Maximizing Incentives for Individuals With Disabilities (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
February 20, 2024
Mental Health, Office of 


To determine the extent of implementation of the four recommendations included in our initial audit report, Maximizing Incentives for Individuals With Disabilities (2021-S-26). 

About the Program

According to the 2022 American Community Survey, there were nearly 1.2 million working-age adults (ages 18–64) with a disability in New York State. The statewide employment rate of working-age adults with a disability was 31% compared to 72% for working-age adults without a disability. Employment can enrich and enhance quality of life and is associated with improved health outcomes and potentially reduced costs of publicly funded benefits for people with disabilities. 

The New York Employment Service System (NYESS), which is administered by the Office of Mental Health (OMH), was cited as a key resource by New York’s Employment First Commission for improving competitive employment opportunities and outcomes for all individuals with disabilities who desire services and support. NYESS is a statewide comprehensive employment system. NYESS benefits include centralizing employment service/support information, improving coordination of employment supports, identifying and matching individual job seekers to jobs, generating Ticket to Work program (TTW) documentation, and providing employment-related performance reports. It is also fully integrated with the Department of Labor’s (DOL) case management One-Stop Operating System, and JobZone and CareerZone, which are job search and career planning tools. Six State agencies in addition to OMH, including DOL, Office of Addiction Services and Supports, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, New York State Commission for the Blind, Office for the Aging, and the State Education Department’s Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation, are responsible for licensing or contracting with providers for employment-related supports and services. Any of these agencies’ approximately 491 employment service providers can sign up to be included in NYESS.

NYESS is also an employment network under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) TTW program. TTW is a voluntary program funded by the SSA with the goal of helping SSA beneficiaries (i.e., Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance recipients) reach employment goals and reduce reliance on benefits. As of December 2023, 151 TTW providers (hereafter referred to as provider affiliates) were participating in NYESS. These provider affiliates provide customer support/services such as assessment, case management, job preparation, job assistance, and training, and assist customers in creating individual work plans (IWPs) documenting their work goals and expectations. 

The objective of our initial audit, which was issued August 2022 and covered the period from July 2016 to March 2022, was to determine whether OMH ensured that State agencies and employment service providers were taking full advantage of NYESS and TTW to promote and place individuals with a disability in competitive employment. During that audit, we found that State agencies and employment service providers utilized NYESS infrequently. As of 2022, only about a third (199) of 621 employment service providers participated in NYESS, and only one of the seven State agencies used NYESS. Additionally, provider affiliates did not fully utilize NYESS’ reporting capabilities. Also, OMH had not developed written policies and procedures related to NYESS or TTW and did not monitor provider affiliates and their efforts to ensure that customers were provided services identified in their IWPs, services provided were properly entered into NYESS, and progress toward achieving goals was tracked. Further, NYESS data was not effectively monitored or verified to ensure its completeness, accuracy, and validity.  

Key Findings

OMH has made significant progress in addressing the problems identified in our initial audit report. Of the initial report’s four recommendations, all four were implemented. 

Heather Pratt

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Manager
: Heather Pratt
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236