Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) throughout the country have developed and implemented successful strategies in the public workforce system to promote the employment and economic self-sufficiency of persons with disabilities. This Information Brief highlights how DPNs are improving access to financial education; home ownership ad entrepreneurial programs, and increased use of the Earned Income Tax Credit to expand economic opportunities of job seekers with disabilities. One very successful strategy has been facilitating the One-Stop Career Centers to become Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Read the full Brief to learn about more strategies, resources and examples of how the One-Stop Career Center system can help support jobseekers with low-incomes during tax season.
The Report was prepared by Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), Inc. under contract with the Employment and Training Administration. 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 implementers of the DPN initiative and were willing to share their Workforce Investment Act (WIA) adult and dislocated worker and Wagner-Peyser (W-P) data base information for the period Program Year 2002 – Program Year 2007. The data runs were matched with SSI and SSDI Ticket to Work (TTW) record system. The target population for the study was adults age 21 and over. In addition to determining if the impact of the DPN would effect WIA and W-P service and outcome levels for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries, it was also intended to gain understanding of the: • Extent to which One-Stop Career Centers are serving persons who are SSA disability beneficiaries; • Characteristics of SSI/SSDI beneficiaries receiving these services; • Nature of the services received; and • How services and outcomes for beneficiaries compared with SSI/SSDI beneficiaries nationally. 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; • SSA beneficiaries who used One-Stop services achieved positive employment outcomes.
The US DOL/ETA has just 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 condcut a quantitative evaluation of the DPN initiative through the use of the One-Stop Career Cenetr system by Supplemental Security Income(SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. The stduy was condcuted 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. This Reoport docuemnted that a very aklrge number of SSA disability beneficiaries are using the services of the public workforce system and achieving positive employment outcomes. The report is located here: http://disability.workforce3one.org/view/2001018107873517795/info
GAO convened a Forum on March 16, 2010, to explore policy options and actions that could be implemented to help adults with disabilities participate in the workforce. Several challenges were identified, including the need for: 1) a more coordinated system of services and benefits; 2) additional information on benefits and work incentives; 3) additional employer incentives to hire persons with disabilities; 4) targeted information to employers to make the business case to hire persons with disabilities; and 5) a coordinated Federal policy to promote the employment of persons with disabilities. The Report and Highlights can be downloaded at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-812SP Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d10812sphigh.pdf
On December 3, 2010, the Center for American Progress and Hamilton Project issued a Report, "Supporting Work: A Proposal for Modernizing the U.S. Disability Insurance System." Excerpts from the Report: The Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has served to protect U.S. workers and their families from poverty and loss of medical care in the event of work-limiting disability since its inception in 1956. The program has become a crucial piece of the U.S. social safety net, and it creates substantial net benefits for citizens. In the ensuing fifty years since the program’s introduction, medical care and assistive technologies for treating and accommodating work-limiting disabilities have advanced, the physical demands of the workplace have lessened, and the societal consensus on the proper objective for treatment of disabled workers has greatly evolved. The SSDI program was designed to provide income support (and, after 1965, medical care) to workers transitioning from employment to early retirement and, in many cases, death. This goal was progressive for its time but is no longer aligned with current societal objectives. A modern disability insurance system should properly focus on assisting individuals with disabilities to maintain economic self-sufficiency and to enjoy the many benefits of gainful employment. Thsi Report provides a proposal for universal private disability insurance as a blueprint for modernizing the structure of the SSDI program. Once in place, the reformed program will better support workers with disabilities to remain employed and encourage their self-sufficiency. It also will reduce the dual wastes stemming from spending too few societal resources on helping individuals with disabilities remain employed and too many societal resources on supporting unnecessary long-term dependency of individuals who could be self-sufficient with the appropriate accommodation and support.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has just produced three Fact Sheets targeted to the public workforce system. The Fact Sheets focus on: providing an overview of the Ticket to Work program, including the benefits of becoming an Employment Network (EN) and an EN payment chart; delineating Ticket to Work resources; and describing SSA's new electronic process to expedite payments to the One-Stops and/or S/LWIBs that become ENs.
Abt Associates and Mathematica Policy Research have issued a report that described the final design of the implementation and evaluation. BOND is intended to test changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) ogram, most notably a $1 for $2 benefit offset, that have the potential to help SSDI beneficiaries increase their earnings and income and reduce their reliance on SSDI benefits. The report opens by presenting the rationale behind the demonstration. The authors describe the “cash cliff” effect that results when beneficiaries have earnings in excess of Substantial Gainful Activity over a designated period of time. The authors also describe the macro-level challenges associated with the work disincentives in the SSDI program, including the growth of program expenditures that is outpacing growth in payroll taxes and other income that support the SSDI Trust Fund. In response, BOND will test whether eliminating the SGA cash cliff and replacing it with a ramp-a gradual reduction of benefits by only one dollar for every two dollars of countable earnings above the BOND threshold—can increase return to work and earnings. BOND will test other administrative and programmatic changes as well. These will include, for example, a demonstration system to facilitate and expedite earnings reporting. Additionally, the demonstration will test the provision of more intensive counseling, termed Enhanced Work Incentives Counseling. EWIC is expected to increase the impact of the offset by improving beneficiary understanding of how higher earnings will affect SSDI and other benefits. It is also expected to help beneficiaries access the medical treatments, employment supports, and job search assistance they might need to address other obstacles. The report is available at http://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/documents/BOND_Design%20Report_FINAL_Del2-2_12-17-10.pdf
On May 13 2011, the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Federal Disability Insurance (DI) trust funds and the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) trust fund transmitted their 2011 annual reports to Congress and the Administration. Some of the major findings are:
Iowa's Workforce Partners Employment Network (EN) Final Report, PY 2010, was juts issued. Iowa's Workforce Boards and Workforce System is growing in its ability to generate new revenue to support the system's infrastructure to improve employment outcomes for job seekers with disabilities. It might also be reflective of increased collaborative support to Iowa’s businesses in their successful employment of workers with disabilities. There have been many disability initiatives implemented by Iowa’s workforce boards over the last ten years, and the promising strategies developed by these efforts has buoyed the growing success recognized by the workforce system in responding to Iowans with disabilities. The use of Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) in the Centers are key to their establishment as ENs, through the facilitation that they provided to the local partnership. The key components of increasing success for Regional Boards as ENs are: 1)Maintaining a disability Subject Matter Expert (SME) or DPN in the operation of the Skills Development Team, as a universal resource to all programs, businesses and job seekers, and EN facilitator; 2)Connecting the membership team and the the SME as disclosure occurs. 3)Maintaining ongoing service engagement and problem solving by the Skills Development Team; 4)Enhancing the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance services across the state of Iowa; and 5)Developing new partnerships and strategies to support workforce boards in achieving stronger outcomes with job seekers who do not fare well in the traditional labor exchange process. If you have questions about the Ticket to Work program, and the response of Iowa’s Regional Workforce Investment Boards in regard to this partnership, please contact Doug Keast at (515) 281-9045, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Security Disability: Participation in the Ticket to Work Program Has Increased, but More Oversight Needed, GAO-11-828T September 23, 2011. This Testimony discusses the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program (Ticket program). Created by law in 1999, the Ticket Program was intended to assist disability beneficiaries in obtaining and retaining employment, and potentially bring about significant savings to the Disability Insurance Trust Fund by reducing or eliminating their benefits. Under the program, SSA provides each eligible beneficiary (Ticket holder) with a Ticket to obtain services from SSA- approved public or private providers, referred to as employment networks (ENs), or from traditional state vocational rehabilitation (VR)agencies. When the Ticket Program was created, it was estimated that it had the potential to provide significant savings to the Social Security Trust Funds and Treasury. However, GAO's prior work, the work of SSA's Office of the Inspector General, and others has questioned the viability of the Program due to low participation and costs that are not offset by beneficiaries returning to work and reducing dependency on benefits. In an effort to address these concerns, SSA revised its regulations in 2008 to attract more ticket holders and ENs. This testimony summarizes GAO's Report issued in May and focuses on (1) how participation of Ticket holders and ENs in the Ticket Program has changed over time, (2) what is known about the range of service approaches used by employment networks, and (3) the policies and processes SSA has to evaluate ENs and Ticket holders to ensure program integrity and effectiveness.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced $21,166,560 in funding for seven states under the Disability Employment Initiative to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. The initiative is jointly funded and administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration and its Office of Disability Employment Policy. This round of funding is the second under the Disability Employment Initiative, which now supports 16 state projects. The new grants are part of cooperative agreements with California, Hawaii, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin to implement exemplary employment services for individuals with disabilities in the public workforce system. The states with continuing grants under the initiative are Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
As of July 2011, there is a 40 percent gap between the employment rate of people without disabilities and that of people with disabilities. The Disability Employment Initiative, or DEI, is a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy and its Employment Training Administration to facilitate systemic change in the workforce system in order to “increase the effective and meaningful participation of people with disabilities in the workforce” (DOL, 2010). One year ago, nine states were awarded DEI grants and set forth to change policy, practices, and, ultimately, culture, as they relate to the employment of people with disabilities. In tandem with this effort, a comprehensive evaluation was launched to maximize this opportunity to learn from each state’s implementation of the DEI. As DEI progresses, the evaluation will also be able to answer key questions related to the initiative’s outcomes and impacts. This first synthesis report on the Evaluation of the Disability Employment Initiative reviews DEI evaluation activities through July 31, 2011.
This tool, developed by the One-Stop Ticket Success Project, provides a basic overview of Social Security disability benefits and the impact of employment on both cash and medical benefits. It can be used both by One-Stop Career Center staff to provide guidance to customers, as well as a handout for customers. It is intended to provide basic information that will help allay concerns individuals may have regarding benefit issues, and in turn provide encouragement to participate in Ticket to Work. The handout makes clear that benefit experts should be consulted for more comprehensive information. This tool can be used as is. However, it is suggested that Workforce Investment systems and One-Stop Career Centers add additional information to the flyer, including their specific Medicaid threshold level, and contact information for the local Work Incentive Planning and Assistance project and similar resources.
This tool, developed by the One-Stop Ticket Success Project, is intended as a template for use by One-Stop Career Centers and workforce investment systems in creation of recruitment flyers for the Ticket to Work. The intent is that Workforce Investment systems will use this template as a starting point, and add to it language specific to the One-Stop Career Center, and in addition format it according to their marketing material standards, with the addition of agency logos, graphics, etc. This flyer would then be utilized as part of orientation packets for all customers, as well made available in reception areas and resource libraries. Part of the underlying purpose of this flyer is to encourage individuals to self-identify that they are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and are eligible for Ticket to Work.
This needs assessment tool, developed by the One-Stop Ticket Success Project, is to be used at the beginning of the technical assistance process to determine current One-Stop capacity to serve individuals under the Ticket program, and identify areas to be addressed for the workforce investment system to successfully operate as an Employment Network. In using this tool, the overall goal is to gain a sense of the general operation of the workforce investment system/One-Stop, as well as specific areas pertinent to services for customers with disabilities and the Ticket to Work. A key objective is determining how the Ticket program can be integrated within the existing service and administrative structures.
This tri-fold color brochure, developed by the One-Stop Ticket Success Project, provides Ticket holders with all the basic information they will need to understand the purpose of the Ticket to Work Program. The brochure may be printed and distributed as is, or One-Stop ENs may use it as a template to create a brochure tailored for their clients.
Topics covered: What is the Ticket?; The Ticket payment structure; Ticket assignment and development of Individual Work Plans; Service delivery and integration within the One-Stop system; Placement and wage verification; Post-placement follow-up; Tracking and MIS systems. http://connectpro97884399.adobeconnect.com/p68174667
Topics covered: Incorporating the Ticket message into intake, orientation, and outreach; Maximizing self-identification and dealing with disclosure concerns; Using data matching to identify Ticket holders; Creating a clear referral process; The Ticket assignment discussion: critical elements for successful engagement; Potential Ticket customers: who to target. http://connectpro97884399.adobeconnect.com/p75486908
The willingness of businesses to hire One-Stop Ticket customers is essential for success under the Ticket to Work. This webinar discussed strategies for working with employers to maximize job opportunities for Ticket customers. It includes an overview of best practices in hiring of people with disabilities from the employer perspective, and how these can be applied within the One-Stop environment, and with Ticket customers. http://connectpro97884399.adobeconnect.com/p9p6x7cprjc
Income Security: Older Adults and the 2007-2009 Recession, GAO-12-76 October 17, 2011. The recession of 2007 to 2009 has been the most severe in this country since the 1930s. After adjusting for inflation, gross domestic product declined by 5.1 percent and the national unemployment rate peaked at 9.5 percent. While the recession officially ended in June 2009, our economy has experienced a weak recovery, with unemployment still above 9 percent. While the recession has affected all age groups, older adults--particularly those close to or in retirement--may face a greater burden because they may not have the same opportunities to recover from its effects. Older workers are less likely to be unemployed than workers in younger age groups, but when older workers lose a job they are less likely to find other employment. The Report examines: (1) What changes have occurred in the employment status of older adults, generally those 55 and older, with the recession? (2) How have the incomes and wealth of older adults in or near retirement changed with the recession? (3) What changes have occurred in the costs of medical care, the purchasing power of Social Security benefits, and mortality rates for older adults in recent years? Since 2007, unemployment rates doubled and remained higher than before the recession for workers aged 55 and older. While these rates were not as high as for other age groups, of more concern is that once older workers lose their jobs they are less likely to find other employment. In fact, the median duration of unemployment for older workers rose sharply from 2007 to 2010, more than tripling for workers 65 and older and increasing to 31 weeks from 11 weeks for workers aged 55 to 64. In addition, the proportion of older part-time workers who indicated they would prefer full-time work nearly doubled during this time.
This webinar featured a presentation from Bryan Stone, Executive Vice President, and Lisa Parlapiano, Disability Program Navigator from the WorkSource in Jacksonville, Florida, where the Ticket to work program has been used with great success. Topics included: • The role of leadership in implementing a successful Ticket Project • Strategies for outreach to Ticket Holders • Serving Ticket holders in the One Stop • Retention strategies for successful Ticketholders • Incorporation of Ticket within existing One-Stop systems http://connectpro97884399.adobeconnect.com/p19et5kg8q6
On October 20, 2011, Workforce3 One held a webinar, The Workforce Connection Initiative: SSA and DOL Partnership in Action, which described the SSA/DOL partnership created to increase participation by the public workforce development system in SSA’s Ticket to Work Program. It included presentations by the key partners and covered the policy and procedural changes made by SSA to streamline workforce participation. The archive audio and web recording, along with presentation and supporting materials, plus post follow-up FAQs is posted to the Workforce3 One website at: https://www.workforce3one.org/view/5001127252743912172/info. This FAQ provides answers to questions that were raised during this webinar on: Business Models, RFQ, Operational, EN Report Card, and Contact Information.
This pdocast interview is a follow-up to the Workforce3One Webinar ("The Workforce Connection: SSA and DOL Partnership Action") held on October 20, 2011. This interview is with Dan O'Brien, Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Employment Support Programs, Social Securirty Administration. DOL/ETA and SSA have partnered to increase the active participation of the public workforce development system in SSA’s Ticket to Work (TTW) Program. Many of SSA’s disability beneficiaries use the One-Stop Career Centers to find work but do not chose to self-identify as persons with disabilities. The workforce development system is missing out on the potential funding stream that the Ticket program can provide and the ability to expand its capacity to serve SSA's disability beneficiaries. SSA, working with DOL/ETA, has streamlined policies and procedures to facilitate the public workforce system becoming Employment Networks (ENs) and actively involved in the TTW Program.
In January 2012, Mathematica Policy Research issued a Brief, entitled, "A Roadmap to a 21st-Century Disability Policy," by David Mann and David Stapleton. Of the approximately 17.5 million working-age people in the United States who live with disabilities, nearly 70 percent receive benefits from public programs. Despite increases over many decades in program participation and spending—$357 billion in fiscal year 2008, representing some 12 percent of all Federal outlays in 2011 - the disability support infrastructure in the United States is failing many of those it was designed to help, and the economic independence of people with disabilities has eroded. Although immediate fiscal pressures would be alleviated by tightening eligibility or reducing benefits for the largest support programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, and Medicaid, failure to address the underlying structural issues will perpetuate program inefficiencies and poor outcomes. This issue brief outlines an alternative approach to slowing expenditure growth while improving the economic status of Americans with disabilities. The proposed plan addresses the work disincentives and fragmentation that drive up program costs.
The Role of Public Transportation as a Job Access Mode: Lessons from a Survey of Persons with Disabilities in New Jersey by Andrea Lubin and Devajyoti Deka, Ph.D., researchers at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, examines the role of public transportation in providing job access to persons with disabilities. The paper draws from a survey of persons with disabilities implemented during a seven-month period beginning in September 2010. The survey was distributed through the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and other venues. The survey was distinctive in that, unlike many other studies, it acquired data from persons who are actively seeking employment. The paper provides information on the availability, usage, needs, barriers, and perceptions of the survey respondents about different public transit modes, and discusses the implications for agencies providing public and human services transit. The report also includes a review of recent literature on accessible work transportation and the role of public transportation for people with disabilities. Survey data show that public transit is widely used by people seeking employment. In spite of accessibility improvements, challenges remain. The cost of service has increased, making cost optimization a significant challenge for public transit agencies providing services to people with disabilities. Although public transit agencies could reduce costs by attracting larger numbers to fixed-route transit, people with certain disabilities may avoid fixed-route transit due to difficulties in accessing and interpreting service-related information, such as understanding transit schedules and announcements. Safety perceptions can also serve as barriers to public transit for people with disabilities. The authors conclude that public transportation is critical to job access for persons with disabilities.
The NTAR Center has recently released a report on Medicaid funding of employment supports and services for people with disabilities. recently released reports on Medicaid, Using Medicaid Funding to Support the Employment of People with Disabilities: A Federal Framework. State Medicaid agencies fund a range of supports and services for individuals with disabilities. As national public policy has recognized and emphasized the ability of individuals with disabilities to work, states have begun to integrate employment supports into the continuum of long-term care in Medicaid. This NTAR issue brief discusses the Federal legislative and regulatory framework for funding employment supports in Medicaid, and highlights examples of state innovations and best practices for using Medicaid to promote positive employment outcomes. The brief provides an overview of Medicaid eligibility, the types of benefits available under Medicaid, and the structure of Medicaid waivers. The brief then examines options for funding employment supports and services through Medicaid state plan and waiver services. The brief describes how service categories such as case management, habilitation, rehabilitation, and personal assistance can be used to finance services to directly and indirectly assist with the employment goals of individuals with disabilities. In conclusion, the issue brief notes that state policymakers have a range of options available to design initiatives that support disability employment, using Medicaid funds in combination with other federal and state resources.
The NTAR Leadership Center has recently released a report, Using Braided Funding Strategies to Advance Employer Hiring Initiatives that Include People with Disabilities, on using braided funding strategies to advance employment of people with disabilities Using Braided Funding Strategies to Advance Employer Hiring Initiatives that Include People with Disabilities. Many state and local disability employment services are operated by a number of different public and nonprofit agencies (e.g., the vocational rehabilitation system, the local school system, the One-Stop Career Center system, and many community-based employment service providers). These organizations often find it necessary to access funds from more than one program, agency, or funding stream. As a result, many program administrators and staff face the challenge of developing effective strategies to braid disability employment funding. This report profiles four employer-responsive programs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and Connecticut that have implemented braided funding strategies to support hiring initiatives with key business partners. These cases demonstrate advantages to braided funding strategies, particularly where participating businesses are able to deal with a single point of contact for funding and disability employment services.