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Complying with Section 511: Approaches that Promote Competitive Integrated Employment for Youth and Adults

LEAD Center | August 2018 | Report/Brief

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed into law in 2014, added Section 511, “Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wage,” to Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 511 requires a state’s vocational rehabilitation services agency to perform specific actions before the State can authorize an employer to pay a person with a disability below the minimum wage. Section 511 and its regulations were enacted to “ensure that individuals with disabilities, especially youth with disabilities, have a meaningful opportunity to prepare for, obtain, maintain, advance in, or regain competitive integrated employment, including supported or customized employment.”

These requirements, in part, serve to keep young people from being tracked into subminimum wage employment, and to help people already in subminimum wage jobs to move into competitive integrated employment. The regulations also require vocational rehabilitation providers to offer annual career counseling and other services to existing workers with disabilities paid below the minimum wage. This brief will explore approaches one State has taken to comply with Section 511 and will provide recommendations for States, providers, and advocates.