Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program - It's not about Disabilities, It's about Possibilities

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TVR?

Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation services are offered on a personalized and individualized basis where consumers work one-on-one with a VR Counselor. The consumer and VR Counselor work as part of a team that custom tailors a rehabilitation plan that offers the most benefits to the consumer. It is based on informed consent, which acknowledges that the consumer orchestrates his or her own Individual Plan for Employment (IPE), and the VR Counselor utilizes their expertise to make the plan effectively happen.

TVR also incorporates traditional services into a rehabilitation plan that, again, is tailored for the consumer. This includes: sweat lodge ceremonies; smudging; prayer; talking circles; social events, and traditional lifestyle information.

The TVR Service program's goal is to help those Native Americans with disabilities get and keep good jobs. Eligibility requires residency in Rhode Island and Connecticut; enrollment in a Federal or State recognized Tribe, as well as a documented disability, which impedes the ability to acquire, continue in, or obtain employment. We view every consumer on an individual basis when it comes to disability; it is our value that we ensure the best and most appropriate continuum of care and service delivery.

The staff at TVR comes from different cultures, training regimens and disciplines. By having uniqueness in our staff, we are able to be multi-disciplinary in our approach, and we can draw on each other's varied experiences.

What is considered a Disability?

For purposes of non-discrimination laws (e.g. the Americans with Disabilities Act [Sect. 503 of the Rehab Act of 1973 and Sect. 108 of the Workforce Investment Act]), a person with a disability is generally defined as someone who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more "major life activities";
  2. has a record of such an impairment, or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

TVR also defines alcohol and substance abuse, cognitive delays, and learning disabilities as acceptable diagnoses to qualify for services if they result in a functional limitation and impediment to employment.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for TVR Services?

  1. Documented impairment/disability that impedes attainment/ maintenance of employment;
  2. Documented enrollment in a Federal or State recognized American Indian Tribe.
  3. Residency requirements limited to State of Connecticut and State of Rhode Island.

Can anyone get TVR Services?

Any Native American who fulfills the eligibility requirements listed in Question 3 (above) can obtain services from TVR.

Is there an age limit?

Yes. Consumer applicants must be 16 years of age or older to enroll in the TVR program. All applicants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. (Although it is our policy to serve only applicants age 16 and up, under specific circumstances this provision may be waived to include younger applicants. Please speak to our staff for more information.)

I want to know more about the program, can you meet with me at my home?

Yes. VR Counselors routinely meet with consumers within the consumer's community; in fact, wherever the consumer feels most comfortable, the VR Counselors will meet there with him/her.

What are some examples of the Services you provide?

Each consumer will develop an Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) to determine the services needed for that individual. Services include: Counseling and guidance; vocational testing; exploration and planning; situational assessments; referral and linkage; case management and advocacy; job placement and development; rapid job search and any services designed around "Informed Consent".

I'm confined to my home and want to start an "In Home Business"; can you help me?

TVR can provide guidance, advocacy and planning related to setting up an "In Home" business plan.

How do I get started with the TVR Program?

By calling the TVR office to meet with one of the VR Counselors, you will learn about the TVR Program and, if you choose, complete an application. In the interview you may be asked to provide income information and medical records; sign a release form so TVR can obtain this information and allow for a medical, psychological, vocational and/or other evaluations to be arranged by TVR.

Will TVR send me to school?

If you require training or education to reach your job goal, TVR may assist you with tuition, books, supplies and related costs. The extent of TVR's financial assistance depends on a number of factors, such as income level and other sources of financial aid. However, a TVR Counselor will discuss this with you.

What about my SSI, SSDI or Medicaid?

Receiving TVR services will not affect these benefits. However, once you go to work, these benefits may be affected. The TVR staff or your Social Security office can answer your specific questions.