Vocational Rehabilitation

  
Answer
What is VR?
VR is a statewide resource for people with disabilities and is part of the Department of Human Services. We assist individuals with disabilities in getting and keeping a job. VR is a state and federally sponsored program. VR works in partnership with the community and businesses to develop employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
 
If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to get or keep a job, and you want to work, the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) can help.
Who does VR serve?
VR may serve you if you:
  1. Have a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to get a job or keep a job that matches your skills, potential, and interest.
  2. Need services and support, such as counseling, training, or assistance with a job search, in order to get or keep a job.
How can VR help me go to work?
VR staff will help you get the information you need to make a good decision about:
  • What type of job you want
  • What barriers your disability causes
  • What resources are available to help remove those barriers
  • Steps needed to reach your goal of going to work

With support from VR, you will:

  • Create and follow a step-by-step plan to reach your employment goals.
What types of services does VR offer?
VR offers a variety of services to assist people with disabilities to prepare for, get, and keep jobs. The services you use depend on your individual needs and circumstances.

VR can provide you with the information necessary to assist you in deciding which services you need to reach your job goal.

Examples of services include:

Assessment services to measure your strengths, capabilities, work skills and interests. These services assist you in selecting a job goal and the VR services you need to reach that goal.

Counseling and guidance services provided throughout the rehabilitation process to help you make good decisions about how to reach your goals.

Independent living services help you understand and deal with disability issues that prevent you from working; these include, but are not limited to:

  • Training in self-care
  • Money management
  • Using community transportation

Assistive technology services assist you with communication or doing tasks by using devices such as hearing aids, visual aids, special computer software, etc. You can explore with your counselor how technology might help you reach your employment potential or get a device you need to go to work.

Training services provide you with work skills needed to achieve your employment goal.

Employment services help you carry out your job search, including:

  • Assistance completing application forms
  • Developing a resume
  • Practicing interview skills
  • Identifying job leads
  • Keeping your new job
  • Getting the disability accommodations you need
What steps do I go through?
1. Call or visit the VR office closest to you to start the process. Our staff will ask for basic information (like your name, your address and phone number) and will help you make arrangements to come in to learn more about what OVRS is and how it works. You may be sent a Personal Information Form in the mail, or you may receive it when you come in for orientation.

2. Orientation. Some offices give a group orientation. Others give a one-on-one orientation. Orientation will help you to:

  • Learn how the program works from start to finish.
  • Ask questions about services or available help.
  • Decide if you want to apply for services.

3. Intake Interview and Applying for Services. This is when your counselor learns about you, your disability and how it causes work problems. The meeting takes about an hour.

  • You meet privately with a VR counselor or counselor’s assistant.
  • You bring your completed Personal Information Form.
  • You fill out a one-page form (application).
  • You fill out any release forms we need to get copies of your records. (The records help tell us if you qualify.)

4. Finding Out if You Qualify for Help. Sometimes a counselor can tell right away if you qualify. Other times it can take up to 60 days, occasionally longer. It depends on whether we need to write for medical records or have you evaluated by a doctor. Your counselor can tell you what needs to happen to qualify for services.

5. Identifying Your Job Goal and Planning Services You Need. You and your counselor decide on a job goal that makes sense for your disability. It should also make sense based on what job openings there are. VR can help you find your talents and interests. We can also help you search the job market. You and your counselor talk about the employment problems that bring you to VR. Together you decide what services you need to get a job.

6. Writing a Plan for Employment. You must have a written plan to get the services you need. We call it your individualized plan for employment (IPE). Your counselor can help you with this. Your IPE describes the steps you will take to meet your work goal.

7. Completing the IPE. You can start getting the help you need after you and your counselor agree to your plan. How long it takes you to complete the plan depends on you and your needs.

8. Job Searching and Getting a Job. After you complete the services in your plan; you search for a job until you get one. Your counselor can help you with this.

9. Following Up and Closing Your Case. Your counselor checks how you are doing for 90 days after you get a job. Then VR closes your case if all is going well. Later you can ask for “Post-Employment” services if you need more help because of your disability to keep your job, get your job back, or move up in your job.

What are some of the choices I can make?
You get to make choices when you work with VR.
  • You choose the job goal that fits your interests, talents, needs, and values.
  • You choose how much help you want to write your employment plan.
  • You choose the services you need to over-come the problems that brought you to us. You get to choose who provides most services, too.
  • You help decide how long you will be in the program. 
How does VR help you make choices?
  • Our staff gives you the information to feel confident when you face each choice. Think of us as your career consultants.

  • Early on, you and your counselor talk about the work problems caused by your disability. We call these your “barriers to employment.”

  • Knowing your problems helps you and your counselor decide on steps to over-come them. It also helps you figure out what services you need to reach your job goal.

  • You and your counselor share responsibility for your choices. What are the guidelines for making choices?

  • Making choices in your program does not mean you can have anything you want. Your choices must make sense. They must give good value for their cost. And they must help you reach your job goal.

  • The job goal you choose must make sense.
    • Can you do the work?
    • Are people needed to fill this job where you want to live?
You choose services because you need them, not just because you want them.
What are my rights and responsibilities?
Your Rights
  • To be treated politely, professionally and with respect by VR staff.
  • To find out if you qualify for our services within 60 days after you apply. You can agree to give us more time if we need it.
  • To have your records, phone calls, and letters kept private. Sometimes, OVRS may give out some information without telling you. Ask your counselor about this.
  • To make informed choices.
  • To write your own plan for getting a job, with or without our help. We call this your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). You can review your plan with your counselor at least once each year to make changes.
  • To get free help from the Client Assistance Program anytime. The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is separate from C. CAP can help you if you are having problems with VR.
  • To appeal any OVRS decisions or actions that you don’t agree with.

Also see: Dispute resolution

Your Responsibilities

  • To treat VR staff politely and with respect.
  • To take part in getting the information you need to write and follow through with your employment plan.
  • To pay what you can for the parts of your program that cost money.
  • To apply for and use other sources of money to pay for what you need. For example, you might apply for a Pell grant to go to school. Or you might use health insurance for medical care. Your counselor will help you with this.
  • To follow through with the services you choose as best you can.
  • To meet with your counselor regularly, especially if problems come up that affect your plan.
  • To go to work after completing your program.

Also see: Client Services