Research Article

Article Details

Citation:  Taylor, A.B., & Blackburn, N. (2020). “It makes me feel part of the society”: Return-to-work decisions of SSDI beneficiaries. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 53 (3), 319-333.
Title:  “It makes me feel part of the society”: Return-to-work decisions of SSDI beneficiaries
Authors:  Taylor, A.B., & Blackburn, N.
Year:  2020
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes

Structured abstract:

Background:  The SGA Model Demonstration included a qualitative follow-along study of participants’ return-to-work decision-making.
Purpose:  The authors describe the findings, including motivations of SSDI beneficiaries to seek employment and vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, and the social, familial and personal considerations in returning to work.
Data collection and analysis:  This study used a longitudinal qualitative approach, involving a series of in-depth interviews with SSDI beneficiaries who sought services from state VR agencies in Minnesota and Kentucky.
Findings:  Motivations of SSDI beneficiaries to seek employment extend beyond economic need. Fear and confusion associated with balancing financial risks and rewards of returning to work influenced whether participants felt ready to do so. Yet while financial considerations are important, they are often embedded in or superseded by motivations related to family engagement, roles, and responsibilities; activity and social engagement; and the personal meanings of work. Financial and benefits counseling provided through the SGA Model was widely praised by participants, and the informed decision-making process facilitated by the coordinated team approach allowed many to envision pathways that had not previously seemed viable.
Conclusions:  Decisions to return to work are governed by multifaceted processes. VR services that are responsive to these complexities can empower individuals to make informed decisions.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Cognitive / intellectual impairment
Developmental disabilities
Multiple disabilities
Populations served:  SSI and SSDI recipients
Interventions:  Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Full-time employment
Part-time employment