What are Employment services?
Employment services are any type of assistance provided by an agency such as the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Division of Rehabilitative Services, the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired, or a Workforce (One-Stop Career) Center that can lead you to find the right job or career.
Many seniors and people with disabilities want to work. However, between 45-65% of people with disabilities are unemployed or under-employed. Some people do not realize that there are ways to stay working or get back to work.
Federal and state laws protect your rights to work.
What employment programs and services are available?
Finding the right job can be hard. If you are a senior or have a disability, it can be even harder. You are not alone when looking for the right job. Many agencies can help you find a job. These agencies have many services to help find the right job and career for you. These services can also get you ready for jobs in many fields. For some services you must meet eligibility requirements, and services are contingent upon funding availability.
You can visit your local Virginia Workforce Center, also called a One-Stop Career Center. The Centers offer employment, training, and career education services. Everyone can use the Centers, free of charge. To locate the Workforce Services nearest you, visit www.virginiacareerworks.com/local-workforce-boards. For more information about finding a job go to www.virginiacareerworks.com/about and click Job Seekers or Resources.
You can also log onto the Virginia Employment Commission's (VEC) 'Virginia Workforce Connection' Website at www.vawc.virginia.gov to register for job seeker services or Unemployment Insurance Benefits. You can also call toll free at 1-866-832-2363 to learn about finding a job. Other services available with the VEC include job referral and placement, referral to training, and job search skill-building activities. To find a local VEC Workforce Center, visit www.vec.virginia.gov/vec-local-offices.
The Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program is an employment program for people with disabilities who are interested in going to work. The Ticket Program is part of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 - legislation designed to remove many of the barriers that previously influenced people's decisions about going to work because of the concerns over losing health care coverage. The goal of the Ticket Program is to increase opportunities and choices for Social Security disability beneficiaries to obtain employment, vocational rehabilitation (VR), and other support services from public and private providers, employers, and other organizations. An Employment Network (EN) provides employment and other support services to Ticket to Work holders. An EN may be a single provider of such services or a partnership among organizations combining their resources into a single entity. ENs offer one or more services such as job readiness and work-skills assessment; career counseling; employment placement; internships and apprenticeships; vocational rehabilitation; job coaching; transportation; and, other supports. To learn more about the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program or to find an EN in your area go to www.yourtickettowork.ssa.gov. A Ticket to Work website for people with disabilities receiving Social Security disability benefits is at www.choosework.ssa.gov.
If you have a disability and want to know how to get ready for, find, and keep a job, visit the Virginia Division of Rehabilitative Services website. Or you can call toll free at 1-800-552-5019 (TTY: 1-800-464-9950).
If you have a visual impairment or are blind or deafblind and want to know more about employment services, visit the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired website. Or call toll-free at 1-800-622-2155 (Voice/TTY).
If you have an intellectual disability (once called mental retardation) or mental health issue, contact your local Community Services Board. Visit the VirginiaNavigator website and type "Community Services Boards" in the 'What do you need' box and put in your zip code or city/county.
If you are a veteran with a disability and would like to return to work, you can visit the Virginia Department of Veterans Services website or call (804) 786-0286.
If you are age 55 or older and want to work, your local Area Agency on Aging may be able to help. Visit VirginiaNavigator and type "Area Agency on Aging" in the topic box and then put in your zip code or city/county.
If you receive Medicaid benefits, Medicaid Works allows workers with disabilities to earn a higher income and keep more in resources, while ensuring Medicaid coverage.
What are the costs?
For some services, you must meet eligibility requirements, and services are contingent upon funding availability. Most employment services do not have a cost, but some do. If you are under 18 and your family is able to pay, or if you were given a large worker's compensation claim, you might have to pay for all or some of your services. To get free services you must meet financial requirements.
How do I qualify?
Many of these services are for everyone. If you have a disability, you may qualify for special employment services from one or more of the agencies listed above.