How to Get the Most Out of Rehab, Part III: Available Services, by Doug Powell

In Parts I and II of this series, we made some suggestions about what to expect in the early stages of entering the vocational rehabilitation (VR) system (Sept. 2013), and some suggestions for when your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) program is not serving you well in your preparation to work (Jan. 2014).  This article will address a question that many people have when they are ready to apply for services.  That question is, "What services are available?" VR staff members are reticent to give you the whole list of available services, fearing that you will try to get all of them.  So, after discussion with you about your vocational goals, they will suggest services from the list that they think will get you working, and since you don't have the full list, you agree with less than fully informed consent.
Because of space considerations, the list of possible services below is severely edited.  It is highly recommended that you refer to the full text of the section for clarity and accuracy.  The full text of Section 103 of the Rehabilitation Act is available from or by calling the ACB national office at 1-800-424-8666.  
A partial list of services your agency can provide is:   

  • eligibility and needs assessment;
  • counseling and guidance; 
  • job search and placement assistance;
  • vocational and other training services;
  • diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments;
  • living expenses for additional costs incurred while receiving services;
  • transportation, including adequate training in the use of public transportation vehicles and systems;
  • on-the-job assistance services provided while an individual is receiving other services;
  • interpreter services and reader services;
  • daily life skills services, and orientation and mobility services;
  • occupational licenses, tools, equipment, and initial stocks and supplies;
  • technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans to eligible individuals who are pursuing self-employment or telecommuting or establishing a small business operation;
  • adaptive technology and braille instruction;
  • transition services for students;
  • job coaching and other supported employment services;
  • services to the family of an individual necessary to assist the individual to achieve an employment outcome; and
  • specific post-employment services necessary to assist an individual to retain, regain, or advance in employment.

In most cases, a VR applicant will not need all of the items listed above.  But if you know what they all are, you can start to determine which ones you think you will need, and perhaps prioritize them in your mind before going to your IPE development meeting.  As always, you can consult with an ACB member who's familiar with rehabilitation for advice and advocacy at your IPE meeting.  You may also contact members of the ACB Rehabilitation Issues Task Force for help: Doug Powell (VA), chairman, home (703) 573-5107 or cell (571) 438-7750, or e-mail; Sue Ammeter, Wash.; Lucy Birbiglia, N.M.; Paul Edwards, Fla.; Nancy Matulis, Maine; Sarah Presley, D.C.; Lori Scharff, N.Y.; Pam Shaw, Pa., and David Trott, Ala.