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Social Security Administration Payments to State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies for Disability Program Beneficiaries Who Work: Evidence from Linked Administrative Data
This article links administrative data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to evaluate SSA's investment in vocational rehabilitation (VR) services for disability program beneficiaries. SSA offers payment to state VR agencies that provide services to beneficiaries who subsequently maintain substantial work. SSA's Disability Analysis File includes information on the value of cash benefits forgone by beneficiaries who work and RSA case closure files include information on VR outcomes for beneficiaries. We track outcomes for beneficiaries who applied for VR services in 2002 and compare the amounts SSA paid to state agencies with the amounts of benefits forgone for work. The cumulative value of cash benefits forgone for work exceeded the cumulative value of VR payments more than tenfold, though we cannot say what portion of this difference is due specifically to VR services.