The American Association for Disability Policy Reform    

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Spending for Vocational Rehabilitation

Most federal spending for vocational rehabilitation is budgeted through the Department of Education.**   It is fairly stable from year to year.   For federal fiscal year 2020, the amount will be approximately $3.6 billion. To this, the states are required to add about $1.0 billion.   Amounts, totaling approximately $0.2 billion, are budgeted elsewhere, giving a total of approximately $4.8 billion.

This is less than 1% of the amount spent for the disability programs, when the Medicare and Medicaid obligations are included (details).   If the amount budgeted for vocational rehabilitation were increased by a factor of 10 (to about $48 billion), giving those who want to return to work far better help than they get now, the reduction in the cost of the disability program would probably more than offset the increase in spending for vocational rehabilitation.   In addition, many citizens could have the satisfaction of returning to more satisfying and productive lives.

**Just as there are at least 192 federal government programs which provide some sort of aid to the disabled [see GAO-05-626], the number of programs which can, in some sense, be said to provide some sort of rehabilitation is also probably very large.   If you have information on these, please contact us.


Last updated on 1/16/2020.