1. How do I apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Services?
Find your local Vocational Rehabilitation Office and request an appointment with the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.
2. How do I know if I am eligible for services?
Your Counselor will go through a process of obtaining medical and/or psychological information. Your Counselor will use that information to determine your eligibility, and will discuss the eligibility criteria with you. Individuals who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance are automatically considered to have met the eligibility criteria. An individual is eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services if:
- The individual has a physical or mental impairment;
- The impairment constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment;
- The individual shall be presumed to be able to benefit in terms of an employment outcome from the provision of Vocational Rehabilitation services unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the applicant is incapable of benefiting in terms of an employment outcome from Vocational Rehabilitation services;
- The applicant requires services to prepare for, enter into, engage in, regain or retain gainful employment consistent with the applicant’s strengths, concerns, abilities, capabilities and informed choice.
3. If I am determined eligible, what is the process to receive services and how long does it take?
Once the eligibility decision is complete, you and your Counselor will begin to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed based on your interests, informed choice, abilities, capabilities, strengths, resources and priorities. The length of time this takes depends on how comprehensive the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is and what services you will need to complete the plan.
4. How long does it take to find out if I’m eligible?
An eligibility determination will be made within 60 days of your signed applications.
5. How much do your services cost?
There is no cost to you during the eligibility determination process. If you are eligible, the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed with the understanding that if you do not meet Vocational Rehabilitation’s financial eligibility guidelines, you will be required to participate financially in your rehabilitation program.
6. What are my options if I get placed on a job that I don’t like? If I quit, do I have to apply for services again?
If you don’t like the job that your Counselor helped you find, don’t accept it. This situation should not occur, however, since you are an active participant in the development of your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) which documents your choice of employment. If you accepted the job and then quit, you will not need to apply again IF your case is still open. If your case has been closed, you can reapply for services.
7. What services can Vocational Rehabilitation provide?
Vocational Rehabilitation can provide the services identified on your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), which are required for you to achieve an employment outcome. Services may include:
- Assessment to determine eligibility and Vocational Rehabilitation needs
- Counseling and guidance
- Referral services
- Job search and placement assistance; job retention and follow-up
- Vocational and other training services
- Diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments (if financial assistance is not available from another source, such as health insurance)
- Maintenance for additional costs incurred while receiving services
- Transportation services
- Personal assistance services
- Interpreter services for individuals who are deaf, and reader services for individuals who are blind
- Rehabilitation teaching services and orientation and mobility services for individuals who are blind
- Occupational licenses, tools and equipment
- Services for individuals pursuing self employment or establishing a small business
- Rehabilitation technology services
- Transition services, from school to work, for students with disabilities
- Supported employment services
8. If I’m on Social Security Disability Insurance and get a job, do I lose my Social Security benefits?
If you get a job you will eventually lose your Social Security benefits, after a trial work period has been completed. This is a complicated topic, and should be discussed in detail with your Counselor during development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
9. What if I’m in a good job and no longer receiving Social Security benefits, then become unemployed again?
If you are employed successfully in a full-time job and lose that job, you can reapply for Social Security and you can also reapply for Vocational Rehabilitation services.
10. Can Vocational Rehabilitation help me to start my own business, or do you only place people in jobs as employees?
Vocational Rehabilitation has helped many individuals start their own small businesses. This would need to be discussed with your Counselor when your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is being developed. If it is mutually agreed that starting a small business is a viable goal, a small business plan and a meeting with Vocational Rehabilitation’s business consultant is necessary.