Archive for the ‘disabilities’ Category

New From the GAO

September 10, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony

Source: Government Accountability Office

+ Reports

1. Border Security: State Could Enhance Visa Fraud Prevention by Strategically Using Resources and Training. GAO-12-888, September 10.
Highlights –

2. Defense Logistics: Space-Available Travel Challenges May Be Exacerbated If Eligibility Expands. GAO-12-924R, September 10.

3. Defense Management: The Department of Defense’s Annual Corrosion Budget Report Does Not Include Some Required Information. GAO-12-823R, September 10.

4. Federal Communications Commission: Regulatory Fee Process Needs to Be Updated. GAO-12-686, August 10.
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5. Federal Protective Service: Actions Needed to Assess Risk and Better Manage Contract Guards at Federal Facilities. GAO-12-739, August 10.
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6. Homeland Security: DHS Has Enhanced Procurement Oversight Efforts, but Needs to Update Guidance. GAO-12-947, September 10.
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7. Military Dependent Students: Better Oversight Needed to Improve Services for Children with Special Needs. GAO-12-680, September 10.
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8. Reemployment of Retirees: Six Agencies’ Use of Dual Compensation Waiver Authority is Limited. GAO-12-855R, September 10.

9. VA Disability Compensation: Actions Needed to Address Hurdles Facing Program Modernization. GAO-12-846, September 10.
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+ Testimony

1. Compact of Free Association: Proposed U.S. Assistance to Palau through Fiscal Year 2024. GAO-12-798T, September 10.
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New From the GAO

August 7, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Presentation

Source: Government Accountability Office

+ Reports

1. Telecommunications: Exposure and Testing Requirements for Mobile Phones Should Be Reassessed. GAO-12-771, July 24.
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2. Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School. GAO-12-594, July 12.
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Podcast –

+ Presentation by the Comptroller General

1. Anticipating and Meeting Accountability Challenges in a Dynamic Environment, by Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, before the American Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois. GAO-12-988CG, August 4.

Healthcare Coverage and Disability Evaluation for Reserve Component Personnel: Research for the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation

July 23, 2012 Comments off

Healthcare Coverage and Disability Evaluation for Reserve Component Personnel: Research for the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation

Source:  RAND Corporation
Because Reserve Component (RC) members have been increasingly used in an operational capacity, among the policy issues being addressed by the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC) is compensation and benefits for the National Guard and Reserve. As part of the review, RAND was asked to analyze healthcare coverage and disability benefits for RC members, including participation in the TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) program, the potential effects of national health reform on coverage rates, and disability evaluation outcomes for RC members. This report summarizes the results of RAND’s analysis. The author finds that 30 percent of RC members lack health insurance to cover care for non–service-related conditions. The TRS program offers the option of purchasing health insurance through the military on terms that are superior to typical employer benefits. Although program participation has increased, it remains low and TRS does not appear to be effectively targeting those most likely to be uninsured. TRS premiums are also lower than the premiums for the new options that will be available under health reform and the same as the penalty for not being insured. So health reform is likely to increase TRS enrollment. Finally, previously deployed RC members are referred to the Disability Evaluation System at a much lower rate than Active Component (AC) members, even for deployment-related conditions, but those who are referred receive dispositions (and thus benefits) similar to those for AC members. These findings suggest that the Department of Defense may want to consider ways to better coordinate TRS with other insurance options that will be available to RC members and that the identification of RC members who experience health consequences from deployment leading to disability merits further investigation.

CBO Releases Report on Policy Options for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program

July 18, 2012 Comments off

CBO Releases Report on Policy Options for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program
Source: Congressional Budget Office

The Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program has expanded rapidly during the past few decades, and CBO projects that, under current law, future spending for the program will significantly exceed the revenues dedicated to it.

In a study prepared at the request of the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, CBO has examined a variety of potential modifications to the DI program. CBO has also prepared an infographic summarizing the application process for DI, the number of beneficiaries and benefits paid under the program, and policies regarding disabled people in other countries.

Alleviating the financial pressures on the DI program would require a substantial increase in revenues for the program, a substantial decrease in the program’s costs, or some combination of those two approaches. Options to increase revenues are straightforward but limited: DI taxes paid (through the Social Security Payroll tax) by employers or employees must rise, or some other source of funding must be used. In contrast, options for reducing costs are both more complex and more numerous: For example, the components of the formula that is used to calculate DI benefits could be altered, as could one or more of the rules used to help determine eligibility for the program. Alternatively, policymakers might want to increase spending for the program by providing greater amounts of support to certain disabled workers or their dependents. CBO in conjunction with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated the budgetary effects of a variety of such modifications to the DI program.

Back to Work: Recent SSA Employment Demonstrations for People with Disabilities

July 15, 2012 Comments off

Back to Work: Recent SSA Employment Demonstrations for People with Disabilities
Source: Mathematica Policy Research

This issue brief summarizes short-term impacts from four large scale- demonstration projects by the Social Security Administration designed to increase the economic self-sufficiency of Supplemental Security Income recipients and Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries. Results from these rigorous assessments include modest improvements in employment.

CA — Report on Equality Rights of People with Disabilities

July 12, 2012 Comments off

Report on Equality Rights of People with Disabilities (PDF)
Source: Canadian Human Rights Commission
From press release:

Canadians have a better picture of how disability affects equality of opportunity, thanks to a new benchmarking study released by the Canadian Human Rights Commission today.

The Report on Equality Rights of People with Disabilities compares Canadians with disabilities to those without disabilities across a spectrum of indicators, such as education, employment, economic well-being, health, and housing. The report consolidates data from seven Statistics Canada surveys.

New From the GAO

June 29, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Foreclosure Mitigation: Agencies Could Improve Effectiveness of Federal Efforts with Additional Data Collection and Analysis. GAO-12-296, June 28.
Highlights –
Podcast –

A live video chat on this report with Director Mathew Scire will be conducted at 12:30pm ET on Monday, July 2:

2. Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Could Better Manage Security Surveys and Vulnerability Assessments. GAO-12-378, May 31.
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3. Oil Dispersants: Additional Research Needed, Particularly on Subsurface and Arctic Applications. GAO-12-585, May 30.
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4. Military Base Realignments and Closures: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Technology Center Construction Project. GAO-12-770R, June 29.

5. Employment For People With Disabilities: Little Is Known About the Effectiveness of Fragmented And Overlapping Programs. GAO-12-677, June 29.
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6. Navy Training: Observations on the Navy’s Use of Live and Simulated Training. GAO-12-725R, June 29.

7. Military Base Realignments and Closures: Updated Costs and Savings Estimates from BRAC 2005. GAO-12-709R, June 29.

New From the GAO

June 26, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

+ Reports

1. Veteran Homelessness: VA and HUD Are Working to Improve Data on Supportive Housing Program. GAO-12-726, June 26.
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2. VA/DOD Federal Health Care Center: Costly Information Technology Delays Continue and Evaluation Plan Lacking. GAO-12-669, June 26.
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3. DOD Financial Management: Improvements Needed in Prompt Payment Monitoring and Reporting. GAO-12-662R, June 26.

4. Supplemental Security Income: Better Management Oversight Needed for Children’s Benefits. GAO-12-497, June 26.
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+ Related Product

Supplemental Security Income: State Trends in Applications, Allowances, and Benefit Receipts for Children with Mental Impairments (GAO-12-498SP, June 2012), an E-supplement to GAO-12-497. GAO-12-498SP, June 26.

Medicare and Medicaid — Care for Dual Eligibles

June 23, 2012 Comments off

Care for Dual Eligibles
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Medicare and Medicaid are the main government programs that provide health insurance to a range of individuals, including the elderly, people with low incomes, and those with certain disabilities. The programs have different funding sources, covered benefits, and management systems.

People who qualify for benefits under both programs, some nine million beneficiaries, are commonly referred to as “dual eligibles.” They frequently have multiple chronic conditions and more than half have cognitive or mental impairments. Yet because of the separate nature of Medicare and Medicaid, care provided to the “duals” is often poorly managed.

The Affordable Care Act created a new Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in an attempt to make the two programs work together more effectively. The office is testing various approaches to doing so.

This brief describes those efforts and the debate over how they should be structured and how likely they will be to lower costs.

Development of the Global Disability Scale (GloDiS): preliminary results

May 23, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Annals of General Psychiatry
The assessment of functioning and disability is an important part of clinical evaluation, since it measures disease burden and reflects the effectiveness of therapeutic planning and interventions. The aim of the current study was to develop a self-report instrument on the basis of a review of the literature, compatible with the World Health Organization (WHO) approach.
The review of the literature led to the development of the Global Disability Scale (GloDiS), with 25 items assessing different aspects of disability. The study sample included 728 persons from vulnerable populations (homeless, jobless, very low income, single parent families and so on (29.12% males and 70.88% females; age 55.96 +/- 15.22 years). The protocol also included the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). The statistical analysis included factor analysis, item analysis and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
The factor analysis revealed the presence of four factors explaining 71% of total variance (everyday functioning, social and interpersonal functioning, severity and mental disability). The Cronbach alpha value for the whole scale was 0.95 and for subscales the range of values was 0.74 to 0.94.
The results of the current study suggest that the GloDiS has the potential to serve as a reliable and valid tool for assessing functioning and disability. Further research is needed to prove that it could be useful across countries, populations and diseases, and on whether it provides data that are culturally meaningful and comparable. It can be used in surveys and in clinical research settings and it can generate information of use in evaluating health needs and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce disability and improve health.

Full Paper (PDF)

The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities

May 19, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Child Welfare Information Gateway

This bulletin for child welfare professionals describes child abuse and neglect of children with disabilities in terms of the scope of the problem, risk factors, and strategies for prevention. The background section looks at statistics and research and highlights what might be happening with families that come into the child welfare system. The second section offers tips to identify and assess abuse and neglect in children with disabilities, respond collaboratively, and locate training resources.

Women and the Risk of Disability: Insights from a Landmark Study by The State Farm® Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College

May 9, 2012 Comments off
The majority of Americans lack basic knowledge about the likelihood of a disability and are unprepared to handle this kind of life-changing event.  These gaps put families and financial futures in jeopardy, according to a new study released today by The State Farm® Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College, the nation’s leading authority on economic issues and opportunities for American women.
The risk of becoming disabled during one’s lifetime is higher than most people realize, particularly for women. The U.S. Social Security Administration estimates that one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that women are increasingly more likely to experience a disabling condition during their working and senior years. The study from The State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College found a majority of Americans (97 percent) do not know arthritis is the leading cause of disability and few (20 percent) are aware of women’s increased risks. In fact, more than 30 percent of survey respondents believe accidents are the leading cause of disability.

Hat tip: PW

Old-Age Disability in China: Implications for Long-Term Care Policies in the Coming Decades

April 20, 2012 Comments off

Old-Age Disability in China: Implications for Long-Term Care Policies in the Coming Decades

Source:  RAND Corporation
Old-age disability and long-term care (LTC) have not yet been well studied in China. Using logistic regressions and a prevalence ratio projection model, and considering international practices, this dissertation addresses three research questions:
  1. What are the key risk factors for old-age disability in China?
  2. What are the projected numbers of older adults with disabilities in China in future decades through 2050?
  3. How can China develop a feasible and sustainable LTC delivery and financing system to address projected growth in LTC needs of this population over the next four decades?

The Effects of Hiring Tax Credits on Employment of Disabled Veterans

April 18, 2012 Comments off
Source:   RAND Corporation

In response to growing concerns regarding the employment situation of veterans, between 2007 and 2011 Congress enacted three separate employer tax credits designed to encourage veteran hiring. For these initiatives, as for many other federal programs that aim to improve veterans’ employment prospects, there exists little rigorous evidence demonstrating program effectiveness. This paper uses the 2007 expansion of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program to measure the impact of tax credits on employment of disabled veterans. Using nationally representative data from the American Community Survey and a multiple-differences research design, the paper demonstrates that the new tax credit increased employment among the target group of disabled veterans by 2 percentage points in 2007 and 2008, representing roughly 32,000 jobs each year. Impacts were largest for older veterans, and the tax credits improved employment for those with both cognitive and noncognitive disabilities. The credit also increased income of the targeted group by around 40 percent and primarily generated full-time positions. Rough calculations place the cost of this program per job generated at around $10,000 or less. These results suggest that tax credits can be an effective means of improving employment among disadvantaged veteran populations.

Full Document (PDF)

How Many Disability Beneficiaries Forgo Cash Benefits Because of Work? Evidence from a New Measure

April 9, 2012 Comments off
In recent years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has placed a greater emphasis on increasing employment among people who receive federal disability benefits while also reducing their reliance on those benefits. SSA’s efforts have led to a growing interest among policymakers in exactly how many disability beneficiaries forgo cash benefits because they are working and how long they are able to remain off cash benefits. In this brief, we summarize findings from a longer report by Stapleton et al. (2010a), who used a newly developed indicator to determine how many beneficiaries receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) forgo cash benefits because of work.

Australian Social Trends — March 2012

March 30, 2012 Comments off

Australian Social Trends — March 2012
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
+ Life on ‘Struggle Street’: Australians in low economic resource households
This article looks at the characteristics of people in households with both relatively low income and relatively low wealth.
+ Love Me Do
This article examines the trends in marriage, de facto relationships and divorce over the last twenty years.
+ Life after Homelessness
This article presents a comparison of people who have been homeless in the last 10 years with those who have never been homeless.
+ Disability and Work
This article looks at the characteristics of working-age people with disability and their involvement in the labour force.

New From the GAO

March 20, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Report and TestimoniesSource: Government Accountability Office


1. Homeland Security: DHS Needs Better Project Information and Coordination among Four Overlapping Grant Programs. GAO-12-303, February 28.
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1. Managing Preparedness Grants and Assessing National Capabilities: Continuing Challenges Impede FEMA’s Progress, by William O. Jenkins Jr., Homeland Security and Justice, before the House Homeland Security Committee: Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee. GAO-12-526T, March 20.
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2. Modernizing SSA Disability Programs: Preliminary Observations on Updates of Medical and Occupational Criteria, by Dan Bertoni, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, before the House Ways And Means Committee: Social Security Subcommittee. GAO-12-511T, March 20.
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3. Aviation Safety: FAA Has An Opportunity to Enhance Safety and Improve Oversight of Initial Pilot Training, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., Physical Infrastructure Issues, before the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee: Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee. GAO-12-537T, March 20.
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4. Joint Strike Fighter: Restructuring Added Resources and Reduced Risk, but Concurrency Is Still a Major Concern, by Mike J. Sullivan, Acquisition Sourcing Management, before the House Armed Services Committee: Tactical Air And Land Forces Subcommittee. GAO-12-525T, March 20.
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School Is Not Supposed to Hurt: The U.S. Department of Education Must Do More to Protect School Children from Restraint and Seclusion

March 12, 2012 Comments off

School Is Not Supposed to Hurt: The U.S. Department of Education Must Do More to Protect School Children from  Restraint and Seclusion (PDF)
Source: National Disability Rights Network

Many schools are regularly using restraint and seclusion to control student behavior. Students are suffering, especially very young students. Congress has failed to act. Some states enacted laws and regulations to protect school children, but the progress is slow and the laws are often inconsistent and incomplete.

ED is in the unique position to issue strong national guidance to state education agencies and local school districts about when the use of restraint and seclusion might violate anti-discrimination and education laws, similar to the guidance that the Office of Civil Rights has already issued on bullying and harassment. The guidance at a minimum must also limit the use of physical restraint or seclusion to circumstances when necessary to protect a child or others from imminent physical danger and not weaken existing protections in the states.

ED is also in the unique position to pull together a national summit of researchers, educators, mental health professionals and others to discuss whether restraint and seclusion has any therapeutic value and to develop evidence-based best practices to prevent and reduce the use of restraint and seclusion. ED should collaborate with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in this effort because SAMHSA has successfully supported efforts over the last decade to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion in mental health facilities. ED should fund demonstration projects to test what works.

ED can prevent future injuries and deaths by investigating restraint and seclusion (even where there is no individual complaint) and requiring school districts to take appropriate corrective action.

Quieter Cars and the Safety of Blind Pedestrians, Phase 2: Development of Potential Specifications for Vehicle Countermeasure Sounds — Final Report

February 29, 2012 Comments off

Quieter Cars and the Safety of Blind Pedestrians, Phase 2: Development of Potential Specifications for Vehicle Countermeasure Sounds — Final Report (PDF)
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

This project performed research to support the development of potential specifications for vehicle sounds, (i.e., audible countermeasures) to be used in vehicles while operating in electric mode in specific low speed conditions. The purpose of the synthetic vehicle sound is to alert pedestrians, including blind pedestrians, of vehicle presence and operation. The project developed various options and approaches to specify vehicle sounds that could be used to provide information at least equivalent to the cues provided by ICE vehicles, including speed change. Acoustic data from a sample of ICE vehicles was used to determine the sound levels at which synthetic vehicle sounds, developed as countermeasures, could be set. Psychoacoustic models and human-subject testing were used to explore issues of detectability, masking, and recognition of ICE-like and alternative sound countermeasures. Data were used to develop potential options that could be pursued to develop specifications for synthetic vehicle sounds. Project results indicate that vehicle detectability could potentially be met through various options including: recording(s) of actual ICE sounds; synthesized ICE-equivalent sounds; alternative, non-ICE-like sounds designed for detectability; and a hybrid of the options listed above.

The Impact of Temporary Assistance Programs on Disability Rolls and Re-Employment

February 27, 2012 Comments off
Unemployed workers participate in various temporary assistance programs. They are also more likely to apply for Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), growing programs with large costs. Temporary benefits can both increase and decrease probabilities of re-employment and application for DI/SSI. When controlling for selection bias, we find evidence that increased access to unemployment benefits reduces applications for DI, while increased access to food benefits increases applications for SSI. These results suggest that applications for DI/SSI are sensitive to participation in temporary assistance programs, and that increased access to unemployment is less costly than it may appear.

Full Document (PDF)


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