RAND Center for Disability Research

An estimated 64 million Americans, adults and children, live with a disability. The RAND Center for Disability Research (CDR) is focused on understanding the impacts of policy, or lack thereof, on equitable access to participation in society for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. These policies include employer accommodations, accessible environments, caregiver support, and the local, state, and federal programs that provide cash benefits, support services, or healthcare coverage to individuals with disabilities.

Research on disability policy spans work from all RAND’s divisions, and the CDR provides a venue to connect this work together and inform the broader policy community about our findings, our expertise, and our capabilities.

In addition to our long-standing research into the disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration, we conduct workers’ compensation-related research within the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, and partner in veteran-related research with the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute. Other work on public employee disability retirements, caregiver support, disability in the armed Services, accessibility in transportation and housing, and employer accommodations is conducted throughout RAND but featured here. We are also actively engaged in research on the labor market impacts of long COVID (PASC) as well as international perspectives on disability.

Our affiliated researchers are available to discuss their published research and provide their perspectives on disability policy priorities and proposals.

  • Intellectual, Developmental, and Physical Disabilities in U.S. Legal Settings

    The legal system can be difficult to navigate. For individuals with disabilities, it can be even more challenging. Researchers offer recommendations for other researchers as they examine the experience of individuals with disabilities and their interactions with the U.S. criminal and civil legal systems.

  • New Evidence on School-Based Policing Across the U.S.

    U.S. public school students increasingly attend schools with sworn law enforcement officers present. Researchers found that having school resource officers present reduces some forms of violence, but does not prevent gun-related incidents; their presence also intensifies the use of suspension, expulsion, police referral, and arrest of students.

  • Educating Students with Disabilities: Lessons from the Pandemic

    A survey of U.S. educators sheds light on the obstacles that teachers and principals faced—even before the pandemic—that make supporting students with disabilities especially challenging in the COVID-19 era.