IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Vocational Rehabilitation on the Road to Social Security Disability: Longitudinal Statistics from Matched Administrative Data


  • David C. Stapleton

    (Mathematica Policy Research)

  • Frank H. Martin

    (Mathematica Policy Research)


Vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies can potentially help disability-insured workers stay at work or return to work when they experience the onset of a disabling physical or mental condition. Such assistance could prevent or delay their exit from the labor force and entry into the Social Security disability (SSD) rolls. This study presents new descriptive information on the extent to which VR applicants receive SSD benefits before or after VR application. The analyses show that substantial numbers of VR applicants entered SSD in the 60 months following VR application -- more than 50,000 (11.3 percent) of the first-time VR applicants in 2003. SSD entry varies with VR applicant characteristics; those with relatively high SSD entry include non-Hispanic whites, those not employed at application, those with more than a high school education, and especially those already in SSI but not SSD. There is also wide variation in SSD entry across states, with some states having entry percentages twice as high as others. We also found 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 -- an effect that could theoretically be in either direction. Although the large number of VR applicants entering SSD after VR application is modest compared to the number receiving an SSD award each year, the impact that VR services have on later SSD and Medicare expenditures could be in the billions of dollars annually, in either direction.

Suggested Citation

  • David C. Stapleton & Frank H. Martin, 2012. "Vocational Rehabilitation on the Road to Social Security Disability: Longitudinal Statistics from Matched Administrative Data," Working Papers wp269, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp269

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:mpr:mprres:7214 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David R. Mann & David C. Stapleton, 2011. "Fiscal Austerity and the Transition to Twenty-First Century Disability Policy: A Road Map," Mathematica Policy Research Reports a469448f0c224f3797e584c8c, Mathematica Policy Research.
    3. Rochelle V. Habeck & H. Allan Hunt & Colleen Head Rachel & John Kregel & Fong Chan, "undated". "Employee Retention and Integrated Disability Management Practices as Demand Side Factors," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles hah2010, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    4. repec:eee:irlaec:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:58-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. David C. Stapleton & Yonatan Ben-Shalom & David R. Mann, 2015. "The Employment/Eligibility Service System: A New Gateway for Employment Supports and Social Security Disability Benefits," Mathematica Policy Research Reports d8835946ad2743028b4b7acfc, Mathematica Policy Research.
    2. David Dean & John Pepper & Robert Schmidt & Steven Stern, 2014. "State vocational rehabilitation programs and federal disability insurance: an analysis of Virginia’s vocational rehabilitation program," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-19, December.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp269. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MRRC Administrator). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.