Referrals and Applications

Synopsis of Federal Regulation

Rehabilitation Services (RS) will assure the prompt and equitable handling of referrals of individuals for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. RS must make good faith efforts to inform these individuals of application requirements and to gather information necessary to initiate an assessment for determining eligibility and priority for services.

RS must assure that once an individual has submitted an application for VR services, an eligibility determination will be made within 60 days, unless-

An individual is considered to have submitted an application when the individual or the individual's representative, as appropriate:

RS shall ensure that its application forms are widely available throughout the State.

Reference: ยง361.41

RS Policy Regarding Referrals

RS will assure the prompt and equitable handling of referrals of individuals for (VR) services. The maximum time frame for responding to third party referrals by providing information about VR and application procedures will be 30 days.

Referral sources can help make appropriate referrals to VR by considering the following information:

- Have a physical or mental impairment that results in a substantial impediment to employment;
- Be able to benefit, in terms of an employment outcome, from VR services; and
- Require VR services to prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment.

VR counselors analyze a variety of information to determine eligibility. Such information may include existing medical and school records; work history; determinations made by other organizations that provide services for people with disabilities; Social Security records; information provided by the individual and family; and counselor observations. Counselors may also authorize additional diagnostics or assessment if needed to help determine eligibility. Counselors have 60 days from the time of application to determine eligibility. Referral sources can assist the eligibility process by assisting applicants in providing records, such as those listed above, if that is the applicant's informed choice.

The VR program serves individuals with all different types of disabling conditions. The primary disabilities of individuals served include, but are not restricted to the following:

- Mental Illness
- Orthopedic
- Mental Retardation
- Learning Disabilities
- Blindness or Visual Impairment
- Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Cancer/Blood/Allergy Conditions
- Alcohol/Drug Abuse
- Amputation
- Epilepsy
- Deaf-blindness


Referral sources are encouraged to contact the VR staff in their local communities directly to discuss specific referrals. Three quick questions to consider when discussing referrals are:

  1. Is the disability a long-term or permanent condition that impacts the person's ability to get or keep a job?
  2. Is the individual interested in pursuing employment?
  3. Are the functional limitations an individual experiences related to the disability?

RS Policy Regarding Applications

Requested services means that the basic information required by the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration for data reporting has been obtained. This information includes: name, Social Security number, date of birth, date of application, sex, race, marital status, Hispanic origin, referral source, highest grade completed, type of institution, work status, weekly earnings, hours worked, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) status, primary source of support, medical insurance coverage, insurance available on the job, farmer status, veteran status, migratory worker status, work for profit, and year last employed. The individual's address and phone number should be provided. This information may be provided through a variety of methods, including by phone or mail or in person. One of the easiest ways to assure that all federally required information elements are collected is to complete the RS application form.

What information is needed to initiate an assessment? Medical records or documentation pertinent to the disability or a release of information to obtain disability documentation; work history; educational background; and the applicant's description of the impediment to employment.

How is "available to complete an assessment" defined? The individual can attend planned or scheduled activities required to determine eligibility.

When all three conditions of submitting an application have been met, the 60-day timeframe for determining eligibility begins. To assure that the standard releases on the application form are in effect, a signed application should be included in the service record at the earliest opportunity. However, determination of eligibility may not be delayed pending receipt of a signed application form if the three conditions of application have been met.

Each local office is responsible for developing outreach plans to referral sources, minorities and members of unserved or underserved disability groups in their communities.

Documentation (record of service) Requirements for the Application Process

In addition to the Rehabilitation Services application form, the following information, to the extent it will impact the VR process or employment, must be collected as part of the application process and recorded in the record of services.

Effective Date: April 26, 2005