SB Defunds Supported Employment Grants, Questions Usefulness of Ticket to Work

The Senate proposal for the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education (ED), and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, as reported out of the Appropriations Committee, eliminates funding for the Vocational Rehabilitation Supported Employment State Grant program. The program was funded at $27.5 million in the FY 2017 budget. The bill report also contains language calling for a report to determine whether the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Ticket to Work program is cost-effective.

 The Title VI Supported Employment State Grants are federal funds provided by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to state vocational rehabilitation agencies for supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as psychiatric disabilities. As authorized by Congress under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), these grants fund supported employment services, including ongoing support services that enable individuals to obtain and succeed in competitive integrated employment.

 The Ticket to Work language appears in the Senate Report on the appropriations bill and reads as follows: “Disability Insurance.—The Committee recognizes that the purpose of the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program [Ticket Program] is to provide the assistance disabled beneficiaries need to return to work. The Committee is aware that the SSA OIG [Office of Inspector General] found that employment impacts may have been similar for beneficiaries, whether they had participated in the Ticket Program or other employment assistance programs. The Committee directs SSA to submit a report no later than 90 days after the enactment of this act determining if the Ticket Program is having the desired measurable results and if it is or is not cost effective to continue the Ticket Program.”

 FMI:  The Senate Report can be accessed at