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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reinventing Disability Policy

  • Author(s): Levine, David I.
  • et al.

The disability system in the United States spends approximately $120 billion a year to keep millions of working-aged people on poverty-level stipends while essentially banning them from working. A reinvented system would focus on moving people from dependence to independence with flexible vocational rehabilitation vouchers, work-oriented assessments, and simple rules that guarantee that nobody would ever be made worse off by working. A problem with creating a system that combines work and partial disability benefits is that it may attract new entrants onto the disability rolls. A key insight of this proposal is that these generous work incentives can be tested on the current six million working-age recipients without inducing entry that raises costs.

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