Vocational Rehabilitation and SSDI: What You Need to Know

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) offers vital financial support to people who are unable to work due to a disability. But proving you need SSDI can take time and energy. T0 that end, vocational rehabilitation in SSDI applications, and especially SSDI appeals, can make a big difference. 

But what is vocational rehabilitation? And how can it impact the SSDI claims process?

Understanding Vocational Rehabilitation:

Vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs are broadly designed to help people with disabilities get and keep meaningful, sustainable employment. These programs offer a range of services, including: 

  • job counseling
  • skills assessment
  • vocational training
  • job placement assistance
  • and more. 

And they offer these services with the goal of helping anyone with disabilities prepare for, find, and maintain employment.

When used in the SSDI context, these programs and their representatives help determine a person’s need for SSDI vs. other means of income.

The Role of Vocational Rehabilitation in SSDI Claims

While many people who apply for SSDI qualify and truly need the benefits, the SSA still denies the majority of claims on the first try. In that situation, you have 60 days to appeal – during which time you should get the help of a good SSDI lawyer. 

Vocational rehabilitation programs provide supporting evidence at this stage by meeting with you to assess your ability to work. In some cases, they’ll meet with you during the initial application. But more often, they’ll join during the appeal. The system covers their services, so you don’t pay for their report.

Representatives help figure out exactly what you’re able to do (and not do), and why. They look at your skills, education, work experience, and the impact of your disability. Then they assess how this all impacts your ability to earn an income. 

The judge uses the findings to confirm their opinions about your case and make a wise decision. 

Some people get nervous about these meetings. They assume it could seriously damage their claim if they make a mistake. But vocational rehabilitation programs are generally neutral, which means they aren’t biased to try to make your case look better or worse than it is. And usually you won’t be referred unless it’s a close call, which is typically a good sign. 

Keep in mind, at the meeting, you won’t have a lawyer there with you. But they aren’t trying to manipulate you or sway your case, and you shouldn’t try to manipulate them. Just be honest and do your best. 

How Vocational Rehabilitation Programs Can Help People Receiving SSDI

Once you receive SSDI, these programs may continue to support you in a variety of ways. 

Assessing Work Capacity: 

If you begin to recover or feel able to return to work, vocational rehabilitation professionals can assess your abilities just like when you first applied for SSDI. They can then direct you to programs to help you re-enter the workforce or develop a different plan for income.

Developing Return-to-Work Plans:

Vocational rehabilitation counselors work with SSDI claimants to develop personalized return-to-work plans tailored to their abilities, interests, and vocational goals. These plans can help you figure out how to overcome barriers to employment after a long time away.

For example, the services might include job training and other skills programs to prepare you for changes in technology, software, and workplace culture. 

Facilitating Return-to-Work Incentives: 

Vocational rehabilitation programs often collaborate with government agencies (like the SSA) and potential employers. They might offer return-to-work incentives if you’re receiving SSDI benefits and have the ability to go back to work. 

These incentives may include trial work periods or continued medical coverage during the transition back to work. They can also help you communicate with the SSA so you only return to work (and the income it provides) in a time and manner that’s healthy for you.

And if you find you made a mistake and work still isn’t possible or healthy for you, they can help speed up the process to reinstate your benefits. 

Darrell Castle downtown Memphis attorneyA Memphis SSDI Lawyer for Your Appeal

It can make a huge difference to use vocational rehabilitation in SSDI claims. But they’re only one part of the puzzle. 

To help you get the approval you desperately need, you should first work with an SSDI lawyer.

Our Memphis SSDI lawyers stand up for you every step of the way to help you get the benefits you need and deserve. We find and fix any holes in your initial application, back up your claims with documentation and testimony, and represent you in front of the appeals judge.

What’s more, we don’t make a penny unless we win for you. And even then, it’s just a small portion of your past-due benefits. You keep everything moving forward. 

If you’ve already been denied, you only have 60 days to appeal, so don’t wait to get started. Contact us online today or call us at 901-327-2100.