How Can States Help Workers Keep Their Jobs After Injury, Illness, or Disability? (Policy Brief)
Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Policy Collaborative—S@W/R2W
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy
Each year, over 2 million workers leave the labor force after the onset or worsening of a medical condition that challenges their ability to work. Too often, these workers are left to navigate, on their own, a variety of services and programs from an uncoordinated group of providers. The services that are available may not be right for their needs, or they may get beneficial services only after it’s too late for those services to help them keep their job.
There is much that states can do—and that some states are already doing—to fill the gaps in this fragmented system, enhance these individuals’ well-being, and attend to state governments’ own bottom line. States regularly interact with employers and workers through their workforce, vocational rehabilitation (VR), workers’ compensation, and health agencies. These agencies also have the tools to promote better outcomes. The most appropriate tools will vary from one state to another, however, depending on the capabilities and structure of the agencies and the specific features of programs in that state.
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