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, Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) offers services to people with physical and/or mental disabilities who want to work.
In general, you are eligible to get services from VRS if:
You have a physical and/or mental disability that makes it very hard to get or keep a job
You need vocational rehabilitation services to get ready for, find, or keep a job
VRS looks at how much your disability limits you, and if you can benefit from services. They use reports from your doctor or other professionals to decide.
People who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits based on their own disability and have not yet reached full retirement age are automatically eligible, unless they are too severely disabled to benefit from services.
If VRS decides you can’t benefit from services because your disability is too severe, they must prove this “by clear and convincing evidence."
Unfortunately, VRS does not usually have enough funding to serve every eligible person. They decide who they can help first using an “Order of Selection.” This means some people get services sooner than others. It depends on how bad their disability is.
The Order of Selection puts people with the most severe disabilities ahead of those with less severe disabilities.
People with the least severe disabilities may not get services at all, unless there is enough funding in the VRS program to serve everyone.
They will give you an application to fill out and a “release of information” form to sign. The release of information form lets VRS get things like medical and other records from doctors and programs you have been to.
You will probably go through a brief orientation process.
Then a VRS staff person gathers as much information as possible about your past work history, education and training, abilities and interests, rehabilitation needs, and career goals.
VRS looks at existing information as much as they can. If that is not enough to determine if you are eligible, VRS works with you to get other information they need. If there is a cost to get that information, you can ask VRS to pay for it.
Most decisions are made within 60 days of the date you hand in your application.
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.