Better Reevaluations of Handicapped Persons in Sheltered Workshops Could Increase Their Opportunities for Competitive Employment

HRD-80-34: Published: Mar 11, 1980. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1980.

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The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) reevaluate handicapped persons employed in sheltered workshops on an annual basis to determine their potential for competitive employment. A review was conducted to determine how effectively RSA managed these evaluations.

With better management oversight, RSA and some States could be more effective in providing maximum competitive employment opportunities for handicapped persons in sheltered workshops. As many as 11,400 handicapped persons were not reevaluated in 1977. Many of the reevaluations that were conducted were not comprehensive, and others were not performed annually as required by Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) regulations. In addition, it was found that there were no comprehensive guidelines for reevaluation. RSA did not clearly establish headquarters' responsibility for management oversight of reevaluations, assist States in developing a reevaluation process, provide States with instructions needed to implement evaluation in a timely manner, adequately monitor the number of persons receiving reevaluation who were subject to reevaluation under existing regulations, or follow up on States that were not reporting reevaluation. An analysis of national data on sheltered employment procedures and implementing instructions for reevaluations showed that in some States persons were excluded from reevaluation because of the timing of their placement in workshops or because of their job classifications as assigned by individual States.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of HEW should direct the Commissioner of RSA to: (1) clarify headquarters responsibility for managing the reevaluation program and provide regional offices with the guidance needed to assist States; (2) revise guidelines to require that reevaluations be performed for all former vocational rehabilitation clients in sheltered employment; (3) revise guidelines to clearly establish that reevaluations should be continued so long as the handicapped persons remain in sheltered employment, and provide additional guidance to States regarding the conditions under which limited scope reevaluation may be warranted; (4) require the States to develop and report the number of persons requiring reevaluation; (5) review and test State reports to learn whether they are reliable, why some States are more successful in achieving movement to competitive employment, how reevaluation aided the movement, and why some States are not reporting reevaluations; (6) monitor State procedures and provide assistance to asure that annual reevaluations are made and that they are comprehensive and timely; and (7) identify States which did not reevaluate clients placed in sheltered employment before reevaluation procedures were implemented and require that any such persons still in sheltered employment be reevaluated.

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