VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATIVE SERVICES Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program Office Directory | Consumer Forms | Your Path to Work | Self-Employment Enterprise Handbook | State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation | Order of Selection DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program helps people with disabilities get ready for, find, and keep a job. We have 36 offices across Virginia and a residential training and medical rehabilitation center called the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program is an eligibility program, not an entitlement program. Decisions about eligibility and necessary services are made on a case-by-case basis. To Learn More Message for High School Students with Disabilities (Adobe PDF Format) Who May Apply Making a Referral How to Apply Frequently Asked Questions Virginia DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program Manuals To learn more, you may: Read about the vocational rehabilitation process and consumer rights and responsibilities in the VR Handbook, Your Path to Work Through Vocational Rehabilitation. Visit the Frequently Asked Questions Web page, FAQ. Call or e-mail the local DRS office nearest you. Or call toll-free in the U.S. 1-800- 552-5019 (TTY 1-800-464-9950) Many offices hold orientation sessions on a regular basis to explain our program and answer questions. If you are interested in this option, please call the local DRS office to ask if it is offered. [ Back to Top of Page ] Who may apply You may apply for the DRS vocational rehabilitation program if: You are legally eligible to work in the United States, You have a physical, mental, or emotional disability, The disability keeps you from finding or keeping a job, You are willing and able to work and you think our services can help you, and You are in the state (living in, working in, or moving to Virginia). If you receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and you want to work, you already meet the first three criteria. However, you do not have to be receiving SSDI or SSI to apply. If you think you have a disability, but have never been diagnosed, you may apply. [ Back to Top of Page ] Making a referral Anyone may refer a person with a disability who wants to work. Referrals come from social workers, doctors, mental health professionals, high school teachers, family, employers, hospitals, and many others. If you are a person with a disability, you may refer yourself. Before you refer someone, please make sure that person knows about and agrees to being referred. Give referral information to your local DRS office by: Mail Phone Fax Email message For the local office directory Call toll-free in the U.S. at 1-800-552-5019 Go to the community offices directory. [ Back to Top of Page ] How to apply You may call or e-mail the local DRS office nearest you for an appointment. Or you may call toll-free in the U.S. 1-800-552-5019 (TTY 1-800-464-9950). At your appointment, we will help you apply. This means we will start getting the information from you, your records, and any new information needed to decide if you are eligible and how we might help you with employment. We will ask you to sign a release so we can get your records. We may suggest (at no cost to you) vocational testing and other assessments. Some information we may ask you for: What your disability is and how you feel about it Your job plans; What records (medical, mental health, alcohol or substance abuse, special education, employee, social security disability, etc.) might help us understand your disability; o Names and addresses of schools you attended; o Names and addresses of any doctors you have seen recently; places you have worked and when, type of job, skills, salary, and why you left; type of medical insurance you have; transportation issues your Social Security number. If you do not have this information, do not let that stop you. We will help you get it. [ Back to Top of Page ] Frequently Asked Questions about DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program Do you have a question about our program? Please check our answers to Frequently Asked Questions, below. If you can't find the answer here, please call or e-mail the local DRS office. What kind of disabilities do you work with? What if I don’t know if I have a disability? Can I still be eligible if I am working? Does everyone with a disability who applies get served? If I apply, will that affect my Social Security benefits like Medicaid, SSI, or SSDI? What if I do not have transportation? What if I am being (or have been) served by a VR program in another state? Does DRS have jobs to give to people with disabilities? If I am eligible, how can DRS help me find and keep a job? What services will I get? Will DRS pay me a monthly income while I job hunt? What happens once I start working? Can I ever have my DRS case re-opened? What kind of disabilities do you work with? We work with people with all types of physical, mental, or emotional disabilities who are willing and able to work. Our sister agency, the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, serves people with visual disabilities. Most people know we serve individuals with physical disabilities, such as deafness, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, etc. However, most of the people in the program do not have a physical disability. For example, they may have emotional problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, a history of substance or alcohol abuse (must be in recovery and abstinent; we do not provide treatment), mental retardation, etc. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] What if I don’t know if I have a disability? That’s OK. You do not need proof of disability to apply. If you have problems getting or keeping a job, or keeping up in school or job training, you may have a disability. We will be happy to talk with you. Through medical, psychological, vocational, or other testing (at no cost to you), we may help you get information needed to decide if you are eligible. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] Can I still be eligible if I am working? Yes. For example, if your disability is: causing you problems at work progressing and you can no longer do your current job causing you to be underemployed [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] Does everyone with a disability who applies get served? No. DRS is an eligibility program. If you are not eligible, we will tell you in writing. We may refer you to other agencies and organizations that may be able to help you. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] If I apply, will that affect my Social Security benefits like Medicaid, SSI, or SSDI? No. Applying to DRS will not impact these benefits. However, once you start working, these benefits may be affected. Call your local Social Security office for more information. A DRS counselor will also be happy to talk with you about your job plans that may affect your benefits. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] What if I do not have transportation? We may be able to pay for your mileage, bus ticket, or taxi to our local DRS office for your appointment. You must call us before you travel. We cannot pay for travel we have not pre-approved. If you do not have a way to get to a DRS-approved appointment, training program, etc. in some cases we may be able to help you. However, transportation is a plus to becoming and staying employed. Therefore, we will need to discuss your options and your long- range plans for getting to and from work. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] What if I am being (or have been) served by a VR program in another state? If you have an open VR case in other state, you have two choices. 1) You may ask the other state to keep serving you. 2) You may close your VR case in the other state and apply in Virginia. However, we are not required to provide any services another state is providing you, or has agreed in writing to provide you. Having your records from the other state may speed up your application process. We may ask you to sign a release for your records. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] Does DRS have jobs to give to people with disabilities? No. DRS is not an immediate job referral program such as the Virginia Employment Commission or an employment agency. DRS does not have a pool of jobs to give people. The DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program is a process of becoming job-ready. When you are job-ready, you will job hunt, just like people without disabilities. However, DRS will help you in your job search. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] If I am eligible, how can DRS help me find and keep a job? We are here if you need help in your job hunt. For example, help finding job leads, filling out job applications, writing a resume, or practicing for job interviews. You may use the fax, copier, and computer access to Internet job banks in our employment resource centers. We will help you set up job interviews, but you must look for job leads, too. We will help you deal with disability issues at work, such as: Settling into your new job and lifestyle Dealing with problems that might make you lose your job What to say about your disability to job interviewers, your employer, or co- workers Negotiating with employer for any changes to your job duties, worksite modifications, special devices, etc. needed due to your disability. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] What services will I get? We can answer this question once we know more about you and what you need to become employed. Services you receive will depend on what you and your DRS counselor agree in writing (called your Employment Plan) are needed to help you become employed. Everyone gets counseling and guidance at each step of the vocational rehabilitation program. This service helps you better understand your potential, set realistic job goals, change your job goal when needed, and learn good work habits. Some services (such as counseling and guidance) are free. You will pay for other services based on your ability to pay. DRS funds cannot be used when another funding source, such as medical insurance or federal student financial aid, is available to you. We may help you find other funding sources. For more information about our services and policies, you may read our on-line brochure. To talk about your specific situation, please call the local DRS office nearest you. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] Will DRS pay me a monthly income while I job hunt? No. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] What happens once I start working? We will help you settle into your new job for at least three months. If you and your employer agree things are working out, we will close your case. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] Can I ever have my DRS case re-opened? If you lose your job or have trouble on your job, you may ask us to re-open your case. We decide this case- by- case. [ Back to Top of FAQs ] [ Back to Top of Page ] Virginia DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program Manuals Policy and Procedure Manual For questions or comments on this Web site, contact the nearest DRS local office.
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