[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 194 (Tuesday, October 7, 2003)]
[Pages 57950-57953]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-25194]



Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Youth Transition Process 
Demonstration (YTPD)

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Notice of youth demonstration and SSI waivers.


SUMMARY: The Commissioner of Social Security announces the following 
demonstration project relating to the Supplemental Security Income 
(SSI) program under title XVI of the Social Security Act. Under this 
project, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will test the 
effectiveness of altering certain SSI program rules as an incentive to 
encourage SSI recipients with disabilities or blindness to work or 
increase their work activity and earnings. This project, called the 
Youth Transition Process Demonstration (YTPD), is being conducted under 
the authority of section 1110 of the Act. SSA is conducting this 
project in six states for the purpose of helping youth with 
disabilities maximize their economic self-sufficiency as they 
transition from school to work. The projects will work with youth aged 
14-25 who receive SSI, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or 
Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) and those at risk of receiving such 
benefits, including those who have a progressive disability, who have a 
prognosis for decreased functioning, or who have existing disabling 
conditions prior to age 18 that would render them eligible except for 
deemed parental income. SSA is publishing this notice in accordance 
with 20 CFR 416.250(e).

DATES: The demonstration project will begin with cooperative agreement 
awards on September 30, 2003. Subject to the availability of funds, the 
demonstration project will end September 29, 2008.

Administration, Office of Program Development and Research, 6401 
Security Blvd, 3673 Annex, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401; Phone (410) 965-
2219 or through E-mail to [email protected].



    SSI is a federal program administered by SSA. The program is 
financed from general federal revenue and provides monthly benefit 
payments to aged, blind, and individuals with disabilities who have 
limited resources and income. In 2003, the federal benefit rate for an 
individual is $552 per month and $829 per month for a couple. In 
addition, many states supplement the federal benefit. The supplementary 
benefit amounts and the categories of persons eligible for these 
benefits vary from state to state. In most states, eligibility for SSI 
means eligibility for Medicaid; the extent of the Medicaid coverage 
package varies by state. SSI recipients may also be eligible to receive 
Food Stamps in all states but California and Wisconsin, where the 
state's supplementary payments are considered to include the value of 
Food Stamps.
    To be eligible, a person must be age 65 or older, or have a severe 
disability and have limited resources and income, and meet certain 
other requirements. A person is considered to have a disability if a 
physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments prevents 
the person from doing any substantial gainful work and is expected to 
last for at least 12 months or to result in death. Children, as well as 
adults, may be eligible. SSA works cooperatively with the states, who 
are responsible for making disability and blindness determinations 
through their disability determination services (DDS). SSA takes a 
detailed medical history from the applicant during the initial 
interview and sends that information to the DDS. The DDS then secures 
medical records and, if needed, arranges an additional medical 
examination. Based upon this evidence, a disability or blindness 
determination is made.
    In addition to age, disability or blindness, an individual or 
couple must meet resource, income, and residency requirements. In 2003, 
the resource limits are $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a 
couple. However, not everything that a person owns is counted.
    An individual or couple may have earned or unearned income and 
still may be eligible for the SSI program. A certain amount of income 
is disregarded in determining eligibility and computing the SSI benefit 
amount. People who live in a state that supplements the federal payment 

[[Page 57951]]

have higher amounts of income and still may qualify for some benefits.
    To be eligible for SSI, a person must reside in the U.S. or the 
Northern Mariana Islands and be a U.S. citizen, an alien lawfully 
admitted for permanent residence, or an alien permanently residing in 
the U.S. under ``color of law'' (PRUCOL). PRUCOL is defined in the Code 
of Federal Regulations at 20 CFR 416.1618.

Description of the YTPD Projects

    To further the President's New Freedom Initiative goal of 
increasing employment of individuals with disabilities, we are 
conducting a demonstration project, called the Youth Transition Process 
Demonstration (YTPD), under the authority of section 1110 of the Act. 
SSA is awarding cooperative agreements to state agencies and 
universities in six states for five years, subject to the availability 
of funds, for the purpose of helping youth with disabilities maximize 
their economic self-sufficiency as they transition from school to work. 
These projects will focus on youth ages 14-25 who receive SSI, Social 
Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disability Benefits 
(CDB), and youth who are at risk of receiving such benefits. The 
projects are designed to collaborate among federal, state, and local 
agencies to develop and implement sustainable improvements in the 
delivery of transition services and supports. The projects will test 
ways to remove other barriers to employment and economic self-

YTPD Project Sites

    SSA is conducting seven YTPD projects in six states. The state, 
title, description and project sites for each project follow.
    Title: The Bridges to Youth Self Sufficiency Project (Bridges).
    Awardee: State of California Health and Human Services Agency 
Department of Rehabilitation.
    Summary: The Bridges to Youth Self Sufficiency Project (Bridges) 
will serve youth ages 14-25 who receive SSI, SSDI, or CDB or youth at 
risk of receiving such benefits. Benefits planning and intensive 
service coordination are the main services provided by this project. 
Other specific program components are benefits training and education, 
outreach to specialized populations, early intervention, local 
partnering, youth incentives, local and state oversight bodies, and a 
data driven research study. The categories of outcomes to be measured 
are employment, education, level of independence, service 
participation, and quality of life.
    Project Sites:
    1. Riverside County Office of Education
    2. Whittier Union High School District
    3. Vallejo City Unified School Districts
    4. Capistrano Unified School District/Saddleback Valley Unified 
School District Consortium
    5. Irvine Unified School District/Newport-Mesa Unified School 
District Consortium
    Title: Colorado Youth Work Incentive Network of Supports (WINS).
    Awardee: JFK Partners of the University of Colorado Health Sciences 
    Summary: Colorado Youth Work Incentive Network of Supports (WINS) 
overarching goal is to assist youth, aged 14-25, who are currently 
receiving or are likely to receive SSI, SSDI, or CDB benefits to 
maximize their economic self-sufficiency and career advancement. 
Participants will work with a Transition Team (made up of a Consumer 
Navigator, Benefits Planner, and a Career Counselor) located in each 
selected community. The Transition Team, housed at local Workforce 
Centers, will provide specialized and intensive transition services to 
youth and their families. This project is designed to ensure that the 
same Transition Team members will work with youth and their families 
during high school and after the youth has left high school and entered 
the workforce. This project will collect comparison data from 
additional youth to determine the impact the intensive transition 
services and waivers have on Colorado Youth WINS participants. 
Comparisons will be made between participants and the control group 
using both direct collect and administrative data.
    Project Sites: Larimer, El Paso/Teller and Pueblo Counties.
    Title: Smart Start.
    Awardee: University of Iowa's Center for Disability and 
Development, Employment Policy Group.
    Summary: Smart Start focuses on supporting the successful 
transition of students with disabilities from school to employment and 
economic self-sufficiency by addressing deficiencies and inefficiencies 
that exist across the system. The project concentrates on coordinating 
and integrating existing resources (services and benefits) available 
through local, state, and federal programs including Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Medicaid, Workforce Investment Act, 
Vocational Rehabilitation, SSI, and Ticket to Work. The purpose of 
Smart Start is to design and set into motion a system of 
individualized, comprehensive, and navigable transition-related 
services that adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of young 
people with disabilities. By removing customary bureaucratic 
constraints that impede individual choice and empowerment, Smart Start 
enables coordination and integration of transition services across 
multiple agencies by creating a service delivery system that is market 
driven. This effort presents an opportunity for local, state, and 
federal agencies to meaningfully engage in cross-departmental risk-
sharing efforts. Project participants are students with disabilities 
enrolled in public schools and young adults with disabilities, formerly 
enrolled in public schools, who are unemployed (or who are employed but 
seeking jobs), starting with youth ages 14-25 years old who receive 
    Project Sites: Mason City and Waterloo Community School Districts.
    Title: The Maryland State Department of Education Youth 
Demonstration Project.
    Awardee: Maryland State Department of Education.
    Summary: The Maryland State Department of Education Youth 
Demonstration Project will have dedicated staff to assist the student 
participants and their families in the development of services and 
training that leads to employability and the building of a safety net 
for independence. In each service site there will be a dedicated 
Department of Rehabilitation Services Counselor, a Consumer Navigator, 
and a Family Support and Benefits Coordinator. Areas to be addressed 
include transportation, independent living, health care, and benefits 
planning before exiting school. The partnership with the One Stop will 
allow students, with the guidance of the Consumer Navigator, to develop 
those life skills needed for employment. As a result of participation 
in this project, students with disabilities will be better prepared for 
life choices at the completion of their public school educational 
program. Participating students will be more prepared for adulthood by 
obtaining the skills and the service agency linkages to move from 
dependence to independence. All

[[Page 57952]]

participating students will receive the benefits of earlier involvement 
with the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) and other 
employment support services.
    Project Sites:
    Maryland Schools for the Blind, Baltimore County, Wicomico County
    Title: The Mississippi Youth Transition Innovations Project (MYTI).
    Awardee: Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS).
    Summary: The Mississippi Youth Transition Innovations Project 
(MYTI) will serve youth ages 10-25 who receive SSI, SSDI, CDB, or youth 
at risk of receiving such benefits. MYTI will address the following 
issues: (a) The need for development of a model transition process that 
will facilitate optimal passage from school to work; (b) The 
elimination of barriers when feasible to effect transition at the 
local, state, and federal levels through interagency collaboration and 
elimination of policies, procedures, regulations, and statutory 
requirements that impede progress; and, (c) The development of natural 
and new/innovative supports at all levels as needed. The MYTI Project 
will be based upon individual person-centered planning, including the 
use of individual training accounts involving prospective employer buy-
in to pre-career development, such as training opportunities required 
to earn an Occupational Diploma. As issues arise that impede the 
ability to accomplish this, local-level Transition Specialists will 
address these on an individualized basis and, if necessary, bring them 
to the state-level Coordination Council to facilitate barrier removal. 
In the final year in the local school system, participants will be 
referred to the appropriate MDRS program for vocational rehabilitation, 
supported employment, and independent living services. The program will 
be evaluated in terms of progress and outcome variables. Participation 
analysis will compare the experiences of the project group with a 
similar group of students with disabilities who did not receive project 
    Project Sites: Gulfport City and Harrison County Schools in years 
1-3 and then add the Durant Public School in year 4.
New York
    Title: Transition WORKS.
    Awardee: Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) 
with the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals 
with Disabilities, New York State Department of Education.
    Summary: Transition WORKS project is designed to increase the post-
school transition success experienced by youth and young adults ages 
14-25 who receive SSI, SSDI or CDB or youth at risk of receiving such 
benefits. Transition WORKS proposes to provide a comprehensive, 
collaborative transition planning and services model comprised of the 
most effective, research-based transition practices. A research design 
will test the efficacy of the component services and statistically test 
several hypotheses regarding transition services. The project will 
provide student- and family-centered planning for all participants (in 
and out-of-school), coordination of services, parent and family 
education and support, benefits advisement and work incentives 
advisement in addition to waivers of SSA regulations, and participation 
in career exploration activities as well as community-based work 
experiences. Youth with potential for postsecondary education will 
receive assistance to plan for and to enter and participate 
successfully in postsecondary education.
    Project Site: Erie County.
    Title: CUNY's Youth Transition Demonstration Project.
    Awardee: City University of New York.
    Summary: CUNY's Youth Transition Demonstration Project is designed 
to prepare youth aged 16-19, who receive SSI benefits, to achieve 
economic self-sufficiency. The project plans to increase coordination 
among public agencies and private organizations that have resources, 
funding, and a mandate to provide transition services. As a forum to 
deliver transition services, integrate systems and tap resources, the 
project will convene an annual, four-week, Summer Institute for 
participating youth. There will be a variety of workshops, information 
sessions, and professional development seminars to support transition. 
All students will be trained in self-determination skills. Tutoring in 
basic skills, vocational assessments, benefits counseling, and work-
based learning will also be provided. College students with 
disabilities will serve as peer mentors. Year round activities will 
include student self-advocacy groups, parent support groups, and a 
four-course, twelve-credit Certificate in Transition Services for 
school personnel, staff at public and private agencies, as well as 
parents and CUNY students. The project will be evaluated by comparing 
the progress the experimental group makes, versus the control group, in 
completing specific and objective milestones in the transition process.
    Project Site: Bronx County.

Alternative SSI Program Rules that Apply to Participants in the YTPD

    Section 1110(b) of the Act authorizes the Commissioner of Social 
Security to waive any requirements of title XVI of the Act necessary to 
carry out demonstrations that, in the Commissioner's judgment, are 
likely to promote the objectives or facilitate the administration of 
the SSI program.
    The following alternative SSI program rules will apply to certain 
project participants who receive SSI benefits or a combination of SSI 
and SSDI benefits.
    1. Despite the finding of a continuing disability review conducted 
in accordance with section 221(i) or section 1614(a)(3)(H) of the Act 
or an age-18 medical redetermination conducted in accordance with 
section 1614(a)(3)(I) of the Act that an individual is no longer 
eligible for benefits, SSA will continue paying benefits for as long as 
the individual continues to be a YTPD participant.
    2. The student earned-income exclusion (section 1612(b)(1) of the 
Act), which normally applies only to students who are age 21 or younger 
and neither married nor the head of a household (20 CFR 416.1866) will 
apply to all participants who meet school attendance requirements, 
without regard to their age or whether they are married or the head of 
a household.
    3. The general earned-income exclusion (section 1612(b)(4)) 
normally permits the exclusion of $65 plus half of what an individual 
earns in excess of $65. For the YTPD, SSA will exclude the first $65 
plus three-fourths of any additional earnings.
    4. SSA will extend the SSI program's treatment of federally 
supported individual development accounts (IDAs) (section 404(h) of the 
Act) to IDAs that do not involve federal funds.
    An IDA is a trust-like savings account. Except for certain 
emergencies, funds in a federally supported IDA can be used only for 
going to college, buying a first home, or starting a business. The 
individual makes deposits from his or her earned income. The 
individual's contributions are matched, at rates that can vary from 1:1 
to 8:1, usually depending on the availability of funding.
    Social Security excludes federally-supported IDAs when it 
determines whether someone's resources exceed the SSI limit. It also 
excludes matching contributions when it determines countable income. 
Further, Social Security deducts the beneficiary's own

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deposits from countable income, so that SSI benefits replace the amount 
deposited. As a result, an SSI beneficiary does not have to divert 
scarce resources from living expenses in order to save.
    Nonfederally supported IDA or ``IDA-like'' programs have emerged in 
a number of states. These programs usually permit an individual to save 
for one or more purposes in addition to the three mentioned above, such 
as transportation. The exclusions that apply to federally-supported 
IDAs normally do not extend to these programs.
    5. Ordinarily, a plan for achieving self-support (PASS) must 
specify an employment goal (section 1633(d) of the Act), which refers 
to getting a particular kind of job or starting a particular business. 
For the YTPD, SSA will approve an otherwise satisfactory PASS that has 
either career exploration or postsecondary education as its goal. If 
the goal is postsecondary education, the PASS must provide for 
developing a work goal at least one year prior to completion of the 
degree requirements.
    Income that an individual uses for PASS expenses does not count 
when SSA determines SSI eligibility and payment amount. Assets that an 
individual uses for PASS expenses do not count as resources when SSA 
determines SSI eligibility.


    The seven YTPD projects will collect data for each participant 
regarding identifying information, educational and vocational 
background, services provided, education/work attempts, and outcomes 
and use of the alternative SSI program rules. Each YTPD project will 
use the data to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative SSI program 
rules. In addition, SSA will award a separate contract to evaluate the 
overall success of the YTPD, aid YTPD projects in their evaluation 
activities, conduct a process evaluation, and assess cost-
effectiveness. The evaluation contractor is to conduct a net-outcomes 
and process evaluation which will provide information on the 
effectiveness of interventions, including the effectiveness of 
alternative SSI program rules, and the feasibility of using different 
types of comparison groups. It also will collect the project-level data 
and prepare methodology for measuring transition services and adult 
outcomes for youth with disabilities.

    Dated: September 25, 2003.
Jo Anne B. Barnhart,
Commissioner of Social Security.
[FR Doc. 03-25194 Filed 10-6-03; 8:45 am]