Research Article| Volume 8, ISSUE 2, P263-282, May 1997

Economic Incentives and Disincentives in Vocational Rehabilitation

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      The unintended effects of disability policies and benefits on the vocational rehabilitation and employment of people with work disabilities are explained, and recent efforts to mitigate these factors are summarized. A particular focus is devoted to participants in the Social Security disability programs. Innovative reforms are presented that propose to address issues of access, eligibility determination, timing, reimbursement and quality of healthcare, case management, vocational rehabilitation, and other tangible benefits to reduce disincentives and enhance incentives for work after disability. Recommendations are made to link the rehabilitation process more closely with employers and work environments, and to create policy incentives for the effective and timely participation of all parties in the return-to-work process. This review demonstrates the need for health and rehabilitation professionals to understand how policy-related disincentives influence the rational decision making of persons with severe disabilities, and to address economic realities in rehabilitation planning.
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