- Aspiring Interpreter
- AA-BA Partnership
- ASL Standards
- Classroom Modules
- Diagnostic Assessment
- Journal of Undergraduate Studies
- Outcomes Circle
- Student Recruitment
- Vocational Rehabilitation Internship
- Deaf Self-Advocacy
- Teaching Interpreting Media
Vocational Rehabilitation: History, System & Process
An infusion module for Interpreter Education Programs
This section discusses the federal VR Act.
A Presentation on The Vocational Rehabilitation Act
This page shares a presentation focusing on Vocational Rehabilitation act that was orginally created by the Minnesota Council on Developmental Disabilities. The video includes ASL interpretation. Below that, you can read the English transcripts of the presentation. Use whatever format is most beneficial for your learning.
Questions for Reflection:
- What do each of the 7 Titles of the VR Act cover?
- Why do you think Carl Suter described this act as a model for the rest of the world?
Direct Link to the Video: http://youtu.be/O8YsIhcuvzw
Originally produced in 2004 by the University of Missouri’s Disability Policy & Studies office (formerly RCEP 7) under a grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) as part of the RSA National SRC Training Initiative. Produced and written by Scott Standifer. For more information contact Disability Policy & Studies at 573 882-3807.
Interpretation is provided through the MARIE Center by Darlene Ensinot
Transcript of Presentation on The Rehabilitation Act
The current Rehabilitation Act stands as one of the defining documents for the relationship between the US government and its citizens with disabilities.
The Act is divided into seven sections, called Titles, and a preamble that comes before the titles.
This initial section defines important terms used in the Act and describes the basic intent and principles of the Act.
In effect, it lays out the philosophical framework for all that is to follow.
And, according to Jan La Belle of the Florida State Rehabilitation Council, this section says some fundamental things about why the Act exists:
Jan La Belle: I think that it is an implementation of our constitution; it is a way of realizing and operationalizing our constitution. I think it declares that every human being has value and every human being can be productive. And some people may need additional services on their way to getting there. But it doesn’t mean that’s not where they are going to go.
Narrator: This section of the Act also establishes RSA and identifies its administrative responsibilities, especially with regard to the VR program.
Title One of the Rehab Act describes the basic structure of the public rehabilitation system.
It establishes the role of state VR agencies and authorizes a special program for Native Americans – sometimes called the One-Twenty-One Program – to meet the unique rehabilitation needs of Native Americans with disabilities.
Title One also establishes two advocacy programs – Client Assistance Programs – or “CAPs” – to make sure people with disabilities know about the support options the state will provide; and State Rehabilitation Councils – or SRCs – to act as citizens’ advisory groups to State VR agencies.
Title Two of the Act covers Research and Training issues related to disability and rehabilitation.
This title establishes the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research – usually called NIDDR.
Title Three of the Act authorizes funding for Special Projects and Demonstrations related to VR services and training.
This includes funding for a variety of academic scholarships, development projects, and educational programs.
It also includes a set of continuing education centers for working rehabilitation counselors – called RRCEPs – and a similar set of centers for community rehabilitation providers – called CRP-RCEPs.
Title three also funds projects to expand or improve VR services and projects to provide VR services to migrant and seasonal farm workers.
Title Four of the Act establishes a National Council on Disability.
This council acts as the voice of people with disabilities at a national level, similar to the State Rehabilitation Councils on an agency level.
Title Five addresses the rights and advocacy of people with disabilities.
It describes how the Federal Government and the projects it funds will protect the rights of people with disabilities and not allow discrimination toward them.
This title is the civil rights section of the Act and is a forerunner of the ADA.
Title Six establishes two specific approaches to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The first is Projects With Industry and the second is Supported Employment.
The Projects With Industry grants program promotes corporate hiring of qualified people with disabilities into competitive jobs.
The Supported Employment Program helps people with the most significant disabilities find competitive, community-based jobs.
This title of the Act makes sure the Public Rehabilitation System includes the business community.
Title Seven establishes several support systems for independent living of people with disabilities.
The first is a program called Independent Living Services, which provides funds for states to help people with disabilities live independently.
Title Seven also establishes the system of Independent Living Centers – or ILCs – that provide referral, advocacy, and guidance services to promote independent living.
The third program is Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind.
Title Seven also establishes the State Independent Living Councils as a key administrative part of the independent living programs.
These “Silks” – as some people call them – often work closely with the State Rehabilitation Councils.
With that basic structure in mind, it is worth looking more closely at Title One and a few of its subsections.
At the front of Title One is a set of definitions and policy principles, similar to the preamble.
After that is some language about required funding for the programs – which seems minor at first, but which makes a huge difference.
Other titles in the Rehab Act simply say Congress will appropriate necessary funds to carry them out.
Title One says Congress will appropriate the same amount as the year before plus a cost of living increase.
This makes the amount of funding for Title One mandatory – Congress cannot reduce – or eliminate – the funding unless it changes the law.
The funding for all other titles is discretionary – which means Congress can reduce or eliminate them if needed.
The next section, Section 101, requires that each state develop a State Plan, describing how it will provide
VR services to its citizens and naming the Designated State Unit – or D-S-U – to carry out the plan on a day-to-day basis.
The State Plan acts as a contract between the State and Federal governments about the delivery of VR services.
This section of the Act also requires that the state plan address Order of Selection (if necessary), the training of VR personnel under a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development – also called “C-S-P-D” – and the Individualized Plan for Employment forms – or “I-P-E”s – that counselors and consumers in that state will use.
Section 102 discusses eligibility and the I-P-E.
Section 103 outlines the elements of VR service to individuals and groups.
Section 105 establishes the State Rehabilitation Councils, or “S-R-C” s.
It outlines the specific composition of S-R-C membership, the duties of the council, and the resources available to it.
Section 106 requires R-S-A to create a set of Standards and Indicators, which state agencies and R-S-A will use to measure progress towards program goals.
Section 107 outlines the monitoring responsibilities of R-S-A to ensure that state agencies are complying with the Rehab Act. It also outlines the available penalties and appeals process for states judged non-compliant.
Section 112 requires states to establish a Client Assistance Program, or “Cap.” And, as mentioned,
Section 121 provides an alternative VR system for Native Americans.
Taken together, Title One and the other Titles of the Rehab Act represent the accumulated wisdom of more than eighty years experience helping and promoting people with disabilities to achieve basic independence.
The Act creates a public rehabilitation system that is, at it’s core, flexible, individualized, and comprehensive, focused on doing whatever it takes. Carl Suter, Director of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, says it is a model for other laws around the world.
Carl Suter: I think that what we have with this law is – there’s nothing we can’t do on behalf and with a consumer in order to help them achieve their goals, their ambitions for success in becoming self sufficient. You know, there’s not a cap on services, there’s not a limitation on what you can or can’t buy. And that’s really unique. And, I think, is one of the things that makes our program so unique is that it is so individually tailored.
NAD Guide to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is the federal law that authorizes the formula grant programs for vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, independent living, and client assistance. It also authorizes a variety of training and service discretionary grants administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. The Rehabilitation Act authorizes research activities that are administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the work of the National Council on Disability. The Rehabilitation Act also includes a variety of provisions focused on rights, advocacy and protections for individuals with disabilities.
Title I – Vocational Rehabilitation / Rehabilitation Services Agency
Vocational rehabilitation (VR) services help eligible persons with a disability pursue post-secondary education, employment, and independent living. Services could include counseling, medical and psychological services, job training, and other services, based on the needs of the individual. State VR programs are funded and overseen by the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration.
Title V – Rights and Advocacy
Section 501 – Federal Employment
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires the federal government to practice affirmative action to hire and to promote workers with disabilities. The regulations for this law require the federal government to provide equal access to training and promotion opportunities, and to make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities. Section 501 also requires the federal government to practice affirmative action to hire and to promote workers who have a disability, including workers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
To obtain more information or to file a complaint, federal employees should contact their agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office.
Section 502 – Established the Access Board
Section 502 created the United States Access Board, originally named the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. Section 502 lays out the duties of the Board under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), which include: ensuring compliance with standards issued under the ABA, developing and maintaining guidelines upon which the standards are based, and promoting access throughout all segments of society. Section 502 also outlines the membership and composition of the Board.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) expanded the Board’s mandate to include:
developing the accessibility guidelines for facilities and transit vehicles covered by the law;
providing technical assistance and training on these guidelines; and
conducting research to support and maintain the guidelines.
The Board is also responsible for developing guidelines for accessible telecommunications products under Section 255 of the Communications Act. In addition, the Board is responsible for developing accessibility standards for electronic and information technology for federal agency compliance under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Section 503 – Employers with Federal Contracts or Subcontracts
Section 503 requires affirmative action and prohibits employment discrimination by federal government contractors and subcontractors with contracts of more than $10,000. For more information on Section 503, contact:
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
(202) 693-0106 (voice/relay)
Section 504 – Federal Agencies and Federally-Funded Programs and Activities
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service.” 29 U.S.C. § 794(a).
Each federal agency has its own set of Section 504 regulations that apply to its own programs. Agencies that provide federal financial assistance also have section 504 regulations covering entities that receive federal aid. Requirements common to these regulations include reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities; program accessibility; effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities; and accessible new construction and alterations.
An example of one policy requiring the provision of qualified interpreters is theSocial Security Administration Access Policy.
See also LaCheen, Cary, “Improving Remote Communication Between Public Benefits Agencies and Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals,” Clearinghouse Review, Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, Vol. 43, Nos. 9-10, 431-439 (2001).
Filing a Complaint under Section 504
Each federal agency is responsible for enforcing its own Section 504 regulations. Section 504 may also be enforced through private lawsuits. It is not necessary to file a Section 504 complaint with a federal agency or to receive a “right-to-sue” letter before going to court.
You can find out about the procedures for filing a Section 504 complaint by contacting the federal agency for more information. Seehttp://www.ada.gov/investag.htm for a list of federal agencies that investigate disability discrimination complaints against federally funded programs that provide education, health care, housing, transportation, and other services.
You can also find out about filing Section 504 complaints by contacting:
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section – NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
(800) 514-0301 (voice)
(800) 514-0383 (TTY)
Section 508 – Electronic and Information Technology
Section 508 establishes requirements for electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the federal government. Section 508 requires federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public.
An accessible information technology system is one that can be operated in a variety of ways and does not rely on a single sense or ability of the user. For example, a system that provides output only in audio format may not be accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information on Section 508, contact:
U.S. General Services Administration
Center for IT Accommodation (CITA)
1800 F Street, N.W.
Room 1234, MC:MKC
Washington, DC 20405-0001
(202) 501-4906 (voice)
(202) 501-2010 (TTY)
U.S. Access Board
1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111
Copyright © 2013-2016 by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC).
This NCIEC product was developed by the National Interpreter Education Center (NIEC) at Northeastern University. Permission is granted to copy and disseminate these materials, in whole or in part, for educational, non-commercial purposes, provided that NCIEC is credited as the source and referenced appropriately on any such copies.