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California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR)

There is often a mistaken belief that the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) is for vocational rehabilitation but that is only part of what they do. They also provide services and advocacy resulting in independent living, and equality for individuals with disabilities.


DOR runs independent living centers, which serve people with any kind of disability who can benefit from services in a local community. Independent Living Centers are designed and operated by a majority of people with disabilities.

Some services that independent living centers provide:

- help people in signing up for affordable housing lists and apply for Section 8 vouchers.

- help to find places to live that are affordable on a fixed income.

- Independent living skills training- are any skills that can help an individual with a disability do what they want to do on their own. Things like budgeting, public transportation training, Assistive technology training and social skills can all be part of independent living skills.

If you have a disability and want to live more independently, you may be able to benefit from Independent Living Services.

Students with IEP or 504 Plan, or you’re eligible for one if you want one

By law, all students with disabilities (and their families/guardians) should be informed of the vocational rehabilitation services that are locally available to them. That said, not everyone with a disability will qualify for those services. It is requested that DOR participate in the exit IEP, whenever possible, and when it makes sense, to inform the student of the services, how to apply, how the services work, and what their options are. They have to be notified at 16 so they can start thinking about work, what they need to do to prepare for work, and to know what types of services and support are available.

For the IEP team, in terms of determining that a student warrants notification to vocational rehabilitation services, they should consider the severity of that individuals' disability, their ability to participate in services, and their ability to benefit from those services.