Applying for Services
The Vocational Rehabilitation program at the Tennessee Department of Human Services helps Tennesseans with disabilities prepare for the competitive job market, find jobs, and advance in their careers.
Is the Vocational Rehabilitation Program an Option for You?
You may be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services if you are a Tennessee resident AND answer “yes,” to any of following:
- Do you have a disability?
- Do you have a disability and a desire to advance your career and/or obtain a nationally recognized credential?
- Did you (or do you) have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan in high school?
- Is reading, writing, or math difficult for you?
- Do you believe you have an undiagnosed or undocumented disability?
- Is keeping a job difficult for you?
- Is it hard for you to understand the expectations of supervisors and managers at work?
How to Apply for Vocational Rehabilitation
If you are ready to get help with employment and apply for Vocational Rehabilitation services, follow these steps:
1. Schedule an Introduction (Intake) Appointment with the Vocational Rehabilitation Team
If you or some you know is interested in the Vocational Rehabilitation program, it’s easy to schedule an Introduction/Intake Interview with a Vocational Rehabilitation team member.
How to reach the Vocational Rehabilitation Team:
- Call (833) 751-0597 to schedule an appointment or complete an application by phone.
- Visit or contact a Vocational Rehabilitation Office in your region to schedule an appointment: Click Here for a list of locations.
2. Attend the Intake Appointment and Complete the Vocational Rehabilitation Application
Intake appointments can be conducted at a Vocational Rehabilitation (Vocational Rehabilitation) office, via phone or on a virtual meeting platform such as Zoom, WebEx, or Microsoft Teams. Meetings may also be conducted at an alternate location such as a school, library, or community center according to the customer’s need and availability. During the Intake Interview, a Vocational Rehabilitation team member will speak with you about your career interests, employment experiences, related obstacles, and work with you to complete your Vocational Rehabilitation application. The Vocational Rehabilitation team member will also review your medical, educational, and other records and let you know if addition information, privacy forms or other records are needed to evaluate your eligibility.
What to Bring to the Appointment: You should bring copies of any records or forms that document your disability. This may include
- Educational records such as your Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan.
- Medical records related to your disability.
These documents will help determine if you qualify for the Vocational Rehabilitation program.
Note: Some individuals are presumed to be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services based on involvement with the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs. If you receive benefits from either of these programs, you will be presumed eligible for the VR program and should notify the Vocational Rehabilitation team during your interview.
Need Help Applying for Vocational Rehabilitation?
The Client Assistance Program (CAP) offers help to individuals who have concerns or difficulties applying for or receiving Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services. CAP is funded under the Rehabilitation Act and administered by Disability Rights Tennessee and offers help at no cost.
What Happens After You Apply for Vocational Rehabilitation?
After you apply for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), the VR team will review the information and records provided through your interview and application and decide if you qualify for the Vocational Rehabilitation program. Your Vocational Rehabilitation team will work with you during the eligibility process to gather needed information and provide you updates throughout this phase. You will receive a letter and/or a phone call to tell you if you are eligible or do not qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation services and details about the next steps.
If you have questions about the process, call 1-833-751-0597.
If you are found ineligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services , and you feel the decision was unwarranted, you have the right to appeal. Click Here to learn about the appeal process.
Planning Your Success and Participating in Vocational Rehabilitation
If you are eligible to participate in Vocational Rehabilitation and decide to participate in the program, you will begin a three-part journey to achieve employment success:
Step 1: Forming a Plan for Success
A member of the Vocational Rehabilitation team will contact you to schedule appointments to form an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to help you reach your job goals. During the initial planning appointments, the team will learn more about your career goals, identify your strengths, preferences, abilities, and capabilities. With your Vocational Rehabilitation team’s help, you will form a unique IPE that outlines the services, support, training and timeline that will move you toward reaching your career goals.
Step 2: Following Your IPE, Preparing for Work and Checking In with Your Team
Once your IPE is established, you will begin participating in training, receiving services, and developing job-ready skills. Information about these services is available on the Services for Individuals Page[TW1] [TR2] [TW3] . After training begins, it’s important to regularly meet with your Vocational Rehabilitation team to share updates and track progress and begin the job placement process.
Step 3: Employment and Evaluation
The goal of the Vocational Rehabilitation program is to help Tennesseans with disabilities find employment success. Once you are employed and satisfied with the outcome of your work, your Vocational Rehabilitation team will reach out to you within 90 days to learn if you need continued or additional services.