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How Does Vocational Rehab Work?

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Posted By KSK Law | November 29 2022 | Workers' Comp

A workplace injury can disrupt your life in several ways. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may suffer permanent and debilitating impairments. You may be unable to perform your previous job duties and, in some cases, unable to go to work at all.

If you can work, but cannot return to your previous profession, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation. These services help people with disabilities find steady employment that matches their abilities.   

What Vocational Rehabilitation Programs Are Available in Minnesota?

There are two vocational rehabilitation programs in Minnesota: Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) and State Services for the Blind (SSB). People with physical or mental disabilities are eligible for training through VRS. On the other hand, the SSB program serves people who are blind or have a visual impairment.

You are eligible for SSB if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have a visual disability, defined as a visual acuity of 20/60 or less in the better eye; the absence of at least one full quadrant of binocular vision; or an injury or illness that results in legal blindness.
  • You need vocational rehabilitation services in order to prepare for, find, and keep a job.
  • You will benefit from vocational rehabilitation services.

You are eligible for VRS if:

  • You have a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to obtain or maintain employment.
  • You need vocational rehabilitation services in order to prepare for, find, and keep a job.

What Services Can You Receive Through Vocational Rehab?

By participating in a vocational rehabilitation program, you can access critical services to help you obtain employment and keep your new job. When you are adapting to a serious injury that leaves you impaired, this support can make a major difference in your future occupational endeavors.

Depending on your needs, you may access the following services through either the VRS or SSB:

  • Vocational and training services, including books, materials, and tuition
  • Vocational counseling and guidance services
  • Job placement and job coaching services
  • Assessments to determine your skill level and need for services
  • Occupational licenses, equipment, tools, and initial supplies
  • Transportation to get to and from vocational rehabilitation
  • Funding for extra living costs associated with the vocational rehab program
  • Interpretation, reader, orientation, and mobility services, if you are deaf or deaf-blind
  • Ongoing support services such as on-the-job training or job coaching
  • Support during your employment to help you keep or regain a job
  • Treatment to correct impairments so that you can obtain a job, as long as it is not funded by other sources
  • Technical assistance and consultation services, if you are self-employed or starting a small business
  • Vehicle modifications, sensory devices, and other types of assistive or rehabilitative technology

How Do You Apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits in Minnesota?

If you want to obtain rehabilitation services, you will need to apply. To apply for SSB, you can call the program and ask to speak with someone in the Workforce Development Unit. You can also submit a request for information online

To apply for VRS, you either need to call the program or go to your local VRS office. You can find your nearest office online by visiting the VRS website.

Navigating the vocational rehabilitation process can be challenging. If you need help with the application process, or if the program denies your application, a Minnesota disability benefits attorney can help. Contact a Minneapolis vocational rehab lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your next steps.

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