Reasons for Exiting VR Services Without Employment

DATA NOTE No. 59, 2017

By Alberto Migliore and Cady Landa

Data Source: FY2014 Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) 911

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Only 23% of adults with intellectual disabilities work, compared to 73% of people without disabilities ( To bridge this gap, the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program offers valuable services including assessment, job search assistance, and counseling.

In FY 2014, over 46,000 adults with intellectual disabilities exited the national VR program. About 38% of them reported an employment outcome. However, a large proportion of them exited without employment, and were reported as either having lost interest in receiving services (29%), or unable to be located by VR staff (17%). These two reasons combined represented 46% of the total number of case closures of adults with intellectual disabilities in 2014, nationally. In ten states, well over half of the adults with intellectual disabilities in contact with VR had cases closed for one of these two reasons. (See chart)

It is not clear why so many people who connect with VR lose interest in receiving services, or why VR loses the ability to locate or contact so many of them. Given the large number of these cases, particularly in some states, learning more about the nature of these two categories of case closure could lead to insights about improving retention, thus increasing employment outcomes of adults with intellectual disabilities.


  • No longer interested in receiving services or further services: Use this code for individuals who choose not to participate or continue in their VR program at this time. Also use this code to indicate when an individual’s actions (or non-actions) make it impossible to begin or continue a VR program. Examples would include repeated failures to keep appointments for assessment, counseling, or other services.
  • Unable to locate or contact: Use this code when the individual has relocated or left the State without a forwarding address.
(PD-13-05 Vocational Rehabilitation Program Case Service Report (RSA-911) data elements).

Figure 1. Percentage of VR closures due to loss of interest or inability to locate participants

Also on this topic:

Migliore, A., & Winsor, J. (2013). State trends in the vocational rehabilitation engagement of young adults with intellectual disabilities (Data Note 45). Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

Migliore, A., & Zalewska, A. (2012). Prevalence of youth with autism who received vocational rehabilitation services (Data Note 42). Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

Suggested Citation

Migliore, A., & Landa, C. (2017). Reasons for exiting VR services without employment. DataNote Series, Data Note 59. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.