Vocational Rehabilitation:

Clearer Guidance Could Help Focus Services on Those With Severe Disabilities

HRD-92-12: Published: Nov 26, 1991. Publicly Released: Nov 26, 1991.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Linda G. Morra
(202) 512-7014
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed implementation of the order-of-selection provision in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, focusing on: (1) why some states do not use order of selection; (2) how other states implement order of selection; and (3) how the Department of Education oversees state compliance with the requirement.

GAO found that: (1) more than half the states have never used order of selection; (2) the 11 non-order-of-selection states visited claimed to be in compliance with the act because they could serve all eligible applicants; (3) the 11 states used such case-load management techniques as reducing outreach efforts when demand exceeded their resources, which made it appear that they were meeting demand; (4) overall, the case-load percentage of clients with severe disabilities among the nine order-of-selection states was higher than all other states; (5) the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has provided inadequate guidance and oversight, regarding order of selection; (6) the non-order-of-selection states expressed concern that implementing order of selection would be administratively burdensome and unfair to clients with less severe disabilities; and (7) most order-of-selection states implemented order of selection continuously, rather than only using it as resources declined.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: RSA issued policy guidance in 1992 to clarify criteria for determining if and when states must use order of selection. In its fiscal year (FY) 1992 monitoring efforts, RSA began reviewing state determinations about order of selection.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Commissioner, RSA, to: (1) establish clearer criteria for determining if and when states must use order of selection; and (2) direct regional offices to review state determinations about whether the states need to implement order of selection and enforce its use.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Key central and regional office staff were trained using new policy guidance in June 1992. Training for other regional staff will continue.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Commissioner, RSA, to ensure that staff throughout regional offices and headquarters have a consistent understanding of their role and authority concerning implementation of order of selection.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department is now collecting and disseminating information on states' successful implementation of order of selection.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Commissioner, RSA, to disseminate information on states' successful order-of-selection experience to states without experience to help address the latter's concerns.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 21, 2016

Aug 3, 2016

Aug 1, 2016

Jul 14, 2016

Jul 5, 2016

Jun 30, 2016

Jun 28, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

Jun 22, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here