People with Disabilities

MDRC has built a portfolio of projects that test innovative strategies to enhance health care services and outcomes for low-income people, with a particular focus on services for individuals with health- and disability-related barriers to employment.

The Latest

Amid a budget crunch, the Santa Clara Housing Authority reduced its subsidies to low-income renters in 2013. This retrospective study shows that the decrease did not affect average employment and earnings over the next four years, as some economic theories might have predicted.


The Breaking Barriers program, based in San Diego, provided employment services to lower-income individuals with disabilities. MDRC carried out a random assignment evaluation of the program. As part of the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-income Families project, MDRC is collecting additional administrative records to extend the original evaluation.

Key Documents

Design and Early Implementation of the Accelerated Benefits Demonstration

Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries have serious and immediate health care needs, but, under current law, most are not eligible for Medicare until 24 months after they start receiving cash benefits. This policy brief describes a new project that is testing whether providing earlier access to health benefits, as well as other services, for new SSDI beneficiaries who have no other health insurance improves employment and health outcomes.


Final Report on the Colorado Access Coordinated Care Pilot Program

This pilot program aimed to improve the quality of health care while reducing Medicaid costs by helping individuals use appropriate care that would reduce hospital admissions and emergency department visits. The program had little effect on health care use, but the report suggests several ways to improve its design.