Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  O’Neill, J., Mamun, A., A., Potamites, E., Chan,F., & da Silva Cordoso,E. (2015). Return to work of disability insurance beneficiaries who do and do not access state vocational rehabilitation agency services. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 26 (2), 111-123.
Title:  Return to work of disability insurance beneficiaries who do and do not access state vocational rehabilitation agency services
Authors:  O’Neill, J., Mamun, A., A., Potamites, E., Chan,F., & da Silva Cordoso,E.
Year:  2015
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Disability Policy Studies
Publisher:  Hammill Institute on Disabilities
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/1044207315583900
Full text:  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1044207315583900   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Database mining

Structured abstract:

Background:  Policymakers are concerned about the growth of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and the low number who return to work. The state-federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) program plays a major role in assisting beneficiaries with return to work. There are state VR agencies in all 50 states and US territories. This program may help decrease the rise in cost, because beneficiarires served can achieve independent living and employment goals. Research has shown a complex (varied and inconsistent) relationship between receiving VR services and the utilization of Social Security (SS) disability benefits.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between state VR agencies service receipt and Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries achievement of work milestones. The milestones were the trial work period and suspension or termination from the SSDI program due to work.
Setting:  There was no setting. This study compared information from two large data bases.
Study sample:  The researchers matched SSDI beneficiaries who enrolled in state VR services with those who had not enrolled. The enrollee group included 17,369 SSDI beneficiaries. The comparison group was drawn from 167,891 SSDI awardees.
Intervention:  The intervention was State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Services
Control or comparison condition:  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries who were enrolled in State VR agencies services were compared with matched and unmatched comparison groups of beneficiaries who did not enroll in these services.
Data collection and analysis:  Two administrative data sets were matched prospectively; the 2010 Disability Analysis File and the Rehabilitation Services Administration Case Service Report (RSA 911) files. The researchers matched SSDI beneficiaries who enrolled in state VR services with those who had not enrolled. The enrollee and comparison groups were pulled from all Social Security Disability beneficiaries who entered the SSDI program in 2000 and were between 25 and 54 years of age and did not die before 2010. The enrollee group included 17,369 SSDI beneficiaries, who applied for VR services in 1997 or later and within 5 years of receiving SSDI, who were closed from VR services after an Individual Plan for Employment was developed and whose time from first SSDI application date to last VR closure date was less than 5 years. The VR service enrolled group was further divided into six subgroups who had applied for VR services at certain time intervals after receiving SSDI. The comparison group was drawn from 167,891 SSDI awardees in 2000; that had never had a closure from VR between 1997 and 2010. The groups were matched for comparison. The researchers constructed dichotomous dependent variables to measure two return-to-work outcomes using data from the Disability Analysis File. This included trial work period and termination from the SSDI program due to work. Logistic regression was used to estimate the relationships between receipt of VR services and achievement of an employment outcome over ten years after a SSDI award. In each regression the researchers compared the five enrollee subgroups with the comparison group.
Findings:  Work outcomes for the group enrolled in State VR agencies were better than those of the matched and non-matched enrollee group. The article contributes to the current body of literature in two ways. New information on the progression to SSDI miles stones, by VR enrollees was analyzed. The researchers adjusted the outcomes for observable characteristics using propensity score matching. This allowed them to assess variations in outcomes that could be due to observable characteristics that were important drivers of outcomes in earlier studies.
Conclusions:  Difference in employment outcomes for SSDI beneficiaries who received VR services and those who did not, are not due to observable differences.

Disabilities served:  Anxiety disorder
Autism / ASD
Bi-polar
Blindness
Cerebral palsy
Chronic mental illness
Deafness
Developmental disabilities
Down syndrome
Dual sensory impairment
Multiple sclerosis
Muscular dystrophy
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Orthopedic impairments
Schizophrenia
Severe physical disability
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Race: Black / African American
Race: White / Caucasian
Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino
Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Latino
Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Interventions:  Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Other