If you have a disability that makes it hard for you to get and keep a job, you may be eligible for a variety of counseling, training, job skills and job placement services.
Services vary according to individual needs. One of our Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) counselors will work with you to explore the choices and determine which are most appropriate for you. Then together you'll develop a plan to help you reach your goals. Learn more about our Informed Choice policies.
The first step in choosing a good job or career is to understand what you are good at, what you like, what you want to accomplish, and what you need to reach your goals. You and your counselor will begin by discussing these things in detail.
Next, you and your counselor will set up a specific plan to meet your work goal. The plan will identify the services you will need.
Your ideas are an important part of the planning. You have the right to make choices about your job goal, the services you need to reach that goal, and who provides the services. Feel free to ask questions.
Your counselor can help you develop all or part of your plan. If you want to, you may develop your plan on your own. You decide how much help you want.
Your counselor is responsible for deciding:
You and your counselor will meet from time to time to see how things are going.
We want the plan to be right for you. If you think your plan should be changed or you run into problems, let your counselor know. If you want to, you can choose other people to work with you and your counselor.
If you don't have work skills, you may need some training. This can range from on-the-job training to more formal classroom education at community and technical colleges and public and private universities. You and your counselor will choose the field of study you need for your job goal. The choice of school is up to you.
We can help pay for basic educational expenses, but there are limits. In most cases, you will be expected to cover some of the costs.
Financial assistance from us can include tuition, fees, books, supplies, tools and equipment for training. However, if you choose a private school or a school that is out of state, we pay no more than the cost to attend a Minnesota state college.
How do we determine how much to spend on training costs?
You or your family will have some financial responsibility for your education and training. You must apply for financial aid from the school you will be attending. We cannot help cover training costs if you don’t apply. In most cases, you will be responsible for paying for room and board and other living expenses.
If you receive education and training services, you and your counselor will develop a list of academic responsibilities. These can include:
We work together until you have a job that is right for you. Here are some practical questions we’ll help you answer:
Next, we move to job search preparation. Your counselor will be sure you know how to look for a job, how to write a resume, how to complete a job application, and how be effective during job interviews.
If you need extra help to improve your job search skills, your counselor will make arrangements for you.
Once you’re on the job, your counselor will stay in touch to make sure things are going well. If there are problems, we’ll help you find solutions. We can help you:
If you need extra help to keep your job, you can explore the options with your counselor. Modifying a work station, getting the right equipment, or changing your hours of work can sometimes make the difference between keeping and losing a job.
Sometimes, specialized equipment can make it easier to do a job. Other times a change in how a job is done may be a good idea. Talk to your counselor about the options that might be available to you. You may have expenses for other services that are necessary to help you achieve your job search goal – transportation, supplies, or books, for instance. We can help cover those expenses, when appropriate.
Eligibility is based mostly on whether you have a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to prepare for, get or keep work. We also consider how seriously your disability limits you, and if you can benefit from services. We rely on reports from your doctor or other professionals and consider such factors as your ability to:
People who are eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits based on their own disability and have not yet reached full retirement age are automatically eligible, unless they are too severely disabled to benefit from services.
You will pay for all or part of some services if your gross family income is above the "Consumer Financial Participation" threshold. This financial benchmark changes depending on the size of your family. We count your income and the income of your spouse. We count your parents’ income if:
You will not pay for any services if your gross family income is below the financial threshold or your receive financial help from one or more of the following public assistance programs:
We will ask to see the first page of your federal tax return to verify your total gross family income for the past year. If you were claimed on someone else's federal tax return, or if a college says you are a dependent, we will also ask for a copy of the first page of your parents' tax return.
If you did not file federal income tax, or if there has been a big change in your gross family income, then we look at proof of your current gross monthly income. You will be asked to show proof that you receive assistance. This could include:
When there is a change in your gross family income, be sure to tell your counselor.
You can ask us to lower the amount we expect you to pay. This is called a variance request. We may lower the amount due to illness or disability for such things as:
For High School Students: Contact the counselor assigned to your school. They can tell you and your family about the services and help you apply. For adults: Applications start with a visit to one of our vocational rehabilitation counselors. They can provide information about services and help you apply.
It usually takes fewer than 60 days to determine whether you’re eligible. If it does take longer, your counselor will let you know and ask your permission to take more time.
In most cases, you'll be able to schedule an appointment with a counselor at one of nearly 50 WorkForce Centers located throughout the state. Find a WorkForce Center near you.
A handful of our vocational rehabilitation counselors work out of these stand-alone offices:
15322 Galaxie Ave Ste 200
Apple Valley, MN 55124-3150
Carver County – Chaska
1107 Hazeltine Blvd Ste 480
Chaska, MN 55318-1065
102 W 5th St
Crookston, MN 56716-3000
104 Park Ave N Ste 104
Park Rapids, MN 56470-1855
1307 3rd St NE
Roseau, MN 56751-0158
Staples Motley High School
401 Centennial Ln
Staples, MN 56479-2118
6043 Hudson Rd Ste 170
Woodbury, MN 55125-1019
You may request a formal hearing to appeal decisions made about your eligibility for services, the types of services that will be made available to you, or who will provide the services.
A formal hearing is not a court trial but is like it in many ways. An Administrative Law Judge is in charge of a formal hearing. You, or someone you choose, will tell the judge what you think and give any evidence or information you think is important.
VRS will also tell the judge why the decision was made. You can ask questions of anyone who speaks at the hearing and you can look at any information VRS gives the judge. VRS can ask you questions too. The judge will listen to both sides and then decide what is right or wrong. The judge's report will be sent to you usually within 30 days after the hearing.
You have 120 days after you are told about the decision to ask for a formal hearing. If you want a formal hearing, it will be held within 60 days after you ask for it unless you and the agency agree to a delay.
Ticket to Work is a Social Security Administration program that helps people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits based on disability to obtain employment and earn enough money to end the need for cash benefits. The program is voluntary.
Individuals who are 18 to 64 years old are eligible for training and employment services from an Employment Network. VRS is an approved Employment Network.
VRS can provide full information on how work will affect your current benefits, and how you can maintain medical benefits while you work. Our expert staff will work with you to do a complete analysis of your needs and develop an individualized Employment Plan that supports your goals for work.
Visit the Ticket to Work website or call 800-328-9095 or 800-657-3973 (TTY users).