Comprehensive needs assessment of Texans with disabilities.

In partnership with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), researchers at the University of Texas at Austin conducted a comprehensive needs assessment for Texans with disabilities in 2014. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended calls for periodic comprehensive statewide needs assessments that will result in recommendations to the goals, priorities, and strategies of the state plan that DARS is required to produce annually.

The results of this needs assessment are detailed in this full report. Throughout the various data sources used in this report, there were several common issues that arose. These include common underserved populations, barriers and areas for improvement. The study identified individuals with mental illness, veterans, youth and students transitioning from school to employment as underserved populations. Individuals who are undocumented were also identified in the surveys as a group whose needs are not met. While the findings highlight undocumented individuals with a disability as a group not receiving services, it should be noted that vocational rehabilitation services are provided only to those who can legally work.

The study also identified barriers and areas for improvements, including housing, transportation, availability of appropriate jobs, and loss of benefits.

Schwab, J., Faulkner, M., Scott, J., Gerlach, B. & Eisenbaum, E. (2014). Comprehensive Needs Assessment of Texans with Disabilities. Austin, TX: The University of Texas at Austin