About the Program

Program Description

The Disability Determination Process (DDP) Small Grant Program is a one-year $10,000 stipend program awarded to graduate-level students to conduct supervised independent research on improving the Disability Determination Process for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) two disability programsSupplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

The application processes for SSI and SSDI are complex, and members of the public with health problems and economic hardships often find them difficult to navigate.  The goal of this program is to improve the efficiency and reduce the complexity of the disability determination process (i.e. the process used to determine medical eligibility for SSI/SSDI).

The program is directed by Policy Research, Inc. (PRI) of Delmar, NY, and is 100% funded through a $300,000 grant from the Social Security Administration (SSA) (#IDD11000001).

Applicant Eligibility

  1. Applicants must be masters, doctoral, or post-doctoral-level graduate students pursuing studies in accredited programs at the time of the award with an academic emphasis in topics of interest to disability programs, including public health, social work, economics, occupational medicine, vocational and rehabilitation counseling, public policy and administration, sociology, psychology, education, medicine, and law.
  2. At the time of stipend award, selected graduate student researchers must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for stipend award.
  3. Members of minority and historically disadvantaged groups are encouraged to apply.
  4. Applicants may submit more than one proposal for consideration per year, but can receive only one stipend award per year

Expectations and Deliverables

If chosen for this grant, each award recipient will be expected to:

  1. Participate in a welcome teleconference with other grant recipients, mentors, PRI, and SSA.
  2. Submit a letter of approval from his/her academic institution’s IRB
  3. Submit a detailed work plan (Dec. 2014) followed by quarterly progress reports summarizing status of research activities (Mar. 2015, Jun. 2015, Sept. 2015)
  4. Participate in quarterly conference calls with faculty mentor and PRI (Jan. 2015, Apr. 2015, July 2015, Oct. 2015)
  5. Submit a 10-15 page draft written research project (Oct. 2015)
  6. Submit a 10-15 page final written research project (Dec. 2015)