Youth with Disabilities at the Crossroads: The Intersection of Vocational Rehabilitation and Disability Benefits for Youth with Disabilities

Publisher: Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, vol. 60, issue 3 (subscription required)
Apr 30, 2017
Authors
Todd C. Honeycutt, Allison V. Thompkins, Maura E. Bardos, and Steven N. Stern
State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies are well positioned to assist youth aged 16 to 24 years with disabilities who are transitioning from school to work. Using Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)-911 records matched to Social Security Administration (SSA) administrative records, this article adds to the knowledge about state VR agency provision of services to youth with disabilities and differences in outcomes based on SSA benefit receipt status. Although agencies’ statistics varied widely, almost one in six SSA beneficiaries who sought VR services had at least 1 month of benefit suspension due to work within 48 months of their VR applications, and about one in 10 VR applicants without SSA benefits at the time of their VR application received SSA benefits within 48 months. SSA beneficiaries received services from VR agencies at the same level as non-SSA beneficiaries, but the levels at which they were employed when they closed from services were lower. The results have two main policy implications. First, the level of resources to which agencies have access may be important in influencing the outcomes we measured. Second, agency differences in the proportion of SSA beneficiaries who eventually had benefit suspension due to work point to the potential for additional gains by agencies in this area.