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Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies are federal-state programs that help people who have physical or mental disabilities obtain the tools, resources, and assistive technology necessary for them to obtain, maintain, or regain employment. Following a vocational assessment, a VR may determine that rehabilitation technology and/or assistive devices – including mobility aids, vehicle modifications, and adaptive driving equipment – are needed in order to achieve the individual’s desired employment outcome. Program rules and requirements vary, but most state VRs do provide financial assistance for driver evaluation and vehicle modification services.
While most VRs provide automobility-related services, not all VRs require credentialed vendors. For example, one state may require vehicle modification vendors to be NMEDA QAP accredited while another state may have no formal requirements for such providers. To promote safety, quality, consistency, and fiscal responsibility in the provision of driver rehabilitation and vehicle modification services, NMEDA and ADED developed recommended practices for VRs providing these unique services. NMEDA’s advocacy team also works directly with VR agencies and staff to assist with editing, updating, or otherwise refining a state’s official vehicle modification procedures.
NMEDA values the dedicated VR professionals whose work enables individuals to overcome employment barriers. We were delighted to host over 40 VR professionals representing 16 states at the 2022 NMEDA Annual Conference & Auto Mobility Expo. These “VR VIPs” were provided with financial assistance to facilitate their attendance at the conference. In addition to attending an exclusive education session, exploring the expo hall, interacting with mobility equipment dealers and manufacturers, and networking with colleagues from across the United States, VR VIPs were also provided with various driver rehabilitation and vehicle modification resources during a private social event hosted by the NMEDA and ADED Boards of Directors. We look forward to hosting even more VR VIPs—and holding even more VR-centric sessions and events—at the next co-located NMEDA and ADED conferences in 2023.