Cost-benefits analysis

Project staff evaluated the cost benefits to applicants and agencies associated with use of an expert model computer program, the MSXA. The MSXA helps professionals comprehensively evaluate and record the nature and extent of a person’s mental health disorder, documentation required in applying for SSDI and/or SSI when claiming a mental health impairment. The primary anticipated benefits of using the MSXA were an increase in the consistency and accuracy of mental health examination report and activities of daily living narrative report and a reduction in the disability determination processing time and rejection rate of applications containing an MSXA report.

The cost benefit analysis consisted of two components: a quantitative component to analyze and compare processing time and outcomes of three SSDI/SSI application samples (pre-intervention comparison group, intervention group, and control group), and a structured interview component to assess staff user reaction to the software. In a third component, project staff analyzed the experiences of applicants with mental health impairments, specifically: 1) their understanding of the SSDI/SSI application process, 2) assistance received in completing the application process, 3) coping strategies used during the processing time waiting period, and 4) their reaction and adjustment to the application outcome.

Staff completed a final report in April 1995, which is available upon request from CSWR or TXMHMR. Consumer experiences clearly revealed that to improve the disability determination process, it is necessary is to make this process understandable from the consumer’s point of view. This study also clearly documented the need for further research to identify ways to facilitate the process of implementing new technology.


Onken, S.J., McRoy, R.G., Schwab, A.J. & Lewis, C.M. (1995). Applying for SSI/SSDI benefits: Technology application and consumer perspectives. University of Texas at Austin: Center for Social Work Research.