Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
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McCrery and Pomeroy Praise Efforts to Help Workers with Disabilities Stay in the Workforce

For Immediate ReleaseOctober 5, 2018

The Department of Labor announced last week grant recipients for the first round of the Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) demonstration project, designed to test new early interventions to help keep workers with disabilities in the labor force. Grantees in eight states will test the impact of intervening very early in an effort to keep workers employed after their usual ability to work has been altered by a new or changing health condition.

The RETAIN project was established based on one of several proposals included in the book entitled SSDI Solutions, published as part of the McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative. The Initiative congratulates the recipients of the RETAIN grants and is encouraged that policymakers continue to test new ideas to support workers with disabilities.

“Helping workers with disabilities return to their job quickly after an injury or illness can make a tremendous difference for the workers, their families, and the entire economy,” said Congressman Earl Pomeroy, co-chair of the Initiative. “We’re so excited that the work of our initiative has helped spur new early intervention efforts.”

RETAIN is modeled after the proposal put forward by Jennifer Christian, Thomas Wickizer, and Kim Burton in their SSDI Solutions proposal “A Community-Focused Health & Work Service” to establish organizations that intervene promptly after the onset of a worker’s impairment.  These organizations would guide and coordinate efforts to maximize the restoration of function and arrange a return to work.

“Congratulations are in order to the eight states receiving grants to begin their own early intervention efforts,” said Congressman Jim McCrery, the Initiative’s co-chair. “Workers with disabilities would rather collect a pay check than a disability check – this effort will help them to do so.”  

The RETAIN demonstration will test the effectiveness of this idea over the next few years in the states of Ohio, Washington, Kansas, California, Vermont, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Kentucky. 

Many other recommendations to improve the Social Security Disability Insurance program and other policies for individuals with disabilities were included in the SSDI Solutions Initiative. Several of them have been implemented, proposed in legislation, or incorporated in the President’s budget proposal.

The SSDI Solutions Initiative also recently announced a second phase, with six papers already commissioned that will expand on the Initiative’s earlier work as well as explore further areas for improvement and research. Read about the selected proposals here.

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is a project of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.   


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