Six-Year Earnings and Disability Benefit Outcomes of Youth Vocational Rehabilitation Applicants
Background. Limited information exists about the long-term outcomes of youth who applied and were eligible for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services.
Objective. We document the earnings in the sixth calendar year after youths’ VR applications and Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit outcomes during the six years after their VR applications.
Methods. We use descriptive and multivariate analyses to track outcomes for a cohort of 570,146 youth ages 14 to 24 (including those in and out of school) who applied for VR services from 2004 to 2007 using administrative data from the Rehabilitation Services Administration and SSA.
Results. We find strong correlations between youths’ human capital characteristics and their eventual long-term outcomes. Youth who were working or in postsecondary school when they applied for VR services and those who exited from VR with employment had higher earnings and better SSA program outcomes. Youth who did not have a high school diploma and were neither working nor in school at the time they applied for VR services had poorer outcomes.
Conclusion. New federal policies will provide many VR agencies with opportunities to increase their investment in youth, but some types of youth are more at risk of experiencing poor outcomes than others.