CaPromise: California promoting the readiness of minors in supplemental security income

Youth with disabilities who receive SSI benefits are more likely to remain on benefits as adults instead of entering the world of work.  The potential impact of this fact is that adults who subsist on SSI will live a life of poverty with few to no choices about their basic human needs.  CaPromise is evaluating an early intervention program that may make a huge difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities as well as offer a great reduction in the tax burden.

CaPROMISE is a research study which is attempting to address the primary barriers to successful employment for transitioning youth with disabilities on SSI. This project identifies youth ages 14-16 who are SSI recipients and randomly assigns them either to a control group who will receive typical services or to a participant group in which they will receive usual typical services plus PROMISE augmented services.

CaPromise is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor.  California partners include: California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) – lead, California Department of Education (CDE), California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), California Department of Healthcare Services (DHS), California Department of Social Services (DSS), California Employment Development Department (EDD), Local Education Agencies (LEA) and Expandability, San Diego State University’s Interwork Institute.

Expandability is a partner in the CaPromise initiative, providing direct services to qualified youth and their families.



Children receiving payments under the SSI program need a continuum of coordinated services and supports to prepare for the transition to postsecondary education and competitive employment and to continue on a path to achieving economic self-sufficiency.  CaPromise services attempt to increase or improve:

  • Educational attainment
  • Academic credentials
  • Improved employment outcomes
  • Increased income
  • Increased self-reliance


Services provided within this project are aimed at increasing expectations about working and self-sufficiency, access to effective employment services and better coordinated school-based services. One of the main ideas of PROMISE is to provide beneficiaries with information about their health and benefits, including SSI and other work incentives. 

Services Include:

  • A system for the family and student to coordinate services
  • Resource referral services
  • Transition planning
  • Financial and benefits planning
  • Understanding the IEP
  • Coordination of Regional Center Services
  • Career and work-based learning experiences
  • Parent training and information
  • Work experience

Activities include:

  • Youth development activities
  • Employer engagement
  • Independent living activities
  • Training in the use of technology and assistive technology services and devices
  • Leadership development
  • Job-seeking skills
  • Life skills and independent living skills
  • Self-advocacy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Connection and exposure post-school supports financial/benefits planning services are provided by trained and certified benefits counselors and will focus on the individual as well as the family and include information and services on:
  • TANF
  • Section 8 housing
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • SSI
  • Medi-Cal
  • Work Incentives

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