DVR vs. DDA: What’s the difference?

August 26 645PM-8PM (11)

DVR vs. DDA: What’s the difference?

Many people ask what the difference is between the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). Although both departments fall under the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), they are unmistakable in the services provided, length of the time supplied, and qualification criteria.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) helps adults with disabilities obtain and maintain competitive, integrated employment. That is to say, rehabilitation services are provided to individuals with physical, mental, or sensory disabilities who require counseling, job training, or other assistance in getting a job. However, DVR services are not long-term. The purpose of DVR is to provide tools for initial job placement. Once the consumer has secured employment, the job coach receives a contract from the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) to provide on-site support for up to 90 days. After 90 days, the VRC will notify the consumer of the closure of their case.

DVR offers the following services:

Assessment Services

Assessment services help to identify your strengths, capabilities, work skills, and interests.

Benefits Planning

Benefits planning is a consultation between you and a DVR specialist to understand how earnings from employment could impact your benefits.

Counseling and Guidance

Your VRC provides counseling and guidance. Your counselor helps you review assessment information, explains the VR process, helps you make good decisions, and supports your progress throughout the process.

Independent Living Services

Independent living services may include:

  • Skills to live independently, such as following a schedule, managing a daily routine, and time management;
  • Money management skills; and
  • Learning how to get around in the community using public transportation.

Assistive Technology Services

Assistive technology services improve your ability to hear, speak, move around, use a computer, etc.

Training and Education

Training and education help you learn work skills and gain the qualifications needed to enter a job in your chosen field.

Job-Related Services

Job-related services include:

  • Assistance completing applications, developing a resume, and practicing interview skills;
  • Conducting a job search; and
  • Mastering the specific skills of your job.

Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)

The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) provides long-term employment services to eligible clients age 21 and over. In addition, DDA provides services in housing, respite, and nursing care for all ages. To qualify for DDA services, a person’s disability must have originated before their 18th birthday, continue, or be expected to continue indefinitely, and result in significant limitations. For more eligibility information, read the blog post, Developmental Disabilities Administration.

Unlike DVR, Group Supported Employment (GSE) qualifies as a successful job placement. GSEs consist of no more than eight people with disabilities working together in a group setting. Despite the addition of group employment, the job development process for DVR and DDA is very similar.

Intake: The client meets with the employment agency of their choosing to complete the initial paperwork.

Discovery: The Community Resource Provider (CRP) and the client work together to identify areas of interest and potential barriers.

Assessment: The client tours or job shadows at several businesses to further identify their interests, as well as their ability to complete tasks.

Job Preparation: The job coach and client practice interview skills and discuss professional appearance and good hygiene.

Job Development: The CRP develops relationships with employers, attends interviews with the client as needed, and secures employment in their chosen field.

Job Coaching: The job coach develops natural supports and teaches the client how to advocate for appropriate workplace accommodations.

Retention: The job coach begins to fade from the job site, providing fewer check-ins until the client can work independently. With DDA, employment services may resume at any time.

In short, employment supports do not begin until age 21, however, DDA provides services across the lifespan.

DVR vs. DDA in a nutshell

DVR Goal: Support clients with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining competitive, integrated employment

DDA Goal: Support clients with disabilities in all aspects of their life

DVR Requirements: Must have a documented disability (may include IEP or 504 Plan)

DDA Requirments: Disability originated before age 18, is expected to continue indefinitely, and results in substantial limitations

DVR Services: Employment

DDA Services: Employment, housing, respite, nursing services, day services, and more! For a complete list of services provided by DDA, visit Developmental Disabilities Administration Services & Programs.



DVR Service Time: Short-term support

DDA Service Time: Long-term support



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