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SSA- What vocational rehabilitation services can I get?

We receive many questions on our disability forum about vocational rehabilitation services which are available to disabled disability applicants or disability recipients. The good news is that even though the Social Security Administration does not provide vocational services, they do help qualifying applicants find the help they need through state vocational rehabilitation agencies.

When Can I get help with rehabilitation Agencies?

If you file a SSDI or SSI application, when your application is sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in your state for review, the examiner is supposed to also determine if you would benefit from vocational rehabilitation services. If so, your case should be referred to the appropriate state vocational rehabilitation agency.

If your application is sent for review the appropriate agency will contact you (after reviewing your work history and medical condition) to determine if you may be able to retrain for some type of new work. If so, the counselor will work with you to develop a work plan and evaluate additional vocational services that may be needed to help you achieve your goals.

Paying Providers for Vocational Rehabilitation Services

If you are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits and you are referred to a vocational rehabilitation services office for help reintegrating you back into the workforce, the SSA will pay for these services.

What types Of Vocational Rehabilitation Services are available to me?

Rehabilitation services are provided to help disability claimants returned to new work or enter the workforce for the first time. Services which may be provided can include:

  1. An assessment to determine your current skills and abilities to work.

  2. Counseling

  3. Devices to help increase your mobility including a modified vehicle or a wheelchair

  4. Job Training

  5. Transportation to work

  6. Job placement

What if I refuse the rehabilitation services?

There are a few reasons that you may be allowed to refuse rehabilitation services, but in general, if you are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits and you refuse to cooperate this could result in a suspension of your SSDI or SSI benefits.

Will I get my benefits when I return to work?

The SSA has implemented programs or work incentives to encourage disability recipients to return to work. These incentives allow disability recipients to continue to receive their health care coverage and their monthly disability payments while they attempt work. Incentives vary by program, but they generally include receiving benefitsfor a specified time while you test your ability to work, continued medical coverage through Medicaid or Medicare for a specified time, and a deduction from earnings for the cost of certain impairment-related work items in determining whether earnings are too high to continue receiving benefits.

More information is for rehabilitation services can be found in the SSA publication Working While Disabled.How We Can Help (SSA Publication No. 05-10095) or If You Are Blind.How We Can Help (SSA Publication No. 05-10052).

Hiring a Disability Lawyer

It is not unusual for many disability applicants to be denied the first time they apply for SSI or SSDI benefits. If you have been denied, you can contact a disability lawyer to find out if they can help you with your case.
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