As young adults prepare for transition, it can by confusing to understand what roles the Developmental Disabilities Administration and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation play in getting and obtaining employment in high school and beyond.
Here is a brief description of how they provide services:
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) helps adults with disabilities find and secure stable employment. DVR services are not long-term. Their purpose is to provide the necessary tools and assistance for initial job placement and (if needed) to aid transition to long-term supports outside DVR (such as DDA).
Services may include: counseling & guidance; trial work experience; community-based assessment; benefits planning; assistive technology; job-related services such as completing applications, developing a resume, practicing interview skills, conducting a job search, gaining job skills; and transition to DDA long-term supports.
The Role of DVR in High School Transition
DVR partners with school districts to help students receiving high school transition services prepare for and find employment. This typically happens during the final year of school (age 20-21).
For more information, or to find the DVR Transition Liaison in your school, visit: dshs.wa.gov/dvr and click on the quick link for School Transition; or call: 1-800-637-5627.
The Developmental Disabilities Administration
The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) provides long-term Supported Employment to eligible individuals age 21 and over. Services may include:
- Individual Supported Employment: discovery (identifying interests, strengths, needs), assessment, job preparation, job placement & coaching;
- Group Supported Employment: supervised employment for groups of no more than 8 workers with disabilities in the same setting;
It’s important to find out, prior to exiting the school system, how to apply for these services (and if funding will be available).
Although DDA does not provide employment services until age 21, other home & community-based services may be available. Visit DDA’s website for a full list of services.
Plan to Work is a Washington State benefit planning project. It consists of a statewide call center and a network of specially trained Community Work Incentive Coordinators who provide one-on-one Benefits Analysis and Benefit Planning.
Plan to Work is a free and voluntary service available to individuals in the state of Washington (except southern counties Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Benton, Franklin, and Walla Walla) who are currently receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and want to work. They answer questions about how work affects benefits, and identify work incentives to support career goals.
If you receive Social Security disability benefits and live in the state of Washington, Plan to Work can help you:
Understand how working will affect your cash and/or medical benefits as well as other state-specific benefits;
Make informed decisions about the impact of employment on your overall financial well being;
Develop an individualized Work Incentive plan which allows you to make informed decisions as you work towards your goal of self-sufficiency;
Receive support in navigating programs and services of agencies and organizations at the Federal, State, and local levels.
While Plan to Work cannot help you find a job, their trained staff will help you understand work incentives, which are special programs such as Trial Work Period, Extended Period of Eligibility, and extended Medicaid and Medicare coverage that allow you to test working without losing needed benefits. Plan to Work staff can also help connect you to resources that might help in finding work.