Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

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A Program of the ATS

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is a program conducted by state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies operating under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to provide or arrange for a wide array of training, educational, medical, and other services individualized to the needs of persons with disabilities. The services are intended to help persons with disabilities acquire, reacquire, or maintain gainful employment. The federal government provides monetary support to each state to assist the state in operating its comprehensive and accountable program, as an integral part of a statewide workforce investment system. 

To be eligible for VR services, a person needs to have a physical or mental impairment that constitutes or results in a substantial barrier to employment and can benefit from VR services to achieve an employment outcome. If a person is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, then the person is presumed to be eligible for VR services, unless there is strong evidence that they are too significantly disabled to benefit from these services.

Sometimes a state does not have enough funds to serve everyone who would normally be eligible for services; they are required to first serve people with the most significant disabilities. This is called "order of selection." Each state decides for itself what "most significant disability" means.

Many individuals with disabilities and their families, teachers, employers, and advocates have found that these agencies can provide flexible services that help people reach their employment goals. The services offered vary and depend upon a person’s employment needs and interests. Services may include: 

  • Vocational counseling and guidance
  • Development of an individualized vocational plan Job placement assistance
  • College or vocational training Supported employment services
  • Skills training Job coaching or tutoring
  • Transportation Interpreter services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Services to assist students with disabilities in their transition from school to work
  • Reader services for individuals who are blind
  • Assistive and rehabilitation technology services
  • Referral services Support, advocacy, and follow-up services for at least 90 days following job placement

The best way to get started is to contact a local state office. You can find the location of the nearest office on the internet at You can also look in the employment or disability listings in the government section (blue section) of the phone book.

Additional National Resources:
Rehabilitation Services Administration

General Disability Resources

Social Security Administration


Vocational Rehabilitation State Offices:

Council of State Administrators of Vocational rehabilitation: