The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) was established by Congress as the principal federal agency authorized to carry out Titles I, III, VI and VII, as well as specified portions of Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. RSA provides national leadership for, and administration of,
These programs develop and implement comprehensive and coordinated programs of vocational rehabilitation, supported employment and independent living for individuals with disabilities, through services, training and economic opportunities, in order to maximize their employability, independence and integration into the workplace and the community.
The Vocational Rehabilitation program provides grants to states to support a wide range of services designed to help individuals with disabilities prepare for and engage in gainful employment consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. Eligible individuals are those who have a physical or mental impairment that results in a substantial impediment to employment, who can benefit from vocational rehabilitation (VR) services for employment, and who require VR services. Priority must be given to serving individuals with the most significant disabilities if a state is unable to serve all eligible individuals.
Prior to applying for services, it is important to understand the guidelines in which the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation program operates. Click here to download the most current Client Service Manual.
AgrAbility in Georgia staff works with agricultural workers to aide them in understanding what resources are available to them. Do not hesitate to contact us for more assistance.
Listed below are typical questions about vocational rehabilitation services as listed on the RSA Web site:
1. What is the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Program?
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Act), States receive Federal grants to operate a comprehensive VR program. This State-operated program is designed to assess, plan, develop and provide VR services to eligible individuals with disabilities, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice. By providing services in this way, the VR program enables individuals with disabilities to prepare for and engage in gainful employment.
2. What does it mean to be an “Individual with a Disability”?
An “individual with a disability” means any individual who: has a physical or mental impairment which constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment for the individual; and can benefit from VR services to achieve an employment outcome.
3. Who is eligible for VR services?
To be eligible for VR services, an individual must: be an “individual with a disability,” as defined above; and require VR services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.
4. Is anyone automatically eligible for VR services?
Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are presumed to be eligible for VR services leading to employment, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that they are too severely disabled to benefit from VR services.
5. Does every eligible individual receive VR services?
No. The Act requires VR to serve individuals with the most significant disabilities first when there are not enough resources to serve everyone who is eligible for VR services. This means that individuals with the most significant disabilities are given priority over those with less significant disabilities. This process is called an “order of selection.”
6. How does an individual apply for VR services?
An individual has the right to submit a written application. An individual will be considered to have “submitted an application” when he/she “requests” VR services and provides sufficient information for VR to determine eligibility. VR should determine eligibility within 60 days of application.
7. How does an individual receive VR services?
The VR agency assigns a VR counselor to each eligible individual. The counselor gathers as much information as possible about the individual’s work history, education and training, abilities and interests, rehabilitation needs, and possible career goals. In gathering the information, the counselor will first look to existing information so it is important for an individual to bring copies of medical, educational and similar documentation. If existing information is not sufficient to determine whether the individual is eligible for VR services, then VR will provide assessment services to gather the needed information. Based on the information gathered in this assessment phase of the VR process, an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that identifies the individual’s desired employment outcome is developed. The IPE also lists, among other things, the steps necessary to achieve the outcome, and evaluation criteria used to determine progress toward the employment outcome. The VR agency may only provide those services listed on the IPE. The State VR counselor provides some services directly to the eligible individual and arranges for other services from providers in the community.
8. How does an individual develop an IPE?
Once an individual is determined eligible to receive VR services, he or she must develop an IPE. The individual must be given the opportunity to make an informed choice in selecting, among other things, an employment outcome, needed VR services, and providers of those VR services. The individual may develop the IPE: on his/her own; with the assistance of a qualified VR counselor; or with the assistance of anyone else who is willing to help. The VR agency must provide the individual with information in writing, as well as in an appropriate mode of communication, explaining the assistance available to the individual when developing the IPE as well as the full range of components that must be included in the IPE. The IPE must be approved by the VR counselor and signed by both the individual and the VR counselor.
9. What are the VR services an eligible individual may receive?
VR services are those services that an eligible individual may need in order to achieve his/her employment outcome. These include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) an assessment for determining eligibility and VR needs; 2) vocational counseling, guidance, and referral services; 3) physical and mental restoration services; 4) vocational and other training, including on-the-job training; 5) maintenance for additional costs incurred while the individual is receiving certain VR services; 4) transportation related to other VR services; 5) interpreter services for individuals who are deaf; 6) reader services for individuals who are blind; 7) services to assist students with disabilities to transition from school to work; 8) personal assistance services (including training in managing, supervising, and directing personal assistance services) while an individual is receiving VR services; 9) rehabilitation technology services and devices; 10) supported employment services; and
11) job placement services.
10. Does the eligible individual have to pay for VR services?
Based on the individual’s financial resources, the State VR agency may require an eligible individual to help pay for services. However, the following services are available to all eligible individuals, regardless of their financial resources, without charge: assessments to determine eligibility and VR needs; vocational counseling, guidance, and referral services; and job search and placement services.
Glen Rains (AgrAbility),
Bob Berry (Poultry Farmer),
Kim Wagner (Vocational Rehabilitation)