Participation in Safety-Net Programs and the Utilization of Employment Services Among Working-Age Persons With Disabilities

Andrew Houtenville, University of New Hampshire
Debra L. Brucker, University of New Hampshire


A comprehensive analysis of the 2009 Current Population Survey–Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS-ASEC) provides the first snapshot of the involvement of people with disabilities in a broad array of government programs. Focusing on the working-age population, this analysis reveals that people with disabilities represent one third of the persons who participate in safety-net programs. Among persons with disabilities, 65% participate in a safety-net program, compared with 17% of persons without disabilities. Among Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries, 38% participate in safety-net programs other than DI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and Medicare. Furthermore, results suggest that only 3% and 8% of low-income nonworking safety-net participants with and without disabilities, respectively, utilize employment services. Improved data collection on the use of employment services is needed to further evaluate the interaction of safety-net and employment services programs.