We can help you prepare for, find, and keep a job.
If you have a disability and want to work, you are in the right place. Nebraska VR is an eligibility program that helps people with physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, and learning disabilities to identify their strengths and abilities in order to find success in the world of work. We offer customized and individualized services that are tailored to your specific needs and job goal. We can provide training and the supports necessary to help you succeed.
When you are ready to look for work, we will together identify employers and job openings that match your interests and skills; and as needed by you, help with resumes, cover letters, applying and interviewing.
On December 13, 2017 Nebraska VR entered into Order of Selection.
Under Order of Selection, priority will be determined during the eligibility process based on how significantly your disability impacts your ability to work. Individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected first to receive vocational rehabilitation services.
As of Monday, April 23, 2018 Priority Group 1 is closed.
As of October 2019: During the last (2019) legislative session, the Nebraska Department of Education budget for Nebraska VR received an increase in state appropriation. Nebraska VR was able to use this increase in state funds as match to request additional federal re-allotment funds. In September, 2019 Nebraska VR was notified by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) the full amount requested in federal re-allotment funds was being awarded. As a result, Nebraska VR has been able to remove approximately 1,300 individuals from the wait list over the last 4 months. As of October 10, 2019, there are 2,450 individuals on Nebraska VR’s waiting list. This includes:
Nebraska VR monitors expenditures monthly so timely decisions can be made about serving more individuals with disabilities from the wait list.
In FY21, Nebraska VR will again use the increase in state appropriation as match to request additional federal funds to continue working toward alleviating the wait list.
For more information:
Download video from 11/3/2017 Public Hearing.
Nebraska VR is an employment program for people who experience a disability. Everything Nebraska VR does and all of the services we provide are for the purpose of helping people with disabilities prepare for, find and/or keep a job. The program is voluntary and the services provided will be specific to your needs. We will work with you as long as you need us to help you find a job.
At the current time and into the foreseeable future, Nebraska VR, due to limited funds, is unable to serve all eligible individuals. Therefore, you will be assigned a Priority Group based on how significantly your disability impacts your ability to work. This is called an Order of Selection.
There are three Priority Groups that provide the order in which clients are served as funding allows.
Priority Groups 1, 2, and 3 are currently closed and individuals in these groups are placed on a waiting list for services.
Clients are served in the following order as funding allows:
Persons within each group are served in order of application date.
Significance of disability and Priority Group are determined after reviewing your medical records, assessment reports, and determining your ability to complete work related tasks.
Eligibility requirements are applied without regard to gender, race, age, color, or national origin.
There is no upper or lower age limit for any person who otherwise meets the basic eligibility criteria.
You must be present in the State of Nebraska and have the legal right to work in the United States.
Once eligibility has been determined, your counselor will help you determine an appropriate job goal and plan to reach that goal. Together you will explore your work interests, work values, work preferences, work considerations, training, job skills, job history and support network.
How to apply: To begin the Nebraska VR process you start with a referral.
We have partner relationships with many state agencies, community action agencies, schools, and employers that may begin the referral process with you. In this case you may be asked to fill out a short form with your name, address, and basic information that would be shared with us.
If you receive Social Security Disability, you may have received information about Nebraska VR, through Social Security?s Ticket to Work program.
Most of the clients we serve start the referral process by calling one of our eleven services office locations across the state. Others simply stop in to a service office. Many of these clients have learned about our disability employment services from a family or friend.
Once we receive your referral information or talk to you directly, we encourage you to watch our orientation video online. We can also schedule an individual orientation meeting with a Nebraska VR employment specialist.
The application is typically completed after orientation during your first visit to the office.
Your first meeting with a Nebraska VR counselor can encompass a lot.It will begin with a discussion that will help you determine if you are in the right place and if you are ready for employment. In the meeting you will have the opportunity to tell your counselor why you are seeking VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) services. Your counselor will ask questions so that he/she gets to know you better. This will help determine your eligibility and allow you and your counselor to begin thinking about your job goal and service needs. Be sure to bring relevant information to your first Nebraska VR appointment including medical records that list doctors or therapist you have seen along with dates and medications you have taken. If you receive Social Security benefits due to a disability, bring correspondence from the Social Security Administration. If you don?t have this documentation, VR may be able to request it on your behalf at no cost. Individuals may be referred to other resources like independent living center, the American Job Center or other community resources.
This information will help us know that you are eligible for Nebraska VR services, and with your career planning. Once you have been determined eligible for Nebraska VR services your counselor will help you develop an individualized plan for employment or IPE.
Once you have been determined eligible for VR services your counselor will help you develop an individualized plan for employment or IPE.
The IPE includes:
Please know that we encourage and expect your involvement in the planning process. We want to help you make informed decisions about your goals and the best way for you to achieve them. Regular communication with Nebraska VR staff members, keeping appointments, and follow through with your responsibilities is also important. This will help us both to stay on track to help you find or keep a job.
Helping you to get and keep a job is Nebraska VR's ultimate goal. There are many different services available to help you in reaching this goal. The services offered during each step in the process vary and depend upon your employment needs and interests. Your services may include:
There are 4 parts to the eligibility criteria in the federal regulations:
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits due to a disability, you meet the eligibility criteria.
You should not try to guess or determine for yourself if you will be eligible. Instead, if you think you could benefit from services, contact your local Nebraska VR office for an appointment.
It is important to note that people who are blind and visually impaired receive VR services through the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCBVI) http://www.ncbvi.ne.gov/.
There is no cost to apply for VR services or to find out if you are eligible. Depending upon your financial resources, you may be asked to help pay for some of your services. If your planned services include post-secondary training (such as a community college or a university) you will be required to apply for federal financial aid. Regardless of your financial situation, if you are determined eligible for VR, you may receive the following services at no cost:
The best way to get started is to call your local office to arrange an appointment to meet with a VR counselor. During the first meeting, you and your VR counselor will have the opportunity to discuss your present situation and your employment interests, concerns, and goals. If you decide to apply for services, the counselor may ask your permission to get medical and other information about you from other sources you agree to in order to determine if you are eligible for services. Your counselor will want to determine your eligibility for services within 60 days of your application if not sooner.
If documentation of your disability is not available, or is out of date, then Nebraska VR will arrange and pay for you to have an assessment by a medical professional, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other appropriate entity.
You and your counselor will work together to figure out what services you will need to reach your goals. Typically, you and your counselor will:
Each person is unique and therefore requires an individualized approach to reach his or her employment goal. You and your counselor will work together to establish your goal and identify the services that are necessary for you to achieve your goal. You may choose from a variety of different services and different ways the services can be provided. The following is a list of many of the services, but not all, that you might receive during the employment planning stage:
Services may be provided directly by your Nebraska VR counselor, coordinated with other services, or purchased by Nebraska VR on your behalf. Purchasing services means Nebraska VR pays another agency or organization to provide you with services. For example, Nebraska VR may pay for skills training or for on-the-job training.
Yes! Take your Individualized Plan for Employment seriously. The IPE is your map for meeting your employment goal. You and your counselor will want to develop your IPE within 90 days following your determination of eligibility if not sooner. Together you and your counselor will agree to the services and supports needed to achieve your employment goal. Frequently it takes time to meet your goals. If it takes longer than a year to achieve your employment goal, you and your counselor will review your IPE a least annually. Your IPE may need to be revised to reflect any changes in your services or employment goal. You and your counselor should be in regular contact throughout your VR program.
You should expect respect for your choices and support in making decisions. You should also expect individualized services that are tailored to your specific goals. You can expect VR staff to:
There are many things that you can do to work effectively with your Nebraska VR counselor.
Each time you meet with your VR counselor, you should:
Your counselor will follow up with you several time for at least the first 90 days on your job to ensure that you are successfully performing the job . On or after the first 90 days, you and your counselor will decide that you are successfully employed and inactivate you case. Because Nebraska VR is interested in your longterm success, you will receive a follow up contacted at intervals of 90days, 180 days and one year after the inactivation. If you were a social security beneficiary due to a disability, you will also be contacted at 270 days after the inactivation. Should any issues surface from this follow up that jeopardizes your continued employment, short term post employment services may be available.
Nebraska VR and other programs frequently collaborate together on services for the same individual. By letting your VR counselor know what other programs you are working with, the programs involved will work together to ensure the services you are receiving complement each other and focused on the same goals.
While VR offices are generally assigned to serve people in specific cities and towns, you can use whichever office is most convenient and accessible for you.
If you are dissatisfied with services, you should let your counselor know about your dissatisfaction. If talking with your counselor does to resolve the dissatisfaction, then ask to speak with the supervisor or the office director. Start with honest communication and request what you want and need. If, after trying to work the issues out with your specialist and the office director, and you still disagree, you can contact the Client Assistance Program. You can also contact the Client Assistance Program before sharing your concern with the specialist or office director.
CAP provides advocacy and information for individuals applying for or being served by VR. If you are having problems with VR that you have not been able to work out or have questions about VR policies and procedure, CAP may be help to you. To find out more about CAP call 800-742-7594 or http://www.cap.nebraska.gov/
The Pathway to Employment Video Series is designed to de-mystify the many services provided to clients and businesses while highlighting the innovation that is the culture of Nebraska VR. While certainly each story is either one of progress towards an employment goal or a client's employment goal success, they are also stories about the important role played by staff members, businesses, ATP, Easter Seals, Project SEARCH, and others. Go to: vr.nebraska.gov/videos/