Statistics About Transitioning to Work for Disabled Individuals
Two different reports came out in December 2013 about Social Security Disability (SSD). They both look at whether and how people transition off of SSD and back into the workforce. Ticket to Work Program The Social Security Administration (SSA) has set up the Ticket to Work Program for SSD recipients. The Ticket to Work Program gives access to vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals, and other services to assist SSD recipients gain employment. While an individual on SSD goes through training and works to establish a permanent job, they will still receive SSD benefits along with Medicare or Medicaid. The Ticket to Work Program has a number of Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects in communities throughout the United States. WIPA projects provide a range of services for individuals to help them transition to work and off of SSD. American Association of People with Disabilities The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) published their 2013 Compendium on Disability Statistics. “The gap in employment for people with disabilities compared to people without disabilities still remains around 40.8 percentage points with 32.7 percent of people with disabilities employed versus 73.6 percent of people without disabilities employed.” The Compendium is complied by the AAPD and the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability with funding from the National Institute on Disability Research and Rehabilitation. The Compendium brings disability statistics published by a number of federal agencies together in one place. The Compendium's findings show a large difference between individuals with disabilities in the labor force and individuals without disabilities in the labor force. The AAPD notes that “the Compendium serves as a reference guide for policymakers and comes during a renewed focus on employment as the government announced a landmark effort that would require federal contractors to set a 7 percent hiring target for people with disabilities in addition to other national and state employment efforts.” Mathematica Policy Research Mathematica Policy Research published a working paper by Yonatan Ben-Shalom and Arif A. Mamun entitled the “Return-to-Work Outcomes Among Social Security Disability Insurance Program Beneficiaries.” The paper reviews data from the “SSA's Disability Analysis File and the Rehabilitation Services Administration's RSA-911 files for the period covering 1996 to 2009.” The authors focused on “four return-to-work milestones for [SSD] beneficiaries: enrollment for employment services, Trial Work Period (TWP) start, TWP completion, and achievement of nonpayment status following suspension or termination for work (STW).” The authors reviewed a number of variables including age at time of starting SSD, the first month SSD payment was received, the five years after that first SSD payment, and state-level unemployment rates. The results were “consistent with other studies showing that SSD beneficiaries younger than age 40 were more likely to have achieved employment than those who were age 40 and older, viewed from both a cross-sectional perspective or a longitudinal perspective.” These studies show a continuing trend that individuals with disabilities have difficulty finding and keeping work due to their disabilities, even with laws in place to prevent discrimination. But, there are new programs coming out to assist with the SSA goal to have more SSD individuals find self-supporting work. If you are injured or have a disability and are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, contact our knowledgeable attorney to assist you with the process.