Benefit-cost analysis of supported competitive employment for persons with mental retardation

Mark L. Hill, P. David Banks, Rita R. Handrich, Paul H. Wehman, Janet W. Hill, Michael S. Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


A review of the literature on unemployment rates among adults with mental retardation is presented and the societal impact of the number of adults with mental retardation who remain unemployed is discussed. The supported competitive employment model is presented as illustrative of a habilitation program allowing greater monetary returns to society than traditional adult service programs. A benefit-cost analysis of our supported competitive employment program, occurring during the period from 1978 to 1986, is presented from two perspectives: that of the consumer (i.e., the adult with severe disabilities) and that of the taxpayer. Results of the benefit-cost analysis indicate that supported competitive employment is a financially prosperous venture from both perspectives. That is, from the consumer's perspective, for every $1.00 relinquished in taxes, supplemental security income (SSI), and forgone workshop earnings, $1.97 was received in increased income; the net benefit per year was $3,894 per consumer. From the taxpayers' perspective, for every $1.00 expended for the funding of supported competitive employment programs and in lost tax revenues realized by the provision of targeted jobs tax credits, $1.87 was accumulated in benefits; the net yearly benefit to the taxpayer was $4,063 per consumer. The authors conclude that supported competitive employment is a financially profitable venture for both consumers and taxpayers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-89
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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