Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
Has anyone had any luck working with them?

I have worked with them 3 times and just fired them for the final time and I think I have officially concluded that they have done basically nothing to train their staff in dealing with the mentally ill - especially the mentally ill with higher education or intellect.

I've worked or been in school basically the entire time since I was first hospitalized over flashbacks about 20 years ago - part time work was the norm, but I was able to do that. I went to school full time and then some and sometimes did juggle work and school.

I was working full time when I first met with this last counselor and had been for several months - she still managed to comment that I may not be able to work. She also told me that my education might be a barrier to employment and that I may have spent 15 years in the wrong sort of therapy. I was given basically no encouragement, at all to continue.

Six months later, absolutely nothing had been accomplished with my VR case. I may have actually moved backwards. But I was in contact and trying to do something, anything - the entire time.

I just wonder if anyone has ever gotten anywhere with these people or if they just blatantly fail at dealing with PTSD. My counselor basically told me that Portland was bad at mental illness - like I can't see our tents lining the streets - But it makes me feel like I am a lot lower functioning than I think my record shows that I am. They did nothing but discourage me. Of course, I got the standard come back when you feel well enough to do so email. I responded by saying that I know I am a capable person and that I am pretty sure that was the problem in the first place. No thanks - I can do bad by myself, basically.

Truth be told, I feel like I was discriminated against - like my counselor just held my file in limbo long enough to get me to quit because she didn't know what to do with me.

My husband's attitude is that I am perfectly capable of moving forward without their help. I still feel somewhat insecure about that, though I did tell my counselor that she could burn my file if possible because I would not be back - so going back now would really be embarrassing ?

I will figure things out but geez, why did I go through all of that just to have my counselor not help me at all? I've had a case with them for like 2 years and this is the final outcome: one big fat zero.
 
I've had dealings with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in two states and had excellent outcomes each time. I guess the main question is, what do you need them to do for you?

Vocational Rehab can be excellent when you need something specific from them. To use myself as an example, I've needed hearing aids in both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Vocational Rehab in both states got them for me at no cost. In one state, they also provided me with free lip reading classes. However, if there's nothing absolutely specific you need, they may not be incredibly helpful.

Regarding your individual counselor, who sounds like a dud - in my state there is a way to change counselors if you're unhappy with the one you're assigned. Do you know if there's a method for doing that where you are?
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
I've had dealings with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in two states and had excellent outcomes each time. I guess the main question is, what do you need them to do for you?

Vocational Rehab can be excellent when you need something specific from them. To use myself as an example, I've needed hearing aids in both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Vocational Rehab in both states got them for me at no cost. In one state, they also provided me with free lip reading classes. However, if there's nothing absolutely specific you need, they may not be incredibly helpful.

Regarding your individual counselor, who sounds like a dud - in my state there is a way to change counselors if you're unhappy with the one you're assigned. Do you know if there's a method for doing that where you are?

You may have hit the nail on the head. My situation has been complicated and what I have needed has even changed over time. I also changed counties because my rural VR counselor told me I'd have far more opportunities here. When I started with VR here it seemed I was ready to look for work according to my doctor and therapist and so I was assigned a job developer and started to apply for jobs. But I had a significant hip injury that revealed hip complications that I am stuck with until my hips are replaced and I asked to go back to the drawing board - I wasn't ready to look for work, yet, because my pain got nuts.

I had not worked with my current counselor until after that - though she is the one who assigned me the job developer. She didn't even know what I was diagnosed with when she made the assignment and when she found out she pretty much lost her cookies. Then she just froze and stopped doing anything aside from returning my emails and blaming my former counselor for requesting she send me to a job developer at the wrong time. My hope was to start working towards an entry-level nonprofit job but I don't think anything happened to my file even after I was walking without a cane and telling her I was ready to get moving again.

I'm sure there is some way to get a new counselor but my original VR-created plan for employment listed grant writer as my job goal and that's what I want to do. It's also something I need to win more grants to qualify for. I think I'll just focus on getting those and talk to Goodwill's career services folks if I start fretting about interviews again.
 

Rainman8772

MyPTSD Pro
I had good luck with them. At least for where I am you basically have to tell them what you want out of it. Then don’t be quiet about it if you are not getting what you need. In my case they are paying for me to go back to school to get a different degree and change careers.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
I had good luck with them. At least for where I am you basically have to tell them what you want out of it. Then don’t be quiet about it if you are not getting what you need. In my case they are paying for me to go back to school to get a different degree and change careers.

That absolutely amazes me. When I was 25, I went to VR with hope of having them help me with school - they said no, they would not. Then, after going to school and coming back to look for help, I was informed that going to school may not have been my best choice AND that it was going to be hard to get help with even so much as a college certificate from them if I needed something more specific to add to my degrees.

I felt like I was pretty vocal this time around but I also have a lot of baggage from previous situations with them, so I may not have the patience I once did, either.
 

Rainman8772

MyPTSD Pro
@RussellSue I’m getting my second bachelors degree out of them with everything covered by Voc rehab except living expenses. All tuition and books plus a new Mac book and laptop I am going back for cyber-network security. They also did job placement so I can work in the field while I am going back to school. Granted it’s not a great job like after I finish school but is fairly decent and pays the bills. Really couldn’t be happier with the service I have received after I told them I wasn’t going to let them place me in a BS job making little or nothing just to improve their numbers. My caseworker calls once every couple weeks to see if I need anything.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
@RussellSue I’m getting my second bachelors degree out of them with everything covered by Voc rehab except living expenses. All tuition and books plus a new Mac book and laptop I am going back for cyber-network security. They also did job placement so I can work in the field while I am going back to school. Granted it’s not a great job like after I finish school but is fairly decent and pays the bills. Really couldn’t be happier with the service I have received after I told them I wasn’t going to let them place me in a BS job making little or nothing just to improve their numbers. My caseworker calls once every couple weeks to see if I need anything.
Huh? That's great! Congrats.

I moved to Portland after making a plan for employment - my job goal was set and my understanding was that I was a transfer, as in I was still had a plan in place. My new counselor, however, tried to take me all the way back to figuring out if I was able to benefit from services, which is like step one in the whole VR process, right? She then told me that I'd need to see a new psychiatrist and get a definitive diagnosis (which I already had). She seemed to forget these things but was still trying to push me back to establishing a job goal. I told her I had already done that and then she came up with something else. But it was just months of runaround and I think I can see now where I made my mistakes by not demanding a clear picture of our situation from her point of view, so I knew what to expect and could hold her to her words instead of just back pedaling whenever she felt like telling me it was time. I would correct one thing, thinking it might be the last, only to get hit by another first month of services issue that was taken care of long ago.

The thing is, my main reason for wanting their help was just because of pure anxiety and feeling out of control. They just gave me one more thing to be out of control of. I have the textbook education of a grant writer and a grant writing certificate awarded by a university, so I never really needed to go back to school if I wanted to write grant proposals. It was discussed because she had an aversion to my job goal. She never said they wouldn't support it but hinted that direction. Everything just kept going in bizarre circles when I thought I was transferring my case to a bigger city because they would have more resources to help with my particular goal.

I may reach out to them again at some point but this experience was nothing but crazy-making. I am glad to hear that people are making some headway with them, though. When she told me that my master's degree might be a barrier to employment, I really felt like the writing was on the wall: we can't help you find a job that requires a B.A., let alone anything more. That really bothered me. I acknowledge that grant writing is not a field that is booming, necessarily, but there are jobs. She also told me it would take a lot of work to get any schooling paid for so I thought I'd stick with the job goal that had already been approved rather than fight some other losing battle.

Sorry for rattling on like that but I'm still pretty confused about what just happened. Every time I try to put the puzzle back together in my head, some new memory from the last year pops up and it all makes even less sense.
 
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