VR Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program?
The Vocational Rehabilitation program provides a variety of services to persons with disabilities, with the ultimate goal to prepare for, enter into, or retain employment. The VR program is a public program funded through a Federal/State partnership and administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), which is part of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.
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Who is eligible for VR services?
An applicant’s eligibility for VR services is based on the following 4 requirements.
a. The applicant has a physical or mental impairment;
b. The applicant’s physical or mental impairment constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment;
c. The applicant requires VR services in order to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment; and
d. The applicant can benefit from the provision of VR services in terms of achieving an employment outcome.
How do I apply for VR services?
An application for VR services starts with a referral.
There are several ways you can get started:
- Direct contact with local RSA offices:
Individuals may call or visit the office nearest them to inquire about VR services or set up an appointment. You will be asked to complete an RSA Referral form
- Complete a referral form:
RSA Referral Form (57 KB DOC)
Once referral is received, an RSA representative will contact you to set up an appointment.
What happens first?
To determine if you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation and to see if you will be placed on a waitlist for services, you will be asked to bring records from your healthcare professional regarding your disability.
During your initial appointment you will meet with an RSA staff member to:
- discuss how your disability is affecting your ability to obtain or maintain employment;
- talk about your plans for work;
- talk in detail about your education, training and experience that you can use to get or keep a job (including past jobs if you have previously worked).
Why is there a waitlist for services?
Due to limited state funding, individuals determined eligible for the vocational rehabilitation program may be placed on a waitlist for services. The waitlist is designed to ensure that individuals who are most in need of vocational rehabilitation are able to receive VR services in a timely manner. The information you provide during the VR application process will be used to determine how your ability to work is impacted by your disability. Individuals whose ability to work is most significantly impacted by their disability and who have the most service needs, receive priority for VR funding and services. Other individuals may be placed on a waitlist until funding is available to provide services.
How does an eligible individual receive services?
- An individual who is eligible for the vocational rehabilitation program and not on a waitlist will be assigned to work with a VR counselor.
- The VR counselor and eligible individual will explore the individual’s work history, education and training, abilities and interests, rehabilitation needs and potential career opportunities.
- Together, the counselor and the individual will develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that identifies the individual’s long term vocational goals and the steps necessary to achieve the goals.
- The VR counselor provides vocational counseling and guidance and works to arrange for and purchase services necessary for the eligible individual to reach their employment outcome.
What if I can work but will always need help to keep a job?
Your VR counselor can help you identify alternative sources of support, such as:
- Social Security Work Incentives to help pay for work expenses
- The services of employers, friends or family members
- Assistance from other agencies or programs to provide or pay for these supports
What types of VR services an eligible individual may receive?
Based on individual needs and informed choice, eligible individuals may receive the following types of services:
- Vocational guidance and counseling
- Assessments for determining eligibility and need for VR services
- Work Site evaluations
- Job Development and Placement
- Other support services
- Rehabilitation Technology services and devices
Does the eligible individual ever have to pay for VR services?
All eligible individuals accepted for services, regardless of their financial resource, receive the following services at no cost:
- Assessments to determine eligibility and need for VR services
- Vocational guidance, counseling and referral services; and
- Job placement services
Based on the individual’s available resources, an eligible individual may be required to help pay for some services.
What is the Client Assistance Program (CAP)?
The Client Assistance Program provides free client advocacy services. The Arizona Center for Disability Law administers this program in Arizona.
What are the appeal rights under the VR program?
If an applicant or eligible individual of the VR program is dissatisfied with a decision made about their program of services, the applicant or eligible individual may request an informal review, mediation or a fair hearing.