People who have lost their jobs due to an injury or accident often wonder whether vocational rehabilitation services can help them or not. If you are among those people and wonder the same, you might want to read on. Here we have mentioned the basics of vocational rehabilitation rules and regulations in California.

Know About the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR)

The first thing you might want to know is that there is the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) which can supply you with multiple options like counseling, training choices, new job skills, and job placement services. All these services fall under the category of Vocational Rehabilitation. The aim of these services can be to help you return to work, to enter the workforce for the first time ,or even try a new line of work. The entire process will be completed with the help of a vocational rehabilitation counselor who will work with you to set goals and then create a plan to help you reach the same.

Who is Eligible for DOR Services?

A person’s eligibility for DOR services is based on what disability they have. People who are getting social security disability insurance or supplemental security income will be eligible for DOR services automatically.

If you are not getting SSDB or SSI, your eligibility will depend on the severity of your disability. Some people might not qualify for disability as the funds available to DOR are limited. However, the fear of getting rejected should not stop you. If you think DOR services will benefit you, you must apply for them. If you qualify, all the DOR services will be free of cost for you.

How to Apply for DOR Services

Anyone can apply for DOR services by using one of the following methods.

  • Download an application form, fill it, and then submit it to the local DOR office. You can either hand it in or email it as per your convenience.
  • Visit the local DOR office, get the application, fill it right there, and submit it instantly.
  • Apply at local America’s Job Center of California (previously known as One-Stop).
  • A program that has a relationship with the Department of Rehabilitation like a counselor or America’s Job Center of California can also refer you.
  • A benefits planner can help you on how to apply.

What is the Appeals Process?

In case you are not offered the VR services, you can ask for mediation or appeal the decision within a year of being denied the services. The mediation form would be available at the local DOR office. If you go for the appeal, you will get a hearing in front of the Rehabilitation Appeals Board. In case you are not happy with the result of the appeal, you can appeal next to the California Superior Court. For more details on mediating or appealing, you can try the Client Assistance Program (CAP) by calling at 1-800-952-5544 or 1-866-712-1085 (TTY).

What is Long-Term Job Supports Provided by DOR in California

The California DOR offers different long term job supports that are also known as extended services or ongoing supports. These usually provide help with training as well as retraining on the following:

  • Dealing with schedule changes.
  • Assisting with job tasks.
  • Adjusting to new supervisors.
  • Promotion ofnew positions or job tasks.
  • Helping with changes in nonwork environments or specific life activities that might affect work performance.
  • To offer long-term support services, DOR can contract with a local rehabilitation provider in your vicinity.

No matter whether DOR provides these long-term support services itself or hires a local rehabilitation provider, they will be of no cost for you and can include things like community employment, supported employment ,and center-based employment.

What is Supported Employment?

If you get Supported Employment or SE services, you will have an independent job in a usually competitive setting, and you will get the same wages and benefits as your co-workers who don’t have any disability. These services are highly individualized as tailored as per your needs. They might include some basics like helping you communicate with supervisors and co-workers, educating supervisors and co-workers, help with transportation, etc.

What is Community Employment?

Community employment means jobs that are done by a work crew. It usually includes a high percentage of people with disabilities where the workers often get paid less than the usual wage for work which is done by people without any disability. Community employment provides intensive job supports, and many times, it can be a key step towards reaching SE.

What is Center-Based Employment?

In this, the job is usually in industrial production, janitorial operation, and food service in a community rehabilitation program. In this kind of job, you need to perform standard work assignments, and your wages will be based on your production rate and developing work skills. The focus of this service is on disability-related issues that might provide perceived or real obstacles to competitive employment.

Employment Services for People Who are Visually impaired or Blind

DOR has some offices which have counselors who specialize in employment services for people who are visually impaired or blind.

Employment Services for People Who are Hard of Hearing, Deaf ,or Late Deafened

DOR has a few offices with counselors who specialize in employment services for people who are hard of hearing, deaf or late-deafened. These counselors are fluent in American Sign Language.

Where to Get Quality Vocational Rehabilitation Services in California

If you are looking for quality vocational rehabilitation services in California, connect with the team of Laura M. Wilson and Associates Inc. We can connect you with a skilled vocational rehabilitation counselor who will offer high-quality Vocational Rehabilitation Services in California. They will understand your situation and offer the best solutions. You can pick the ones you like best. Call us toll-free on (800) 531-5608 to book an appointment or talk to an expert about what you need. We are following all COVID-19 precautions and ensuring the health and well-being of every person who visits our offices.