CAP assistance with VR and IL services

MOD can advocate for your vocational rehabilitation (VR) and independent living (IL) services

The Massachusetts Office on Disability's CAP team provides information and advocacy for people with disabilities who want:

  • Vocational rehabilitation (VR) services from
    • the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and/or
    • the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB), or
  • Independent living (IL) services from Independent Living Centers


  • Informs applicants and consumers about their rights and responsibilities under state and federal regulations that apply to VR and IL services
  • Provides advocacy and appeal representation to help individuals get the VR and IL services for which they are eligible


If you are looking for information or assistance regarding something that is not vocational rehabilitation or independent living services, you may wish to view other offerings from the Massachusetts Office on Disability.

Table of Contents

Overview of CAP

CAP's main responsibilities are:

  • Individual Advocacy: Providing information and advocacy to support applicants or consumers who are facing barriers to VR or IL services
  • Education and Outreach:
    • Educating the public (including unserved and underserved populations) about VR and IL services that exist
    • Providing information about disability rights in employment through Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Systemic Improvements: Identifying systemic problems in VR and IL and working to resolve them, through interactions with the programs and participation in advisory boards

CAP does not provide VR or IL services. Our role is to advocate for the consumers of those services.

Watch a 2-minute video giving an overview of CAP:


Privacy and Independence

CAP services are strictly confidential. We will not discuss anything about you without your written consent.

CAP is independent of the agencies that provide vocational rehabilitation and independent living services. To preserve its independence, CAP is housed at Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD), a state agency that provides information and technical guidance on disability rights.


CAP services are free.

CAP operates under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration.

What are vocational rehabilitation and independent living services?

Vocational rehabilitation (VR) 

VR services help jobseekers with disabilities prepare for, secure, retain, advance in, or regain employment (including self-employment). VR services are provided by:

VR services through MRC or MCB may include career counseling and guidance, job development, placement and follow-up, adaptive technology or equipment assessment or provision, and more. In some cases, VR may provide funding for education or training and other services necessary for an individual to reach and maintain a specific employment goal.

CAP does not provide VR services. You can contact CAP if you have concerns about your VR services.

Independent living (IL)

There are ten Centers for Independent Living (CILs) across Massachusetts. These centers provide five core services to help individuals with disabilities live as independently as possible in the community:

  • Independent living skills training
  • Peer support
  • Advocacy
  • Transition from child or institutional settings to living as an adult in the community
  • Information and referral

Learn more about Centers for Independent Living.

CAP does not provide IL services. You can contact CAP if you have concerns about your IL services.

Individual advocacy

When and how to contact CAP

Any applicant, client, family member or service provider may contact CAP to ask questions or raise concerns about a specific experience with VR or IL, for example:

  • A disagreement about an employment or independent living goal
  • Whether an agency is obligated to provide particular services
  • A dispute with your counselor or IL advocate
  • Whether you are eligible for new or continued services

You can get in touch with CAP by:

What happens when you contact CAP

CAP will inform you of your rights and responsibilities, discuss how the VR or IL system can work best for you, and offer guidance specific to your experience.

Release of Information

We cannot discuss the applicant/client with others without written consent from the applicant/client.

If the applicant/client requests intervention by CAP, they will need to sign an Authorization to Release Information.


Upon receipt of a Release, CAP will review your case, including one or all of the following:

  • Contact the person(s) with knowledge of the matter
  • Request the service plan (Individualized Plan for Employment or Independent Living Plan) and any amendments
  • Review case notes, if any
  • Review other relevant documents.

Support working towards resolution

Once CAP has reviewed your case, we will start by providing you with an explanation of what seems to be occurring. In some situations this may be all that is required.

We evaluate your case and make a determination on the best strategy for proceeding: this will depend both on the particulars of your situation and on what point in the process we are contacted. Generally we attempt to resolve matters as informally as possible, but if we find there is merit to an appeal of a decision, we may represent you in an appeal.

If the review raises concerns, CAP may advocate on your behalf with the VR or IL agency by:

  • Resolving the matter informally,
  • Representing you at an administrative review, fair hearing, and (in rare cases) court, and/or
  • Referring you to other services or resources.

Education and outreach

CAP provides information to individuals, families and organizations about VR, IL and employment rights for people with disabilities. We offer information through:

  • Individual discussions and
  • Presentations and workshops

MOD's Event page lists upcoming events, including CAP workshops and presentations.

Overview of VR, IL and CAP presentation

In this presentation, we offer attendees a basic understanding of vocational rehabilitation and independent living services and how the CAP team assists individuals in the VR or IL process.

Navigating VR presentation

This is an interactive presentation to learn about navigating vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. We cover the purpose of the VR program and the role of each party (consumer and VR agency staff) in implementing services to reach an employment goal, how to recognize when something might be going wrong, and how to get back on track.  To help participants better understand the VR process, we will review a hypothetical Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and experience how services are selected to meet their employment goal.  

Disability rights in employment workshops

CAP hosts a series of three disability rights in employment workshops:

  1. The Decision to Disclose
  2. Reasonable Accommodations in Employment
  3. Disability Discrimination in Employment 

Learn more about disability rights in employment workshop series. To register for a specific workshop, go to MOD's Event page.

For people who need more detailed discussion of disability rights in employment, see MOD's page on employment rights.


CAP works to inform the public about the benefits of VR and IL and how to navigate those systems, as well as employment rights. We particularly try to target unserved and underserved communities in our outreach.

If you would like information as an individual or you feel your community or organization would benefit from one of these presentations, please get in touch:

Systemic improvements

CAP may identify systemic problems through its work on individual cases and from community input. When issues are identified, we work to address them through:

Support to VR/IL staff

CAP offers support to VR counselors and providers of VR and IL services. We can:

  • Provide information about how CAP works and how our involvement earlier in the process can be helpful
  • Offer feedback
  • Collaborate or be a sounding board on complex cases
  • Discuss how regulations apply to a specific situation
  • Provide presentations to their consumers, such as:
    • Navigating VR
    • Disability rights in employment (ADA Title I)

You can get in touch with CAP by:

Last updated: April 5, 2024

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