• Aimee Langone, MEd, CRC, LVRC

Vocational Rehabilitation FAQ

What is “Vocational Rehabilitation”?

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federally mandated, state managed program to help eligible people with disabilities achieve employment outcomes. Every state in the US has a VR program and in Utah our VR program is housed under the Department of Workforce Services, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR). You can learn more about USOR by visiting our website at: https://jobs.utah.gov/usor/.


Who is eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services?

To be eligible for services an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a significant physical or mental impairment

  • Have an impairment that results in a substantial impediment to employment

  • Require vocational rehabilitation services to obtain or maintain employment

  • Benefit in terms of an employment outcome

Only a VR Counselor can determine whether a person is eligible for services, so if you think you or your family member would benefit from services it is advised that you or your family member apply.


Does a learning disability qualify for eligibility? What if we do not have confirmation of the learning disability diagnosis?


VR works with many different disabilities such as hearing/visual, learning, cognitive, brain injuries, autism, physical, and emotional diagnoses. If you suspect you have a disability or do not have confirmation of a disability, VR may be able to help pay for an evaluation.


How do you apply for services?

To apply for services, you can contact your local VR Office or VR Counselor liaison. We do have counselors assigned to the various high schools/charter schools in our state, so you can also connect with your VR Counselor liaison -visit our Transition website to find your VR Counselor liaison: https://jobs.utah.gov/usor/vr/services/student/index.html. To learn more about the application process you can visit our application page at: https://jobs.utah.gov/usor/vr/apply.html. There you can access orientation “welcome” videos and download our VR application.


What types of services does VR provide?

All of our services are individualized and unique to the person depending on the career goal they are working toward and their disability needs. Some of the services we may provide are: vocational counseling and guidance, restoration, training, help finding a job, job coaching on a job, assistive technology, and job readiness skills training.


Can you help students in high school? How old do you have to be to apply?

VR does help with students in high school who are working on transitioning from high school to employment and post secondary education. We can start working with students at age 14, but it is not too late to apply if a student is older than 14. VR’s goal is to provide students with a smooth transition, holistic team approach, and individualized activities that are necessary and reasonable to help prepare for employment. Our counselors can attend IEP and 504 planning meetings as part of the team. To learn more about student transition services you can visit our website at: https://jobs.utah.gov/usor/vr/services/student/index.html


What type of services do you provide for students still enrolled in school?

VR can provide transition and pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) for students with disabilities. Pre-ETS are services that can be offered to students who are eligible and potentially eligible for VR. We have contracted services for Pre-ETS throughout our state that students who are potentially eligible can access without applying for VR services. Pre-ETS through our contracts are a “light touch” and focus on the following: career exploration, job readiness, self-advocacy building, post secondary exploration, and work based learning experiences. In order to be eligible for our contracts, students must have a disability, be enrolled in school, and be within the ages of 14-21 or still 22 in a post high program. To learn more about our contracts and Pre-ETS you can visit: https://jobs.utah.gov/usor/vr/services/student/preemploy.html


Our eligible students with disabilities can benefit from the Pre-ETS described above as well as other individualized transition services. Some examples of transition services are: Vocational counseling and guidance, education and training, job placement and supports, assistive technology, life skills training and transition coordination.