Social Security Administration Disability Research Consortium Emerging Investigator Award
Investigate individual and service factors that influence employment outcomes for transition-age Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who are blind or visually impaired.
With Disabilities Without Disabilities Ages %27% Ages %62.5% Employment rates for transition-age youth reflect those in the average population, with those with disabilities having lower employment rates than those without disabilities. The gap in employment rates widens after high school for students with and without disabilities. U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, 2013.
Unemployment rates are high for those with disabilities, especially for those with visual impairments. Students with B/VI have the highest college attendance among students with disabilities but have difficulty finding employment (Newman, Wagner, Cameto, & Knokey, 2009).
Why might college students who are B/VI have difficulty finding paid employment after graduating?
SSI program provides cash benefits to children with disabilities and families who meet strict income-based criteria. SSI benefits totaling $8 billion were distributed to 1,136,000 youth ages in 2011 (SSA, 2012). SSI may be a disincentive for obtaining employment among transition-age youth. The odds of paid employment among transition-age youth with disabilities is nearly double for those not receiving SSI (Berry, 2001).
Why might transition-age youth receiving SSI benefits be less likely to work than those not receiving SSI?
Both receipt of VR program services and individual characteristics play a role in positive employment outcomes among blind transition-age SSI beneficiaries.
Services are provided to assist individuals in securing or maintaining employment. Services include: 1. job placement assistance 2. college training and technology 3. vocational supports 4. adjustment counseling 5. remedial training Giesen & Cavenaugh, 2012
Gender Race Education Age of Onset Family SES Early Employment Multiple/Severe Impairments
Restricted-use data Linked using SSN RSA-911 annual files Rehabilitation Services Administration Case Service Report ( ) Master Earnings File (MEF) Later: longer term employment
RSA-911 annual files were combined for and linked by SSN. Kept only applicants from (allows for long term employment analyses) who applied and received VR services and were at the time they applied. Identified based on SSI receipt and blindness.
Descriptive information is currently available. Demographics Services received Employment at closure Multivariate analyses on long term employment outcomes will be analyzed as the next step in this research.
N = 2,170 Ages 16-25, M = 20.6 53.5% Men, 46.5% Women Race 71% White 24% African American 5% Other races (Asian, Native Amer., Pac) 43% had a secondary impairment 12% were cognitive
Mean = 3 years (2 SD)
Competitive Employment Job Type at Closure Primary Source of Income Weekly earnings at application and for successful closures
RSA Variable Employment without supports, self- employment, BEP, employment with supports ONLY includes cases with some employment outcome (does not include UNSUCCESSFUL closures). In this data, it excludes 55.8% of the data. “…Like evaluating the percentage of A’s in a course out of the number passing, rather than out of the number who completed the course (passing and failing).”(Giesen & Cavenaugh, 2012)
More accurate-- Same as competitive employment, but expands non-competitive to include extended employment and those not employed after receiving services.
At ApplicationAt Closing Personal Income4.4%28.9% Family & Friends26.5%11.3% Public Support68.1%54.1% Other0.7%1.4%
At Application (ALL) (N = 2170) At Closing (Successful) (N=959) Range$ $0 – 2,080 Mean$13$254 Median$0$209 Std. Dev.$55$243
Longitudinal analyses (LT employment) Individual and services received SSI vs. No SSI
Soosan Shahrokh, Ph.D. Office of Program Development and Research Social Security Administration