Who is Eligible for DRS Services?

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) works with people who have a wide range of disabilities including hearing loss.

A student with a disability may be eligible for DRS services if the disability causes problems in preparing for, finding, or keeping a job. A referral should be made to DRS especially in the following situations:

  • Upon his/her exit from high school, the student needs additional skill development (including higher education) in order to succeed in the work force.
  • There is a need for assistance in transitioning to employment.

How Does DRS Work?

Each person who comes to DRS as a customer works with a rehabilitation counselor. Together they follow these four steps:

  1. Decide on an employment goal. The customer selects a job goal that matches his/her aptitudes and interests.
  2. Develop a plan. The customer works with a counselor to develop a plan for employment. The plan identifies the services that will be needed in order to reach the identified goal. It states who will provide the services, and outlines how to determine if the services are beneficial. Some services will be provided by the counselor, while others may be purchased or provided by other agencies.
  3. Follow the plan. The customer receives the services outlined in his/her plan. If a customer is a high school student, some of these services will be provided as part of his/her high school program. The DRS counselor will monitor progress through the school's vocational coordinator, attend staffings, and make arrangements for whatever services will be needed to make the student's transition out of high school as smooth as possible.
  4. Reach the goal. The counselor works with the customer to reach the ulitmate goal of finding the right job. Once the customer is on the job, the counselor follows up for at least 90 days in order to make sure that both the employer and the new employee are satisfied. Sometimes additional services may be needed. When this happens, DRS can begin working with the customer again to make sure he/she is able to stay on the job.

What Kind of Services are Available Through DRS?

DRS collaborates with many partners throughout the state in order to offer a wide range of coordinated thransition services that are designed to help young people with disabilities become productive, self-sufficient adults.

A few of these services include:

  • Job training
  • Placement assistance
  • Training in job-seeking skills
  • Job coaches
  • Support services
  • Tools and equipment
  • Accommodations
  • Assistive technology
  • Prostheses
  • Hearing aids/ALDs

The goal of DRS is to tailor a program to meet the unique needs of each of its customers.

How is a Referral Make to DRS?

If a student is participating in a special education department sponsored school work program, the vocational teacher or coordinator usually makes the initial referral. Ideally, this referral will be make during the student's sophomore year. Otherwise, a student with a disability who is within two years of exit from high school may contact DRS directly to inquire about obtaining services. Referrals may also be made by family members, school staff, mental health professionals, social workers, churches, and other community agencies.

Who Pays for DRS Services?

The following services are provided free of charge by DRS:

  • Disability Assessments
  • Vocational Counseling
  • Job Placement Services
  • Job Follow-Up Services, including Job Coaches
  • Interpreters/CART Providers

Some of these services are purchased from public and private agencies in the community. If financially able, customers are asked to pay for part of the services.

More information and your local branches can be located at the following address: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx