The federal Rehabilitation Act says money has to be used for vocational rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. These services can help you get or keep a job. In Minnesota, State Services for the Blind (SSB) offers services to people who are blind or visually impaired who want to work.
You have to sign a “release of information” form. This will let SSB get your medical records to prove you have a visual disability.
In most cases, an SSB counselor meets with you within a month of your application. The counselor explains the rehabilitation process and the different programs offered by SSB. You may also need to go to an information session about SSB's services.
The counselor asks you for any other information they need to figure out your eligibility. It might be things like your past work history, education and training, abilities and interests, rehabilitation needs, and possible career goals.
When gathering the information, SSB looks at existing information as much as they can. If that is not enough to decide if you are eligible for services, they work with you to get other information they need. If there is a cost to get that information, you can ask SSB to pay for it.
Most decisions are made within 60 days of the date you hand in your application. If more time is needed, SSB has to talk to you so you both reach an agreement about an extension of time.
If SSB denies your application for rehabilitation services, they have to send you a letter that tells you:
Why you were denied
What your legal rights and options are, and
about the Client Assistance Project (CAP) and how CAP may be able to help you
If SSB decides your disability is too severe to make you eligible, they have to give you a chance to have a full consultation before they deny you. If you are denied for this reason, you have 2 basic rights:
SSB reviews your application every year to see if you become eligible at a later date; or
You can appeal the denial immediately.
If SSB finds you are not eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, they must check to see if you are eligible for one of their other programs like independent living, self-care, or child rehabilitation services.
If you are a client or an applicant of VRS or SSB, you can call the Client Assistance Project (CAP) for help if you have questions, concerns, or complaints about your vocational rehabilitation services. CAP does not provide direct vocational rehabilitation services, such as education, training or equipment.