Vocational Rehabilitation Program:

Client Characteristics, Services Received, and Employment Outcomes

T-PEMD-92-3: Published: Nov 12, 1991. Publicly Released: Nov 12, 1991.

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GAO discussed the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, focusing on: (1) clients served in fiscal year (FY) 1988, the most recent year for which the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) of the Department of Education had full data; and (2) employment and earnings data for clients who were rehabilitated in FY 1980. GAO noted that: (1) about two-thirds of those served in FY 1988 had a severe disability, were more likely to have some education beyond high school, and were more severely disabled than those not accepted into the program; (2) clients received such services as diagnosis and evaluation of their disability and counseling; (3) state agencies typically spent less than $600 per client on services, although the agencies typically spent significantly more on rehabilitated clients; (4) agencies also typically spent more on the severely disabled, women, younger clients, white clients, and those with education beyond high school; (5) in FY 1988, state agencies accepted 58 percent of 605,872 cases into the VR program; (6) about 70 percent of the rehabilitated clients had wage earnings in the 3 years before entering the program and 77 percent had wage earnings the year after VR services ended in 1980; and (7) only half of the rehabilitated clients had regular earnings in each year for 4 years following rehabilitation, and 8 years after rehabilitation, annual earnings for 40 percent of the program participants totaled less than the equivalent of working all year at minimum wage.

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