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Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation
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While many people who become disabled are never again able to work because of their medical conditions, some others can return to the workforce with training and vocational rehabilitation.

Every state has a federally funded agency that offers vocational rehabilitation, employment opportunities and independent living services for disabled people. These programs vary by state but may include medical, psychological and vocational assessments, counseling services, therapy, training, job placement and rehabilitation.

If you are disabled, you may be eligible for these services in your state, even if you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits. In fact, the Social Security Administration will pay for vocational rehab services for people who are blind or disabled if certain conditions are met, namely that the person is able to return to "gainful" work for at least nine continuous months after participating in vocational rehabilitation.

Ticket To Work

Since 2001, the federal government has offered the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program for people with disabilities who are interested in going to work. The goal of the program is to increase opportunities and choices for Social Security Disability and Social Security Income beneficiaries to obtain employment, vocational rehabilitation and other support services without jeopardizing their health care coverage.

More than 11 million people nationwide are eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work program. Workers must be ages 18 to 64 and must meet certain medical requirements.

If you're eligible and interested in this voluntary program, the Social Security Administration will send you a ticket that you may use to obtain vocational rehab services or to find work at any number of participating organizations and companies.

For more information about the Ticket to Work Program, visit the program online at www.yourtickettowork.com or www.ssa.gov/work. You may also call toll free (866) 968-7842 or (866) 833-2967 for the hearing impaired.

State Resources

In addition to the federal programs, every state has vocational rehabilitation agencies to assist disabled workers.

For a complete listing of state programs with links to each, visit the State Rehabilitation Providers page at the Social Security Administration Web site http://www.ssa.gov/work/ServiceProviders/rehabproviders.html

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