Self-advocacy skills


Define What You Need

The purpose of vocational rehabilitation is to help you get and keep a job. If you want vocational rehabilitation services, you have the right to select a vocational goal and choose the services necessary to achieve that goal. Selecting a vocational goal is the same as picking a job that you want to do. You are not limited to an entry-level job. You can choose a job that is consistent with your abilities, capabilities, strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, interests and informed choice.


Know Your Rights

You have the right:

  • To apply for services.
  • To have an eligibility determination made in a timely manner.
  • To see your file.
  • To have your records kept confidential.
  • To be informed of the basis of your counselor’s decisions.
  • To appeal any determination with which you do not agree.
  • To ask CAP for help.

When you are a customer of VR, you also have the right to information that will assist you:

  • To choose what job is best for you.
  • To ask for a new counselor.
  • To choose the services you need.
  • To get the help you need to get the job you want.

Know Your Responsibilities

Along with the rights listed above you have certain responsibilities. These include:

  • To provide your VR counselor with the information necessary to make a decision regarding the services you need.
  • To understand the process.
  • To keep your VR counselor informed of your decisions about your employment goals that are consistent with your abilities, capabilities, and interests.
  • To be an active participant in your vocational process.

Once you and your counselor have agreed on an individual plan of employment (IPE), you should follow-up with your counselor to make sure that all the parts of your plan are being met. Make routine requests for the status of your plan. You may call CAP if you need information or help.


Keep Records

Keep track of information. This will help ensure that you receive the services VR has agreed to provide. You should maintain a record of your case which includes: a summary of your contacts with VR, a copy of any records you have provided to the agency, and a summary of what you and the VR counselor have agreed upon.

Phone Calls - Write down the date, the phone number, and the name of the person with whom you talked. Write down the subject of the call. Keep a written record of any agreements.

Letters - Keep all letters from VR. Keep copies of every letter you send to VR.

Meetings - When you meet with your VR counselor, write down the date and what you and the counselor decided.

Personal - Keep a copy of all medical and psychological reports, work evaluations, and transcripts. Maintain your own records of work history, skills, and education so you are ready to tell employers about yourself.

Keep these records together in the same place. To keep them in order, a notebook or file folder can be helpful.