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Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services

3 Questions Under 3 Minutes with Keith Tiller

Blues on the guitar being played and the 3 Questions Under 3 Minutes intro plays with 3 minutes counting down in super fast speed with the question marks and the numbers 1, 2, and 3 flashes on and off.

The video faded into a man playing the guitar on the street with a Route 66 Mural painted behind him. He finishes the song and looks at the camera.

(Off-screen) Most people don't know what Disability Determination Services is or what they can do. Can you explain that to us?

Keith Tiller, Disability Determination Services Administrator: Sure, happy to. So, we're a division of the Department of Rehabilitation Services and what we do specifically is, we take the cases from folks who apply for Social Security Disability, and we gather evidence to them, information from the person who applied, and medical records and everything we need.

We make the medical and vocational determination under Social Security rules of eligibility and approval for those who qualify.

After that, we send the case back to the federal field offices for their final determination. So, it's kind of weird we're a state agency but we're 100 percent federally funded.

So, we operate under all the federal rules on their network, under their guidelines but we are firmly state of Oklahoma employees. 

(Off-screen) I heard that you got a degree in music. How did you go from music to Disability Determination?

Yeah, that's a good question. Everybody... it's kind of unique because everybody who came to work as a disability examiner, which is what we call our caseworkers -- came because they needed a job. There's not... it's a very unique job. It doesn't exist anywhere outside of this specific role and every state in the country has a Disability Determination Services that does the same work we do. 

So myself, I was on track to get a PhD in blues, southern regional folk blues at the University of Memphis and that fell through. So I had worked for the state before and came back and applied for a lot of state jobs because I needed a job. 

I actually was offered the Disability Examiner job and a Claims Bill Payer job at the same time on the same phone call and of course I asked which one pays the most and they said the Examiner. I grabbed that job and expected it to be a six-month just temporary gig until I could get back into the PhD program.

I just fell in love with it. I absolutely loved every part of it. Loved the servicing, the giving the service of claimants, the detective work, the digging around and pulling evidence out and applying those rules.

It's a complex job but, you know, you get to learn every day.

(Off-screen) What keeps you with DDS?

Keith: It sounds like a cliche answer, something you're supposed to say. 

But I really truly love the people I work with -- all of them. It's a pleasure to go to work every day and know that I'm going to be able to talk with those folks. We help each other out. It really is another cliche answer, I guess, it really is a family. When one of us is going through hard times we circle around them and help them out and support them.

Yeah, I mean it just ... I don't know how to say it -- it really is a family. It's just a pleasure and a joy to go to work every morning, which is a rare thing.

(Off-screen) Well Keith Tiller, Disability Determination Services Administrator -- why don't you take us out?

Keith: I'd be happy to.

Keith plays a blues song on his guitar.

3 Questions Under 3 Minutes.

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Logo.

DRS Services for the Blind to celebrate Deaf-Blind Awareness Week June 26-July 2

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and friends will celebrate Deaf-Blind Awareness week, June 26 - July 2, in honor of Oklahomans who are deaf-blind and world-famous author, educator, lecturer and disability advocate Helen Keller.

Deaf-Blind Awareness Week has been observed each year since 1984 during the last week in June, in honor of Helen Keller's birthday on June 27th.

Okemah community educator finds perfect job with help from DRS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

OKEMAH, Okla. – “The goals of our program encourage kids to reach their full potential in the classroom, in their families and outside in the community,” according to Audrey Church, community education coordinator for Anne Moroney Youth Services, also known as Okmulgee- Okfuskee County Youth Services.

Church works in Okfuskee County teaching curriculum with a proven track record for helping students from pre-kindergarten to high school. The lessons vary depending on grade level but they include avoiding bullying and drugs, and developing character and effective life skills. 

DRS resource guide continues to assist Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY – Internet access is available either at the tip of a finger or a trip to the library. More people are using the world wide web to shop, do research and communicate via social media or Zoom.

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Disability Resource Guide makes it easy for users to find more than 2,500 government agencies, community organizations and support groups for Oklahomans with and without disabilities. It is free and available at

OK Rehabilitation Services and partners to offer free summer training and employment programs

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – One career is just not enough for Karla Cunningham. She’s someone who always dreamed about learning more.

For 31 years, the Muskogee resident has cared for students as a licensed practical nurse level III at Oklahoma School for the Blind. Her career with the State of Oklahoma began in 1988.

Vocational Rehabilitation

OK Rehabilitation Services and partners to offer free summer training and employment programs

OKLAHOMA CITY – Productive summer fun is just around the corner with four, free training and work experience summer programs offered by Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Transition program for youth with disabilities.

Transition will start summer camps soon in multiple urban and rural locations around the state. 

Oklahoma School for the Blind Senior Class graduates

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — The Oklahoma School for the Blind is proud to announce the Senior class of 2022 graduated on May 18th at 3300 Gibson St, Muskogee in the OSB Auditorium.

This year’s graduating class also includes Jerelyn Black of Stillwater, Lydia Bradley of Stilwell, Audrey DeBrosky of Enid, John Duong of Oklahoma City, Tyler Duong of Oklahoma City, Miracle Jones of Spiro, Benjamin Middleton of Asher, JaceLynn Shields of Claremore, and Blazen Sitterly of Ponca City.

Oklahoma School for the Deaf to hold graduation May 25

SULPHUR — Three Oklahoma School for the Deaf students will graduate May 25 during a commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. in the Ken Brown Gymnasium located at 1100 East Oklahoma Avenue in Sulphur.

The OSD 2022 graduating class includes Nacorra Johnson, of Glenpool, Pablo Gomez, of Oklahoma City, and Brook Queen, of Tulsa.

“These students have excelled both inside and outside the classroom,” DRS Executive Director Melinda Fruendt said. “They will always be an important part of our OSD family, and I know each is on a path to a great, independent life.”

RiverHawks Scholar Program’s first graduates celebrate success

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The RiverHawks Scholar Program’s first class graduated Saturday, May 7, from Oklahoma’s first inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) college program for students with mild to moderate intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Sarah Parrack and Charles Michael Copeland, both from Tulsa, and Alaine Lambert, from Muskogee earned certificates of integrated community studies.

OK School for the Blind invites students with visual disabilities to register for free summer camps

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Oklahoma School for the Blind will host two free summer camps for students who are blind or visually impaired.

Students in kindergarten through 9th grade are invited to attend “The Greatest Camp on Earth,” June 6 through 9 and June 13 – 16 on the OSB Campus, 3300 Gibson Street in Muskogee. Students will go home the weekend of June 10-12.

Comanche business owner will continue working thanks to state services

Comanche — Customers who walk into Graham Jewelry are welcomed by a friendly puppy named Pudgy, the store’s official four-legged greeter. Following close behind is a smiling Rita Graham and her husband John Graham, the owners of the family business.

Graham Jewelry has been open since 1948, and Graham took over from his father in 1981. Graham’s work requires focus. He pays close attention, inspecting the broken watches of neighbors and setting stones for jewelry he is making. 

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