Archive for 'News'

Dec 11

Nearly a million filed for disability during the recession who otherwise wouldn’t have, study finds
by Steve Goldstein
Published: Dec 10, 2018 4:31 p.m. ET


Nearly 1 million people filed for disability benefits they ordinarily wouldn’t have due to the recession, a new study finds.


Another 400,000 filed earlier for disability than trends would have suggested, the study finds.


The study puts into numbers what economists had long suspected, that during the Great Recession the ranks of those who claimed disability were artificially high.


Of those that filed that otherwise would not have, some 41.8% were awarded benefits, or more than 400,000 new beneficiaries to the Social Security Disability Insurance program.


These “induced applicants” had less severe impairments than the average applicant, and also were more likely to appeal an initial denial, the study found.


The study finds a $2.9 billion processing cost increase between 2008 and 2012 as a result of upturn, and a total Social Security and Medicare cost of over $97 billion. (Those who get SSDI are entitled to extra Medicare benefits.)


There are less direct costs as well: because working after program entry is rare, this corresponds to a near-permanent decline in productive capacity.


By the recession’s peak, the system was receiving 16.5% more applications than usual, the study finds. The trend in disability has reversed as the economy has improved, as well as due to a 2011 Social Security Administration initiative that started focused reviews and new training initiatives on allowance hearings.


Disability benefits last year were paid to 715,921 workers, who received an average monthly payment of $1,196.87, the government says. There was a 2010 peak of 1.03 million workers on disability.


The study, circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research, was conducted by Nicole Maestas of Harvard Medial School, Kathleen Mullen of the Rand Corp. and Alexander Strand of the Social Security Administration. As a working paper, it has yet to be peer reviewed.




Nicole Maestas, Kathleen J. Mullen, Alexander Strand
Working Paper 25338
1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
December 2018


We examine the effect of cyclical job displacement during the Great Recession on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Exploiting variation in the severity and timing of the recession across states, we estimate the effect of unemployment on SSDI applications and awards. We find the Great Recession induced nearly one million SSDI applications that otherwise would not have been filed, of which 41.8 percent were awarded benefits, resulting in over 400,000 new beneficiaries who made up 8.9 percent of all SSDI entrants between 2008-2012. More than one-half of the recession-induced awards were made on appeal. The induced applicants had less severe impairments than the average applicant. Only 9 percent had the most severe, automatically-qualifying impairments, 33 percent had functional impairments and no transferable skills, and the rest were denied for having insufficiently severe impairments and/or transferable skills. Our estimates imply the Great Recession increased claims processing costs by $2.960 billion during 2008-2012, and SSDI benefit obligations by $55.730 billion in present value, or $97.365 billion including both SSDI and Medicare benefits



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Nov 20

October 2018

Labor force characteristics of people with a disability

Janie-Lynn Kang, Megan Dunn, and Andrew Blank

Overall, labor market indicators have improved in the years following the end of the recession. This is true for people with and without a disability. However, these groups experienced different degrees of improvement during this time and continue to have different employment patterns.

This Spotlight examines the labor force characteristics of people with a disability and puts these characteristics in context by comparing them to those of people with no disability.


Oct 23

Regional VTrans Forums

Vermont is updating its state-wide Public Transit Plan. Do you ride the bus? Carpool? Uber? We want your input. VTrans will be holding regional forums throughout the state in October and November. The purpose of the regional forums is to gather input on existing public transportation services, service gaps and challenges, and potential solutions from stakeholders and transit riders.

Attached is the flyer for the Public Transit Policy Plan (PTPP) that details the site locations for the forums. PTPP Regional Forum Flyer_Final[7171]

The transportation committee needs to discuss in detail our goals and input for these meetings.

Regional forums will be held throughout the state from late October through late November. The following list provides the location, date, and time of each forum.

Wed Oct 24 9:00 a.m. – Northwestern Counseling & Support Services-Mable Room, 130 Fisher Pond Rd., St. Albans, VT
Tues Oct 30 9:00 a.m. – Addison County Regional Planning Commission Offices, 14 Seminary St., Middlebury, VT 05753
Tues Oct 30 2:00 p.m. – Randolph Town Offices, 7 Summer St, Randolph, VT 05060
Thurs Nov 1 9:00 a.m. – Windsor Town Welcome Center, 3 Railroad Ave, Windsor, VT 05089
Thurs Nov 1 2:00 p.m. – The Current Offices, 706 Rockingham Rd, Bellows Falls, VT 05101
Wed Nov 14 9:00 a.m. – Hyde Park Town Office, 344 VT-15, Hyde Park, VT 05655
Wed Nov 14 2:00 p.m. – Catamount Arts, 115 Eastern Ave, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
-Friday Nov 16 9:00 a.m. – Rutland Regional Planning Commission Office, 67 Merchants Row, Rutland, VT 05702
Friday Nov 16 1:00 p.m. – Manchester Community Library, 138 Cemetery Ave, Manchester Center, VT 05255
Wed Nov 28 9:00 a.m. – Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission Offices, 110 West Canal St, Suite 202, Winooski, VT 05404
Wed Nov 28 2:00 p.m. – Waterbury Town Office- Steele Room, 28 North Main St, Suite 1, Waterbury VT 05676

We look forward to meeting you and hearing your input on this important plan for Vermont.

Here are a few suggestions for discussion tomorrow, October 24, 2018:

  • Unmet needs
  • Service gaps
  • Better coordination of demand response services
  • New service requests
  • How does the existing public transportation services work for seniors and persons with disabilities?
    • Positives
    • Negatives

Timothy Bradshaw | Public Transit Program Coordinator

Vermont Agency of Transportation

1 National Life Drive | Montpelier, VT  05633-5001

Office 802-828-2758

Mobile 802-461-5310

[email protected]

Oct 23

It’s time to honor a young person who is striving to make the world a better place!

Each year, the Vermont Center for Independent Living receives nominations of outstanding young people for the Deborah Lisi-Baker Youth Leader Award.

The VCIL Board of Directors created the award in 2006 in honor of the disability rights organization’s then-executive director and in honor of emerging leaders who are moving forward the promise of disability rights and the independent living movement. Lisi-Baker has spent much of her life advocating for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities and continues to do so. She served as VCIL’s executive director for many years until retiring from the position in 2009.

If you would like to nominate an amazing young person for this year’s Deborah Lisi-Baker Youth Leader Award, email [email protected] or call 1-800-639-1522 or follow the link below! Please return your nominations by November 12, 2018.

Submitted by Karen Lafayette [email protected]
Oct 17


In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) has gathered together a collection of stories which highlight individuals with disabilities who are successfully employed in the community.

NDEAM dates back to 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” Since that time NDEAM has evolved to include the entire disability community and the emphasis has shifted to focus on employment in the community at competitive wages.

It is our hope that the stories below will spotlight the multitude of skills and talents of people with disabilities and the important impact that they have on our society. We will update this page each day for the entire month of October with a new story.

Stephen Coston

I have an auditory processing disability.  1979 was my senior year at the Bergen County Vocational School in Teterboro, NJ. At that time the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Service program had upgraded grant programs for post-secondary education for Special Needs Adults ages 21 and up to have the opportunity to go to college or any other post-secondary training program.  I was fortunate to receive those funds for my eligibility for higher education training at a program called the Para Educator Center at New York University.  It was a program that teaches young adults with various disabilities to become Teacher’s Aides or Assistants.

I worked as a Teacher’s Aide for one year only making a poverty income at $6000 per year from 1981 to 1982. Then I was laid off due to cut in Federal Funds.

 I did not want to end up in a dead end job making a stagnant salary such as working in a supermarket stuffing grocery bags or these workshop trainings that were being provided for disabled people who had intellectual or development disabilities.  I was mainstream.  But no one understood that during the 1970’s to the mid 80’s.

I invested my own finances to go back to school.  I studied at Dover Business College to learn computer courses.  I graduated with a College Diploma in March of 1993. Previously I worked for AEP Inc. (Automated Excluding Plastics) for 20 years, but I was laid off in August of 2017 due to a Corporation merger. I am working as a Mail Room Supervisor for Coach Inc. With my salary  I can support myself and my wife.

During the time I was unemployed, I went for training at the One Stop Career Programs and improved my academics in reading and math.  From 5th grade level in reading and math, I improved in reading to 12 grade in reading and 10th  grade in math through the Learning Link program which uses computers to help students with disabilities get the high school diploma or GED.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver said, on the 50th. Anniversary of the Special Olympics, “YOUR DAYS OF SEGREGATION AND ISOLATION ARE OVER”! As a Special Olympics Athlete of New Jersey, I am included on the Special Olympics Sports Complex of New Jersey Wall Poster in tribute of Inclusion Sports for the Special Olympics.  However, this is true not only in sports.  Inclusion also includes careers and good paying jobs, education and living on your own.  This is what integrated employment means to me.