Cost Reimbursement Program

Social Security's Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Cost Reimbursement (CR) program, authorized in 1981, is only available to State VR agencies. The two purposes of the CR program are:

  1. To make State VR services more readily available to Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities; and
  2. To generate savings to the Social Security Trust Fund, for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and to the General Revenue Fund, for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. 

Under the CR program, the Social Security Administration pays State VR agencies compensation in the form of reimbursement when beneficiaries served by State VR agencies enter the workforce and achieve nine continuous months of earnings. The earnings must be at or above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, called a continuous period of SGA.

When the beneficiary achieves this benchmark, the State VR agency completes the Vocational Rehabilitation Provider Claim form (SSA-199) and submits it to Social Security with supporting documentation. This documentation includes a breakdown of the direct costs associated with the case.

The payment period starts with the beneficiary’s date of onset for SSDI beneficiaries or the date of entitlement for SSI recipients.

The payment period ends with the ninth month of SGA level earnings, or the month before the last month of SSDI entitlement or SSI eligibility, whichever comes first. CR claims must be filed timely to qualify for payment. A claim is considered timely if filed with Social Security within 12 months of the last day of the ninth month of SGA level earnings. If the claim is approved, the reimbursement constitutes a lump sum payment to the State VR agency.

When a State VR agency chooses to serve beneficiaries under the CR program, it must abide by the legislative and regulatory requirements of the CR program:

For SSDI beneficiaries:

For SSI recipients: State VR agencies serving beneficiaries under the CR program must also abide by the requirements in the Social Security Administration's Vocational Rehabilitation Providers Handbook.