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Reports Show that Individuals with Disabilities Want to Work

The Department of Labor issued two reports this year indicating that the Department’s One-Stop Career Centers are being used by many disabled people who are receiving benefits from Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The One-Stop Career Centers were established by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and are intended to help job seekers of all types, not just the those receiving SSDI and SSI disability benefits. One-Stops offer training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and similar employment-related services to job seekers, who can visit the centers in person or online.

The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) coordinates the One-Stop Careers Centers and is also responsible for enforcing parts of the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program, a voluntary program that helps those receiving SSDI and SSI disability benefits to regain employment through retraining and job placement assistance.

The May 2010 Department of Labor Report, Use of One-Stops by Social Security Disability Beneficiaries in Four States Implementing Disability Program Navigator Initiatives, indicates although only a small percentage of overall job seekers were SSA beneficiaries, there were sufficient numbers of SSA beneficiaries to support the conclusion that One-Stops were providing services that SSA beneficiaries were interested in pursuing. The report also concluded that more SSI and SSDI beneficiaries would use the One Stops if they knew about these centers and if the centers catered more to people with disabilities. In each state that participated in this survey (Maryland, Colorado, Iowa, and Oregon), several thousand SSA beneficiaries used One-Stop services each year, representing from 2% to 6% of all SSA beneficiaries in those states.

These reports underscore what the disabled know: if a person with a disability can work, he or she usually wants to work. SSI and SSDI benefits are insurance to help those with disabilities survive, but very few disabled people want to stay on the disability rolls. Given a choice between gainful and useful employment and remaining a beneficiary of the Social Security disability benefits programs, a large number of those who think they can work in spite of their disabilities want very much to do so. When they realize help is available, they pursue retraining and other job-related services through government programs like the One-Stop Career Centers and the Ticket to Work program.

July 7, 2010

The US DOL/ETA issued TEN 1-10, Release and availability of an ETA quantitative evaluation report, "Use of One-Stops by Social Security Disability Beneficiaries in Four States Implementing Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Initiatives."

ETA contracted out with Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), Inc. to conduct a quantitative evaluation of the DPN initiative through the use of the One-Stop Career Center system by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI beneficiaries. The study was conducted in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon, which were early implementers of the DPN Initiative and were willing to share their Workforce Investment Act adult and dislocated worker and Wagner-Peyser data base information for program years 2002-2007. The data runs were matched with the SSI and SSDI Ticket to Work records system.

May 2010

Evaluation Report on the Number of Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Being Served by the One-Stops in Four DPN States

The purpose of this report was to conduct a quantitative evaluation of the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative through the use of the One-Stop Career Center system by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. The study was conducted with Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon which were early implementation States.

Key findings include:

  • One-Stop Career Centers are serving a very large share of persons receiving SSA disability benefits and the public workforce system is providing important support for SSA disability beneficiaries who want to work
  • SA beneficiaries who used One-Stop services achieved positive employment outcomes.