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The Importance of Unemployment Insurance Benefits to Disability Employment Efforts

Kevin Hollenbeck, Principal Investigator at the W.E. Upjohn Institute, has undertaken an ambitious study for the NTAR Leadership Center to estimate what portion of a state's long-term unemployed may have a disability. By examining data from programs in which individuals self-report their disability status (such as Workforce Investment Act and vocational rehabilitation), it is possible to identify participants who are also receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The study of programs in Washington State found that women, young adults, and less-educated people who also had disabilities were underrepresented in terms of receiving unemployment compensation. This lack of income support often makes it more difficult for an individual to obtain job training, find employment, or stay employed long enough to qualify for Unemployment Insurance in the future.