A Study of the Social Security Work Incentives and Their Relation to Perceived Barriers to Work Among Persons With Psychiatric Disability

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry, Center for Mental Health Services Research; Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Mentally Disabled Persons; Mental Health Services; Employment, Supported; Work; Motivation; Social Security


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Objective: To study use and awareness of the Social Security Work Incentives (SSWIs) and to obtain empirical data on barriers to returning to work.

Study Design: Using parallel surveys and multiple sampling and recruitment strategies, the authors administered a brief survey about the SSWIs.

Participants: Persons with a psychiatric disability (n=539), service providers (n=120), and family members (n=174). Results: All groups registered the greatest concern about the loss of health insurance; this and other concerns were perceived as serious barriers to returning to work. There were differences in the perceptions of the 3 groups about the importance of disincentives to work and differences among consumers by demographic characteristics.

Conclusions: Consumers, family members, and providers of services need more information about the work incentives, particularly if the goals of the new Ticket to Work legislation are to be realized. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

DOI of Published Version



MacDonald-Wilson, K.L., Rogers, E.S., Ellison, M.L., & Lyass, A. (2003). A study of the Social Security Work Incentives and their relation to motivation to work among persons with serious mental illnesses. Rehabilitation Psychology, 48(4), 301-309. DOI 10.1037/0090-5550.48.4.301

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Rehabilitation Psychology


At the time of publication, Marsha Langer Ellison was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.