Ilene Zeitzer has over 40 years of experience in comparative disability policy. She spent 29 years with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), initially as a comparative disability systems researcher in the Office of Research and Policy where she studied and wrote about best practices in disability programs of foreign social insurance systems. She then moved to the Office of Disability as their Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Disability and Income Security Programs (ODISP), where she was SSA’s expert on international disability and rehabilitation issues and the agency’s point person on cooperative research projects with other countries.
In 2002, she took early retirement and founded Disability Policy Solutions (DPS) where the bulk of her work in recent years has focused on disability assessment and employment promotion issues for persons with disabilities. Her social protection experience includes eligibility criteria for benefits; problems of pension adequacy; employment promotion and workforce integration; efficacy and program integrity; human rights and social inclusion; access to education and training; poverty reduction strategies; and specific issue related to women and children with disabilities. To date, her work has taken her to more than 75 countries for international NGOs and research organizations.
She is the author of numerous articles on comparative policies and practices that have been published in US and international journals. She is also a frequently invited speaker; has trained individuals from many different countries and cultures; and is a frequent guest lecturer at Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Program, School of Industrial and Labor Relations.