Once your son or daughter is finished with their high school education, a decision needs to be made as to whether they get a job or continue their education. That is where OVR can help you.
The last time we communicated, I talked about waivers and what it takes to apply for them. Today I want to touch on The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). Many people with disabilities (and other people needing assistance) use OVR to help them obtain a job or continue their education. Like everything else that we are going to discuss in the next couple blogs, applying for OVR is another process. We just have to take it one step at a time. For a complete list of resources that OVR provides, please visit the following link.
When you are done reading my blog, you will be able to help your young adult navigate through OVR’s system successfully. I trust that what I have discovered will make this process go smoothly for you.
The first step in the application process is filling out the employment planning application. You must contact your specific county office to receive an application. To find out which office to contact, visit OVR’s website and locate the office for your county of residence. Follow the link to get started in the right direction:
Another place to assist you with locating the appropriate OVR branch is to contact your child’s IEP teacher, case manager, or special education supervisor.
Once you are linked to OVR, they will then issue you a counselor. The counselor will meet with you at the school to start filling out the rest of the required paperwork. This meeting will take about 30 minutes. In addition to the information that you supply, they will also require documentation from your child’s physician. After the paperwork is completed and submitted, OVR will have up to 30 days to approve you for services. Sometimes they will need to extend the approval out to 60 days if they need to get more paperwork. I know they had to do that for me.
The next step is up to you. You and your child have to decide whether he or she wants to go to college or get a job because OVR will only pay for one thing at a time. Also, OVR will NOT pay the whole cost of a service. They will only pay a portion of the cost, depending on how much money they are provided with from state funding. When OVR pays for things like college courses or job training, transportation is not included. Tuition and transportation are separate entities.
OVR caters to the individual so what OVR pays for is different for every person. If OVR and you do not come up with a career goal or a tentative career plan within 90 days, you can feel free to reapply. Note the 60- day clock will restart after you reapply. The 90-day clock also resets. Note that the 90-day clock starts immediately after the approval, not after the first meeting with the intake counselor. OVR caters to each need. Therefore, the approval could take longer, depending on the person. It is hard to say what OVR won’t pay for because every situation is different. For a complete list of services that you could receive, please visit OVR’s website. http://www.dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Disability-Services/ovr/Pages/default.aspx
Even though you cannot find a full-time job until you are done school, OVR has just recently started to help students find competitive employment during the summer months. This started last year. For more information, you can feel free to look on the OVR Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Pennsylvania-Office-of-Vocational-Rehabilitation-160898450745020/
OVR also has a twitter account if you prefer that, instead.
In case you are wondering where I am in the process, I have met with the OVR counselor and now we are coming up with a career plan. As far as my career plan goes, I am not sure whether or not I am going to go to work. I am waiting on Arcadia University to tell me if I am accepted into their Real Certificate program, but if not, I hope to volunteer at the nursing home and at The Arc Alliance next year. We are waiting for Arcadia to tell me if I’m accepted before we jump right into employment.
You may know that Social Security is available for senior citizens, but did you know it is also available for people with disabilities? Read my next blog to find out more.
As always, if you need anything, do not hesitate to contact The Arc Alliance for more details, but for now, that is about it. Talk to you guys next time and remember; it only takes one person to change the world. :-