The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

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Job Seekers - Ready to Apply

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check our answers to Frequently Asked Questions, below. If you can't find the answer here, please call or e-mail the local DARS office.

What kind of disabilities do you work with?

We work with people with all types of physical, mental, or emotional disabilities who are willing and able to work. Our sister agency, the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, serves people  with visual disabilities.

Most people know we serve individuals with physical disabilities, such as deafness, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.

However, most of the people in the program do not have a physical disability. For example, they may have emotional problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, a history of substance or alcohol abuse (must be in recovery and abstinent; we do not provide treatment), intellectual disability, etc.

What if I don't know if I have a disability?

That's OK. You do not need proof of disability to apply.

If you have problems getting or keeping a job, or keeping up in school or job training, you may have a disability. We will be happy to talk with you. Through medical, psychological, vocational, or other testing (at no cost to you), we may help you get information needed to decide if you are eligible.

Can I still be eligible if I am working?

Yes. For example, if your disability is:

  • causing you problems at work
  • progressing and you can no longer do your current job
  • causing you to be underemployed

Does everyone with a disability who applies get served?

No. DARS is an eligibility program. If you are not eligible, we will tell you in writing. We may refer you to other agencies and organizations that may be able to help you.

If I apply, will that affect my Social Security benefits like Medicaid, SSI, or SSDI?

No. Applying to DARS will not impact these benefits. However, once you start working, these benefits may be affected. Call your local Social Security office for more information. A DARS counselor will also be happy to talk with you about your job plans that may affect your benefits.

What if I do not have transportation?

We may be able to pay for your mileage, bus ticket, or taxi to our local DARS office for your appointment. You must call us before you travel. We cannot pay for travel we have not pre-approved.

If you do not have a way to get to a DARS-approved appointment, training program, etc. in some cases we may be able to help you. However, transportation is a plus to becoming and staying employed. Therefore, we will need to discuss your options and your long-range plans for getting to and from work.

What if I am being (or have been) served by a VR program in another state?

If you have an open VR case in other state, you have two choices. 1) You may ask the other state to keep serving you. 2) You may close your VR case in the other state and apply in Virginia. However, we are not required to provide any services another state is providing you, or has agreed in writing to provide you.

Having your records from the other state may speed up your application process. We may ask you to sign a release for your records.

Does DARS have jobs to give to people with disabilities?

No. DARS is not an immediate job referral program such as the Virginia Employment Commission or an employment agency. DARS does not have a pool of jobs to give people. The DARS Vocational Rehabilitation Program is a process of becoming job-ready. When you are job-ready, you will job hunt, just like people without disabilities. However, DARS will help you in your job search.

If I am eligible, how can DARS help me find and keep a job?

We are here if you need help in your job hunt. For example, help finding job leads, filling out job applications, writing a resume, or practicing for job interviews. You may use the fax, copier, and computer access to Internet job banks in our employment resource centers. We will help you set up job interviews, but you must look for job leads, too.

We will help you deal with disability issues at work, such as:

  • Settling into your new job and lifestyle
  • Dealing with problems that might make you lose your job
  • What to say about your disability to job interviewers, your employer, or co-workers
  • Negotiating with employer for any changes to your job duties, worksite modifications, special devices, etc. needed due to your disability.

What services will I get?

We can answer this question once we know more about you and what you need to become employed. Services you receive will depend on what you and your DARS counselor agree in writing (called your Employment Plan) are needed to help you become employed. Everyone gets counseling and guidance at each step of the vocational rehabilitation program. This service helps you better understand your potential, set realistic job goals, change your job goal when needed, and learn good work habits. Some services (such as counseling and guidance) are free. You will pay for other services based on your ability to pay. DARS funds cannot be used when another funding source, such as medical insurance or federal student financial aid, is available to you. We may help you find other funding sources.

For more information about our services and policies, you may read our on-line brochure. To talk about your specific situation, please call the local DARS office nearest you.

Will DARS pay me a monthly income while I job hunt?

No.

What happens once I start working?

We will help you settle into your new job for at least three months. If you and your employer agree things are working out, we will close your case.

Can I ever have my DARS case re-opened?

If you lose your job or have trouble on your job, you may ask us to re-open your case. We decide this case-by-case.