Disability in Washington

The eligibility requirements in Washington’s Vocational Rehabilitation program are slightly different from the eligibility requirements for social security.  You may qualify for one program and not for the other, although generally an individual qualifies for both.  In order to meet the qualifications for the vocational rehabilitation program, one must have a mental or physical disability that is medically determined and prevents them from getting and/or holding a job.  The individual must also require vocational rehabilitation in order to get a job that works with their strengths.

What Services Are Offered?

For those with a disability in Washington, there are a number of services for vocational rehabilitation.  The first is assessment.  This helps an individual determine what their strengths, abilities, and interests are.  Usually, this involves taking a career inventory test or other evaluation that gives you an idea of what job you may be perfectly suited for and enjoy.  Guidance counseling is also available to help you through the process of getting a job and meeting your employment goals.

If you are in need of training or additional skills, vocational rehabilitation has a number of training programs that can help you.  They also partner with a number of Washington colleges, vocational schools, and community programs that offer training to individuals with disabilities.  Training in using equipment that allows you to improve our work performance is also available (for example, learning to use a motorized wheelchair or computer speaking system).  In addition to job skill training, your guidance counselor can also help you put together your resume, search for jobs, and prepare for your interview.

Finally, the department offers a number of support services to help individuals after they secure a job.  These include things like assisting with transportation, providing child care or funds for child care, and assisting individuals with living independently.

Will Your Income Count Against Your Social Security?

Many individuals with a disability in Washington wonder if going back to work and earning a wage will negatively impact their social security funds.  There are some provisions in the federal social security guidelines that allow individuals to earn money without losing their benefits, but these guidelines are quite specific.  The best way to determine how your disability benefits will be affected by working is to discuss it with your vocational rehabilitation guidance counselor.  He or she can gather all of the information necessary for you to make an informed decision.

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