Examines the extent to which individuals with disabilities receive Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and the rate these individuals use the public workforce system and become employed after receiving services.

“Although the unemployment rate of people with disabilities exceeds that of people without disabilities (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010), little is known about whether people with disabilities avail themselves of UI [Unemployment Insurance] benefits in the event of involuntary job separations. This report addressed this gap in the research by considering the following question: With so many people with disabilities unemployed, to what extent do individuals with disabilities receive UI benefits? As a means of building a more complete understanding of the rate at which people with disabilities access the UI benefits system, this report also examined the extent to which people with disabilities use the public workforce system and the rate at which those who use it become employed after receiving services” (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: The Interaction of Workforce Development Programs and Unemployment Compensation by Individuals with Disabilities in Washington State


Major Findings & Recommendations

“Between January 2005 and June 2010, the vast majority of individuals who participated in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Department of Services for the Blind in Washington State did not appear to avail themselves of the Unemployment Insurance system. On the other hand, individuals with disabilities who received services through the Workforce Investment Act adult and dislocated worker programs had much higher incidences of receiving UI benefits. Not surprisingly, young people served by the WIA youth program did not have high rates of recipiency of UI or high average benefits. They tended not to have enough earnings or quarters of employment. Since the UI system is designed to insure those who are unemployed against loss of income from involuntary employment, the individuals who receive benefits from it typically have reasonably strong employment histories. As noted by this research, by both measures of labor market attachment, people with disabilities who received services from the public workforce system and had strong work histories were more likely to receive UI benefits. This finding reinforces the importance of facilitating the employment of individuals after receiving program service into jobs with a high likelihood of retention because not only will the individuals receive earnings, but also they will be more likely to receive the insurance benefit of the UI system in the event of job loss. In looking at the demographic characteristics of the individuals with disabilities who received UI benefits, Upjohn Institute researchers found that women, low-educated individuals, and young individuals tended to be underrepresented. These groups also tended to have the lower employment rates” (p.15-16). (Abstractor: Author)