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Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination (2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination (2015) (PDF)
Source: Institute of Medicine

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), for disabled individuals, and their dependent family members, who have worked and contributed to the Social Security trust funds, and Supplemental Security Income (SSSI), which is a means-tested program based on income and financial assets for adults aged 65 years or older and disabled adults and children. Both programs require that claimants have a disability and meet specific medical criteria in order to qualify for benefits. SSA establishes the presence of a medically-determined impairment in individuals with mental disorders other than intellectual disability through the use of standard diagnostic criteria, which include symptoms and signs. These impairments are established largely on reports of signs and symptoms of impairment and functional limitation.

Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination considers the use of psychological tests in evaluating disability claims submitted to the SSA. This report critically reviews selected psychological tests, including symptom validity tests, that could contribute to SSA disability determinations. The report discusses the possible uses of such tests and their contribution to disability determinations. Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination discusses testing norms, qualifications for administration of tests, administration of tests, and reporting results. The recommendations of this report will help SSA improve the consistency and accuracy of disability determination in certain cases.

Qualifying for Disability Benefits in Puerto Rico Based on an Inability to Speak English

June 20, 2015 Comments off

Qualifying for Disability Benefits in Puerto Rico Based on an Inability to Speak English
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining whether a claimant qualifies for disability benefits. In claims that reach the last step in the process, adjudicators use medical-vocational guidelines (grids) developed in the 1970s to guide them in deciding a claimant’s physical and vocational abilities to adjust to work in the national economy.

When deciding a case under the grids, adjudicators evaluate a claimant’s physical capacity to work along with age, education, and work experience. The ability to speak, read, write, and understand English is considered an educational factor. A claimant’s inability to communicate in English can lessen the relevance of work experience and education, potentially making it more likely the claimant will receive disability benefits.

The objective of our audit was to analyze the effect of regulations requiring that disability adjudicators allow a disability claim based on a claimant’s inability to understand the English language for claimants residing in Puerto Rico.

Overpayments in the Social Security Administration’s Disability Programs – A 10-Year Study

June 9, 2015 Comments off

Overpayments in the Social Security Administration’s Disability Programs – A 10-Year Study
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General

We selected for review a sample of 1,532 beneficiaries from a file of 8.9 million beneficiaries who were receiving disability payments in October 2003.

We originally reviewed these 1,532 cases for an April 2006 audit.

Our objective of this report is to study 1,532 beneficiaries who received disability benefits in October 2003 to determine the amount of overpayments in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability programs between October 2003 and February 2014 (just over a 10-year period).

UK — Ofcom publishes third report on quality of live TV subtitles

June 4, 2015 Comments off

Ofcom publishes third report on quality of live TV subtitles
Source: Ofcom

Ofcom today published its third report measuring the quality of live subtitles in UK TV programmes.

Ofcom requires the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky to measure the quality of their live TV subtitles, helping to identify improvements that could benefit the millions1 of viewers who use subtitles.

Today’s report shows that broadcasters are improving several aspects of subtitling.

These include making extensive use of easier to read ‘block subtitles’, which show several words as a single block of text; cutting the number of pre-recorded programmes that have to be subtitled live; and reducing the number and duration of subtitle ‘outages’.

In October-November 2014, broadcasters delivered good accuracy rates (98% and above) across 77% of their programmes, compared to 76% in October-November 2013 and 74% in April-May 2014.

A Look at Funding for Students with Disabilities

May 15, 2015 Comments off

A Look at Funding for Students with Disabilities (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

This year is the 40th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142 — most commonly known as the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law not only changed the way that students with disabilities are educated in this country, it also fundamentally changed the way that states fund their K-12 education programs. This ECS Progress of Education Reform outlines some of the facts — and myths — surrounding IDEA and how its passage has made state policymakers think differently about how they fund their public schools.

Disabilities — Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Return-to-Work Programs

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Return-to-Work Programs (PDF)
Source: Mathematica Policy Research

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP), which leads the nation’s efforts to develop and influence policies and practices to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, has a keen interest in the employment of workers who experience the onset of a disability. As part of its mission, ODEP is interested in promoting successful return-to-work (RTW) strategies that will result in lower public assistance costs for taxpayers, lower personnel costs for employers, and higher incomes for workers with disabilities.

To support this objective, Mathematica Policy Research conducted a review and analysis of existing research, data, and other relevant material to provide a comparison of the cost and benefits of implementing an RTW program in the private sector. More specifically, we compared the costs and benefits of retaining an employee who experiences disability onset to the costs and benefits of permanently losing a valued trained employee and incurring the expense and time of recruiting and developing a replacement employee. In doing so, we assessed whether the net benefits of RTW investments are positive from the perspectives of the employer, the worker with a disability, and taxpayers, and from a societal point of view.

We first provide some relevant background on workers experiencing disability onset and exiting the labor force; the consequences for workers, taxpayers, and employers; and the potential promise of RTW supports.

Reducing Poverty in the United States: Results of a Microsimulation Analysis of the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute Policy Package

March 30, 2015 Comments off

Reducing Poverty in the United States: Results of a Microsimulation Analysis of the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute Policy Package
Source: Urban Institute

A package of five policies—a transitional jobs (TJ) program, a $10.10 minimum wage, expanded earned income tax credits, a tax credit for senior citizens and people with disabilities, and expanded child care subsidies—could cut the national poverty rate by at least half. Using the TRIM3 microsimulation model and the Supplemental Poverty measure, the analysis shows the national poverty rate falling fall from 14.8 percent to either 7.4 percent or 6.3 percent, depending on the take-up rate assumed for the TJ program. Poverty is greatly reduced for all age groups and race/ethnicity groups.

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