Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, Department Secretary

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Vocational Rehabilitation
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services and programs

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

You can complete the application online and then print it for mailing or just print the form and complete it by hand.

DRS Office Locations and Counties Served

Vocational Rehabilitation Services main page

Independent Living Services

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for services, an individual must have a significant disability, which means:
  1. An individual with a significant physical, mental, cognitive or sensory impairment;

  2. Whose ability to function independently in the family or community or whose ability to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment is substantially limited; and

  3. For whom the delivery of independent living services will improve the ability to function, continue functioning, or move towards functioning independently in the family or community or to continue employment.

What services are available?

  • Information and Referral Services - These services are provided to anyone in relation to their rights, resources and responsibilities. These services can be provided individually or in a group, in person or phone contact. The service includes situations when an individual contacts a program for services, information or they are referred to other more appropriate resources. These services are not based upon economic need.

  • Independent Living Skills Training - These services involve teaching independent living skills, either on an individual or group basis. Basic survival skills training is provided in areas such as food preparation, shopping, personal grooming. Training should encompass a broad view of life skills and is not limited to basic survival skills. These services are not based upon economic need.

  • Peer Counseling Services - Peer counseling services are differentiated from counseling services in that these services are provided to consumers by an individual with a similar disability. The peer counselor and consumer meet on a one-to-one basis, or a consumer may meet with a group of peers, in order to discuss issues related to their disability. These services are not based upon economic need.

  • Individual and Systems Advocacy - These services assist an individual in developing the skills needed to advocate on their own behalf within the independent living services process and all activities of daily life. These services also address needed community-wide systems change, which will result in leadership, independence, productivity and full inclusion in society of individuals with significant disabilities. These services are not based upon economic need.

  • Housing Related Services - These services are related to securing housing or shelter, including services related to community group living and supportive of purposes and title of the Act, and adaptive housing services These services may include: a) assisting consumers in finding affordable and accessible housing; b) providing technical assistance concerning modifying existing housing to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities;

How does the process work?

During the application process the independent living specialist will meet with you to begin to assessing your disability and independent living needs. When the assessment is completed, you and your independent living specialist will set goals for you to achieve. There is no charge for services but some services are based upon your economic need.

How long does the process take?

Usually eligibility for services is determined on the same day of application. You can speed up the eligibility process by coming to the center for independent living with medical information concerning your disability or evidence that you receive an SSI or SSDI check. The time it takes to reach your independent living goal depends upon your individual needs.

Where to get services?

Individuals should apply for services at the provider which serves the county in which they live.

Telecommunications Adaptive Devices (TAD) Program Application

Western Resources For Independent Living
405 E Omaha St Ste D
Rapid City SD 57701
(605) 718-1930

Service area includes these counties: Pennington, Meade, Lawrence, Butte, Custer, Fall River, Stanley, Sully, Hughes, Jones, Lyman, Mellette, Tripp, Harding, Perkins, Haakon, and northern Jackson; excluding Indian reservations.

Independent Living Choices (formerly Prairie Freedom Center for Independent Living)
Please note our new website is . Check out the new look. Our email addresses have also changed, so please update your address book.

Independent Living Choices - Office Locations

Native American Advocacy Program
34838 U.S. Highway 18 PO Box 277
Herrick, SD 57538
Office: 605-775-2147
Website: Service area includes all Indian reservations in South Dakota.

Telecommunications Adaptive Devices (TAD) Program

What is the Telecommunications Adaptive Devices (TAD) Program?

The aim of the Telecommunications Adaptive Devices (TAD) program is to provide equal access to telecommunications for individuals with disabilities other than deafness, deaf-blind, hard of hearing or speech impairment.

The Telecommunications Adaptive Devices Program provides telecommunication devices such as fully voice activated phones, main street emergency messenger telephones, picture dialing phones, large button phones and other equipment which may be need to communication through the phone lines.

Where do I call to learn more about TAD or apply?

Check out the "Independant Living Services" tab above!

TAD brochure

Deaf Services

Who is Eligible?

Any individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and late-deafened and is a resident of South Dakota is eligible.

Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS)

Telecommunications relay services provide full telephone accessibility to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled. Specially trained Communication Assistants (CAs) complete all calls and stay on-line to relay messages either electronically over a Teletypewriter (TTY) or verbally to hearing parties.

The service, known as Relay South Dakota is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with no restrictions on the length or number of calls placed. This valuable communications tool gives all individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled the opportunity to make personal and business calls just like any other telephone user.

For more information.

Telecommunications Equipment Distribution (TED) Program

The purpose of the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution program is to provide accessible telephone services for individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, have severe hearing loss or are speech-impaired. This is accomplished through a combination of both the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) and the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program (TED). Special equipment is available� at no cost to enhance telephone communication.

CapTel Captioned Telephone


The CapTel phone looks and works like any other phone so it is ideal for everyone to use. For the deaf and hard of hearing however, the CapTel has one legendary new feature: a screen is built into the front, which displays easy-to-read text as it is transcribed by a CapTel Operator. Words appear almost instantaneously on the screen, thanks to CapTel's advanced voice-recognition technology.

When CapTel users dial a call, they speak normally but are able to read everything the other party says, whether they can hear or not. The combined voice/text capability of CapTel is made possible by voice recognition software and the assistance of a trained Operator who is invisible to both parties during the call.

Don't let hearing loss interrupt your life.

If you are interested in obtaining a CapTel telephone, the Telecommunication Equipment Distribution (TED) program is accepting applications.

If you live in South Dakota, you may be able to get a CapTel captioned telephone FREE OF CHARGE! Equipment is provided at no cost to qualified applicants by the South Dakota Telecommunication Equipment Distribution (TED) program.

To see if you qualify, just fill out the application. Once we receive your application and if it is determined that you are eligible for the program, you will be notified by a communication specialist who will schedule an appointment with you.

For more information on how CapTel works, visit the Captel Website

To be Eligible for Equipment

Eligible residents of South Dakota will have access to equipment and services available through the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution (TED) program. Equipment is distributed by Communication Specialists statewide.

A consumer must complete an application and meet all of the following eligibility requirements before any equipment or services are provided.

An individual must:
  • Be deaf, deaf/blind, severe hearing loss or have a severe speech impairment; This can be determined by a completed "Certificate of Hearing/Speech/Visual Impairment" form or other medical documentation supporting the impairment. A severe hearing loss will be considered when the hearing loss is 30dB average in the frequencies (500, 1000 & 2000) or greater in the better ear; and
  • Be a state resident; and
  • Have access to telecommunication Service

View the services map above.

View a list of TED equipment.

South Dakota TED�Services

For more information about TED services, or for applications use the links below:
Note you will need to select the application for the office serving your county

List of new equipment added to the TED program
List of TED Equipment
Offices, counties served and application- text version
Offices, counties served and application - Map

Hearing Aid Assistance Program (HAAP) for children under 19

In 2014 the South Dakota Legislature identified a need for many families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing: assistance in purchasing hearing aids. Under HB 1166, the legislature approved funding to establish the Hearing Aid Assistance Program (HAAP).

HAAP will help with the cost of hearing aid(s) and associated ear mold(s) for South Dakota children, younger than 19, with progressive or permanent hearing loss who would benefit from hearing aid(s). The program is open to families with a household income of less than 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines that do not have coverage through their current insurance plan. HAAP operates on a sliding fee schedule, with the financial contribution ranging from 50 to 100 percent of the total cost of purchasing hearing aid(s) and associated ear mold(s). If costs for services and hearing aids are currently bundled together, they will need to be separated for submission to HAAP. HAAP will begin accepting applications Dec. 1, 2014. Program launches Dec. 1, 2014.

Application/forms/additional information:

Cochlear Implant Program

A Cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device that assists an individual with severe or profound hearing loss to hear sounds. The Division of Rehabilitation Services, through the Department of Human Services, administers the Cochlear Implant Program. This program is designed to provide financial assistance to an eligible individual who is uninsured or to help offset the deductible or coinsurance for an individual with an insurance plan that covers cochlear implants. The program provides funding for the cost of the implant surgery for one ear or both ears, one or two implant devices, surgeon fee, hospital fee, the initial mapping and up to a maximum of 12 follow up mappings within one year post surgery.

Cochlear Implant Final Rules

Apply for the Cochlear Implant Program
If you have questions please contact:
Janet Ball
(605) 773-4644
toll free at (800) 265-9684
E-mail at

South Dakota Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (SD NDBEDP)

The National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) is a program established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to distribute a wide array of assistive technology to people who are deaf-blind and require special equipment to make a phone call, send an email or access the Internet.

Working in conjunction with the FCC, Perkins and Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults (HKNC), the Department of Human Services will connect people in South Dakota who are deaf-blind with the proper equipment and training on how to utilize it. NDBEDP provides a wide range of specialized and "off-the-shelf" hardware, software and applications. The program also provides one-on-one training to help people use the equipment to its fullest.

Who can benefit from NDBEDP program:
  • An individual with combined hearing and vision loss who wants to use Skype to connect via sign language with her grandmother;
  • An man who has lost sight and hearing as a result of aging and wants to email and Facebook to reconnect with friends and family.

Who is eligible?

Any individual who meets the definition of deaf-blindness in the HKNC Act and has an income that does not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level can qualify to receive telephone, advanced communications and information services equipment.

Communication is essential for staying healthy, holding a job, managing a household and participating in the community. If you know someone who might benefit from the NDBEDP program,
Janet Ball
(605) 773-4644
toll free at (800) 265-9684
E-mail at

You can also visit the national website or call 1-800-825-4595.

The following links are to the FCC Consumer guide and the Application Form for the South Dakota program.

Communication assistance services

The purpose of the communication assistance services program is to provide communication support services to eligible individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing to achieve increased integration into the community and workplace.

Communication assistance services include:
  • Information and referral;
  • Peer support;
  • Communication assistance;
  • Community integration skills training;
  • Deaf awareness training, and
  • Technical assistance.

Mentoring Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS); Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) sponsors mentoring services in order to promote certification and to support advancing of interpreting to the highest level an interpreter can achieve in order to assure quality interpreting services for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Division of Rehabilitation Services administers and provides mentoring services through contracts with provider agencies and free lance mentors that provide services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Mentors must be a Level V (Master of Interpreting) certified interpreter or an individual who is deaf and follow essential functions of a mentor. State office will approve Level IV (Advanced) interpreters on a case-by-case basis when mentoring is requested in a remote location where a Level V interpreter is not readily available. DRS will maintain a list of mentors for availability to candidates seeking mentoring.

South Dakota Mentor List

For further information on mentoring, contact:
Janet Ball
(605) 773-4644
toll free at (800) 265-9684
E-mail at

Interpreter & Mentoring Resources

South Dakota Relay Services

Project Skills

Project Skills is a paid work experience program for high school students with disabilities in South Dakota. The program is a cooperative arrangement between the state vocational rehabilitation agencies and the local school districts.

Project Skills provides students the opportunity to learn different skills in a variety of job placements, with the assistance of a job coach.

Project Skills will help to build the student's work history, references and help them move into different and better jobs as they mature and are ready to take on new challenges. View the Project Skills Manual - Updated 8-30-2016

Tips for schools.

Watch a video explaining the Project Skills program!
*Please note that you will need Windows Media Player to view this video

Student Forms
Welcome to the area of your website where you can download or print out the forms you need to maintain your Project Skills Work Experience! Just click on the form below and a window will pop up allowing you to save the form to your computer or to simply open it and print it out. As the forms are updated or revised, they will be posted here to ensure that you always have to correct form to submit.
Payroll Info

Project Skills payroll follows a pay schedule similar to the state employees payroll. There are two pay periods in every month. The first pay period actually starts on the 2nd day of the month and runs through the 16th day of the month. The second pay period starts on the 17th day of the month and runs through the 1st day of the next month. Your time cards need to be turned into your VR counselor for payroll processing no later than 3 days after the end of each pay period. This is very important as the time has to be entered into the system at the same time that the state employees have to enter their time. If you miss it by one day, your paycheck can be put off until the next pay period, which means about 3 more weeks of waiting for the cash you have worked for! The packet that was given to you when you enrolled in Project Skills included a payroll schedule, but if you have misplaced it, you can get a copy of it here. View Payroll Schedule

The Project Skills time card needs to be completed correctly to ensure that you will get paid for the proper amount of time. Below is a chart for how time is counted. It's very important that you figure your time using the increments below. See an example of a time card that is completed correctly. View and/or print time card increments.

Teacher's Lounge

Welcome to the teacher's lounge! Here you can download and/or print out the forms you need to submit on a monthly basis. You can also get help or questions answered by sending an email to our main office and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible. Our goal is to make this program as efficient as possible. You can also contact the VR counselor that you normally work with. To download or print the form you would like, just click on the form name below. The files will open up in Word Document format for your convenience.

Assurance of Match (to TSL Director)
The Assurance of Match forms cannot be emailed directly to the TSL Director due to the signature requirement.

Monthly Report Forms *(to VR/SBVI counselors)
Work with the VR/SBVI counselor to determine a secure method to provide monthly reports.

Pay Increments (to figure hours worked)
Payroll Schedule 15-16
Form W4
Form I9
Direct Deposit Form

Videos from North Dakota Vocational Rehabilitaiton on the transition from high school to college.

*These are really good videos developed by ND Vocational Rehabilitation. Scroll down on the page to "Taking the Next Step". You will need Windows Media Player or Real Player to view the videos.

If you have suggestions for any other forms you would like to have access to, please email us and we will be happy to try and accommodate you!

For more information about the Project Skills program, please contact:

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH Flyer

Assistive Daily Living Services (ADLS) Program

The Assistive Daily Living Services Program provides personal attendant services, case management, consumer preparation and ancillary services such as skilled nursing and emergency response services to individuals with quadriplegia.

Assistive Technology

Anything used to help overcome or reduce a person's limitations can be considered assistive technology. Assistive Technology includes equipment or services used to help people with disabilities do things easier a piece of equipment can be something you buy off a shelf in a store, something bought and modified, or something designed and built from scratch. Assistive technology services are used to help find out what equipment may be needed, where to get it, and/or how to use it.

Definitions from the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended.

Assistive Technology Device
The term 'assistive technology device' means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Assistive Technology Service
The term 'assistive technology service' means any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Assistive Technology?

An Assistive Technology device is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capacities of individuals with disabilities. It can help people learn, compete in the work environment, achieve independence, or improve quality of life. The use of assistive technology is not an end in itself, but is part of an ongoing therapeutic process to improve functional capabilities. Devices can replace a missing limb, help prevent the worsening of a condition, help improve physical functioning, help improve a person's capacity to learn, or strengthen a physical or other weakness.

What are some Categories of Assistive Technology?

Aids for Daily Living: Devices that help in daily living and independence: modified eating utensils, adapted books, pencil holders, page turners, dressing aids, adapted personal hygiene aids.

Augmentative Communication: Devices that help persons with speech and/or hearing disabilities communicate: communication boards, speech synthesizers, modified typewriters, head pointers, text to voice software.

Mobility Aids: Devices that help people move within their environments: electric or manual wheelchairs, modifications of vehicles for travel, scooters, crutches, canes and walkers.

Seating and Positioning: Adapted seating, cushions, standing tables, positioning belts, braces, cushions and wedges to maintain posture, and devices that provide body support to help people perform a range of daily tasks.

Computer Access Aids: Headsticks, light pointers, modified or alternate keyboards, switches activated by pressure, sound or voice, touch screens, special software, voice to text software.

Environmental Controls: Electronic systems that help people control various appliances, switches for telephone, TV, or other appliances which are activated by pressure, eyebrows or breath.

Home/Workplace Modifications: Structural adaptations that remove or reduce physical barriers: ramps, lifts, bathroom changes, automatic door openers, expanded doorways.

Prosthetics and Orthotics: Replacement or augmentation of body parts with artificial limbs or other orthotic aids such as splints or braces.

Sensory Aids for Vision/Hearing Impaired: Aids such as magnifiers Braille and speech output devices, large print screens, hearing aids, visual alerting systems, telecommunication devices

Recreation: Devices to enable participation in sports, social, cultural events: audio description for movies, adaptive controls for video games, adaptive fishing rods, cuffs for grasping paddles or racquets, seating systems for boats.

What are some examples of "Low Tech" Assistive Technology?

Eating utensils or toothbrushes with weighted handles help a person with limited hand control. Sandwich holders help people with a weak grip.

A communication board with simple pictures helps someone communicate basic needs.

Pencil grippers help a student hold onto a pencil, pen, crayon, or magic marker. Easy grip doorknobs or car door openers help people with weak hands.

Big button phones help people with limited vision or hand control.

Tape recorders help students who have trouble with note taking. A mouthstick can help a person turn the pages of a book without using his or her hands.

Computer screen magnifiers help people with visual impairments. Text telephones or phone amplifiers help people with hearing impairments.

What are some examples of "High Tech" Assistive Technology?

Computers operated by voice command instead of a keyboard.

Environmental controls allow a person to operate appliances from one remote control.

Special lifts help a person get in and out of the bathtub or in and out of bed.

Software which gives immediate positive feedback for a student with a learning disability.

Talking calculators "speak" math operations as they are performed.

Talking software helps a child see and hear as he learns.

Reading machines convert printed material into synthesized speech.

How Does Assistive Technology help people at Work?

Workplace accommodations help a person in a wheel chair to access the necessary equipment around the workplace, such as bookshelves, computers, or worktables. Headset phones and telephone amplifiers help a person with disabilities to answer the phone. A motorized lift helps a farmer with disabilities to get into the tractor. Tape players and headphones drown out noises for an employee with attention deficit disorder.

What are the Costs of Assistive Technology?

Where do people find the money to pay for assistive technology?

Private insurance companies may pay for technology, especially if it will help improve a condition or prevent it from getting worse. State agencies are a major source of funding. Technology that is necessary for education in the "least restrictive environment" may be funded by the school, school district, college or tech school. Technology that helps a person in employment may be funded by state agencies like Vocational Rehabilitation, Commission for the Blind. Medicaid and Medicare may fund assistive technology which is "medically necessary." foundations and service clubs are often funding sources.

How does the use of assistive technology save money?

By allowing a person to function more independently at home, families and the government can save on the cost of attendant care of placing someone in residential facility. When assistive technology helps prevent worsening of a condition, the cost of further medical expenses is reduced. For example, proper seating and positioning for a child can prevent his or her condition from getting worse because there is less strain on muscles and joints. A national study on disability showed that assistive technology saved the government significant money in the amounts of SSI and SSDI payments. Assistive technology helps a person become a tax payer instead of a tax burden.

How can a person find out what Assistive Technology he or she needs?

Finding the "best fit" between a person, his or her environment, and available technology is a process involving the consumer, family members, educational and medical professionals, caretakers, and anyone who often works with the person using the technology. A wrong or hasty decision can cause wasted time, money and patience. Determining what the person needs technology to do for her or him may help identify which agency might help with an assessment. For example, if technology is medically necessary, Medicaid or Medicare might be the fist contact. IF it is necessary for employment, Vocational Rehabilitation or the Blind Commission might be contacted. If it is needed for education, the school district or school itself would be the place to begin.

Why isn't "Assistive Technology" just "Technology"?

Often the actual technology being used by the person with a disability is no different than technology used by any person. In addition, many devices used by people with disabilities have been only slightly modified from typical devices, if modified at all. Whether a technology is called "assistive" is often determined only by the fact that a person with a disability is using it. At times there is good reason to classify a technology as "assistive", for example, to fund a device or service through a special program. In addition, there are numerous devices which are designed specifically for individuals with functional limitations. However, in many cases, classifying technology as "assistive" may be unnecessary and may call attention to minor or nonexistent differences in the technology used. Technology, by its very nature, improves the functional capability of the person using it, regardless of whether or not one has a disability.

SD AT Resources

Steve Stewart, Rehabilitation Engineer
Division of Rehabilitation Services
3800 East Highway 34
c/o 500 East Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
Phone: 605-773-5485
Fax: 605-773-5483

Children's Care Hospital & School
2501 West 26th Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105-2498
Phone: 605-782-2300; 800-584-9294

DakotaLink - Main Demonstration & Service Center
1161 Deadwood Ave. Suite #5
Rapid City, SD 57702
Phone: 1-800-645-0673 (V/TDD)
or: 605-394-6742 (V/TDD)
Or by Email:

Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
800 East 21st Street
PO Box 5045
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5045

South Dakota's Assistive Technology Act Project

Loan of Assistive Technology Devices

Demonstration Centers
Main Demonstration and Service Center
1161 Deadwood Ave. Suite #5
Rapid City, SD 57702
Call 1-800-645-0673 Or 605-394-6742

Sioux Falls Demonstration and Service Center
SD Rehab Center for the Blind
800 NW Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Call: 605-334-9099

Aberdeen Demonstration and Service Center
2911 Industrial Ave.
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Call: 605-725-1833

Brookings Demonstration and Service Center
1310 Main Ave. South
Brookings, SD 57006
Call: 650-692-7275

Administrative Office
P.O. Box 218
Sturgis, SD 57785
Call (605)347-4476

Contact DakotaLink for More Information

Native American Services

American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs

Pine Ridge Vocational Rehabilitation Project
Oglala Sioux Tribe
Roberta Ecoffey, Project Director
PO Box 1985
Pine Ridge, SD 57770
Phone (605) 867-2798
Fax (605) 867-1943
Serving Shannon, Jackson, and Bennett counties

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Oun'iyekiyapi Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Lyle Cook, Project Director
PO Box 590
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
Phone: (605) 964-4400
Fax: (605) 964-4401
Serving Dewey and Ziebach counties

Vocational Rehabilitation Program
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Gillion Plenty Chief, Program Director
PO Box 109
McLaughlin, SD 57642
Phone: (605) 823-4222
Fax: (605) 823-4982
Serving Corson county

Oto Kahe Teca Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Jolleen Laverdure, Director
187 Oyata Circle
Lower Brule, SD 57548
Phone: (605) 473-5244
Fax: (605) 473-5581

Supported Employment Services

Supported Employment Services

Supported employment is when an individual with the most severe disabilities is working in the community alongside individuals who do not have disabilities. Supported employment is receiving the training at the job site and having available the necessary ongoing supports to help maintain the employment.

Who is eligible

Any individual with the most severe disabilities who has been unable to obtain or maintain competitive employment because of their disability; and because of their disability need intensive supported employment services. Individuals should apply for services at their local DRS Office.

What services are available?

Traditionally supported employment services consist of job placement, job coaching, follow-along services. An individual receiving supported employment services is also eligible to receive any of the services available through the State Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

What are the standards for Service Providers

The Rehabilitation Act and Amendments require State VR Agencies to maintain standards for providers of vocational rehabilitation services. In the past we have accepted the accreditation from the Divisions of Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health as our standard for purchasing Job Placement, Job Coaching, and Follow-Along Services. This has limited the availability of service providers and consumer's choices. Following are the three categories for providers of these services:

Provider Type I. Department approved Adjustment Training Centers, Mental Health Centers, Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, Communication Services For the Deaf and any CARF accredited agencies will not be required to submit DRS certification document.

Provider Type II. Consumer Certified Provider - required to meet minimal standards to provide job coaching or follow along service to the consumer. This is allowed only for the specific consumer. DRS retains the right to deny approval based on background check or previous poor performance. Consumer and Provider handbooks are also available at the local DRS Office.

consumer handbook

This handbook was prepared for you, your family members, friends and advocates. It will serve as a guide in the process of hiring, managing and supervising an individual that you have selected to provide employment services and supports. This individual will be referred to as a provider and will be required to meet standards established by the Divisions of Rehabilitation Services and Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired prior to providing these services.

Note: Purchasing of Services through all providers is contingent upon approval of the provider from the State Office of the Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Revised 1/16/2000

You may select any individual you chose to assist you in learning job duties. This person could be a family member, friend, or anyone that you believe would work well with you to learn the job tasks and adjust to the work environment. Once you have identified the person you want to serve as your provider, you should notify your vocational rehabilitation counselor with the person's name, address, and phone number.

It may be helpful to discuss this process with your DRS Counselor and interview the person that you are considering to provide your employment services. It is important that you feel comfortable talking to and working with the person you select. Here are some guidelines to consider when making your selection.

The Provider should:
  • Treat you as an adult, a partner.
  • Be respectful of persons who experience disabilities.
  • Speak clearly so that you can understand what is being said.
  • Help you to feel good about yourself.
  • Demonstrate an interest in improving your quality of life.
  • Be able to assist you in becoming as independent as possible.

Your Rehabilitation Counselor will assist you by contacting the provider you have selected and setting a meeting time in which the three of you can discuss your rehabilitation program. At this time your counselor will review your employment goal and your provider's responsibilities.

You and your provider must complete and sign the Consumer Certified Provider form. This form indicates that DRS/SBVI have certain requirements for service providers and you have decided to waive these requirements to better meet your needs.

The provider must complete an Authorization for Release of Criminal Records. This form must be completed at the local police station and submitted to the SD Division of Criminal Investigation. The provider must include a $15 check or money order with the completed form.

If approved by DRS/SBVI, the provider will be responsible for completing the monthly service, report form. This form should be developed jointly by you and the provider to identify your supports, record your progress and monitor your services.

The provider is being paid by DRS or SBVI to provide you quality services. In order for the provider to receive this payment, you will need to verify the number of hours you received services by signing the time sheets that the provider uses to bill DRS or SBVI for services. You will be responsible to inform the counselor if the provider's performance is unacceptable and does not meet your needs.

The provider is expected to provide one-to-one training to assist in learning your job duties. You should be assisted in understanding the in's and out's of the workplace and in meeting and getting to know your co-workers. You can expect the provider to perform other job related services.

These services include:
  • Overcoming Disability Related Problems:
The provider should assist you in understanding how your disability effects your ability to complete required job duties. You should be treated as an adult in this process, actively participating in decisions. The provider should seek your input when determining the training and assistance needed to assist you in becoming as independent as possible while working at your job.
  • Getting to work:
The provider should be assisting you in identifying methods by which you can independently get to and from work. Transportation may be temporarily furnished by the provider while long term arrangements are being made.
  • Job Training and Support:
The provider should provide adequate training and supervision for you to successfully perform your job. Your co-workers and supervisor should also be assisted in understanding how best to communicate with you and help you learn job duties.
  • Job Site Accommodations:
The provider should work with you, the employer, and your counselor to identify changes in the workplace routines, equipment, and tasks that will allow you to maximize your work potential.
  • Getting Along with Your Co-Workers:
Many people in supported employment programs are capable of learning new job duties with little or no training, but encounter difficulties when working with mid relating to their co-workers. The provider should assist you in learning how to communicate and work effectively with co-workers and supervisors. Together, you and the provider should develop strategies to assist in getting to know the people who are new to you at the workplace.
  • Gaining Your Independence:
Your provider should continually be assisting you to become as in dependent as possible. One of the ways of doing this is to let you work on your own whenever possible. You should assist the provider in identifying the right times for you to begin working without assistance. As you work more and more on your own you, the provider and your counselor will be identifying the supports that may be needed when the provider will be absent from the workplace. These supports may include co-workers, supervisors, an adult service agency, family, or friends. It may also be necessary to identify a funding source that will purchase the long term supports needed to maintain your job.
  • Advocacy:
There are several laws in place today that make it less difficult for you to access employment and that prohibit discrimination. Knowing these laws may help you understand your rights and to determine if you have been treated unfairly. To find out more about these laws contact the rehabilitation counselor.

provider handbook

This Handbook was prepared for a "Consumer Certified Provider" to serve as a guide in the process of providing services for an individual with disability. The Consumer Certified Provider will be required to meet standards established by the Divisions of Rehabilitation Services and Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired prior to providing these services.

Note: Purchasing of Services through all providers is contingent upon approval of the provider from the State Office of the Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Revised 1/16/2000

The experience you are about to begin will be a fulfilling and rewarding one. You have been selected by a person with a disability to provide services enabling that person to learn new job skills. This is possible because the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) or Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) allows a client to choose and hire an individual to provide necessary services to learn and maintain a job. We want to congratulate you for being selected and agreeing to become a Consumer Certified Provider (provider).

This handbook will:
  • Serve as a guide in the certification process,
  • Identify your responsibilities as a provider,
  • Assist in meeting the minimum provider standards and requirements,
  • Identify the various services that may be needed by the consumer, and
  • Identify resources and technical assistance.
You will be working directly for the consumer and are expected to provide one-to-one training. You should assist the consumer in learning the job duties. This includes helping the consumer to understand the in's and out's of the workplace and to become familiar with the co-workers. The consumer should always be treated as an adult and assisted in participating in the decision making process, including identifying training strategies.

The consumer's counselor will assist in the certification process. The counselor will discuss the standards required of providers and the services and supports needed by the consumer. Following are the steps in completing the certification process:
  • Complete and sign the Consumer Certified Provider form with the consumer. This form indicates that requirements are maintained for service providers and the consumer has decided to waive these requirements to better meet his/her rehabilitation needs.

  • Complete an Authorization for Release of criminal records. This form must be completed at the local police station and submitted to the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. Include a $15.00 check or money order with the completed form.

  • If approved as a Provider submit a W-9 form.
Begin providing services to the consumer only after receiving written authorization from the counselor. This authorization will approve a specific number of service hours. If additional hours are needed, additional authorization will be required. Complete the monthly service report form for every month of service. This form should be developed jointly by you and the consumer to identify necessary supports, record progress and monitor the services you are providing. The consumer is responsible for informing the counselor if the provider's performance is unacceptable

Note: The Consumer Certified Provider provision allows you to work only with the consumer that has selected you as a provider. There is a private provider provision that allows a provider to work with multiple consumers. If you are interested in becoming a private provider, ask the counselor about the minimum requirements and other provisions.

  • Bill only for services authorized by a State Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Maintain a professional standard of conduct
  • Maintain consumer confidentiality
  • Notify the counselor of any change in the consumer's service need or employment status
  • Provide services in a manner that will reduce the consumer's and employer's dependence upon you and that result in the consumer's working effectively without your support.
Reimbursement equal to the current dollars per hour rate established by the department is available only for job coaching and follow-along services authorized by a State Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Billable time will include any time directly related to the consumer's rehabilitation. Billing will be monitored for accuracy. The completed monthly service report, including a listing of the dates of services and amount of time provided, must be submitted to the counselor before payment can be made. Enclosed is a sample report.

  • Job Training and Support
Learn the technical aspects of the job and systematically instruct the consumer in performing these tasks.
  • Orientation to the work site, if necessary
Assist the consumer to independently locate all critical areas of the work site (i.e. lunch room, rest room, supervisor).
  • Assist the consumer to identify strengths and limitations
Help the consumer identify areas where he can assist others and requests supports needed from others.
  • Support to Co-Workers
Assist the consumer's co-workers and supervisors in communicating with and understanding the consumer.
  • Job Site Accommodations
Work with the consumer, the employer, and the counselor to identify changes in the workplace routines, equipment, and tasks that will maximize the consumer's work potential.
  • Assist the Consumer in Getting To Know Co-Workers
Some consumers have a difficult time working with and relating to their co-workers. You should assist the consumer in learning how to communicate and work effectively with co-workers and supervisors. The consumer is likely to encounter many people at the work place with whom he is unfamiliar. You should assist the consumer to communicate and become comfortable with these individuals.
  • Getting to Work
The provider may provide the initial transportation for getting to and from work, however, you should be assisting the consumer to identify and utilize other forms and methods of transportation.
  • Assist the Consumer to Gain Independence
Your ultimate goal is to enable the consumer to work without your assistance. Help the consumer to become as independent as possible by systematically limiting your involvement at the work site. You and the consumer should agree as to the appropriate time during the day when job duties can be performed independently. You should, while the consumer is working independently, be serving as a resource to the employer assisting the supervisor and co-workers in working directly with the consumer.
  • Identify on-going supports needed by the consumer
You, the counselor, and the consumer should be jointly identifying the supports that may be needed after your services are completed. These supports may include co-workers, supervisors, an adult service agency family or friends. It may also be necessary to identify a funding source for long-term supports that the consumer may need to maintain the job.
  • Advocacy
There are laws in place today that increase the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to access services and prohibit discrimination. Knowing these laws may help you and the consumer understand the basic right to work and determine if the consumer has been treated unfairly. To find out more about these laws contact the consumer’s vocational rehabilitation counselor.

Provider Type III. Private Providers - required to meet DRS provider standards and have a provider agreement with the Division. Private provider application.

All providers are required to submit a monthly service report to the VR Counselor. Providers need to submit a billing report with their service report .

List of Approved Providers - Type I
List of Approved Providers - Type III

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Publications and videos that answer these questions and more: What is the ADA? Who is a person with a disability? Who must comply with the ADA? Where can you call to ask questions about the ADA?

To learn this and more, visit the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) national website