The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

Job Seekers - I'm Ready to Apply

Before you Apply, Learn More

This page helps potential consumers learn what to do before applying for services with the agency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check our answers to frequently asked questions. If you can't find the answer there, please contact us for assistance.

What is a Referral?

A referral tells a DARS counselor that you, or someone you know, would like to become a consumer of the DARS program. Anyone may refer a person with a disability who wants to work. Referrals come from social workers, doctors, mental health professionals, high school teachers, family, employers, hospitals and many others. If you are a person with a disability, you may refer yourself. Before you refer someone, please make sure that person knows about and agrees to being referred. Give referral information to your local DARS office by:

Who May Apply?

You may apply for the DARS vocational rehabilitation program if:

  • You have a physical, mental, or emotional disability,
  • The disability keeps you from finding or keeping a job,
  • You are willing and able to work and you think our services can help you, and
  • You are in the state (living in, working in, or moving to Virginia).

If you receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and you want to work, you already meet the first three criteria. However, you do not have to be receiving SSDI or SSI to apply.

If you think you have a disability, but have never been diagnosed, you may apply.

How do I Apply?

You may call or e-mail the local DARS office nearest you for an appointment. Or you may call toll-free in the U.S. 1-800-552-5019 (TTY 1-800-464-9950).

At your appointment, we will help you apply. This means we will start getting the information from you, your records, and any new information needed to decide if you are eligible and how we might help you with employment. We will ask you to sign a release so we can get your records. We may suggest (at no cost to you) vocational testing and other assessments.

Some information we may ask you for:

  • What your disability is and how you feel about it
  • Your job plans;
  • What records (medical, mental health, alcohol or substance abuse, special education, employee, social security disability, etc.) might help us understand your disability;
    • Names and addresses of schools you attended;
    • Names and addresses of any doctors you have seen recently;
  • places you have worked and when, type of job, skills, salary, and why you left;
  • type of medical insurance you have;
  • transportation issues
  • your Social Security number.

If you do not have this information, do not let that stop you. We will help you get it.

How does the VR program work?

Our vocational rehabilitation (VR) program offers services to empower individuals with disabilities to enter the work force or return to work. Visit the "How VR Works" page to learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a consumer, common terminology, and a complete description of the steps you can take to help ensure that you have a successful vocational rehabilitation.