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Rehabilitation Services ends waiting list for jobseekers with most significant disabilities

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services reopened job preparation and employment services for a category of jobseekers with significant disabilities known as priority group 2, effective June 17.

Rehabilitation counselors and technicians from DRS’ two employment divisions, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, will begin immediately serving jobseekers transferred from the waiting list.

DRS previously reopened services to priority group 1 applicants with the most significant disabilities on February 15, 2023.

The agency must continue to defer services to applicants with disabilities in priority group 3, which includes people determined not to have significant disabilities.

Only new applicants are affected by waiting lists. Current clients will continue to be served at the same levels

These wait lists began in 2017 due to budget restrictions. Then unprecedented changes brought about by the COVID shutdowns extended the length of time the waitlists were in place.

Since July 12, 2017,  DRS has moved 24,301 applicants from waiting lists to active caseloads.

“As the economic chaos from COVID recedes, resources are returning to allow DRS to fully serve job seekers with significant disabilities,” Fruendt explained “Sufficient funding is available for the current year and although we have staff vacancies, our analysis shows that we can absorb the influx of new clients into existing caseloads.”

DRS contracts with vendors across the state to provide clients with goods and services managed by staff to help job seekers with disabilities reach their employment goals. .

DRS earns approximately four federal matching dollars for every state dollar appropriated for VR and SBVI employment programs.

To reach the nearest DRS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired or Vocational Rehabilitation office, visit or phone 800-487-4042.

In 2023, DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services divisions provided counseling, medical and psychological services, training, job placement assistance and other services to 13,363 job seekers with disabilities.

DRS  2023 Annual Report shows that 1,055 VR and SBVI clients became employed taxpayers and no longer needed DRS services. These members of the workforce  earned annual average wages  of $28,414 and paid annual average taxes of $4,262. 


Will Lambley from Owasso received guidance and counseling, a laptop, software, university tuition funding and orientation and mobility, assistive technology and independent living training from DRS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. His podcast produced with friends called “Rise Above” is available on podcast services. Lambley is set to graduate from college in May 25.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318