuals ages 14 to 25; 2 ‘‘minors’’ or ‘‘children’’ 1 https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_ asr/2016/sect01.html (table3); https://www.ssa.gov/ policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_asr/2016/sect04.html (table19); https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ statcomps/ssi_asr/2016/sect06.html (table35); 2 For a discussion of Federal efforts with respect to transition-age individuals, see Federal Partners in Transition Workgroup (2015) ‘‘The 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal Interagency Strategy.’’ (available at http://youth.gov/docs/508_ EDITED_RC_FEB26-accessible.pdf). E:\FR\FM\03JAN1.SGM 03JAN1 412 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 2 / Wednesday, January 3, 2018 / Notices is used to refer to individuals under the age of 18. Background sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Youth receiving SSI confront challenges due to poor health, poverty, a lack of information to access the fragmented adult service system, and other barriers.3 Many youth face a lack of coordinated services, especially as they leave high school and their schools no longer provide youth support. SSA’s redetermination of SSI eligibility at age 18 also generally results in 30–40 percent of youth losing SSI eligibility (and the accompanying automatic Medicaid access that most SSI recipients receive) because their condition does not meet the adult standard for disability.4 The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has noted that these issues contribute to the difficulties many child SSI recipients experience transitioning to adulthood.5 Several studies of transition-age SSI recipients suggest significant gaps exist in the awareness and use of services and policies currently available to youth. For example, prior to age 18, less than one quarter of SSI recipients received vocational training.6 About 40 percent of 16- and 17-year-old SSI recipients work,7 but only about 3 percent of eligible SSI recipients (of all ages) use the student earned income exclusion, a work incentive that excludes a certain 3 Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School. (available at http:// www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-594). Youth With Autism: Federal Agencies Should Take Additional Action to Support Transition-Age Youth. (available at https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-352). 4 Annual Report on Medical Continuing Disability Reviews. (available at https://www.ssa.gov/ legislation/FY%202014%20CDR%20Report.pdf). 5 Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School. (available at http:// www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-594). Youth With Autism: Federal Agencies Should Take Additional Action to Support Transition-Age Youth. (available at https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-352). Supplemental Security Income: SSA Could Strengthen Its Efforts to Encourage Employment for Transition-Age Youth. (available at http:// www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-485). 6 David C. Wittenburg and Pamela J. Loprest (2007) Early Transition Experiences of TransitionAge Child SSI Recipients: New Evidence From the National Survey of Children and Families. Journal of Disability Policy Studies 18(3): 176–187. (available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/ 10.1177/10442073070180030601). 7 Jeffrey Hemmeter, Jacqueline Kauff, and David Wittenburg (2009) Changing Circumstances: Experiences of child SSI recipients before and after their age-18 redetermination for adult benefits. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 30(3): 201–221. (available at http://content.iospress.com/articles/ journal-of-vocational-rehabilitation/jvr00462). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Jan 02, 2018 Jkt 244001 amount of earned income from the SSI calculation.8 SSA has recognized the difficult transition to adulthood and that many of these youth return to the SSI program in early adulthood. In the 2000s, SSA conducted the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD), which provided support, especially employment support, to transition-age SSI recipients. Results from YTD show that employment-focused services can help youth achieve success in the labor market in the short run. Although there were mixed impact estimates, YTD projects that provided higher levels of employment-focused services saw higher impacts on earnings and employment that lasted after the period of service delivery.9 SSA is also currently evaluating the Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) demonstration.10 PROMISE is a joint effort with the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services to help youth as early as age 14 prepare for their transition to adulthood. Qualitative and anecdotal evidence from YTD and PROMISE suggest that many families with children receiving SSI are unprepared for the transition of their children to adulthood. To address some of these issues, SSA recently began sending a brochure to SSI recipients approaching age 18 with information about the age-18 redetermination, SSA policies to support youth transition, and community resources. This information is also highlighted in a special section of SSA’s ‘‘Red Book,’’ 11 which is a resource that summarizes SSA’s work incentive policies and is used by benefits counselors around the country. SSA has also instructed its Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) providers to make a concerted effort to reach out to youth. SSA has also tasked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Health and Medicine 8 Mary Kemp (2010) Recipients of Supplemental Security Income and the Student Earned Income Exclusion. Social Security Bulletin 70(2): 31–61. (available at https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/ v70n2/v70n2p31.html). 9 Thomas Fraker, Arif Mamun, and Lori Timmins (2015) Three-Year Impacts of Services and Work Incentives on Youth with Disabilities (available at https://www.mathematica-;mpr.com/ourpublications-and-findings/publications/threeyearimpacts-of-services-and-work-incentives-on-youthwith-disabilities). 10 Thomas Fraker, Erik Carter, Todd Honeycutt, Jacqueline Kauff, Gina Livermore, and Arif Mamun (2014) Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) Evaluation Design Report (available at https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/documents/ PROMISE_Eval20%20Design%20Report_Final.pdf). 11 https://www.ssa.gov/%redbook/. PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Division with convening a consensus committee to look at improving health outcomes for children with disabilities.12 The committee will provide findings about programs and services aimed at improving health and functioning outcomes for school-aged children with disabilities. SSA expects to use the report to inform decisions about future research and policies. The final report is due in Fiscal Year 2018. GAO Findings About SSI Transition Despite these efforts, a recent GAO audit recommended additional efforts to encourage employment for transitionage SSI recipients.13 For example, GAO recommended that SSA work with the Department of Education to explore options to connect SSI youth to vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. SSA currently does not have the authority to refer SSI recipients to specific VR agencies. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 14 removed this authority to provide a level playing field for employment networks, who are eligible for payments for successfully assisting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and SSI recipients return to work. When SSA implemented the Ticket program, it chose not to include children because they ‘‘generally are in school, still pursuing completion of their formal elementary and secondary education’’ and the Ticket program ‘‘could interfere with their pursuit of an education, completion of which many believe should be the primary focus and goal for school-age youth.’’ 15 As a result, SSA can neither refer minors to VR agencies, nor include those under the age of 18 in the Ticket program. Other Agency Efforts While SSA has an interest in improving adult outcomes for SSI youth, other Federal, State, and local governments and private and nonprofit entities often have larger—and more direct—roles in the general youth transition process. The Federal Partners in Transition (FPT) workgroup, for example, which is composed of representatives from SSA and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, is a 12 http://nationalacademies.org/%hmd/ Activities/SelectPops/ImprovingHealthOutcomes forChildrenwithDisabilities.aspx. 13 Supplemental Security Income: SSA Could Strengthen Its Efforts to Encourage Employment for Transition-Age Youth. (available at http:// www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-485). 14 Sec. 101(b), Public Law 106–170, 113 Stat. 1860. 15 66 FR 67369, Dec. 28, 2001. E:\FR\FM\03JAN1.SGM 03JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 2 / Wednesday, January 3, 2018 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES voluntary partnership designed to help coordinate Federal efforts around transition.16 In 2015, FPT published a document highlighting the goals of the partner agencies with respect to improving the outcomes for youth with disabilities.17 SSA continues to work with our partners in this area. The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) 18 in 2014 has affected many of SSA’s partners in this area. WIOA included significant requirements for serving youth. In particular, WIOA expanded the services that State VR agencies provide youth and the eligibility requirements for services. Additionally, State VR agencies must spend at least 15 percent of their Federal VR funds on pre-employment transition services for youths with disabilities transitioning from school to post-secondary education or employment.19 The required services include job exploration counseling, work-based learning experiences, postsecondary educational opportunity counseling, workplace readiness training, and self-advocacy instruction.20 Additionally, at least 75 percent of WIOA youth funding to State workforce agencies, which oversee state employment and workforce programs such as unemployment insurance, must be spent on out-of-school youth.21 In 2016, the Department of Education awarded grants to five State agencies under the Disability Innovation FundTransition Work-Based Learning Model Demonstrations project to support the requirements of WIOA. These grants will help the States ‘‘identify and demonstrate practices, which are supported by evidence, in providing work-based learning experiences in integrated settings under the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, in collaboration with State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and other key partners within the local community, to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities.’’ 22 In addition, these models will be rigorously evaluated to explore their effectiveness and build the 16 Federal Partners in Transition Workgroup (2015) ‘‘The 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal Interagency Strategy’’ (available at http:// youth.gov/docs/508_EDITED_RC_FEB26accessible.pdf.) 17 Id. 18 Secs. 411–424, Public Law 113–128, 128 Stat. 1425. 19 29 U.S.C. 730(d), 733. 20 29 U.S.C. 733(b). 21 29 U.S.C. 3164(a)(4). 22 https://rsa.ed.gov/programs.cfm?pc= twblmd&sub=awards. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Jan 02, 2018 Jkt 244001 evidence base on effective work-based learning supports. Request for Information Through this notice, we are soliciting feedback from interested parties on potential policy changes and demonstration projects related to improving the transition of youths receiving SSI from childhood into adulthood. Responses to this request will inform our decisions about future policy changes targeting this population, whether to pursue a new demonstration project, and how to design such a project. This notice is to gather information for our internal planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on our part or on the part of any participating Federal agencies. We ask respondents to address the following questions, where possible, considering the context discussed in this document. You do not need to address every question and should focus on those that relate to your expertise or perspectives. To the extent possible, please clearly indicate which question(s) you address in your response. Questions: 1. What specific programs or practices have shown promise at the Federal, State, or local level in improving the adult economic outcomes of youth with disabilities receiving SSI? 2. Given the requirement of VR agencies to serve transition-age individuals, the availability of Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and Section 504 plans in school settings, and the availability of services and supports elsewhere available to youths, what should SSA’s role be in assisting the transition of youths to adulthood? 3. How might SSA better support other agencies’ youth transition-related activities? a. What SSA policies interact with other agencies’ services and supports? b. Do SSA’s and other agencies’ policies need to be modified (technically or administratively) to improve utilization of these services and supports? How? 4. Are there aspects of SSA’s publications, mailings, and online information that SSA can improve to better support successful transitions to adulthood of youths receiving SSI? 5. How can SSA improve its existing work incentive policies, such as the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) and Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE), to better support and increase SSI youth engagement in work? Are there alternative models that SSA PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 413 should consider to replace existing work incentives? 6. How can SSA enhance and better target its existing service infrastructure including its Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program and Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS), to increase SSI youth engagement in work and work activities? 7. What lessons from SSA’s youth demonstration projects, in particular the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) and the Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) project, should SSA apply to new policies and demonstrations? What partners were not included in those demonstrations that should have been? Why? 8. If SSA were to conduct a new demonstration project related to youth, which populations should SSA consider targeting, if any? How can SSA identify these populations? How many individuals enter these populations per year? 9. Are there entities (for example, State VR agencies, medical practices, local education and training agencies, etc.) we could look to as exemplars based on current practices for serving youth with disabilities? What evidence exists to suggest these sites are effectively providing services that would lead to the increased selfsufficiency of youths with disabilities? 10. In the absence of legislation renewing SSA’s ability to refer Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and SSI recipients directly to VR, how can SSA help connect youth to VR services? 11. Should SSA expand the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program to include children or create a separate program for children with a similar mission (i.e., reimbursing service providers whose services result in increased employment and reduced need on cash benefits)? a. What services should such a program provide over and above the services youth with disabilities receiving SSI are already eligible for? b. What types of service providers should be allowed to participate in a youth Ticket program? Should such a program include all types of existing employment network providers or should it be limited organizations with existing providers that serve the broader youth population? c. Is there a lower age limit the Ticket program (either the current program or a new child-specific program) should include that is consistent with other common Federal, State, and local policies that promote self-sufficiency? d. Since most children are in school, what outcomes or milestones should a E:\FR\FM\03JAN1.SGM 03JAN1 414 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 2 / Wednesday, January 3, 2018 / Notices program that included payments for child outcomes be tied to? e. How effective are such incentive payments to service providers likely to be when serving youth? Are there alternatives to current incentive payment structures that SSA should consider (e.g., a payment structure based on state-wide youth employment or youth SSI participation metrics)? f. How should the age-18 redetermination and the fact that over one-third of age-18 redeterminations result in the cessation of benefits because they do not have a condition that meets the adult standard for disability factor into such a program? g. Are there specific populations among SSI youth, such as youth in foster care, that such a program should consider for allowable services, providers, and expenditures? h. Would such a program be duplicative of the services provided by State VR agencies, which are already required to support the transition of youth with disabilities? Why or why not? 12. Since the implementation of WIOA, are there specific examples of effective services that are funded through the PROMISE grants but not funded through State VR agencies or other Federal and State funding sources? Guidance for Submitting Documents We ask that each respondent include the name and address of his or her institution or affiliation, if any, and the name, title, mailing and email addresses, and telephone number of a contact person for his or her institution or affiliation, if any. Rights to Materials Submitted You should not provide any material you consider confidential or proprietary in response to this notice. Dated: December 26, 2017. Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. [FR Doc. 2017–28397 Filed 1–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4191–02–P DEPARTMENT OF STATE sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES [Public Notice: 10238] Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services Department of State. Solicitation of expressions of interest from members of the public wishing to serve as representative members of the Department of State’s AGENCY: ACTION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Jan 02, 2018 Jkt 244001 Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services (IPoDS). This notice announces that applications are now being accepted from members of the public who wish to join the IPoDS Committee, which was established in accordance with the provisions of 39 U.S.C. 407(b)(3) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. Appendix. Under the terms of its authorizing statute and its charter, the members of the IPoDS Committee represent mailers, private sector delivery companies, stakeholders in international delivery services or others who are directly affected by international postal operations. (The Committee also includes Federal members from several U.S. Government agencies including the Postal Regulatory Commission and the United States Postal Service.) Members are appointed by the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. The Committee provides advice to the Department of State with respect to U.S. foreign policy related to international postal services and other international delivery services and U.S. policy toward the Universal Postal Union and other international postal and delivery organizations. Representative members of the Committee serve on a voluntary basis and without compensation. In order to be appointed to the Committee, interested individuals must represent identifiable groups or entities that are users or providers of international postal or delivery services or others directly affected by international postal operations. There is no specified form for applications. New prospective Committee members should submit a letter expressing their interest in serving that explicitly identifies the group or entity they represent. They should also include a clear statement of the connection of that group or entity to the use or provision of international postal or delivery services. Letters should also describe the prospective member’s relevant qualifications and experience and may be accompanied by supporting documentation, such as a biographic statement or resume. Confirmation from the group or entity represented that the prospective member is authorized to represent that group or entity on the Committee must be submitted. Inclusion of an email address and/or telephone number in each applicant’s submission will speed communications. Letters of interest should be no more than four pages in length and should be addressed to Joseph P. Murphy, the IPoDS Committee’s designated federal PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 officer. Prospective Committee members may submit scanned copies of their letters electronically to Mr. Murphy by email to murphyjp@state.gov and/or by U.S. Mail to IO/STA, L409 (SA1); Department of State; 2401 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20037. The deadline for receipt of applications is 12 January 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Please contact Ms. Shereece Robinson of the Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies (IO/STA), Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at tel. (202) 663– 2649, by email at RobinsonSA2@ state.gov. Joseph P. Murphy, Designated Federal Officer, Advisory Committee on International Postal And Delivery Services, Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Department of State. [FR Doc. 2017–28408 Filed 1–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710–19–P SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION Public Hearing Susquehanna River Basin Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Susquehanna River Basin Commission will hold a public hearing on February 1, 2018, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At this public hearing, the Commission will hear testimony on the projects listed in the Supplementary Information section of this notice. Such projects are intended to be scheduled for Commission action at its next business meeting, tentatively scheduled for March 8, 2018, which will be noticed separately. The public should take note that this public hearing will be the only opportunity to offer oral comment to the Commission for the listed projects. The deadline for the submission of written comments is February 12, 2018. DATES: The public hearing will convene on February 1, 2018, at 2:30 p.m. The public hearing will end at 5:00 p.m. or at the conclusion of public testimony, whichever is sooner. The deadline for the submission of written comments is February 12, 2018. ADDRESSES: The public hearing will be conducted at the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Room 8E–B, East Wing, Commonwealth Avenue, Harrisburg, PA. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Oyler, General Counsel, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\03JAN1.SGM 03JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 2 (Wednesday, January 3, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 411-414]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-28397]


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SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

[Docket No. SSA-2017-0049]


Request for Information on Strategies To Improve Adult Outcomes 
for Youth Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Request for information.

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SUMMARY: The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides means-tested 
payments to the elderly, blind, and disabled, including children. This 
request for information (RFI) seeks public input on strategies for 
improving the adult economic outcomes of youth ages 14 to 25 with 
disabilities receiving SSI. The input we receive will inform our 
deliberations about potential policy changes and the design of future 
demonstration projects for transition-age SSI recipients.

DATES: Comments must be received by February 2, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of three methods--
internet, fax, or mail. Do not submit the same comments multiple times 
or by more than one method. Regardless of which method you choose, 
please state that your comments refer to Docket No. SSA-2017-0049 so 
that we may associate your comments with the correct docket.
    CAUTION: You should be careful to include in your comments only 
information that you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge 
you not to include in your comments any personal information, such as 
Social Security numbers or medical information.
    1. Internet: We strongly recommend that you submit your comments 
via the internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Use the ``Search'' function to find docket number 
SSA-2017-0049. The system will issue a tracking number to confirm your 
submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately 
because we must post each comment manually. It may take up to a week 
for your comment to be viewable.
    2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966-2830.
    3. Mail: Mail your comments to the Office of Regulations and 
Reports Clearance, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise 
Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401.
    Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov or in person, during 
regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified 
below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katherine Bent, Associate Commissioner 
for Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support, Office of 
Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration, 6401 
Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 966-9036, for 
information about this notice. For information on eligibility or filing 
for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 
1-800-325-0778, or visit our internet site, Social Security Online, at 
http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Purpose

    The SSI program provides means-tested payments to the elderly and 
individuals with disabilities, including children. In 2016, the SSI 
program provided payments to over 9 million individuals, about 11 
percent of whom were transition age, which we define as ages 14-25.\1\ 
While studies have shown that transition-age SSI recipients are at risk 
of poor economic outcomes--lower earnings and employment--when they 
become adults, it is not clear what supports could improve these 
outcomes or who should provide them. Understanding that SSI is only one 
part of the social safety net of programs intended to support 
individuals, SSA is interested in playing an appropriate role 
supporting broader Federal, State, and local efforts to improve the 
adult outcomes of youth SSI recipients.
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    \1\ https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_asr/2016/sect01.html (table3); https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_asr/2016/sect04.html (table19); https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_asr/2016/sect06.html (table35);
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    This RFI offers interested parties, including States, community-
based and other non-profit organizations, philanthropic organizations, 
researchers, and members of the public, the opportunity to provide 
information and recommendations on effective approaches for improving 
adult outcomes for youth receiving SSI. For the purposes of this 
notice, ``transition age'' and ``youth'' are used interchangeably and 
refer to individuals ages 14 to 25; \2\ ``minors'' or ``children''

[[Page 412]]

is used to refer to individuals under the age of 18.
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    \2\ For a discussion of Federal efforts with respect to 
transition-age individuals, see Federal Partners in Transition 
Workgroup (2015) ``The 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal 
Interagency Strategy.'' (available at http://youth.gov/docs/508_EDITED_RC_FEB26-accessible.pdf).
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Background

    Youth receiving SSI confront challenges due to poor health, 
poverty, a lack of information to access the fragmented adult service 
system, and other barriers.\3\ Many youth face a lack of coordinated 
services, especially as they leave high school and their schools no 
longer provide youth support. SSA's redetermination of SSI eligibility 
at age 18 also generally results in 30-40 percent of youth losing SSI 
eligibility (and the accompanying automatic Medicaid access that most 
SSI recipients receive) because their condition does not meet the adult 
standard for disability.\4\ The Government Accountability Office (GAO) 
has noted that these issues contribute to the difficulties many child 
SSI recipients experience transitioning to adulthood.\5\
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    \3\ Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination 
Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School. 
(available at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-594). Youth With 
Autism: Federal Agencies Should Take Additional Action to Support 
Transition-Age Youth. (available at https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-352).
    \4\ Annual Report on Medical Continuing Disability Reviews. 
(available at https://www.ssa.gov/legislation/FY%202014%20CDR%20Report.pdf).
    \5\ Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination 
Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School. 
(available at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-594). Youth With 
Autism: Federal Agencies Should Take Additional Action to Support 
Transition-Age Youth. (available at https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-352). Supplemental Security Income: SSA Could Strengthen Its 
Efforts to Encourage Employment for Transition-Age Youth. (available 
at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-485).
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    Several studies of transition-age SSI recipients suggest 
significant gaps exist in the awareness and use of services and 
policies currently available to youth. For example, prior to age 18, 
less than one quarter of SSI recipients received vocational 
training.\6\ About 40 percent of 16- and 17-year-old SSI recipients 
work,\7\ but only about 3 percent of eligible SSI recipients (of all 
ages) use the student earned income exclusion, a work incentive that 
excludes a certain amount of earned income from the SSI calculation.\8\
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    \6\ David C. Wittenburg and Pamela J. Loprest (2007) Early 
Transition Experiences of Transition-Age Child SSI Recipients: New 
Evidence From the National Survey of Children and Families. Journal 
of Disability Policy Studies 18(3): 176-187. (available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/10442073070180030601).
    \7\ Jeffrey Hemmeter, Jacqueline Kauff, and David Wittenburg 
(2009) Changing Circumstances: Experiences of child SSI recipients 
before and after their age-18 redetermination for adult benefits. 
Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 30(3): 201-221. (available at 
http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-vocational-rehabilitation/jvr00462).
    \8\ Mary Kemp (2010) Recipients of Supplemental Security Income 
and the Student Earned Income Exclusion. Social Security Bulletin 
70(2): 31-61. (available at https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n2/v70n2p31.html).
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    SSA has recognized the difficult transition to adulthood and that 
many of these youth return to the SSI program in early adulthood. In 
the 2000s, SSA conducted the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD), 
which provided support, especially employment support, to transition-
age SSI recipients. Results from YTD show that employment-focused 
services can help youth achieve success in the labor market in the 
short run. Although there were mixed impact estimates, YTD projects 
that provided higher levels of employment-focused services saw higher 
impacts on earnings and employment that lasted after the period of 
service delivery.\9\ SSA is also currently evaluating the Promoting 
Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) demonstration.\10\ PROMISE is a 
joint effort with the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and 
Human Services to help youth as early as age 14 prepare for their 
transition to adulthood. Qualitative and anecdotal evidence from YTD 
and PROMISE suggest that many families with children receiving SSI are 
unprepared for the transition of their children to adulthood.
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    \9\ Thomas Fraker, Arif Mamun, and Lori Timmins (2015) Three-
Year Impacts of Services and Work Incentives on Youth with 
Disabilities (available at https://www.mathematica-;mpr.com/our-publications-and-findings/publications/threeyear-impacts-of-services-and-work-incentives-on-youth-with-disabilities).
    \10\ Thomas Fraker, Erik Carter, Todd Honeycutt, Jacqueline 
Kauff, Gina Livermore, and Arif Mamun (2014) Promoting Readiness of 
Minors in SSI (PROMISE) Evaluation Design Report (available at 
https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/documents/PROMISE_Eval20%20Design%20Report_Final.pdf).
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    To address some of these issues, SSA recently began sending a 
brochure to SSI recipients approaching age 18 with information about 
the age-18 redetermination, SSA policies to support youth transition, 
and community resources. This information is also highlighted in a 
special section of SSA's ``Red Book,'' \11\ which is a resource that 
summarizes SSA's work incentive policies and is used by benefits 
counselors around the country. SSA has also instructed its Work 
Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) providers to make a concerted 
effort to reach out to youth.
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    \11\ https://www.ssa.gov/%redbook/.
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    SSA has also tasked the National Academies of Sciences, 
Engineering, and Medicine's Health and Medicine Division with convening 
a consensus committee to look at improving health outcomes for children 
with disabilities.\12\ The committee will provide findings about 
programs and services aimed at improving health and functioning 
outcomes for school-aged children with disabilities. SSA expects to use 
the report to inform decisions about future research and policies. The 
final report is due in Fiscal Year 2018.
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    \12\ http://nationalacademies.org/%hmd/Activities/SelectPops/ImprovingHealthOutcomesforChildrenwithDisabilities.aspx.
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GAO Findings About SSI Transition

    Despite these efforts, a recent GAO audit recommended additional 
efforts to encourage employment for transition-age SSI recipients.\13\ 
For example, GAO recommended that SSA work with the Department of 
Education to explore options to connect SSI youth to vocational 
rehabilitation (VR) services. SSA currently does not have the authority 
to refer SSI recipients to specific VR agencies. The Ticket to Work and 
Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 \14\ removed this authority to 
provide a level playing field for employment networks, who are eligible 
for payments for successfully assisting Social Security Disability 
Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and SSI recipients return to work. When 
SSA implemented the Ticket program, it chose not to include children 
because they ``generally are in school, still pursuing completion of 
their formal elementary and secondary education'' and the Ticket 
program ``could interfere with their pursuit of an education, 
completion of which many believe should be the primary focus and goal 
for school-age youth.'' \15\ As a result, SSA can neither refer minors 
to VR agencies, nor include those under the age of 18 in the Ticket 
program.
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    \13\ Supplemental Security Income: SSA Could Strengthen Its 
Efforts to Encourage Employment for Transition-Age Youth. (available 
at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-485).
    \14\ Sec. 101(b), Public Law 106-170, 113 Stat. 1860.
    \15\ 66 FR 67369, Dec. 28, 2001.
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Other Agency Efforts

    While SSA has an interest in improving adult outcomes for SSI 
youth, other Federal, State, and local governments and private and 
nonprofit entities often have larger--and more direct--roles in the 
general youth transition process. The Federal Partners in Transition 
(FPT) workgroup, for example, which is composed of representatives from 
SSA and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
Education, is a

[[Page 413]]

voluntary partnership designed to help coordinate Federal efforts 
around transition.\16\ In 2015, FPT published a document highlighting 
the goals of the partner agencies with respect to improving the 
outcomes for youth with disabilities.\17\ SSA continues to work with 
our partners in this area.
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    \16\ Federal Partners in Transition Workgroup (2015) ``The 2020 
Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal Interagency Strategy'' 
(available at http://youth.gov/docs/508_EDITED_RC_FEB26-accessible.pdf.)
    \17\ Id.
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    The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) 
\18\ in 2014 has affected many of SSA's partners in this area. WIOA 
included significant requirements for serving youth. In particular, 
WIOA expanded the services that State VR agencies provide youth and the 
eligibility requirements for services. Additionally, State VR agencies 
must spend at least 15 percent of their Federal VR funds on pre-
employment transition services for youths with disabilities 
transitioning from school to post-secondary education or 
employment.\19\ The required services include job exploration 
counseling, work-based learning experiences, post-secondary educational 
opportunity counseling, workplace readiness training, and self-advocacy 
instruction.\20\ Additionally, at least 75 percent of WIOA youth 
funding to State workforce agencies, which oversee state employment and 
workforce programs such as unemployment insurance, must be spent on 
out-of-school youth.\21\
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    \18\ Secs. 411-424, Public Law 113-128, 128 Stat. 1425.
    \19\ 29 U.S.C. 730(d), 733.
    \20\ 29 U.S.C. 733(b).
    \21\ 29 U.S.C. 3164(a)(4).
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    In 2016, the Department of Education awarded grants to five State 
agencies under the Disability Innovation Fund-Transition Work-Based 
Learning Model Demonstrations project to support the requirements of 
WIOA. These grants will help the States ``identify and demonstrate 
practices, which are supported by evidence, in providing work-based 
learning experiences in integrated settings under the vocational 
rehabilitation (VR) program, in collaboration with State educational 
agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and other key 
partners within the local community, to improve post-school outcomes 
for students with disabilities.'' \22\ In addition, these models will 
be rigorously evaluated to explore their effectiveness and build the 
evidence base on effective work-based learning supports.
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    \22\ https://rsa.ed.gov/programs.cfm?pc=twblmd&sub=awards.
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Request for Information

    Through this notice, we are soliciting feedback from interested 
parties on potential policy changes and demonstration projects related 
to improving the transition of youths receiving SSI from childhood into 
adulthood. Responses to this request will inform our decisions about 
future policy changes targeting this population, whether to pursue a 
new demonstration project, and how to design such a project. This 
notice is to gather information for our internal planning purposes only 
and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on 
our part or on the part of any participating Federal agencies.
    We ask respondents to address the following questions, where 
possible, considering the context discussed in this document. You do 
not need to address every question and should focus on those that 
relate to your expertise or perspectives. To the extent possible, 
please clearly indicate which question(s) you address in your response.
    Questions:
    1. What specific programs or practices have shown promise at the 
Federal, State, or local level in improving the adult economic outcomes 
of youth with disabilities receiving SSI?
    2. Given the requirement of VR agencies to serve transition-age 
individuals, the availability of Individualized Education Programs 
(IEP) and Section 504 plans in school settings, and the availability of 
services and supports elsewhere available to youths, what should SSA's 
role be in assisting the transition of youths to adulthood?
    3. How might SSA better support other agencies' youth transition-
related activities?
    a. What SSA policies interact with other agencies' services and 
supports?
    b. Do SSA's and other agencies' policies need to be modified 
(technically or administratively) to improve utilization of these 
services and supports? How?
    4. Are there aspects of SSA's publications, mailings, and online 
information that SSA can improve to better support successful 
transitions to adulthood of youths receiving SSI?
    5. How can SSA improve its existing work incentive policies, such 
as the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) and Impairment-Related 
Work Expenses (IRWE), to better support and increase SSI youth 
engagement in work? Are there alternative models that SSA should 
consider to replace existing work incentives?
    6. How can SSA enhance and better target its existing service 
infrastructure including its Work Incentive Planning and Assistance 
(WIPA) program and Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS), to increase SSI 
youth engagement in work and work activities?
    7. What lessons from SSA's youth demonstration projects, in 
particular the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) and the Promoting 
Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) project, should SSA apply to new 
policies and demonstrations? What partners were not included in those 
demonstrations that should have been? Why?
    8. If SSA were to conduct a new demonstration project related to 
youth, which populations should SSA consider targeting, if any? How can 
SSA identify these populations? How many individuals enter these 
populations per year?
    9. Are there entities (for example, State VR agencies, medical 
practices, local education and training agencies, etc.) we could look 
to as exemplars based on current practices for serving youth with 
disabilities? What evidence exists to suggest these sites are 
effectively providing services that would lead to the increased self-
sufficiency of youths with disabilities?
    10. In the absence of legislation renewing SSA's ability to refer 
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and SSI 
recipients directly to VR, how can SSA help connect youth to VR 
services?
    11. Should SSA expand the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program to 
include children or create a separate program for children with a 
similar mission (i.e., reimbursing service providers whose services 
result in increased employment and reduced need on cash benefits)?
    a. What services should such a program provide over and above the 
services youth with disabilities receiving SSI are already eligible 
for?
    b. What types of service providers should be allowed to participate 
in a youth Ticket program? Should such a program include all types of 
existing employment network providers or should it be limited 
organizations with existing providers that serve the broader youth 
population?
    c. Is there a lower age limit the Ticket program (either the 
current program or a new child-specific program) should include that is 
consistent with other common Federal, State, and local policies that 
promote self-sufficiency?
    d. Since most children are in school, what outcomes or milestones 
should a

[[Page 414]]

program that included payments for child outcomes be tied to?
    e. How effective are such incentive payments to service providers 
likely to be when serving youth? Are there alternatives to current 
incentive payment structures that SSA should consider (e.g., a payment 
structure based on state-wide youth employment or youth SSI 
participation metrics)?
    f. How should the age-18 redetermination and the fact that over 
one-third of age-18 redeterminations result in the cessation of 
benefits because they do not have a condition that meets the adult 
standard for disability factor into such a program?
    g. Are there specific populations among SSI youth, such as youth in 
foster care, that such a program should consider for allowable 
services, providers, and expenditures?
    h. Would such a program be duplicative of the services provided by 
State VR agencies, which are already required to support the transition 
of youth with disabilities? Why or why not?
    12. Since the implementation of WIOA, are there specific examples 
of effective services that are funded through the PROMISE grants but 
not funded through State VR agencies or other Federal and State funding 
sources?

Guidance for Submitting Documents

    We ask that each respondent include the name and address of his or 
her institution or affiliation, if any, and the name, title, mailing 
and email addresses, and telephone number of a contact person for his 
or her institution or affiliation, if any.

Rights to Materials Submitted

    You should not provide any material you consider confidential or 
proprietary in response to this notice.

    Dated: December 26, 2017.
Nancy A. Berryhill,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security.
[FR Doc. 2017-28397 Filed 1-2-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4191-02-P