A Successful Transition to Work and Independence

A Successful Transition to Work and Independence:
Former SSI/DI Beneficiaries that Achieved Self-Sustaining Employment
Chaz Compton
San Diego State University


This study investigates the factors that increase the likelihood that a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary will obtain and maintain self-sustaining employment. This study used qualitative methods to interview 22 former SSI/DI beneficiaries that were no longer receiving cash payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA) due to earnings from employment. These interviews occurred in focus groups and individually. The data was analyzed using grounded theory techniques. The findings indicate that family, significant others and peers were essential in providing influence and motivation to these former beneficiaries as they transitioned to work. The support and encouragement provided to beneficiaries, and the challenge of high expectations were cited as important types of help. Benefits planning, postsecondary education, assistive technology (AT) and work experience were all important elements to a successful transition off of benefits to work. This study examines each of these elements and identifies several implications for practice. A guide for rehabilitation counselors that work with SSI/DI beneficiaries is also provided to assist in the process of helping them become self-sufficient through work.

Click the attachment below to read the full report.

SuccessfulBeneficiariesReport.pdf682.44 KB