Accessing Texas Vocational Rehab Services During the Pandemic

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

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Accessing Texas Vocational Rehab Services During the Pandemic

Our Client Assistance Program at DRTx assists people in accessing or obtaining services from the following agencies:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program, Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS)
  • Older Individuals who are Blind Program (OIB)
  • Independent Living Centers (ILCs)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these agencies have temporarily adjusted the way they provide services as explained below.

Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehab Services (TWS-VRS)

TWS-VRS continues to accept applications and provide services to anyone who is interested in services to help them return to employment or go to work. Their physical offices are closed but its staff is providing services remotely. If anyone is interested in applying for services or is having difficulty reaching their counselor, they can call 512-936-6400.

The TWC website includes a message to its customers regarding its operations in general and providing COVID guidance (See “A Message to Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Customers” on that page).

Additionally, the majority of services are still being provided. However, some services have been suspended due to COVID restrictions. Go to the TWS-VRS website and scroll down to the Temporary Exceptions document which will explain what services can be provided, what services can be provided with a contract exception, and what services are currently suspended.

TWS-VRS reports some of their offices, including those where they are co-located in a Texas Workforce Solutions Office, are closed for in-person access by the public. Others are limiting the hours in which they are open for public access or are open by appointment only.

Older Individuals Who Are Blind (OIB)

OIB is an independent living program administered by the TWS-VRS program. It is for individuals over 55 who are blind or visually impaired who need services to help them live independently.  Find out more information about the OIB program on the TWS-VRS website. Since this program is also administered under the TWS-VRS program, the same information above regarding the message to TWS-VRS customers and exceptions, apply to this program as well.

Independent Living Centers (ILCs)

ILCs have traditionally provided services to help individuals with their goals of living independently. These centers’ main focus is to provide information and referral, independent living skills training, counseling, advocacy, and transition services.  The Texas Health and Human Services website provides a list of Texas ILCs and contact information for each.

Contact the nearest ILC to you to find out what services they are providing at this time. A majority of these services had been provided in person prior to COVID. Services are now being provided remotely as much as possible.

Some of the ILCs provide additional services besides the main focus areas mentioned above.  Those ILCs are identified at the link above as well.

ILCs have received additional funding through the CARES Act allowing them to provide additional services during COVID.  Please contact your nearest ILC for more information.

DRTx Can Assist You with Getting VR Services

Disability Rights Texas’ Client Assistance Program (CAP) helps people with disabilities reach their goals to live more independently and go to work. Our program helps people who are getting services or who are trying to get services from TWS-VRS, OIB, and federally-funded ILCs. If you are having problems getting services, please contact us.

Created: August 25, 2020
Publication Code: EM14

Disability Rights Texas logo

Statewide Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Sign Language Video Phone: 1-866-362-2851
Purple 2 Video Phone: 512-271-9391
Online Intake available 24/7: intake.DRTx.org

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

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