Ilene Zeitzer

CEO of Disability Policy Solutions, GAATES Board Member

Ilene Zeitzer is an internationally recognized expert on comparative disability policy. In 2002, she founded Disability Policy Solutions (DPS), a unique consulting firm specializing in innovative public policy solutions and best practices that help ensure equality and opportunity for people with disabilities.

DPS’s work deals with the development and implementation of policies that promote full integration of people with disabilities into the workforce and society.
DPS has provided advice and counsel to national and international governmental agencies; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); donor and aid agencies; and non-profit organizations around the globe that are looking to advance and improve disability programs and policies.
Ms. Zeitzer has worked in more than 65 countries on various disability-related issues including: eligibility criteria for benefits; problems of pension adequacy; employment promotion and workforce integration; efficacy and program integrity; human rights and social inclusion; poverty reduction strategies; and specific issue related to women and children with disabilities. Her DPS clients include: the World Bank; the International Labor Organization; UNICEF; the International Social Security Association; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID); the National Council on Disability, several non-profit and civil society organizations and the governments of more than 20 countries. She is the author of numerous articles on comparative disability policies and practices that have been published in US and international journals. Recently she served as a major contributor and peer reviewer for Chapter 8: “Work and Employment,” for the World Report on Disability, published by the World Health Organization and the World Bank. She is also a frequently invited speaker and has trained individuals from many different countries and cultures, including groups from the People’s Republic of China and Vietnam.

Prior to founding DPS, Ms. Zeitzer spent 29 years with the U.S. Social Security Administration, initially as the disability analyst on the Agency’s Comparative Studies Staff in the Office of Research and Policy. She was then was recruited by 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.

In 2004, Ms. Zeitzer was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Social Insurance, a bi-partisan think tank on Social Security. She is a past Board Member of GLADNET (the Global Applied Disability Research & Information Network on Employment and Training); a Board Member of GAATES (the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments); serves on an advisory board on disability policy for the World Institute on Disability in Berkeley, California; and a frequent guest lecturer in the Employment and Disability Program of Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations.