Glossary Of Terms

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Administrative Review

An informal process through which either of the following occur:

  1. The appellant and/or the appellant's authorized representative seek remedy for dissatisfaction with Departmental action.
  2. The complainant and/or the complainant's authorized representative seek remedy for a complaint of discrimination against employees of the Department.


There are two types of advocacy: systemic and personal. Systemic advocacy attempts to change laws and attitudes surrounding disability. Personal advocacy is a type of problem-solving designed to protect personal and legal rights and ensure a dignified existence.

American Sign Language (ASL)

A complete, complex language that employs signs made with the hands and other movements, including facial expressions and postures of the body.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.

Appeals Procedure

An applicant or eligible individual who is dissatisfied with a decision or action by the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) may request a timely review of that decision or action. Reviews include informal dispute resolution, an administrative review by a DOR district administrator or designee, mediation by a qualified, impartial mediator, or a fair hearing conducted by the Rehabilitation Appeals Board.


An individual who submits an application for vocational rehabilitation services. An individual is considered to have submitted an application when the individual, or the individual's representative, has completed and signed the DOR's application form (DR 222) or otherwise requested services, has provided information necessary to initiate an assessment to determine eligibility and priority for services, and is available to complete the assessment process.

Assistive Technology Assessments

An evaluation of the needs of an individual with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the individual in his/her customary environment.

Assistive Technology Device

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 the functional capabilities of an individual with a disability.

Assistive Technology Training

A process to teach individuals with a disability how to use assistive technology devices that will allow greater success in employment and in independent living.


Blind Field Services (BFS)

offers a variety of services for both individuals with visual impairments and employers.

Business Enterprises Program (BEP)

A program that provides individuals who are legally blind the opportunity to become independent entrepreneurs through foodservice vendor training.


California Vendors Policy Committee (CVPC)

Biennially elected committee of blind vendors fully representative of all blind vendors in the Business Enterprises Program. Some of the Committee's responsibilities are to participate in major administrative decisions, and policy and program development; receive and transmit grievances of vendors and assist such vendors at their request; participate in the development and administration of a transfer and promotion system for vendors; participate in developing training and retraining programs and sponsor meetings and instructional conferences for vendors.

Civil Rights

29 USC 794 protects a qualified individual with a disability from discrimination in the provision of any benefit or service provided by any program or activity receiving federal funds. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities of all state and local governments.

Client Assistance Program (CAP)

provides advocacy, information, and referral services to applicants and consumers of DOR services. CAP assists individuals who have concerns or difficulties when applying for or receiving vocational rehabilitation services funded under the federal Rehabilitation Act. CAP advocates are independent representatives, not DOR employees.


A term meaning an individual's record of services (or case file) has been closed. Closure of a case file occurs for a variety of reasons. A successful case closure means the individual has been satisfactorily employed for at least 90 days.

Communication Skills Assessment

A process for determining an individual's ability to exchange information through the spoken or written word, sign, Braille, concepts, gestures, or any other effective means when participating in work-related activities.

Communication Skills / Language Training

A process to teach or improve an individual's ability to exchange information through the spoken or written word, sign, Braille, concepts, gestures, or any other effective means when participating in work-related activities.

Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP)

Community-based organization working to provide services to individuals with disabilities, helping them to achieve independence and employment.

Community Resources Development (CRD)

A unit in DOR that certifies community-based programs and provides technical consultation to those programs. It also administers grants to establish and improve community-based programs.

Comparable Services

Services that are provided or paid for, in whole or in part, by other federal, state or local agencies, by health insurance, or by employer benefits.

Competitive Wages

Compensation for individuals with disabilities that is at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled.


Federal and state laws require that the DOR maintain the confidentiality of the records of vocational rehabilitation services. The DOR cannot release a consumer's medical or personal information without specific, written consent by the individual, unless the request is within one of the exceptions described in the state regulation which provides for disclosure without a consent to release, or pursuant to court order or other law.


Deaf & Hard Of Hearing Services (DHHS)

A unit in DOR focused on assisting people with deafness or some degree of hearing lose

Department of Rehabilitation (DOR)

Works in partnership with consumers and other stakeholders to provide services and advocacy resulting in employment, independent living and equality for individuals with disabilities in California.

Disability Access Section (DAS)

A DOR unit established in 1992 to promote disability rights in state government and DOR partnerships in the community.


Eligibility Requirements

Criteria used to determine if an individual is eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation services.

Employment Outcome and Professional Development

Entering into or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market, Supported Employment (that meets the definition of competitive employment), or any other type of employment in an integrated setting, including self-employment, telecommuting, or business ownership, that is consistent with an individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interest, and informed choice.

Employment Preparation Services (EPS) (North Central, and South)

Units of the department responsible for the actual delivery of the Federal Title I Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program. The services are structured to assist consumers achieve their employment goals by providing training, assistive technology, supported employment and job placement support to eligible individuals.

Employment Services

Activities that support and assist an individual in preparing for, finding, and obtaining an appropriate job. This might include resume preparation, identifying appropriate job opportunities, developing interview skills, and making contacts with companies on behalf of eligible individuals.

Equal Employment and Opportunity (EEO) Program

Provides counseling toward informal conflict resolution, investigations of discrimination complaints filed by the employees and/or consumers of the Department and technical assistance and evaluation of employee reasonable accommodation requests.


Fair Hearing

A written request to review an action or decision of the DOR related to a consumer's application or services. A written request for a Fair Hearing must be filed within 30 days of receipt of an Administrative Review decision or within one year of the action or decision with which the consumer is dissatisfied.








Immersion Services

A method of intense training to assist individuals with independent living techniques.

Independent Living Section (ILS)

Dedicated to the ideal that communities become fully accessible and integrated so that all persons with disabilities can live, work, shop and play where they choose, without barriers.

Independent Living Skills

Independent living skills consists of gaining instruction and mastery of the following areas: health and safety, community resources, meal planning and nutrition, self-advocacy, sexual awareness, Personal Assistant management, household management, recreation and leisure, and money management. The integration and full participation of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of society is the desired outcome.

Independent Living Services

Programs that enhance the ability of an individual with significant disabilities to live independently and function within the family and community. These services can also help a person get and keep employment.

Individual Service Providers (ISP)

Independent contractors who assist individuals with disabilities to participate in vocational rehabilitation services and to achieve and maintain an employment outcome.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)

An agreement written by an eligible individual, or the individual's representative, with or without assistance from the counselor designed to achieve the specific employment outcome that is selected by the individual consistent with the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. The IPE outlines the services and training the individual will need to prepare for a job.

Informed Choice

A decision-making process during which the individual analyzes relevant information and chooses, with the assistance of a vocational rehabilitation counselor, his/her employment outcome, intermediate objectives, services needed to achieve the employment outcome and service providers. Service providers are selected from a list developed by the Department using flexible procurement policies and methods that facilitate the provision of vocational rehabilitation services and afford meaningful choices among the methods used to procure vocational rehabilitation services. Informed choice is provided through the entire vocational rehabilitation process.

Integrated Setting

In terms of employment, regulatory standards define this term as an individual with a disability having the same opportunity to interact with non-disabled individuals (or "other persons") as non-disabled individuals do in the same or similar jobs. "Other persons" include co-workers, the general public, customers, and vendors, but not a supervisor, nor those providing services to the individual.

Interpreter Services

Sign language or oral interpretation services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and tactile interpretation services for individuals who are deaf-blind. Specially trained individuals perform sign language or oral interpretation. Also included here are real-time captioning services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Job Coaching

Activities to assist persons with disabilities in learning and performing a job and adjusting to the work environment.









A process that allows an applicant or eligible individual and the DOR to resolve disputes involving DOR decisions that affect the provision of vocational rehabilitation services. The mediation process must be made available whenever an applicant or eligible individual requests an Impartial Due Process Hearing.

Mobility Evaluation Program (MEP)

This program provides evaluations to determine the minimum safe vehicle and equipment needs of consumers who want to drive, and provides recommendations for modifying vehicles and drivers training. MEP also assists consumers to determine the wheelchair that best meets their vocational, personal, and physical needs. In addition to driving and wheelchair evaluations, MEP staff also provides passenger evaluations (for non-drivers), assistive technology consultations, and Rehabilitation Technology training to DOR staff through our Staff Development Section.





Occupational Skills Training

Occupational, vocational or job skill training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation, not leading to an academic degree or certification.

Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB)

This program provides services to visually impaired individuals age 55 and older to assist them to live independently in California. The program seeks to stimulate independent living, empowerment and full inclusion of older individuals who are blind.

Ongoing Support Services

Services needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment for the life of the job. The supported employment services are provided by DOR from the time of job placement until transition to extended services and thereafter by one or more extended services providers throughout the individual's term of employment.

Order of Selection (OOS)

Consists of priority categories to which eligible individuals are assigned based on the significance of their disability. Individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected first for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services when funding is insufficient to serve all individuals who apply for services.

Orientation and Mobility

The ability of an individual to know where he/she is, where he/she wants to go, and how to get there, as well as the ability to adapt and adjust to new environments.

Orientation Center for the Blind (OCB)

Located in Albany, California - assist adults in adjusting to vision disabilities by an immersion in a residential environment that is respectful, knowledgeable and empowering.


Personal Assistance Services

Many persons with disabilities require personal assistants (PAs) in order to live independently. PAs assist consumers with a wide variety of duties, including personal care, shopping, housework and cooking.

Personal, Vocational, and Social Adjustment (PVSA)

Services that assist the individual to adjust to outside environments, and helping them to learn skills such as appropriate work habits, time management, safety, appropriate socialization, and job retention.





Reasonable Accommodation

A modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things usually are done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity in three aspects: 1) to ensure equal opportunity in the application process, 2) to enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job, and 3) to enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.


A process that directs an individual to an appropriate resource for services. Individuals interested in obtaining services from the DOR are given specific information on the application process and requirements, how DOR determines eligibility and priority category, and on the Order of Selection.

Rehabilitation Appeals Board

This board was authorized under state law to review DOR actions or decisions that affect the application for, or provision of, vocational rehabilitation services, conduct impartial hearings, and issue final decisions. This board no longer exists, and was replaced by the Fair Hearing process.

Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (RCD)

Provide a wide range of vocational rehabilitation services to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or late deafened. The RCDs are qualified as being proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) to ensure direct communication access with consumers who use ASL as their primary mode of communication.

Rehabilitation Technology Assessment / Evaluations

Services to determine what technology can best solve issues for persons with disabilities. Rehab Technology uses principles of engineering, computer technology, and science to build or modify equipment. The solutions may include assistive devices / adaptive equipment or modifying current equipment.

Requests for Application (RFA)

Grants from DOR to support services to individuals with disabilities. The Grants are primarily for providers or organizations that offer services to our consumers and/or Californians with disabilities.

Requests for Proposal (RFP)

Contracts from DOR to support services to individuals with disabilities. The Contracts are primarily for providers or organizations that offer services to our consumers and/or Californians with disabilities.


Scope of Services

The various services provided by the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) that have been determined to be necessary for individuals to reach their employment goal.

The Department may not place absolute dollar or time limits on specific service categories or on the total services provided to an individual. The Department must provide a service for a reasonable length of time which is long enough that an individual is able to benefit from the service. The length of time each service is provided is determined on an individual basis and is made part of that individual's IPE. The Department must permit exceptions so that individual needs can be addressed.

Significance of Disability (SOD) score

a priority score that will be used in the Order of Selection (OOS) process. The law requires that DOR use this process when there is not enough money to serve all applicants.

Situational Assessments

A process for discovering an individual's ability to perform in workplace environments. It determines an individual's work stamina, abilities, interests, and work habits.

State Independent Living Council (SILC)

An 18-member council, appointed by the Governor, to represent persons with disabilities throughout the state.

State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL)

Co-written by DOR and SILC, outlines the priorities for provision of independent living services.

Supported Employment

Activities and services, including ongoing support services, needed by a person with a most significant disability to keep a job in an integrated setting for the term of employment.

Supported Employment Program (SEP)

A CRP that provides services needed to help and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in an integrated employment setting.

Supported Employment Services

Ongoing support services and other appropriate services provided by DOR to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability.


Ticket to Work Program

This Social Security Administration SSA) program is designed to assist persons with disabilities who are receiving SSA benefits to find and maintain employment.





Vocational Assessment

An ongoing process involving the systematic collection of information about a student's vocational aptitudes, abilities, expressed interests and occupational awareness.

Vocational Evaluation

A comprehensive process of vocational exploration and assessment designed to assist in identifying an individual's vocational options. It incorporates medical, psychological, social, vocational, educational, cultural, and economic data in the attainment of the goals of the evaluation process.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services

Services designed to get Californians with disabilities prepared for employment and can include training, education, transportation and job placement.

Vocational Rehabilitation Modernization (VR Mod)

A DOR effort that includes the implementation of a new electronic records system, AWARE, and the design and implementation of a new Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery Model.

Vocational Rehabilitation/Work Activity Program (VR/WAP)

Provides VR services in a non-integrated setting to eligible individuals as an interim step toward achieving an employment outcome in an integrated setting, generally in SEP. The intent of VR/WAP is to remove or reduce barriers to employment so that the eligible individual can move into an integrated employment setting.


Work Adjustment

Programs that help persons with disabilities learn the basic skills needed to maintain employment. These may include attendance, appropriate dress, social skills and how to get along with supervisors.

Work Services

Activities provided in a non-integrated setting that teach appropriate work habits and attitudes, often helping the consumer to increase stamina and productivity.