Vocational Rehab Responsibilities

When I quit my job in early December, my therapist offered to refer me to supported employment services for help in finding a new one.  I was finally able to meet with an employment specialist there in January, and we applied for help from Vocational Rehabilitation in February.  Technically she was not supposed to be helping me job hunt until VR approved me, but that took a long time and we did meet and look at potential job listings while waiting.  I submitted a bunch of applications and had a few interviews.

Just after interviewing at the county hospital for a Central Supply Technician position, I was notified that VR had approved me.  We scheduled a plan development meeting, but it wasn’t due to take place until late May and my employment specialist felt I would be employed before then.  A few days later, I accepted the job at the hospital.  My employment specialist notified the VR counselor that I would not need their services after all.

Friday the VR counselor called me to verify that I wanted my case closed, and pointed out that there was more they could do to help now that I have a job.  I really didn’t understand what they could help with beyond the job hunting process.  So I agreed to come in for the plan development meeting anyway.  It lasted two hours, and mostly consisted of him typing things into a form and asking the occasional question, while the employment specialist and I distracted him with chatter about the play we are both working on.

I’m still a bit unclear on how they will be able to help me, except for the part where he said that VR would pay for an additional set of scrubs.  The hospital only offers reimbursement for one set for those hired in Occasional status, but for the first 6 weeks I’ll be working 4 days a week.  That’s a lot of times to be doing laundry.  As it turns out, the set of scrubs I did order did not arrive in time for my first day (tomorrow), so the hospital is going to loan me scrubs until I get my own.  The second set can’t be ordered until my plan is officially approved by VR, and then the employment specialist has to go with me to order them.

I was asked by the VR counselor if I am willing to disclose my disability to my new supervisor in order to ask for accommodations.  He feels I need permission to take multiple small breaks throughout the day, in order to reduce stress.  I agree, and I told him I was comfortable with this disclosure, but I’m not sure I am.  At my previous job, I was very open with my supervisor, but he had already had the opportunity to get to know my work before I was even diagnosed.  I don’t know how I feel about walking into a new job and immediately asking for accommodations when I haven’t had the chance to prove myself yet.

I also don’t know how to bring the subject up.  I am not good with approaching people in person.  I do have the supervisor’s e-mail address and have already e-mailed her before (regarding the scrubs, and scheduling), but I fear she may be even more put off by my disclosure if I do it by e-mail.  So, although I said I’d tell her, I suspect I will just go to work and hope I can struggle through with the rare breaks that are authorized for everyone.

I don’t recall this disclosure being one of the responsibilities listed in my plan.  The two that did stand out were: 1.) That I continue with my mental health treatment as prescribed, and 2.) That I not quit the job without first consulting my employment specialist and VR counselor.


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