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Vocational Rehabilitation

“I feel in my heart I am meant for greater things. DRS has helped me get to where I am. I am optimistic about my future. The main thing that DRS has given me is my dignity back and my self-esteem with work. With mental illness, you have days or weeks that you struggle.” 

— Katie Wehmeyer
Katie Wehmeyer, diagnosed as being bipolar and suffering psychosis, DRS paid for her phlebotomy class and helped her get ready to pursue her new career.

Vocational Rehabilitation Overview

The purpose for Vocational Rehabilitation is to help eligible individuals with disabilities prepare for work and become gainfully employed.

The primary vocational rehabilitation services are counseling and guidance with job placement. However, other services may also be provided as needed for an individual to compensate for, correct or prevent disability-based barriers to employment. These services can include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical or mental restoration;
  • Vocational, college or other training;
  • Assistive technology evaluations, equipment and training;
  • Information on disability resources;
  • Personal assistance services while receiving VR services;
  • Transportation in connection with VR services being provided;
  • Supported employment;
  • Self-employment assistance;
  • Transition school-to-work services for youth with disabilities; and
  • Other services are based on individual needs.

The services a person receives are determined by the person's Individualized Plan for Employment. This plan outlines a person's employment goal and the services that are needed to enable the person to achieve that goal. The IPE can be written by a VR client and counselor working together, or it can be written by the client according to guidelines the counselor will explain.

Eligibility: A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a physical or mental disability that is a barrier to employment and requires VR services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work. There must be a chance the person can benefit by going to work.

Are you ready to apply for services? Download the application to apply for services.

Cost: Some services, such as medical examinations to determine if a person is eligible for vocational rehabilitation, counseling and job placement, are provided at no charge to the client. For some other services, a client may have to share in the cost, depending on his or her income and resources.

DRS and Vocational Rehabilitation

Jason Price, VR Program Manager: After receiving VR services, I have gone
from a social security recipient to an independent tax-paying home-owning
citizen. So my life has improved tenfold.

Voice over (VO): Vocational Rehabilitation introduces or reinstates people with physical or mental disabilities into the workforce.

As a result, employed clients become taxpayers, reducing their need for disability benefits and social services.

Dale Oard, Owner, All Star Adverting and Promotions: It just makes you feel like you’re actually contributing to society. You’re actually go to be creating taxes and everything, paying taxes. Instead of feeling like you’re a burden.

VO: A person is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a physical or mental disability that is a substantial barrier to employment. The individual must be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services which are required to prepare for and find a job.

Kelly Criser, OSD Kindergarten Teacher: VR helped me with paying for my college tuition, VR helped pay for my certification test, VR also had a career placement program that was available to me.

VO: VR services primarily consist of career counseling, vocational education and training, medical services to improve employment opportunities, special technology and job placement.

Stacye Alfred, VR Specialist: We use informed choice to help that client determine what’s best for them and to try to find jobs that are in job market are realistic for that person.

Charles Kelley, Maintenance Sam's Club: When I was in a wheelchair I didn’t think that I would be able to walk again. I was down a lot but my counselor really helped me, kept pushing, helped me out a lot on that.

VO: Vocational Rehabilitation also offers a head start on work experience for high school students with disabilities employment assistance from Services for the Deaf and free recruitment, job-related training and information about tax credits for employers.

Greg Gattis, Manager Sam's Club: Our employees with disabilities are very eager, very focused. They want to prove themselves. They want to show that they are just as capable as anyone else.

Copyright 2008 Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

How to Apply

Step 1: Locate an office nearest you, use this link to find the state office and contact information that serves your area.

Step 2: Call for an appointment

Step 3: Fill out an application

Step 4: Gather as much medical information as you can

Step 5: Show up for the appointment to complete the application


You may complete an online self-referral, and someone from DRS will contact you to initiate the application process.


Keys to Success

  • Keep in contact with your counselor
  • Let him or her know if you move or change phone numbers
  • Complete any assignments

VR Eligibility

A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a significant physical, emotional, mental, or learning disability that is a substantial barrier to employment and requires VR services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work.

What to bring to expedite the application process

Copy of documentation verifying the disabling condition(s), copy of academic transcript(s), Social Security card, picture ID, immigration status documentation if not a US citizen, medical insurance verification, if available.

Oklahoma Works brings all of our state’s workforce resources together, connecting employers, employees and job-seekers to information and programs that help build Oklahoma’s workforce.