Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services for Transition-Aged Students with Disabilities

Synopsis of Federal Regulations

Rehabilitation Services (RS) shall facilitate the transition of students who are receiving special education services from the provision of a free appropriate public education under the responsibility of an educational agency to the provision of VR services under RS responsibility.

The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) must be developed and signed before the student leaves the school setting for each student determined to be eligible for VR services or, if RS is operating under an order of selection, for each eligible student able to be served under the order. The IPE must, at a minimum, identify the long-term rehabilitation goals, intermediate rehabilitation objectives, and goals and objectives related to enabling the student to live independently, to the extent these goals and objectives are included in the student’s individualized education program. (RS policy: If the student makes an informed choice not to apply or pursue receipt of services, an IPE does not have to be developed.)

RS shall also ensure that students with disabilities who are not receiving special education services have access to and can receive VR services, if appropriate, and shall ensure outreach and identification of these students. (RS policy: IPEs for these students must be developed as soon as there is sufficient information for vocational planning.)

Reference: §361.22


Additional federal regulatory guidance related to responsibilities of education agencies and RS during the transition period

The overall purpose of transition services, as defined by the Rehabilitation Act and implementing regulations, is to ensure that all students who require VR services receive these services in a timely manner. There should be no gap in services between the education system and the VR system. These provisions are not intended in any way to shift the responsibility of service delivery from education to VR during the transition years. School officials will continue to be responsible for providing a free and appropriate public education as defined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP). The role of the VR system is primarily one of planning for the student’s years after leaving school.

Reference: Senate Report No. 102-357 as noted following §361.22

RS Policy

RS and the Kansas Department of Education have signed an interagency agreement with the following intents:


The Local Education Agency/Authority (LEA) is not relieved of any responsibility to provide transition services until the student formally exits the public school program and as long as the student remains eligible for and receives special education services.

RS procedure

Although LEAs must ensure that transition services are in place for students with disabilities when they reach age 14, RS carries no responsibility to serve students at this age. Within available resources, RS will accept applications for VR services from transition students approximately 18 months or three semesters prior to their completion or exit from school. In individual cases, the RS Program Administrator may grant an exception to begin providing VR services for a student prior to the 18-month or three semester timeline if there are extenuating circumstances which require RS involvement.


Each RS Program Administrator will establish a procedure for routing such exception requests through the RS Managers, RS Program Administrator or both. Use of the Exceptions Request Form (Section 8 / Part 54) is required.


RS may provide technical assistance, such as participation in IEP meetings or referral to community resources, for students prior to this 18-month or three semester timeline, only if the RS Regional Program Administrator for the local area determines that existing staff resources are available to make this possible.