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Understanding DVR: An Overview

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is not like a Social Service or Job Service agency, therefore, we find it helpful to explain DVR's purpose and process to assist you in working with the DVR.

DVR is funded by the federal Department of Education (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services). Its purpose is to assist a person with a disability in overcoming the limitations of the disability that stand in the way of employment. DVR's process is to assist a person in developing a plan called an Individualized Employment Plan (IPE). The plan contains services that allow a person to avoid or overcome the limitations of the disability so their employment goal can be achieved.

DVR is an eligibility program and not an entitlement program, (i.e. Social Security) To be eligible for DVR, a person must have a disability that is a significant impediment to employment. (If a person's disability does not cause a significant barrier to employment, the person is not eligible and thus cannot receive DVR's help.) After a person is eligible, he/she then receives help in obtaining a job suited to their abilities.

Once a person is found eligible for DVR assistance, the person (DVR client) and the DVR counselor gather information on the disability and how it causes barriers to employment (DVR refers to this as substantial limitations). The person and the DVR counselor also gather information on the person's strengths and abilities to choose an appropriate career goal. If the person already has a career goal in mind, the information is used to determine if the career goal is feasible. After this information is gathered, the counselor and person write up a plan (IPE) that contains:

  1. The services needed to address the disability issues and;
  2. Services that will lead to employment goal.

This planning process is how DVR is different from Social Services or Job Service. The federal funds for DVR are provided to assist people with disabilities in getting the type of jobs they would have achieved if the disabilities were not getting in the way. It is meant to level the playing field and allow people with disabilities to get jobs that match their abilities - not their disabilities.

Tips for Consumers:

One way to speed up the DVR process is to provide information that you already have on your disability and your abilities. What are the limitations or restrictions? Is treatment needed? Are accommodations needed? Is rehabilitation technology needed? How do you reduce the impact of the disability on your ability to succeed? Do you have academic testing or reports that explain your abilities? Are your abilities suited to certain careers?

DVR's primary purpose is to provide planning and guidance to help a person achieve employment.




Contact Information

Información en Español (Information in Spanish)
Hais txog ua lus Hmoob (Information in Hmong)
Postal Address 
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,
Trade, and Consumer Protection
2811 Agriculture Drive P.O. Box 8911
Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8911

Phone / TTY: 608-225-5070
Fax: 608-224-5069

CAP Email (Linda Vegoe): linda.vegoe@wi.gov
Webmaster Email (Wendy Felton): wendy.felton@wi.gov