Time from VR Application to Closure in Employment for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

DataNote No. 56, 2017

By Alberto Migliore, Uchenna Nwangwu, and John Butterworth

Data Source: FY2014 Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) 911

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Everyone expects a timely response when requesting services. Similarly, getting a job as soon as possible after applying for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services is important for job seekers with intellectual disabilities.

Rapid placement boosts self-confidence, and prevents job seekers from losing work skills as a consequence of inactivity. Moreover, employers are more likely to prefer candidates whose work history shows a limited gap in employment.

This DataNote describes how long it takes for job seekers with intellectual disabilities to go through the steps from application for VR services to determination of eligibility, completion of an individualIzed plan for employment (IPE), and closure into integrated employment (Figure 1).

Population: Adults with intellectual disabilities with a closure in integrated employment, FY 2014 (N = 17,151).

Intellectual disability refers to code 25 (“mental retardation” in the RSA- 911) as either a primary or secondary cause of an impediment to employment.

Integrated employment refers to working for at least 90 days in integrated settings, with or without support.

Related: Timeframe from Application to Closure in Integrated Employment for Vocational Rehabilitation Customers with Developmental Disabilities

Figure 1. Steps in the vocational rehabilitation process.

  1. APPLICATION
  2. ELIGIBILITY
  3. IPE
  4. CLOSURE

The bar chart in Figure 2 shows the findings from the RSA911 dataset, FY 2014, by state. By law, the time from VR application to eligibility determination must be 60 days or less. Most states met this benchmark. However, the time from eligibility to IPE completion varied to a larger extent: from a minimum of 26 days in California to over a year (422 days) in North Dakota.

The fact that completing an IPE took so long deserves attention, especially considering that closure into integrated employment took an additional 306 days in Vermont and over two years (766 days) in Florida. A long time from IPE completion to closure does not necessarily mean slow services. This is because—by definition—a closure cannot happen before a person has worked for at least 90 days. Moreover, a closure may be delayed well after the 90-day period for a variety of reasons, such as ensuring the availability of follow-up services after hire.

Shortening the time from application to IPE completion is an important signal that VR services are delivered in a timely fashion. Tracking the date of hire would add clarity about the length of time that job seekers should expect for gaining an employment outcome through the VR programs in their states.

Suggested Citation

Migliore, A., Nwangwu, U., Butterworth, J. (2016). Time from VR Application to Closure in Employment for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. (Data Note 56). Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

This is a publication of StateData.info, funded in part by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (#90DN0295). State Data is a project of ThinkWork! at the Institute for Community Inclusion