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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind

Vocational Rehabilitation

Employment for Individuals who are Blind and Visually Impaired

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What are Employment Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired?

Our Vocational Rehabilitation services help you find or keep a job, or return to work. All services provided by this program are aimed toward employment.

You will work with a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor who can help you obtain the services you need in order to go to work. Although your VR Counselor is your primary service provider, you may receive services from other staff members and providers as needed.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program can also sponsor medical services as a part of plan of services that are required for eligible individuals to obtain, maintain, or regain employment. These services may include diagnostic eye examinations, eye glasses or other types of corrective lens, eye treatment, eye surgery, low-vision evaluations, assistive technology evaluations and recommendations for equipment, video magnification evaluations (CCTV), and eye care education.  

Services are planned according to each individual’s employment needs and may include services such as:

Other services are provided as required by the individual to be successful on a specific job.

Some services are provided based on economic need, while others are provided regardless of income.

Who is Eligible

Residents of North Carolina who have a vision impairment who meet the criteria for low vision or legally blind and for whom the vision impairment presents barriers to getting or keeping a job.

How to Apply

A VR Counselor will meet with an individual interested in obtaining services. The Counselor will explain the services, assist with completing application forms, and obtain needed reports.

Contact DSB

Find your VR Counselor
Phone: 1 (866) 222-1546
Spanish: 1 (800) 662-7030

Your Rights

The Client Assistance Program (CAP) helps people with disabilities in understanding and using Vocational Rehabilitation Services. CAP is available to negotiate with individuals and with the agency if a disagreement occurs about a decision that cannot be resolved by talking with the DSB Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and the Counselor’s supervisor. For more information, contact: N.C. Client Assistance Program (919) 855-3600 (Voice or TTY), toll free at (800) 215-7227.

Supported Employment

You can receive Supported Employment services as part of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Some people can work in competitive jobs but will need much assistance in doing so. Supported employment is work performed in a competitive, integrated setting with services to help you maintain employment. These services are normally provided by job coach and an extended services provider. Services are provided for the lifetime of the job. Not everyone qualifies for supported work services. People qualifying for this special service are determined to be the most significantly disabled who will need multiple services and long term follow up to become successfully employed and to maintain employment. There are four basic components to Supported Employment: Assessment, job placement services, intensive On-the-Job training, and long term follow up. Your Rehabilitation Counselor will discuss in detail the supported employment program, should you require these services.

Medical Services within Vocational Rehabilitation

The Medical Services include:

Eye Surgery/Treatment

We might be able to assist you with eye-related surgery/ treatment if you are low income, a NC resident and do not qualify for Medicaid, our Medical Eye Care Program might be able to help. Eligibility is determined by a Social Worker for the Blind . Prior approval for emergency treatment and services will only be given by the state consulting ophthalmologist.

If you need eye surgery/ treatment in order to get or keep a job and have few or limited resources, our Vocational Rehabilitation Program might be able to help.

Eye-Related Medications

If you need medications for your eyes or for medical conditions related to vision loss, are a NC resident, do not qualify for Medicaid and have no other resources to assist you, our Medical Eye Care Program might be able to help with drugs that have a direct or beneficial action on the eye. Eligibility is determined by the Social Worker for the Blind in your county and approved by the Nursing Eye Care Consultant.

If you have poor vision and it keeps you from getting or keeping a job, a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor might be able to help. Short-term help with medications can be provided as part of your plan of services to help you reach your employment goal. Click here to find the office nearest to you.

Hearing Examinations

If you have vision and hearing loss and have difficulty performing activities such as using the telephone, communicating with others in-person, or hearing doorbells and alarms, one of our Independent Living Rehabilitation Counselors might be able to help you.

If you have vision and hearing loss and are having problems finding or keeping a job, we might be able to help you get a hearing examination through our Vocational Rehabilitation Program.


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