What Disabilities Qualify For Vocational Rehabilitation?

Published on: April 10, 2024

Adjusting to living with a disability that prevents you from working is never easy. If you qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs, those same disabilities may qualify for vocational rehabilitation.

Many people with disabilities want to return to work, but they may need assistance developing the skills required to qualify for available jobs in the workforce. That’s where a federally funded vocational rehabilitation program run by your state government can help.

This article explains how state-managed programs work and what disabilities qualify for rehabilitation. As you read through the valuable information that may give you the skills needed to return to the workforce, remember that the disability advocates at Disability Experts of Florida are always available to answer questions and provide outstanding representation, from helping you qualify for SSD benefits to handling appeals.

What is Vocational Rehabilitation?

Don’t confuse vocational rehabilitation with physical therapy. Depending on the medical conditions causing your disability, doctors may recommend physical therapy as a part of your treatment plan. Physical therapy seeks to make you physically and mentally capable of returning to the workforce.

Instead of making you physically and mentally ready to work, as does physical therapy, vocational rehabilitation gives you the job skills needed to do the work available in the economy. The typical vocational rehabilitation program includes the following:

  • Vocational assessment to determine your current skill level compared to what is needed to enter and succeed in the workforce.
  • Job training to give you the skills needed to succeed at available jobs.
  • Job counseling and search services to help you find work matching your newly developed and previously existing skills.
  • Assistance with on-the-job training and, when appropriate, assistance with job accommodations required by your disability.

Depending on the results of your vocational assessment, a vocational rehabilitation program can help you obtain services and devices to manage a disability. Educational assistance is available for individuals needing technical training or a degree program at a two- or four-year college.

The federal government, acting under the authority of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides funds to state governments. Each state uses the money to establish and maintain programs offering vocational rehabilitation services to their residents with disabilities caused by physical or mental impairments.

What Disabilities Qualify For Vocational Rehabilitation Services?

You may qualify for rehabilitation services through a vocational program in your state if your ability to work is substantially impeded by a physical or mental condition or combination of conditions. The impediment must not be so severe that you could not obtain and work at a job even with vocational services. In other words, you cannot have a disability that is so severe that acquiring new skills and training would not be enough for you to do the work required for the job.

Some of the disabilities that may qualify for a vocational rehabilitation program include the following:

A disability that makes it difficult for you to qualify for a job, including a job you could do before becoming disabled, may benefit from vocational rehabilitation. Training to learn the skills required for a job in a new field is only one of the services available through the state programs.

Can I Qualify For Vocational Rehabilitation If I Qualify For SSD?

You may qualify for a vocational rehabilitation program if you qualify for SSD benefits through the SSI and SSDI programs. If your disability is not severe enough to prevent you from benefiting from vocational services and training, you could qualify for a rehabilitation program in your state.

Enrolling in a vocational rehabilitation program and earning money from working can affect your continued eligibility for disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration encourages people who want to attempt returning to work to do so through work incentive programs.

If you receive SSDI benefits and wish to return to work, you may do so under a trial work period without jeopardizing your eligibility for monthly disability benefits. The trial period is nine months, but it’s not continuous. You have 60 months to use the nine-month trial period.

A trial month is any month you earn more than $1,110 in 2024. You can earn as much as possible during the trial period without affecting your SSDI benefits.

There is no trial work period for people who receive disability benefits through SSI. If you work while receiving SSI benefits, your combined earned and unearned income cannot exceed the SSI income limits in your state.

Get Advice From A Disability Advocate

A disability advocate at Disability Experts of Florida is the best source for information, advice, and representation on all matters related to disability benefits and working. Contact them today for a free consultation and claim evaluation.



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