Client Assistance Program

CAP IS THE FEDERALLY DESIGNATED STATEWIDE ADVOCATE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES SEEKING SERVICES FROM THE OFFICE OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION, COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAMS, CENTERS FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING AND OTHER PROGRAMS OR PROJECTS FUNDED UNDER TITLE I OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973, AS AMENDED.


If you have a question or concern about OVR services, CAP can help. CAP is a federally mandated program that provides assistance and advocacy to applicants for and recipients of OVR services. CAP is not a part of OVR and its services are provided at no cost to the client.

Our Vision

A Pennsylvania where ALL individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to achieve a meaningful career in order to become independent and integrated into the workforce and community.

Our Mission

To ensure the Vocational Rehabilitation process is open and responsive to the individualized needs of persons with disabilities.

What is Vocational Rehabilitation?

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a state-federal program whose goal is to assist people with disabilities prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment.

If you have questions about VR services, please contact our office to speak with someone, or read our FAQs page.

CAP’s Role

  • CAP is an advocacy program for people with disabilities administered by the Center for Disability Law & Policy.​
  • CAP helps people who are seeking services from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Blindness and Visual Services, Centers for Independent Living and other programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • CAP help is provided to you at no charge, regardless of income.
  • The Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program is dedicated to ensuring that the rehabilitation system in Pennsylvania is open and responsive to your needs.
  • CAP is Independent from OVR and Centers for Independent Living
  • CAP will ADVISE, INFORM, ASSIST and ADVOCATE on behalf of the individual needs of our clients!

WHAT WE ARE EXPERT AT

CAP Assistance and Advocacy

Advise and inform clients and client-applicants of all services and benefits available to them through programs authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Act), including activities carried out under sections 113 and 511.

Assist and advocate for clients and client-applicants in their relationships with projects, programs, and community rehabilitation programs providing services under the Act;

Inform individuals with disabilities in the State, especially individuals with disabilities who have traditionally been unserved or underserved by vocational rehabilitation programs, of the services and benefits available to them under the Act and under title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 U.S.C. 12111 et seq.)..

Education

We can provide corporate governance, helping clients manage the responsi bilities of running a corporation in financial field.

Housing

We can provide corporate governance, helping clients manage the responsi bilities of running a corporation in financial field.

Developmental Disabilities

We can provide corporate governance, helping clients manage the responsi bilities of running a corporation in financial field.

Where CAP can make a difference in the VR Process

  • Upon completion of referral, a VR team member will contact you and provide a brief overview of the VR process. 

During the initial intake, you will determine if you wish to apply for VR Services. If you wish to continue, a case will be created by your VRC. This session will include:

  • An overview of your Rights and Responsibilities;
  • Complete an application for services which includes:
  • Collecting demographic information;
  • Information regarding diagnosed disabilities;
  • Financial information;
  • Educational and work history; and
  • Your goals.
  • Determining the next steps towards eligibility.

Further, the VR Team will be working to collect and assess information regarding your disabilities to move towards an eligibility determination on your case.

To be eligible for OVR, the following criteria must be met:

  • You must have a disability which creates a barrier to getting or keeping a job;
  • You must be able to work and have a desire to work; and
  • You must require VR services to obtain or maintain employment.

Pennsylvania OVR VR has 60 days to determine eligibility of your case.  Once the necessary documentation, assessment and review of the case has been completed you VRC will make an eligibility determination.  If you are eligible, your case then moves to eligible status.

A comprehensive assessment will be conducted to determine the goals, objectives, nature, and scope of VR services to be included in the IPE. After the assessment is complete, you will be given a list of your options in developing the IPE.

If you are determined eligible for services, you and your counselor will develop and follow an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE is the plan of services and activities that can reasonably be expected to lead to an employment outcome.

You and your counselor will review the IPE, at least once a year, to ensure it is still the best plan for you; however, you may request a review of your IPE at any time. If your needs change while you are in rehabilitation, your IPE may be amended.

Depending on your specific needs, different types of training and services may be provided for you to obtain suitable employment. The available training and services are defined below but not limited to:

Evaluations that may include medical, psychological, vocation, and other specialist exams are required;

  • School-to-Work transition planning;
  • Vocational and Post-Secondary Education Training;
  • Counseling and Guidance;
  • Medical and Psychological treatment;
  • Rehabilitation Engineering / Assistive Technology services;
  • Help with obtaining equipment and services needed for employment;
  • Job Training / Coaching / Placement and support;
  • Supported Employment (SE);
  • Job seeking skills training;
  • Job search;

When you are ready to enter employment, you may be provided job-seeking skills. This may include instructions on how to complete an application; develop a resume; prepare for an interview; and conduct a job search. OVR also maintains contact with employers to refer qualified clients for employment.

  • Independent living services;
  • Post-employment services; and
  • Other services needed to help or maintain employment.

Each case is reviewed on an individual basis; therefore, not all training and services listed may be appropriate in helping you obtain suitable employment.

If you have been out of work for a long time, you may receive training to help you become adjusted to the demands of the job.

If reasonable accommodations are needed to perform the essential functions of your job, OVR may provide advice or assistance to you and your employer.

The only services OVR can provide are those services which are listed on an approved IPE or subsequent approved amendments. The only exception to this is a diagnostic evaluation which may be provided when authorized by your VRC.

After you have obtained employment, it is recommended you keep in contact with your counselor for advice or assistance. Generally, your case will be closed after completing 90 consecutive days of employment.

After your case has been closed, if your situation changes in a way and you are unable to maintain suitable employment, you may contact OVR for further employment assistance. You may be eligible for post-employment services (PES) to help you retain employment or search for other employment. In some cases, clients are asked to reapply for VR services, and a new eligibility determination is made.

What's New

The Pennsylvania Client Assistance program

The OVR Board meeting is June 2, 2022. Email chenovack@pa.gov to register to attend the meeting.