ACCESSING VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES BY EARNESTINE CARSWELL, M.S., CRC REHABILITATION COUNSELOR Phoenix Rehabilitation Consulting Services, Inc.
VOCATIONAL REHABILTATION SERVICES PROVIDES SERVICES FOR ELIGIBLE PERSONS WITH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL IMPAIRMENTS. THESE SERVICES ARE DESIGNED TO ENABLE YOU TO PREPARE FOR, OBTAIN, KEEP OR REGAIN EMPLOYMENT. WHO IS ELIGIBLE? ELIGIBILITY FOR VR SERVICES, AS DETERMINED BELOW, IS BASED UPON THE PRESENCE OF A PHYSICAL OR MENTAL IMPAIRMENT AND A GOAL FOR EMPLOYMENT The physical impairment must constitute or result in a substantial impediment to employment The individual’s employment outcome can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services the individual requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, obtain, keep, or regain employment If you are receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for your disability, you are presumed eligible for VR services if you intend to secure employment.
DEFINITION Informed Choice is a reflection of the relationship between you and your VR counselor. You will be provided information about the vocational rehabilitation process and those choices include: Who will be your counselor ? What services you receive? Who provides the service? What job you attain? You and your counselor share the responsibility of making choices about your services and exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Your employment goal must be complimentary of your individual strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and interests. Informed Choice…
An individual who resides in the State of Florida that has a physical or mental impairment can apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Services. A referral for services can be made by: Telephone, Walk-in, or www. Rehabworks.org The Vocational Rehabilitation Unit has three business work days to respond to your request for services. You may be contacted by phone, letter or (if you request). Your Responsibilities: Keep your scheduled appointments Bring Identification and contact information Bring any medical or psychological records that document your disability or have the address and contact information Be prepared to discuss employment issues that are effecting your ability to work (i.e. Lack of training, no job skills, cannot sit or stand for long periods, left hand does not grasp small items) Applying For Services…
What Happens During the Initial Appointment? Provide work history Share previous injuries and health problems that effect the work task Share education and training experiences The VR counselor looks for impediments or issues that prevent employment or ways to help you become employable If current information is not available, your VR counselor will help you choose providers of any necessary evaluations at no cost to you. The evaluations will indicate whether there is treatment or other forms of assistance that help support your efforts to obtain employment You should request a comprehensive vocational evaluation of your vocational skills so that it can be used to find a suitable job goal for your IPE Initial Appointment…
Individual Plan … The Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed cooperatively with the VR Counselor. The IPE should include your chosen Vocational Goal and VR services you will receive. You have the option of developing it alone or with the assistance of the VR Counselor or designated assistance The IPE must be realistic and all services must relate to your documented disability and the level of intervention you would need to become employed The IPE process can take up to 120 days to develop due to the coordination and discovery of Services Vocational Evaluation/ Counseling Transportation Vehicle Modification Job Placement Rehabilitation Technology Interpreter Services Tuition, books and fees Physical Restoration Mental Restoration Services to Family Members Types of Services
Determining Eligibility… Eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Services must be accomplished in Sixty days. The consumer and the VR Counselor must agree to an extension on determining eligibility and the reasons for a delay are very few. They are as follows: Documentation of Disability not provided timely Act of God, office closure (i.e. hurricanes) Scheduled evaluations cannot take place within 60 days and a report provided Failure to keep scheduled appointments by the applicant If you are receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for your disability you are presumed eligible for services if you intend to find employment. You are eligible after your first initial meeting, evaluation and planning are next.
Receipt of Services… The VR counselor will assist you in managing your disability while improving your ability to get a job. The services that were chosen are directly related to your impediment. The services will enhance or accommodate your abilities to seek employment. All services are provided on a short-term basis you should seek to utilize them in a timely manner so you can proceed to towards your goal of employment. The service and proximity of the services should be coordinated between you and counselor. All services are based on needs, abilities and availability Job Placement When you have received services that have stabilized your medical, mental, physical or employment issues you will work with the VR counselor to find a job within your vocational goal. Placement services can be a service on your IPE and that agency provides job leads, resume writing, interviewing skills that will market you skills and abilities. You must remain actively involved during job development so that you are pleased with the employment outcome. The job must be satisfying and meet your expectations.
VR Checklist… Call and request DVR services - via phone, or walk-in Follow-up on request seven days from first contact Request current medical records and bring them to the scheduled appointment Develop a list of problems that prevent you from working -i.e. Job skills, appropriate career, medical issues State your desire to work or return to work Provide information on other organizations that support your independence and work goals Request a comprehensive vocational evaluation that provides a profile of your skills and abilities, so vocational counseling can be provided by DVR counselor Inquire about providers that serve your service area (Choose one) Attend all scheduled evaluations/ appointments Review results of evaluations and discuss options for stabilizing your impairments so employment can be achieved Choose a vocational goal Participate in development of IPE Contact your VR counselor monthly and provide updates on services Report stabilization of mental or physical issues to VR counselor Develop a relationship with your employment consultant Daily perform a job seeking activity Make a list of all your strengths and practice relating them to others Upgrade interviewing skills Do your best on all interviews and job inquiries Get a job and keep it!
What is the best method to contact you? Provide phone numbers and names of who can discuss your case. Notify DVR when your information changes What prevents you from working: Provide the diagnosis, ( ie. Brain injury, Cerebral palsy) Do you require American Sign Language Interpreter? YES Request and interpreter at your first contact with the agency to give them time to secure assistance. Interpreters can be found for other foreign languages. If you know someone who can help bring them to the meeting. Do you require assistive listening device? YES If you need special equipment tell them. If you use Florida Relay for communication. Do you require any accommodation for your impairment? YES If yes, please explain: ( Provide details) If you need someone to read for you, or write let them know.
Greeting______, I am (NAME). Today I am interested in finding employment. I have been un-employed since ______, due to my Brain/spinal cord injury. I would like VR to help me find a job that I am good at because I can no longer_____, _____, ________, and ________. OR I have no work experience but I know that I need to work to provide for myself. I brought with me records about my disability. Or I have the contact information of my doctors and support programs. I receive Social Security Insurance (SSI). I am not aware of my skills so I need an evaluation that would tell me my skills and job ideas. My Self-Advocate Statement
If you feel you have been discriminated against by VR in any of the following areas: Sex, Race, Martial Status, Age, Religion, Political Affiliation, Disability, National Origin, or Color you should contact the VR Supervisor, Area Supervisor, Area Director or VR Ombudsman, or (Voice/TDD) in the order above to express your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the response contact: Client Advocacy Program Webster Building – Suite Executive Center Circle, West Tallahassee, FL (Voice) (TTY) YOUR RIGHTS!