Employment outcomes for individuals with multiple sclerosis: 2011-2013

Katherine J. Inge, William G. Revell, Phillip D. Rumrill, Rob E. Cimera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) face a number of physical and structural barriers in achieving an employment outcome. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services through the use of the federal and state vocational rehabilitation programs is one option for obtaining the needed supports that can lead to successful competitive employment outcomes. OBJECTIVE: The intent of this research was to profile demographic characteristics, services received, funds expended, and employment outcomes achieved by individuals with MS who participated in the State VR programs. The research also sought to identify VR programs achieving the highest rate of successful employment outcomes for individuals with MS. METHODS: Using the Federal Rehabilitation Services Administration's (RSA) 911-database, individuals with a primary physical disability of multiple sclerosis who had their cases closed by a Vocational Rehabilitation Agency in Federal Fiscal Years 2011-2013 were selected to identify general demographics, services received, receipt of SSI/SDI, and reasons for case closure. More detailed analyses were completed on employment outcomes and costs for individuals for whom an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) was implemented. RESULTS: Nationally, state VR agencies reported closing a total of 6,865 cases for individuals with multiple sclerosis in FY 2011-2013 in one of the four case closure codes: Status 28, Status 30, Status 28, and Status 26. Approximately 2,006 (29% of total case closures of individuals with MS) were closed in Status 26 with an employment outcome during the study period. The majority of these individuals were female and white/Caucasian. Weekly hours of employment per person were approximately 26.5 hours, and average weekly earnings were approximately $440 for individuals with MS closed in employment. The average case service expenditure per person for individuals with MS closed with an employment outcome ranged from $8,372 to $9,066. Approximately 67% of VR case service funds expended on cases with MS during FYs 2011-2013 were spent on individuals who achieved an employment outcome. CONCLUSIONS: More research is needed on how VR counselors and services can respond more effectively to selected demographic characteristics of VR applicants with MS, especially their ethnic, gender, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Research is also needed on the impact of rehabilitation services on successful case closures, the types of jobs that individuals with MS obtain, and the characteristics of high achieving state VR programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-37
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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