Advancing Policy to Support Workers with Disabilities

Issue Brief Series Looks at Range of Policies to Positively Affect Employment of People with Disabilities
May 11, 2018

Advancing Policy to Support Workers with Disabilities

An issue brief series released by Hunter College’s Roosevelt House and co-authored by Mathematica disability experts takes a closer look at advancing policies and programs to support workers with disabilities. The series considers the state of knowledge surrounding interventions to support these workers and seeks to synthesize research that can inform policymakers and other stakeholders of the potential impacts of a range of policy changes on the employment status of people with disabilities.

“Time-Limited Benefits Before Permanent SSDI Disability Benefits,” provides an overview of time-limited benefits as developed in several different proposals to reform Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The authors offer an evidence-based assessment of the proposals’ potential to reduce pressure on the SSDI trust fund and improve the well-being of people with disabilities. After describing the elements of proposed reforms that include time-limited benefits, the authors present evidence supporting such reforms and identify potential limitations based on domestic and international policies.

“The Promise of Better Economic Outcomes for Workers with Musculoskeletal Conditions,” explores the possible reasons for the growth in the number of SSDI claimants with musculoskeletal conditions. The authors describe a range of evidence-based interventions that might help workers stay in the labor force after experiencing the onset of such conditions. The authors also discuss the importance of examining whether these interventions would be effective in different environments than the ones already tested.

“Repealing or Replacing the ACA’s Provisions: How Would Adults with Disabilities Fare?” focuses on the effects that Affordable Care Act policy changes could have on people with disabilities and people with chronic conditions that could become disabling. The authors discuss the likely effects on coverage and access to care and review the potential effects the coverage changes would have on employment.

“When Do Employers Provide Accommodations to Employees with Health Problems? Qualitative Evidence from Arkansas,” summarizes findings from interviews with human resources professionals at 14 organizations in Arkansas to understand the most important factors influencing employers’ efforts to support and accommodate workers who experience the onset of disabling conditions. The interviews covered the availability of resources, the ease (or difficulty) of communication between the affected worker and other stakeholders, and the worker’s characteristics.

Research to support the series is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy and Measurement. The center is housed at the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire and has partnered with the Association of University Centers on Disability, Hunter College, the Kessler Foundation, and Mathematica Policy Research. The center conducts research and translates it for the policy community to improve the employment outcomes of people with disabilities.