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Vocational Rehabilitation

Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR)

The Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR) provides individuals with disabilities services and supports necessary to help them attain and maintain employment. Disabilities may include physical, intellectual, mental health, or sensory disabilities. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services are customized for each individual through assessments and one-on-one meetings with professional VR Counselors. VR services are available in all 88 counties and include:

  • Evaluation and treatment of an individual's disability;
  • Information and referral services;
  • Vocational counseling and training;
  • Job search and job placement assistance;
  • Educational guidance (tuition resources and other support);
  • Transportation services;
  • Occupational tools and equipment;
  • Personal attendant services (reader, interpreter, etc.).

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors are available at OOD offices located throughout the state of Ohio to assist individuals with disabilities. Counselors at these local offices can assist individuals with disabilities determine if they qualify to receive services from OOD. Click Regional Offices to locate the office closest to your location.

Purpose

If you want to work but are having trouble because of your disability, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services from the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD).

OOD's Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR) assists eligible people, beginning at age 14, with physical, mental and emotional disabilities by providing direct, personalized services to assist them in finding and retaining meaningful work and personal independence.

Basic services include personal and work adjustment training, vocational training, mental and physical restoration, and placement assistance.

Eligibility

After an application is completed and submitted, an interview is scheduled between you and a counselor. A friend or family member may accompany you to the interview. A counselor will discuss career goals, work history, educational background, disability and the services necessary to reach an employment goal.

Eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services is based on four factors:

  1. You have a physical, cognitive, or mental impairment documented by the appropriate qualified professional (doctor, psychologist or other)
  2. Your documented impairment causes a substantial impediment (barrier) to employment
  3. You can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services that lead to an employment outcome
  4. You require vocational rehabilitation to prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment

A Plan of Your Choosing

When you are determined eligible for services, an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is created with your counselor. The IPE is an agreement between you and OOD describing services which will be provided according to your choices. You may be responsible for some costs of your vocational rehabilitation plan, especially pertaining to college tuition.

When you are ready for employment, the counselor and other OOD staff will help you prepare for the job search. Your counselor can offer information on accessing public transportation (if available in your community) or arranging for private transportation. You counselor can help you with job site modifications for accessibility and efficiency.

OOD can provide assistance to help you keep your job if you are having trouble working because of your disability. The counselor can work with you and your employer to determine the services necessary.

What kind of vocational guidance and counseling does OOD provide?

Vocational Guidance and Counseling

The next step in the process will be to identify your vocational goal and the vocational rehabilitation (VR) services needed to reach the goal. Once you have been assigned to a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor or Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator, you will work together to agree on an employment goal that fits your needs.

You may participate in assessments or experiences to help you decide if the employment goal is right for you. The VR Counselor or Coordinator may supply information about different employment opportunities and careers. This process will result in the your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

The following items will be taken into consideration as your IPE is developed.

  • Does the employment goal match your personal strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, interests and informed choice? This is based on a comprehensive assessment that may use existing information.
  • Are the vocational rehabilitation services necessary to achieve the employment outcome.
  • Will the vocational rehabilitation services result in employment.
  • Are the vocational rehabilitation services cost effective.  Note: VR and BSVI may not pay for an expensive program if a lower cost option that meets your needs is available.
  • Can you help pay for any of the VR services.

When you are ready for employment, the counselor and other VR staff will help you prepare for a job search.  If you are currently employed and need assistance to retain that job, VR can help with job retention.

OOD will follow-up on the job to ensure that you are successfully working and that both you and the employer are satisfied. If satisfied, your case will be closed. Further OOD services can be provided at a later date, if needed.

There is an appeal process if you disagree with a decision.

Appeal Rights

OOD is committed to assisting individuals with disabilities obtain or retain employment. Counselors are committed to helping people chart a course to success. However, if through this process you disagree with any decisions your counselor makes regarding your services, you can file an appeal. If you need help preparing the appeal, you can call Disability Rights Ohio at 800-282-9181 voice, 800-858-3542 TTY, 614-466-7264 voice, 614-728-2553 TTY. Disability Rights Ohio's website address is http://www.disabilityrightsohio.org.

Three important things to remember:

  1. OOD is required by law to maintain your confidentiality. All personal information provided by you or any other source is strictly confidential and will not be released to anyone (other than your legal guardian, if applicable) without your written consent.
  2. If you are denied services, the counselor will explain the appeal process. 
  3. To file an appeal, please read the OOD Appeal Process Overview, fill out the Appeal Form, and return it as instructed.