The Tennessean newspaper reports that from 2001 through 2009, funding and staffing shortages meant the program was only able to serve those with the most severe physical or mental disabilities.
Though the move is most likely temporary, the department is widening the program to include a few thousand clients with less severe disabilities, who have been on a waiting list. About 17,000 disabled Tennesseans expect to get help finding jobs this year.
The state’s rehabilitation success rate is 46%, well below the 56% federal target rate for successful job placements.
The DHS recently reported to the federal government that it had 257 vocational rehabilitation staffers and 59 vacancies; counselors have an average caseload of 90 clients each.