The Negative Effects of Public Benefits on Individual Employment: A Multi-Level Analysis of Work Hours

Derek K Nord PhD, Kelly Nye-Lengerman PhD


Public benefits are widely used by people with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD) as crucial financial supports. Using Rehabilitation Service Administration 911 and Annual Review Report datasets to account for individual and state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency variables, a sample of 21,869 people with IDD were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling to model the effects of public benefits on hours worked per week. Findings point to associations that indicate that public benefits not only limit access to employment participation, they also have a restricting effect on growth of weekly hours that typically come with higher wage positions, compared those that do not access benefits. The article also lays out important implications and recommendations to increase the inclusion of people with IDD in the workplace.

Suggested Citation

Nord, D., & Nye-Lengerman, K. (2015). The negative effects of public benefits on individual employment: A multilevel analysis of work hours. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 53(4), 308–318.


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Volume 53, Number 4
Institute on Community Integration