Navigating the Employment System
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Special Education (external) is responsible for funding and delivering programs to students with disabilities from the age of three through high school.
The DSHS/Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provides vocational guidance and counseling, and can help individuals develop an individual employment plan for obtaining competitive employment. An application for services may be requested through the individual's DSHS/DDA case manager or prior to graduation through the school.
To walk through the system: Begin by confirming your eligibility for service with DSHS/DDA and request a referral to state DSHS/DVR. Funding options should be discussed with the DSHS/DDA case manager and the DSHS/DVR counselor. These might include funding from DSHS/DVR, KCDDD, and/or the Social Security Work Incentives (SSWI) (external). The SSWI is a way of setting aside your own resources to purchase needed vocational services and still receive federal Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits. The SSWI may include a Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS), Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE), or other work incentives.
At any point during this process individuals are encouraged to research, interview, and select an appropriate employment vendor.
For more information call:
- King County Developmental Disabilities Division: 206-263-9061
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Developmental Disabilities Administration: 206-568-5700
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation: 206-721-7300
- Social Security Administration: 1-800-772-1213
- Apply for DSHS/DDA Services
- Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Apply for DSHS/DVR Services
- Identify/develop funding resources (i.e. SSWI, DSHS/DVR funding options, Transition funding, KCDDD, or parent/family contribution) with your DSHS/DDA case manager and DSHS/DVR Counselor
- Research, interview ,and select an employment vendor
- Develop your SSWI in cooperation with DSHS/DVR, school personnel, DSHS/DDA Case Management Vendor, or advocate.
- Individual Employment
Placement, follow-up and maintenance services to help people obtain and continue employment in the community.
- Group Supported Employment
Job placement and follow-up services are provided and supervised in the regular business and industry setting for groups of up to eight people.
- Pre-Vocational Services AKA Specialized Industries Employment
A service for people who have special challenges and for whom we have not yet developed resources or technology to place into individual employment.