May 7, 2015

Planning To Pour Money Down A Rat Hole

     Social Security is publishing a request for comments on a plan for a research study on early intervention as a way of reducing disability caused by mental illness. The agency cites earlier research showing "promising" results from early intervention. Here's what the earlier research  actually says:
Eight  percent  of  the  study  participants  showed average  earnings  over  the  24-month study  period  that  exceeded  the  current  level  of  SGA [Substantial Gainful Activity, the level of earnings that would cause loss of benefits].  Beneficiaries  in  the  treatment group did not  experience  an increase  in work  that  SSA  considers  SGA  when  compared to participants  in the  control  group.  Neither  did participants  in the  treatment  group experience  a  reduction in  benefit  payments  when  compared to participants  in the control  group.
     If that's "promising", what would unpromising results look like? I really wish that something like this would work but it won't. The people who receive Social Security disability benefits due to mental illness are so badly impaired that very few of them will ever return to regular employment no matter what anyone does.

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