Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Return-to-Work Programs

Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Return-to-Work Programs

Published: Mar 17, 2015
Publisher: Washington, DC: Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research
Associated Project

Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Policy Collaborative—S@W/R2W

Time frame: 2013-2016

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy


Maura Bardos

Hannah Burak

Each year, millions of workers in the United States develop a chronic illness, disability, or other serious medical problem that puts them at risk of exiting the labor force. We conducted a review and analysis of existing research, data, and other relevant material to provide a comparison of the costs and benefits of retaining an employee who experiences disability onset to the costs and benefits of permanently losing a valued trained employee and incurring the expense and time of recruiting and developing a replacement employee. In doing so, we assessed whether the net benefits of return-to-work investments are positive from the perspectives of the employer, the worker, and taxpayers.

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