researchers and makes recommendations relating future surveys of disability and work.

Chapter 5 explores ways in which SSA could build on its experience with the NSHA to develop an ongoing disability monitoring system for Social Security programs that would provide timely information on the prevalence of disability and the characteristics and distribution of persons with disabilities. The chapter discusses the need for and elements of such a system, a brief description of possible survey partners in the development and use of the data, the essential principles for such a system, a needed advisory structure, and a suggested development and implementation strategy.

Chapter 6 summarizes the committee’s preliminary assessment undertaken early in the study of SSA’s research plan to redesign the disability decision process (IOM, 1998), and the subsequent decision by SSA to terminate this redesign effort and explore ways to incrementally improve the current process. It makes recommendations on research needed to improve the disability decision process.

The final chapter highlights some of the broad issues of analytical capacity and resource considerations to implement the recommendations embodied in this report. The chapter closes with a call for needed research that would lead to fundamental improvement in the research and administrative structure and policy in the disability programs.

Although this report addresses the specific tasks in the committee’s mandate—to review the research related to the redesign of the disability decision process and the design, scope of work, and content of the NSHA—the committee hopes that the report will provide guidance to a wider audience responsible for disability policy and to researchers concerned about enhancing the ability to measure disability in a survey context. Further, the report should contribute toward development of an efficient and cost-effective system for ongoing monitoring of the prevalence of disability in the United States to guide the future direction of disability policy.

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