The relationship of quality of life and subminimum wage: Implications of WIOA section 511

Hung Jen Kuo, Allison Levine, John Kosciulek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in 2014 included, among other mandates, Section 511 which limits the use of subminimum wage. The Section 511 stipulation prohibits employers previously using 14(c) subminimum wage certificates to continue from paying wages below Federal regulated minimum wage to employees with disabilities. The implications of this change remain unclear. Following the WIOA, a Midwestern community rehabilitation program (CRP) increased the wages of all workers from subminimum to full Federal minimum wage. As a first glimpse into the socio-ecological model, the current study analyzed the effect of the salary change on quality of life for those workers affected by the change via qualitative interviews with individuals directly affected by it. The results revealed that improvement of individuals' material well-being was salient, and the increase in income positively influenced social participation of the participants. Although the financial benefits were promising, concerns were raised regarding the impact to their social security benefits. Implications for research and practice were also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Employment
  • Subminimum wage
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • WIOA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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