Programs That Support Work

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services can provide you with a wide variety of counseling, training, job skills, and job placement services.

They can help you get the training or other services that you need to return to work, to enter a new line of work, or to enter the workforce for the first time.

The services they provide are carefully chosen to match your individual needs. You and your counselor will work together closely to set goals and then develop a plan to help you reach them.


Eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Services is based mostly on whether you have a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to prepare for, get, or keep work.

Under the Ticket to Work Program, adults aged 18 – 64 who get SSI or SSDI due to a disability are automatically eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services.

Minnesota Rehabilitation Services sometimes does not have enough resources to provide services to every person who is eligible to get them. People who have the most severe disabilities will get services first.


All services are free if you are using a Ticket to Work, or if you get:


To apply for services, call or visit a vocational rehabilitation counselor at a Minnesota CareerForce location.

Use the contact information to schedule an appointment with a counselor at a CareerForce location. In order to apply, you will have to fill out an application and sign a “release of information” form. The counselor will also ask you information about your work history, your education and training, what types of services might help you work, and what your career goals are.

Once you apply, it usually takes less than 60 days to find out if you are eligible.

Appeals Process

If you are not offered Vocational Rehabilitation services, you can appeal that decision. If you appeal, you will have a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. She will listen to information that you think is important about the appeal and give an opinion about the agency’s decision.

For more information about the appeal process, or to get help with your appeal, you can contact the Client Assistance Project (CAP) at the Minnesota Disability Law Center (MLDC). Call 612-334-5970 (Twin Cities metro area), 1-800-292-4150 (Greater Minnesota), or 612-332-4668 (TTY).

Long-Term Job Supports

Long-term job supports – also called “ongoing supports” or “extended services” – typically provide help in training or retraining on:

  • Job tasks
  • Dealing with schedule changes
  • Adjusting to new supervisors
  • Promotion to new job tasks or positions, and
  • Managing changes in non-work environments or life activities that affect work performance

The Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation agency can contract with a local rehabilitation provider to provide you with long-term support services that can help you keep your job and move ahead in your career.

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation works closely with a statewide network of community rehabilitation programs to offer no-cost job supports to help people work, provide people with job placement and career development services, and help employers find qualified employees. If you need them, Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation can arrange and pay for long-term job supports.

Long-term job support services fall within three categories: Supported Employment, Community Employment and Center-based Employment.

Supported Employment

A person receiving supported employment has an independent job in a competitive setting and gets the same wages and benefits as co-workers who don’t have disabilities.

The services provided to a person receiving supported employment vary because they are highly individualized, but may include:

  • Communication technology
  • Help communicating with coworkers and supervisors
  • Education of coworkers and supervisors
  • Communication technology, and
  • Transportation help

Supported employment may be a step in the process to working without ongoing support.

Community Employment

Community employment refers to jobs where the work crew includes a high percentage of people with disabilities and in which workers often are paid less than the usual wage for similar work done by people without disabilities. Community employment provides intensive job supports and often is a step toward reaching supported employment.

Center-based Employment

Center-based employment is typically a job in an industrial production, food service, or janitorial operation in a community rehabilitation program. You will perform standard work assignments while earning wages determined by your rate of production and developing work skills. The focus of the service is on disability-related issues that present real or perceived obstacles to competitive employment.

Supported Employment for Persons Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation can give referrals for supported employment services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These services typically are available from the Minnesota Employment Center for Persons Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (MEC).

MEC is a specialized program that helps people who are deaf or hard of hearing with finding a job, job coaching, keeping a job, training, and technical assistance.

Long-Term Supports for People with Serious Mental Illness

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation also provides statewide employment services for people with serious mental illness, through 22 Coordinated Employability Projects. Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation coordinates these projects together with the Mental Health Division of the Department of Human Services.

For information about the Coordinated Employability Projects, ask for a referral from your Vocational Rehabilitation counselor.

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