Arc Guide to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services

Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) is a Federal-State program that assists individuals with disabilities to get and/or keep a job. Services focus on helping people obtain a meaningful competitive career. Specific services are based on individual needs. VR counselors develop an Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) with the person receiving services. The plan assists the person in making informed choices about their employment goals, identify service needs and providers of services.



  • Must have a disability that makes it difficult to prepare for or maintain employment. VR considers how seriously the disability affects the person and if the person can benefit from services
  • People who receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) based on their own disability are automatically eligible
  • VRS may deny services if they determine a person’s disability will keep the person from benefiting from VR services
  • A decision regarding eligibility will be made within 60 calendar days after the application is received by VRS

It is recommended students apply for VR services at the beginning of their junior year in high school. Students who have an IEP or 504 plan should contact the VR counselor assigned to their school in order to apply. Adults who are not in school can apply by attending a VRS orientation at their local Minnesota WorkForce Center (or stand-alone VRS office, if applicable) and then completing an application. To find your local WorkForce Center, visit https://mn.gov/deed/job-seekers/workforce-centers/workforce-center-locations/or call 888-

GET-JOBS (888-438-5627).


Due to constraints on resources, VRS cannot always serve all who are eligible for services. Federal law requires individuals with the most severe disabilities to be served first. All others may be placed on a waitlist for services.


VR Counselors:

  • Help the person develop all or part of the individualized employment plan
  • Are responsible for determining if the IPE will lead to a job, provides services necessary to reach the goal, and is complete
  • Will regularly meet with the individual to determine progress on the plan
  • Provide eligible individuals with a list of organizations that can provide the needed services


Types of services available:

  • Interest and ability testing
  • Medical and psychological testing
  • Vocational evaluation and planning
  • Career counseling and guidance
  • Work experience while still in high school
  • Training and education after high school
  • Job-site assessment and accommodations
  • Job counseling/job search assistance
  • Informational interviewing and career exploration
  • Job coaching
  • Payment for materials, equipment and assistive technology
  • Skills training – including on-the-job training, formal classroom education, etc.
  • Job placement (i.e. support in searching and applying for jobs)
  • Supported employment
  • Assistive technology and devices



  • Gross income determines payment for some or all services
  • There is no charge for services to individuals receiving SSI, SSDI or some other government financial assistance services
  • Some core VR services, such as counseling, vocational evaluations, on-the-job training, job coaching, are always provided at no cost to the person
  • VRS can provide financial assistance for tuition, books, supplies, fees, tools and equipment for training. VRS has a specific process for determining how much they will pay and for what services.


In most situations, VRS will continue to be involved for 90 days after employment is obtained. After this time, VRS will close the individual’s case. Should the individual (or their guardian) believe extended services may be necessary, they should register with a provider that offers extended employment services.


Appeal rights

You have the right to appeal eligibility determination, service denial and/or denial of a chosen service provider.



For further information or advocacy services, contact The Arc Minnesota at 952-920-0855 or toll-free at 833.450.1494 or visit www.arcminnesota.org. (Please note: This document is not legal advice, and should not be construed as such. Thus, no information herein should replace the sound advice of an attorney.)

All rights reserved (c) 2019 The Arc Minnesota