Social Security:

State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies' Reimbursement for the Disabled

HRD-87-36BR: Published: Feb 3, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the relationship between the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Program and state vocational rehabilitation programs.

GAO found that: (1) vocational rehabilitation agencies serve only about one-tenth of SSDI beneficiaries; (2) the remaining 90 percent are generally not qualified for SSDI benefits because of inadequate work histories or disabilities that are not severe enough; (3) since Congress changed the method of funding vocational rehabilitation agencies from a formula basis to a reimbursement procedure, funding and rehabilitation of SSDI beneficiaries has declined substantially; (4) reimbursement criteria are difficult to satisfy and are cumbersome; (5) there is a considerable backlog of claims for reimbursement in various stages of processing; and (6) federal funding no longer serves as an incentive to states to rehabilitate SSDI beneficiaries because they often require special efforts to motivate, are more severely disabled, and have economic disincentives to working.

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