Jul 3, 2012

Maybe We've Gotten Carried Away By The Whole Idea Of Rehabilitation

     The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has put out a report with the title Employment For People With Disabilities: Little Is Known about the Effectiveness of Fragmented and Overlapping Programs. Here is an excerpt:
GAO identified 45 programs that supported employment for people with disabilities in fiscal year 2010, reflecting a fragmented system of services. The programs were administered by nine federal agencies and overseen by even more congressional committees. All programs overlapped with at least one other program in that they provided one or more similar employment service to a similar population—people with disabilities. ...[A]mong six selected programs that only serve people with disabilities—including the Department of Education’s Vocational Rehabilitation program and the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program—officials cited more consistent coordination. Most (32) of the 45 programs surveyed tracked at least one employment-related outcome measure for people with disabilities, but overall little is known about the effectiveness of these programs.
      I wonder if Congressional fascination with rehabilitation is in a sense a defense mechanism. We want to believe that even if we get sick that we can find a way to make life go on as before. We are too eager to believe that there is no health obstacle too big to overcome. We desperately want to believe that illness or injury won't take away from us things that we hold dear and for many people that includes work.


Anonymous said...

The numerous overlapping rehab programs are no different than the numerous other areas where the government has a multitude of programs run by different agencies doing the same basic thing. Every agency wants to seem important and relevant and have an impact on as many areas as possible.

Nobbins said...

It's the career minding managers within the agencies (and politicians) who want their own program that they can claim credit for. Long term effectiveness is the lowest priority for people like that.

Anonymous said...

Rehabilitation services are very important. Anyone working with the disabled knows that there are a number of people capable of sustaining full or part-time employment with accomodations and retraining.

Those who are able to be placed benefit greatly. It is a boost to self-worth and self-esteem. It raises their standard of living.

The reality that Congress and many others refuse to accept is that rehabilitation is not and will not be a money saving program unless you seriously cherry pick who goes in or leave it to self-selection. Otherwise the cost will exceed the savings on disability payments.

Anonymous said...

Please keep in mind that for every type of disabling condition there is a very strong advocacy group which lobby Congress. Each one feels that given appropriate rehab services they would return to work and save the taxpayers significant dollars.

The reality is a huge cottage industry of individuals who provide rehab services with little result and COST the taxpayers significant dollars.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I agree with every comment so far. I suppose this means we have a very complex political environment through which the less than perfectly able must navigate. It would be better if there were fewer programs and less duplication of effort.