Document Type

Research Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Economics | Labor Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Data from the 2009 Rebahilitation Services Administration Case Services Report (RSA 911) indicate that approximately 50% of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) consumers leave the system prematurely. Premature exits include case closures related to lost contact with the consumer due to inaccurate address, disconnected phone or consumer relocation (17.4% of cases); consumer refusal to continue services (17.2% of cases); or consumer failure to cooperate (15% of cases). Both the consumer and the VR system as a whole lose out when a consumer enrolls in services but drops out early. For the consumer, premature exit from VR services is correlated with worse economic outcomes when compared to those who complete services (Hayward & Schmidt-Davis, 2003). VR agencies also experience loss; 2009 case closure data indicate that VR agencies spent: $112,328,032 on 102,477 clients who they were "unable to locate or lost contact;" $119,127,375 on 101,385 clients who "refused services;" and $93,644,100 on 85,131 clients for "failure to cooperate." These figures underestimate true costs because they exclude administration and overhead costs, including staff salaries and services provided by rehabilitation programs that are not directly billed on an individual basis (RSA 911, 2009). Given the magnitude of this issue, we initiated a longitudinal study to better understand the factors associated with early exit from the VR system.


employment and vocational rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, rural, disability


© 2013 RTC:Rural

Granting Agency

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


Our research is supported by grant #H133B080023 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Dept. of Education.

Project Number