Document Type

Research Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Almost half of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) clients leave the system before completing services. This situation, called “premature exit,” includes cases when clients refuse to continue services or fail to cooperate, as well as when VR loses touch with clients because of inaccurate contact information. Premature exits are a problem for both clients and agencies. Clients who prematurely exit the system experience worse economic outcomes than clients who stay and become employed (Hayward & Schmidt-Davis, 2003). For agencies, premature exits translate into significant costs without positive employment outcomes. In 2006 alone, VR spent more than $207.5 million on cases closed as “refused services” and “failure to cooperate” (RSA 911). The purpose of this qualitative study is to learn about the factors leading to premature exit so strategies can be developed to reduce the rates of premature exit among rural VR clients.


©2010 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, Department of Education.

Project Number