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Key Findings Details

Vocational Rehabilitation on the Road to Social Security Disability: Longitudinal Statistics from Matched Administrative Data
by David Stapleton and Frank H. Martin
WP 2012-269
  • Substantial numbers of first-time Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) applicants entered Social Security Disability (SSD) in the 60 months following VR application -- for example, 11.3 percent of those who applied for VR in 2003 (about 50,000 individuals).
  • VR applicants who having already entered SSI are especially likely to enter SSD. For instance, among those in the 2002 cohort who had already entered SSI, 28 percent had also entered SSD as of VR application, 50 percent had entered SSD as of VR closure, and 94 percent had entered SSD as of 60 months after VR application.
  • Other VR applicant groups with relatively high SSD entry include non-Hispanic whites, those not employed at application, and those with more than a high school education.
  • There is wide variation in SSD entry across state VR agencies, with some states having entry percentages twice as high as others.
  • We also find a positive relationship between our measure of wait time and entry into SSD, and we discuss strategies to estimate the causal effect of wait time on SSD entry.