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What is Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs provide services for individuals with disabilities to prepare for and engage in employment to help achieve independence. VR programs are offered by different agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program. Additionally, every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories all offer vocational rehabilitation programs. American Indian VR programs are also available. Eligibility can vary slightly by agency. Services are individualized based on your strengths, abilities, interests, and priorities including the personal impact of your vision loss and any other disability on your daily functioning and implications for employment.


VR in each state is based on the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This program provides grants to assist states in operating statewide VR programs. For state systems, approximately 80% of funding is from federal funds to provide services to those in their state.

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)

As a veteran or service member, you may qualify to receive services from VR&E (formerly known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment). These services assist with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, job-seeking skills, and coaching. Independent living skills services are intended for those with severe disabilities who may need additional support beyond that needed for traditional employment. Other services may be provided to help start a business or services to live independently. To learn more about the VR&E program and how to apply visit

State VR Programs

Not every service member or veteran is eligible for VA’s VR&E programs. Those not eligible for these services may wish to seek services from their state agency. It is also possible to receive services from both VR&E and a state agency. While every state offers VR services, some states have separate agencies specific to serving those with blindness or low vision (and additional disabilities), while other states have a sole agency to serve all citizens. Eligibility can vary by state agency; however, you must have a physical or mental impairment that results in a substantial impediment to employment that requires VR services toward employment and career goals. In addition to serving those deemed eligible for the VR program, VR agencies also work with employers to increase career opportunities for people with disabilities.

State VR Agencies

To locate the blindness-specific VR agency in your area visit:
For general VR agencies, which in some states includes blindness, visit:
If you or someone you know is interested in obtaining services following vision loss and could benefit from services offered by a VR agency, reach out to the Defense Health Agency’s Vision Center of Excellence. If you are a service member or veteran, you may be eligible for VA’s VR&E services. Otherwise, contact your state vocational rehabilitation agency for more information.


American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs
State Vocational Rehabilitation
Veteran Readiness and Employment