VOPA has requested feedback regarding DRS’ Order of Selection through the following message:
Have you heard that the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services is “closed for business”? This is not true! If you are considering asking for vocational assistance, you should apply as soon as possible. DRS is currently operating under an “Order of Selection,” with all of its selection categories closed. This means when someone is found eligible for services, they will be placed on a waiting list to receive services. But that does NOT mean you should not apply.
The Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy (VOPA) encourages anyone who might be thinking of vocational rehabilitative service to apply now, if only to get yourself on the waiting list, which DRS claims will open again sometime this fall. VOPA is currently working with a client during this application phase. DRS has already provided him with an extensive psychological evaluation which identified needed accommodations. The evaluation also identified areas of functional limitations that he was unaware he had. The next step is that the individual will under go a Situational Assessment and a vocational evaluation. All of these services are key to his future employment success. None of this could be happening if DRS was really “closed for business.”
There are many benefits a person can receive during the application process. You can receive needed evaluations, including psychological and other medical evaluations, vocational evaluations, and assistive technology evaluations. These evaluations help determine the level of services or accommodations you might need when looking for work, and can be very useful to you as you consider your options.
During the application phase, you may also receive a Trial Work Experience or Situational Assessment if needed to determine eligibility for services. This allows you to go into a place of employment on an experimental basis, to see if this really is the type of work you want to do. Many times, you can have a Job Coach during this trial situation, and the trial situation can also help you identify any needed accommodations for future employment.
For more information about VOPA and to give them your feedback on working with DRS, and in other areas, please go to www.vopa.virginia.gov and take their annual public input survey.