​​​​​​​​​​​Chapter 4.01 Contents:

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

An individual eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program when all six (6) of the following federal criteria (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42) are met.  The eligibility requirements shall be applied without regard to the age, gender, race, color, creed, or national origin of the applicant (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42.  The eligibility requirements shall be applied without regard to the income level of an applicant or applicant’s family (per 2016 federal regulation and Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL, Policy 1).

    1. U.S. citizen, or a non-U.S. citizen who has provided documentation of legal eligibility to work in the U.S. (per federal regulation 8 CFR). For documentation requirements for non-U.S. citizens, including those served by public school without a work permit.  See Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A2

    2. A physical or mental disability (see Chapter 3, DISABLITY, Policy 1, Section A1) documented by a qualified professional (for qualified professional  see Policy 2 of this chapter.)  No applicant or group of applicants shall be excluded or found ineligible solely on the basis of the type of disability (e.g., HIV positive) (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42).  The individual is ineligible if no physical or mental impairment exists, such as an acute condition with no residual impairment.  Some examples of ineligibility include, but are not limited to when only an acute (i.e., broken bone) rather than a chronic condition is observed; when a chronic condition appears to have no or inconsequential effects in a medical sense, etc..

    3. The physical or mental impairment constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment.  Currently employed individuals may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services for the purposes of retaining or advancing in employment.  Documentation of serious functional limitation (For SFLs, see Chapter 3, DISABILITY, Policy 1, Section C.) that is a substantial impediment to employment may rely solely on information from the applicant and others, and counselor observations. An individual with substantial impediment to employment that is not created by a disability is not eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. An individual with a disability that does not create a substantial impediment to employment is not eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  Some examples of ineligibility include, but are not limited to, individual is employed on a regular basis in a position more or less in keeping with his or her capabilities; individual is unemployed but the physical or mental condition is so minor that it is not the reason for the unemployment, etc. 

    4. Presumption of employability. The VR counselor shall presume an individual can benefit in terms of an employment outcome from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services unless the VR counselor can demonstrate, based on clear and convincing evidence, that the disability is too significant for the individual to achieve any employment outcome with VR services.   Some examples of eligiblity include, but are not limited to, disability is so severely limiting that there is little chance the individual can achieve an employment outcome; disability is rapidly progressive or terminal (per federal policy directive RSA-PD-03-07 instructions for RSA-911 Report issued September 25, 2003).  

      For case closure before Eligible status because the disability is too severe for employment, trial work experiences plan is required (see Chapter 4.02, TRIAL WORK, Policy 1).  

      For cases in Eligible status and beyond, trial work experiences are not required to justify closure due to severity of disability (per federal policy directive RSA-PD-03-07 instructions for RSA-911 Report issued September 25, 2003).  

    5. Individual is present in Virginia.  Present in Virginia means living (including living at a Virginia school) or working in Virginia.  No duration of residence requirement shall be imposed (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42(c)).  The VR agency is not obligated to continue Employment Plan services or written plan for trial work  approved by another VR agency.  If the Employment Plan approved by the VR agency of another state specifically provides for relocation to Virginia, the individual should continue to be served by the other state rather than by Virginia.   If an employment outcome requires VR services from both Virginia and another VR agency, the DRS VR counselor should obtain a signed release to contact the  counselor in that agency to discuss mutually serving the individual and to request a copy of pertinent case materials.  See Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1, Section A1 for case closure in multiple states during the same federal fiscal year.

    6. The DRS VR counselor determines that VR services are required to prepare for, secure, retain, regain, or advance in employment of client informed choice consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and interests.  The eligibility requirements shall be applied without regard to the particular service needs or anticipated cost of the services required by an applicant.  A decision regarding the vocational readiness of a high school student shall be made by the DRS counselor in consultation with the student, the custodial parent/guardian, and any other relevant parties including, as appropriate, school personnel, and shall not be made based solely on age.

      Guidance: Factors to consider in assessing the individual’s vocational readiness include, but are not limited to:

      Expressed vocational preferences, interests, and needs or expressed interest in exploring vocational options;

      Positive academic and vocational performance patterns;

      Demonstrated age-appropriate social and interpersonal skills or willingness to develop and refine these skills; 

      Demonstrated  understanding and acceptance of disability-related needs, or willingness to develop this understanding, etc.

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Presumption of Eligibility and Severe Disability for all SSI clients and some SSDI cases

[REVISED: 10/1/15]

VR Applicants receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cash benefits as the disabled worker Claimant or SSDI cash benefits as the disabled adult child (age 18 or older) are presumed to be eligible and to have at least one serious functional limitation  (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42). This excludes individuals receiving SSDI family benefits, survivor benefits, or SSA retirement benefits because they have not been determined to have a disability by Social Security Administration.   The counselor shall state in a case note that the individual is presumed eligible for the VR Program and presumed to have a significant disability and the counselor is gathering additional information to determine if the disability is most significant.  For definition of significant disability and most significant disability, see Chapter 3, DISABLITY, Policy 1.  This presumption of eligibility does not create an entitlement to any vocational rehabilitation service (per Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended in 1998 Title I Section 102(a)(3) and per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42). 

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A3.     Individuals Jointly Referred to DARS and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)​​​

DARS and DBVI will make independent determinations of eligibility for their respective vocational rehabilitation programs based on their agency's determination of eligibility policy. See Chapter 16. INDIVIDUALS JOINTLY SERVED BY DARS AND THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE BLIND AND VISION IMPAIRED, Policy 4.​

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[REVISED: 3/1/08]

Before the Employment Plan is finalized, the counselor shall not commit to providing non-diagnostic and non-evaluation services and non-assessment services (e.g., college or other training, vehicle or home modification, tools and equipment, assistive technology devices, etc.).  Staff may only provide:

  1. Diagnostic, assessment, and evaluation services needed to develop the Employment Plan and any VR support services (e.g., PAS, transportation, child care, etc.) – except maintenance — needed to access the services.

  2. Vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance.

  3. Referral services to other agencies and programs.

  4. Interpreter services and other modes of communication as appropriate to enable the individual to comprehend and respond to information being communicated during the vocational rehabilitation process. See Chapter 8.07, INTERPRETER, Policy 1.
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[REVISED: 11/22/16]

Once an individual meets all application criteria (see Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 5), the counselor must make an eligibility determination as soon as possible but within 60 days (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.41) unless the case is moved into Application -E, Application-T, or Closed-Other status. Failure to make an eligibility determination within the 60 day deadline does not result in the applicant’s automatic eligibility for the Vocational Rehabilitation program since an eligibility determination assessment is a required step in eligibility determination (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42).  To extend the deadline and move the case into Application - E, see Section C2 of this policy.

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[REVISED: 3/28/24]

The deadline may be extended when (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.41) an exceptional and unforeseen circumstance beyond the control of the agency precluded a determination within 60 days.  Before day 60, the counselor and applicant must have mutually agreed to a specific extension of time, the counselor documented in a case note or letter (supplemented, if necessary, with appropriate mode of communication per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 FR § 361.18 (e)), the circumstance and extension period, and moved the case into Application - E.  If it is not practical to select a specific date, it is acceptable to specify the number of days following receipt of requested records or new information still needed to complete the eligibility determination assessment (and, if DRS is under Order Of Selection, information still needed to assign priority for services).  DRS staff shall not use Application - E status if the eligibility issue is whether the disability is too severe for an employment outcome.  Do not use Application - E status for anyone receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as the disabled worker claimant or as disabled adult (at least 18 years of age) receiving SSDI cash benefits through the SSA Child Disability Benefits Program.  The deadline may be extended for all other VR applicants, including recipients of SSDI Family Benefits and Survivors Benefits.

The counselor must obtain and document pre-approval from the appropriate Unit Supervisor/Manager for the first extension and the District Director for the second and any subsequent extensions, as needed, prior to moving the consumer into extension status. Appropriate casefile documentation maintained by the counselor should include an Actual Service Note with the reason for the extension and from whom approval was obtained.​

Cross-reference: For presumption of eligibility and 1 serious functional limitation for those receiving SSI or SSDI as disabled worker claimant or SSDI cash benefits through the Child Disability Benefits, see section A of this policy.

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[REVISED: 1/21/99]

See Policy 2 of this chapter.


[REVISED: 3/01/08]

See Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1, Section A3.


[Revised: 4/1/14]

The counselor who determines eligibility must meet qualifications in the Workers Compensation Act (see Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A1).

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[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. Application-E status.
    For all individuals for whom the deadline to determine eligibility has been waived, DRS staff shall complete the Eligibility Determination Extension screen in AWARE to move the case into Application – E (“E” stands for extra time). From Application – E status, DRS staff will move the case into Eligible status, or Application – T status, or  Closed – Other status.

  2. Eligible status.
    For all individuals who meet the criteria for Eligible status, DRS staff shall complete the Eligibility Determination screen in AWARE. Only the VR counselor or above has security level to enter the Effective Date which moves the case into Eligible Status. From Eligible status, the case will move into Delayed status or Service status or Closed – Other status. When DRS is under Order Of Selection, the VR counselor shall also assign a priority category and follow the Order Of Selection procedures (see Chapter 2.2, ORDER, Policy 2.)

Cross reference: For instructions on completing the significant functional limitations and priority category of disability, see Chapter 12, FORMS, AWARE-16.

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[REVISED: 7/1/12]

Upon certifying an applicant eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the VR counselor shall immediately provide the client the Consumer Information on Development of the Employment Plan and document this in the case record (e.g., AWARE Eligible Letter, case note, copy of RS-4b in case record). During Employment Plan development, the VR counselor should explain, using the appropriate mode of communication (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.18 (e)), the information on the RS-4b.

Exception 1: For students with disabilities whose case is expected to remain in Eligible status longer than 90 days, the counselor may delay providing the RS-4b until plan development begins. However, the counselor must note this decision in the case record at time of eligibility certification.

Exception 2: if DRS is operating under Order Of Selection, the counselor provides the RS-4b only to clients who are eligible and assigned to an open category and not to clients who are assigned to a closed category. The latter clients are prohibited from receiving services under an Employment Plan (per 2016 federal regulation Chapter 2.2, ORDER, Policy 2).

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[REVISED: 2/15/05]

The eligibility determination assessment for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program (and assignment to priority category if DRS is on Order Of Selection) must be conducted in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with the individual’s needs and informed choice (2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42).

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[REVISED: 7/1/12]

The counselor may begin to collect existing information that may be necessary for program planning but is not needed for eligibility determination. However, this shall not delay the eligibility determination.

  1. To the maximum extent possible, evidence of disability and resulting functional strengths, abilities, and limitations, and impediment to employment should be gathered from counselor observations, education records when applicable, interviews with the applicant (or applicant’s family or guardian or representative, as appropriate), information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) for individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), determinations made by officials of other agencies, and from existing documents and reports (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42).

  2. To the extent that existing information does not describe the current functioning of the applicant or is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate, the counselor may conduct or purchase additional assessments needed to determine eligibility (and assign priority for services if DRS is under Order Of Selection) (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42). For eligibility criteria and consumer’s responsibilities regarding diagnostic, assessment, and evaluation services, see policy in Chapter 6 for the specific service.

Guidance 1: For individuals convicted of a felony as an adult, the counselor may wish to immediately request the presentence report, crime, and length of sentence information. While the information is not needed to determine eligibility for the Vocational Rehabilitation program, under state law a felony conviction precludes employment in certain occupations (see Chapter 5, PLAN, Policy 2, Section B1). Therefore, a felony conviction will become a critical consideration when establishing the employment goal. Obtaining this information as soon as possible will facilitate vocational evaluation and Employment Plan development.

Guidance 2: During eligibility determination, the counselor should verify the individual’s SSI or SSDI benefit status and eligibility for the Ticket to Work. For more information on procedures pertaining to Ticket to Work recipients, see the Ticket to Work procedures in the DRS Forms Cabinet.

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[REVISED: 1/21/99]

See Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 5, Section C1.

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[REVISED: 5/1/10]

  1. The counselor may wish to conduct an assessment of the applicant’s general health. Existing information (e.g., interviews with the applicant and Section I of RS-3 Medical Examination form, counselor observations, existing medical records) usually suffices as the general health assessment. The counselor shall use professional judgment with regard to the validity of medical records older than one year. For example, if the functional limitations of the disability do not change over time (e.g., deafness since childhood), a new medical examination is generally not needed.

  2. For applicants having a Workers’ Compensation case, the need to authorize a general medical evaluation will be rare. The insurance carrier is not obligated to provide the general medical under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. The counselor may authorize necessary diagnostic information from Section 110 funds and should make the insurance carrier aware of this. To request medical records for individuals with a Virginia Workers’ Compensation case, send the signed Authorization for Use or Disclosure of Protected Health Information (RS-3i) to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, 1000 DMV Drive Richmond Virginia 23220, Attention Clerk Office (or fax 804-367-9740).  The RS-3i form should list DRS and Virginia Workers’ Compensation 1000 DMV Drive Richmond Virginia 23220 as agencies.

  3. For other applicants, the counselor may authorize a general medical examination (using RS-3 Agency Medical Examination Form) if the counselor believes additional medical evidence is needed to make an eligibility determination (and assign priority for services if DRS is on an order of selection). The medical examination and report must be completed by a licensed medical practitioner of the customer’s informed choice. However, DRS financial sponsorship is subject to the DRS policies and procedures regarding comparable benefits and purchasing.
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[REVISED: 3/1/08]

The counselor shall assess the impact of the disability on the applicant’s work history (or unstable work history or limited or no work/marketable job skills/job seeking skills). The counselor may use the applicant’s resume, interviews with the applicant, and counselor observations.​


[REVISED: 3/7/12]

  1. The counselor shall obtain a copy of secondary school records for: i) all applicants who are currently enrolled in secondary school, and ii) all youth with disabilities who left secondary school before the age of 22. Where necessary for establishing eligibility, school records should include, but is not limited to the following: courses taken, grades obtained, attendance records, test scores, evaluations by teachers, programs in which the individual made significant progress, and other relevant information. See Chapter 1.1, CONFIDENTIALITY, Policy 1, Section A6 for regulations concerning release of special education records.    

    Note: The DRS/Local Education Agency cooperative agreements specify mechanisms for obtaining records in a timely manner. In addition, the Virginia Department of Education maintains a list (available through the DRS Central Office Education Services Coordinator) of regional resources for assistance in obtaining records.

  2. For other applicants, counselors should consider the applicant’s age and amount of time that has lapsed since secondary school enrollment when deciding whether to request education records and other information from the secondary school. Information obtained through interviews with the applicant may be sufficient.

  3. To the extent appropriate, special education records (including the IEP and educational, psychological, medical, or other assessments) may be used to establish that a customer has a specific type of disability for eligibility determination purposes. If there is a question as to whether the educational classification label accurately reflects the individual’s primary disability, the counselor may use existing school information to document the presence of a disability. This label combined with an assessment of impediment to employment (e.g., existing school assessment, counselor observations, interview with applicant and family) is usually sufficient for the limited purpose of determining whether the student is eligible for VR services.

  4. Neither an educational classification label nor placement in a specific special education program (e.g., a class for students with intellectual disability) shall by itself be considered sufficient evidence of a specific disability for Employment Plan purposes. Note: The reason for this is that, depending on resources and numbers served, school systems vary in the completeness of the assessment and may serve students with a variety of disabilities in one placement (e.g., student with traumatic brain injury may be classified as “other health impaired,” a classroom for individuals with moderate mental disabilities may include individuals with intellectual disability and autism and behavior disorders).  After eligibility is certified, the counselor may need to gather additional information about the individual’s disability for Employment Plan purposes and may need to amend the disability code. 
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[REVISED: 2/15/05]

The counselor shall consider referring the individual, if appropriate, for rehabilitation technology assessment or work site assessment (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.48(b), and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42, and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45).

For eligibility criteria and procedures for rehabilitation technology assessment, see Chapter 6.07, AT ASSESSMENT, Policy 1.  

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[REVISED: 2/15/05]

The counselor shall consider referring the individual, if appropriate, for personal assistance services assessment (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.48(b)).

For eligibility criteria and procedures for personal assistance services assessment, see Chapter 6.02, PAS ASSESSMENT, Policy 1.

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[Revised: 4/1/13]

Presence of a psychological, mental, or emotional disorder shall be documented by qualified personnel (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42). The diagnosis alone is insufficient because an impediment to employment caused by the disorder, or caused by diagnosis of the disability itself, may not be clear. Therefore, when eligibility is based on a psychological, mental, or emotional disorder, or learning disability, DRS shall require a psychological report from a physician, psychologist (clinical or school), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or licensed professional counselor (LPC) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who is licensed or certified to treat such disorders as documentation of the disability and impediment to employment.

Guidance: Existing psychological reports can be obtained from schools, private psychologists, hospitals, mental health clinics, etc. Existing information older than one year may be used when the counselor believes it is still valid. Otherwise, the counselor may purchase a new assessment and report.

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[REVISED: 3/16/23]

  1. Documentation.
    Presence of alcohol or other substance abuse (legal or illegal) disabilities shall be documented by qualified personnel (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42).  Under state law (§ 38.2-3412.1 of the Code of Virginia§ 54.1-2900 of the Code of Virginia§ 54.1-3506 of the Code of Virginia§ 54.1-3507 of the Code of Virginia§ 54.1-3508 of the Code of Virginia§ 54.1-3600 of the Code of Virginia§ 54.1-3601 of the Code of Virginia, and § 54.1-3700 of the Code of Virginia, and State Regulation 18 VAC 90-19-220, and State Regulation 18 VAC 90-30-120, and State Regulation 18 VAC 115-20-130 qualified personnel are: a licensed physician (M.D.), psychiatrist; doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.); psychologist (clinical or school); certified substance abuse counselor (CSAC); marriage and family therapist (MFT); substance abuse treatment practitioner (SATP); clinical nurse specialist (CNS); psychiatric nurse practitioner; nurse practitioner licensed in a specialty to treat alcoholism, drug abuse, or substance abuse; a non-master’s degree level but certified addiction counselor (CAC) employed by a facility or program licensed to provide treatment for alcoholism, drug abuse, or substance abuse; licensed professional counselor (LPC); or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). 

Guidance 1: If necessary to establish eligibility (and priority category if DRS is on Order Of Selection), consider requesting additional existing information, with the individual’s informed written consent, from the courts, probation and parole officers, treatment programs, the applicant, and other appropriate sources. Documentation that will assist the counselor in making an eligibility determination includes the individual’s history of alcohol or substance abuse, reactions to treatment efforts, and the consequences of the documented abuse as it affects the individual’s ability to obtain or maintain employment.

Guidance 2: Alcohol or drug dependency is rarely the sole issue in the individual’s vocational rehabilitation. There are often concomitant medical (e.g., liver, stomach, heart) and psychological factors (e.g., depression, personality disorder) which should also be assessed to determine the impediment to employment.

Guidance 3: Even if the person is unemployed at the time of application, the counselor must determine if the unemployment is due to the disability (including any secondary disabilities) rather than other reasons.

Guidance 4: Trial work experiences. If the individual has undergone repeated treatment efforts and has been unsuccessful in maintaining abstinence from alcohol or substances, the counselor may consider whether the individual’s disability is too severe benefit in terms of an employment outcome. In these instances, it may be appropriate to conduct a trial work experiences for the sole purpose of determining whether the disability is too severe. In keeping with the presumption of benefit provision, the counselor shall examine treatment records and discuss with the consumer why previous efforts at abstinence have failed. The counselor must judge whether these efforts failed due to lack of motivation or inadequate treatment (e.g., previous “treatment” consisted of attending a support group whereas more formal counseling or medical treatment is needed) rather than due to severity of disability. Positive indications of ability to benefit may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Demonstration of abstention for a period to be determined by the counselor on a case-by-case basis and specified in the Trial Work Experiences Plan. More than one relapse is usually sufficient reason to determine that the individual cannot benefit from VR services in terms of an employment outcome.

  2. Voluntary participation in support group (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, group sponsored by church, SMART Recovery program, Life Ring Recovery program, voluntary after-care program, etc.).

  3. Participation in a community mental health or other treatment program (including any mandatory after-care program).

Guidance 5: If the individual has remained clean and sober for an extended period and has no other disabling conditions, a review of the intake questions and the subsequent vocational implications of this disability may assist the counselor in determining whether an individual has a substantial impediment to employment and requires vocational rehabilitation services. Consider how long the individual had remained clean and sober, current functional limitations, employment history, if the individual is currently employed or underemployed and for how long, does the previous alcohol or substance abuse history continue to impact the individual’s ability to obtain and retain suitable employment, and other factors. If the counselor determines that a substantial impediment to employment does exist, document how and why the client has not been able to make a satisfactory adjustment or obtain/retain employment due to the substance use disorder.​

Guidance 6: Functional Limitations may include:

  1. Psychological: memory loss, impaired judgment, decision-making, dexterity, handling of stress/criticism, concentration, impulse control, motor coordination, unrealistic goals/expectations, etc.,

  1. Interpersonal: dependency, anxiety, isolation, denial, inaccurate self-appraisal, etc.,

  1. Physical: dexterity, motor coordination, alertness, safety awareness, etc.

2.  Treatment.

Due to limited DRS resources, DRS shall not pay for treatment (per Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A11). Therefore, if the service needed is a payment source for treatment rather than to eliminate or substantially reduce the impairment’s effect on employment, then the individual does not require vocational rehabilitation services and would not meet the VR eligibility criteria. Such individuals should be referred to other community resources for treatment.


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[REVISED: 3/7/12]

  1. A psychological report including a standardized intelligence test and a standardized adaptive skills test is required when eligibility is based on intellectual disability (per agency mandate). This information may come from school records and available independent evaluations.

  2. A measured intelligence quotient, in and of itself, or school placement in a special education program is insufficient diagnostic evidence of the existence of intellectual disability. However, an IQ score can be helpful in evaluating the readiness for academic training.

  3. The behavioral component is more meaningful in determining need for services and whether the consumer can benefit in terms of an employment outcome. Functional limitations including emotional, etiological, and environmental factors must be documented (e.g., formal testing, counselor observation, interviews, and case history review).
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[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. Applicants who have HIV or AIDS shall not be determined eligible or ineligible solely on the basis of an HIV or AIDS diagnosis.

  2. An individual in Phase I or Phase II HIV infection who has no other disability may not have functional limitations and therefore, may be ineligible due to the absence of an impediment to employment.

  3. Even if the HIV/AIDS diagnosis does not result in functional limitations, potential employers may regard the individual as having impairment to employment. Documentation of inability to obtain employment due to HIV/AIDS is required to support an eligibility determination (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.47).

  4. Some individuals in Phase II or Phase III may be so limited by the frequency, duration, severity of their infections or symptoms that they are unable to function in employment or services leading to employment. The case must be placed in trial work experiences before being determined too severe.
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[REVISED: 10/1/01]

  1. For the most appropriate time to assess a person with a brain injury, see Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A13.

  2. If existing information is inadequate to determine eligibility, the counselor may consult the Director of Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury Service in the DRS Central Office, or WWRC Brain Injury Services program staff.

  3. If existing information is inadequate to determine eligibility, a short-term evaluation may be conducted by the WWRC Brain Injury Services Program staff or purchased from service providers. For cognitive rehabilitation services, see Chapter 8.14, PHYSRES, Policy 1, Section A5.
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[REVISED: 1/21/99]

A psychological report is required when eligibility is based on learning disability.

Guidance 1: Learning Disability manifestations may be subtle or may present as other types of problems, such as lack of motivation or emotional disorders. Therefore, functional limitations may not be obvious.

Guidance 2: Non-academic characteristics (e.g., attention, reasoning, processing, memory, communication, coordination, social competency, emotional maturity) may have greater adverse impact on employability.

Guidance 3: The counselor should describe the functional limitations in a manner that clearly identifies the behaviors; frequency, intensity, and duration; precipitating factors; and explains the serious employment related consequences and cites the sources (per federal program assistance circular RSA-PAC-90-7 issued September 28, 1990).

Guidance 4: In determining whether or not the disability is significant (versus non-significant) the counselor should consider educational achievement, perception, language, cognition, and behavioral functioning.

Guidance 5: In obtaining more focused assessments, the VR counselor should consider a variety of approaches (e.g., work evaluations, work trials, standardized tests, situational assessments, role play, client self-reports, counselor observations, interviews with the individual, family, and employers, and a review of the individual’s history). For a student or recent graduate, school personnel and school records may be a good source of specific information on inappropriate behaviors; interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; problems with attention, memory, and organization; self-care, etc.

Guidance 6: Obtaining accurate knowledge about the level of intervention or accommodation an individual requires to function adequately provides insight into the severity of the functional limitations.

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[REVISED: 1/21/99]

  1. Applicants with visual acuity in the better eye after correction of 20/60 to 20/100 may be eligible.

  2. Applicants may be eligible if the combined loss of acuity in both eyes is 25 percent or more with best correction.

  3. Applicants with no vision in one eye may be eligible if the applicant:

    1. Has never held a job and there is clear and convincing evidence that depth perception is an impediment to employment, or

    1. Is unable to drive a car or truck due to blindness, or

    1. Has been consistently refused employment because of lack of binocular vision, or

    1. Cannot return to previous job because of vision loss.

  4. Applicants with vision between 20/70 and 20/200 in the better eye with best correction or those having a visual field limitation between 20 and 30 degrees may be eligible if such individuals have adjusted to their loss of vision and can be considered feasible for placement as seeing persons.
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[REVISED: 5/1/16]

  1. To the extent that existing information is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate, the counselor may purchase a medical specialist examination that is appropriate to the disability. Medical specialist examination may be appropriate when recommended by the DRS medical consultant, when recommended by the practitioner who completed the general medical examination (unless the DRS medical consultant deems a specialist examination unnecessary), or when the counselor deems it essential to determine eligibility (and priority for services if DRS is on Order Of Selection).  For medical specialist policy, see Chapter 6.01, MEDICAL DIAGNOSTICS, Policy 2.

  2. Consult the supervisor when there is doubt, or when there is disagreement between the medical consultant and the counselor. The counselor must explain in the case notes why a recommended specialist examination was not obtained.

  3. For cardiovascular disease, the counselor should obtain a medical report that includes the therapeutic classification and gives guidelines as to physical work limitations.

  4. The specialist’s report may be in narrative form when preferred by the specialist.

  5. Any licensed medical practitioner receiving payment under the vendor number of the specialist may provide the exam and report.

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[REVISED: 1/21/99]

The counselor may purchase additional laboratory information (e.g., blood test) to the extent needed to determine eligibility (and priority for services if DRS is under Order Of Selection). See Chapter 6.01, MEDICAL DIAGNOSTICS, Policy 1.


[REVISED: 12/1/12]

Social history information which can assist in determining eligibility may include, but is not limited to, a summary of the individual’s relationship with family members, relationship with supervisors and co-workers in the workplace, and relationships within the community.


[REVISED: 1/21/99]

See the policy for the specific service. 

[REVISED: 1/21/99]

For medically- and mentally- recognized diagnostic, assessment evaluation, and tests, see Maximum Allowance section of Chapter 8.14, PHYSRES, Policy 1, Section C.

For other diagnostic services, refer to DRS Services Reference Manual.

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Links to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are currently unavailable while we await federal changes to the vocational rehabilitation program. Upon promulgation of the final regulations the links will be updated and activated.