The unemployed on long-term sick-leave are many and difficult to rehabilitate. The likelihood that a period of sick leave will result in a temporary disability pension is about three times greater for the unemployed than for those with jobs. The aim of this current study was to examine the vocational rehabilitation process of the unemployed on long-term sick-leave. The study was based on 118 matched cases on long-term sick-leave, 59 employed and 59 unemployed. Data were collected at seven social insurance offices in rural areas of Jämtland, Sweden. Our hypothesis was that the unemployed were disregarded in vocational rehabilitation. The results partly confirm this. Unemployed people's potential need for rehabilitation is not investigated to the same extent as employed people's. Also the unemployed have to wait longer for an investigation. Against our hypothesis, however, no difference exists between the employed and the unemployed in rehabilitation impulse, rehabilitation plan or rehabilitation allowance. Nor do the unemployed, except for those awaiting investigation, wait longer than the employed. The major result of the study is, instead, that vocational rehabilitation in general, regardless of employment status, seems beset with problems. Rehabilitation activities seem far too few and initiated unnecessarily late. Neither the employer nor the social insurance office seem to be fulfilling their statutory duties.