Objective: To characterize financial and vocational outcomes among persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in terms of employment status, earned and private income, and public assistance received at the time of injury and at 1 year after injury.
Design: Nonexperimental, longitudinal study.
Setting: Inpatient TBI rehabilitation unit and participants' community of residence.
Participants: Thirty-five persons with new TBI from 1 national Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems center.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Employment status, earned and private monthly income, and public assistance received monthly at the time of injury and at 1-year follow-up.
Results: From the time of injury until 1-year follow-up, the percentage of persons employed decreased from 69% to 31%; the percentage unemployed increased from 11% to 49%; the average earned monthly income declined 51% (from US dollars 1,491 to US dollars 726); and the mean total public assistance received per month increased 275% (from US dollars 153 to US dollars 421).
Conclusion: Assuming that this study sample is representative of national statistics for TBI, during the first year after injury, TBI is associated with an estimated $642 million in lost wages, US dollars 96 million in lost income taxes, and US dollars 353 million in increased public assistance.