Subminimum Wage Report Overview


Texas Statistics Highlighted in Report

  • 109 – 14(c) certificate organizations pay subminimum wages in Texas.
  • Approximately 10,000 individuals are in sheltered workshops paying subminimum wages in Texas; 66% of the organizations that reported their wages pay 100% of their workers subminimum wages.
  • 44 of the 76 organizations that reported their wages pay less than $.50 per hour.
  • 18 of the 72 reporting organizations also serve as the Representative Payee for their workers.
  • Approximately 160 Community Rehabilitation Programs have contracts under the State Use Program throughout the state; 12 pay subminimum wages. 

DRTx monitored twelve organizations during their investigation in: Brookshire, Brownwood, El Paso (2), Ft. Worth (3), Lubbock, Lufkin, San Antonio (2) and Victoria. A total of 1,830 individuals were reported as working at these organizations.


During the investigation, three critical and overarching concerns were found:

  • Texas has systematic problems regarding fair wages, employment growth, and vocational opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • Texans with disabilities in sheltered workshops are not being paid fairly.
  • By relying on the sheltered workshop system, Texas is putting people with disabilities at risk of unnecessary segregation, isolation, and exploitation.

DRTx Recommendations

  • Phase out of the subminimum wage and move toward fully competitive integrated employment;
  • Provide more job training and development in Texas programs;
  • Overhaul day habilitation services; and
  • Remove barriers to hiring individuals with disabilities in state agencies.

Related Developments

  • 14(c) certificate holders’ campaign to protect their ability to pay subminimum wages,
  • Texas Workforce Commission will now oversee Vocational Rehabilitation and State Use program,
  • Legislative interest in establishing the recommended 5-year transition plan.

Upcoming Advocacy Focus

  • Expand advocacy groups providing education on these issues;
  • Explore changes to state agency rules:
    • Rep Payee and workshops,
    • HCBS settings rules should support eliminating segregated settings for waiver participants,
    • Separate residential providers from sheltered workshop operations in ICFDD;
  • Expand use of employment supports (ABLE Act, SSI income limitations, etc.);
  • Reform day habilitation services with a legislative fix.