by Paul Miller
ANCHOR Project Recovery Coach
RSA is commonly referred to as “Vocational Rehab”. This is a federal program that helps individuals with a qualifying disability find and keep a job. (Diagnosed SMI, or serious mental illness, does count.) This same program also can be used for career advancement if a person with a diagnosed disability or SMI wants to acquire skills and education for a better career even if they are currently working. RSA has pretty good federal dollars that can be used to help members with resumés, interviews, clothing, applying for work, and other needs when looking for a job. This program can help with educational needs as well, be that a trade school or college credits towards certification or degrees.
Vocational Rehab (RSA) requires that members complete an eligibility process which can average 120 days (roughly 4 months) to complete. I know, that is a LOONG time! If a member is interested in this process it is recommended that they begin as soon as possible. While waiting for eligibility, members can utilize vocational services provided by local agencies like CODAC.
Vocational Rehab and vocational services are often confused since they sound pretty much like the same thing. Essentially both help members look for work and acquire the skills needed to get work; however, Vocational Rehab (RSA) is a federal program with more money to help members and vocational services are provided by local (state and citywide) providers. Once a person becomes eligible for RSA they will discontinue any other vocational services received and get help from RSA alone. Since it takes so long to become eligible for RSA it is recommended that members pursue vocational services from a local agency like CODAC to try and find a job as soon as possible until RSA determines if they are eligible.
CODAC provides orientations for anyone interested in Vocational Rehab (RSA) every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month. At orientation the RSA program is fully explained as well as eligibility requirements. People interested in applying for eligibility will apply at one of these orientations.
For more information about this program talk with me (Paul Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org). You can find me at ANCHOR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, or you can meet with me at Living Out Loud.
Click here for more info about Arizona DES RSA Vocational Rehabilitation.