Innovative Practices: Improving Outcomes for People with Disabilities Who Receive SSDI

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These innovative job placement practices may be effective in improving vocational rehabilitation (VR) service delivery and employment outcomes for people with disabilities who receive SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance):

Early and continuous financial education
Financial education empowers people to make accurate consumer decisions, follow appropriate financial practices, and achieve economic well-being. This process helps VR clients move from financial instability to a position of financial stability and independence through investment.

Early business outreach and job placement
VR offices develop business relationships with area employers and work directly with consumers and employers early to achieve employment outcomes at substantial gainful activity (SGA) and above.

Coordinated team approach
The Coordinated Team Approach represents coordinated in-depth and personalized discussions with the client, supported by counseling and services, primarily early on, but continuing as needed. The team consists of the VR Counselor, Financial Specialist, and Job Placement Staff.

Rapid engagement
Rapid engagement in real life work settings reduces “job readiness” assessments and evaluations.

Source: SGA Model Demonstration | ExploreVR

These practices were implemented by state VR agencies in Kentucky and Minnesota and evaluated as part of the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Mathematica’s recent SGA Demonstration Project. The services were shown to:

  • Increase how quickly people with disabilities who receive SSDI engage in vocational rehabilitation services.
  • Improve employment outcomes for SSDI beneficiaries who receive vocational rehabilitation services.

The SGA Demonstration Project

The SGA Demonstration Project was designed to:

  • Increase the pace of and client engagement with services
  • Improve financial education and benefits counseling with a focus on household self-sufficiency
  • Improve job development services and employer relations
  • Improve coordination between the VR staff and providers serving SSDI-only clients

Mathematica evaluated the demonstration through a rigorous design.

 Visit the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Mathematica to learn more about the SGA Demonstration Project.

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