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A woman communicates with another woman, who is unrecognizable, using sign language. 

Services for Deaf/Hard of Hearing

DRS rehabilitation counselors for the deaf have specialized training necessary to meet the unique employment needs of people who have hearing loss. These counselors understand deaf culture as well as the needs of those who have lost their hearing later in life.

DRS rehabilitation counselors for the deaf can talk with you about many job-related topics, including how to:

  • Go to work
  • Find out about accommodations you will need to attend school or participate in training
  • Interview for a job
  • Ask an employer for reasonable accommodations

DRS offers specialized programs and services that help West Virginia citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing to reach their employment goals. DRS can provide:

  • Assistive devices
  • Audiological evaluations and assessments
  • Telecommunications devices
  • Interpreter services
  • Vocational counseling and guidance
  • Vocational Evaluations
  • Training
  • Hearing aids and assistive listening devices
  • Life skills training
  • Work adjustment training
  • Job coaching
  • Direct placement

You may find answers to some frequently asked questions useful.

Frequently Asked Questions

I need a hearing aid and cannot afford one. Where can I get help?

If you are eligible for DRS services and you need a hearing aid to become employed or to maintain current employment, your DRS counselor will talk with you about the best way to obtain a hearing aid.
If you are not eligible for DRS services (or if working is not your goal), you can contact these following resources to find out more about obtaining low-cost or no-cost hearing services:
Kids First provides hearing aids and supplies for children ages 3, 4, 5 or 6 who do not have insurance that covers this benefit.
Nationwide, the Help America Hear Program provides hearing aids for men, women and children with limited financial resources.
The West Virginia Centers for Independent Living offer referral services and may be able to purchase hearing aids for eligible individuals.

What if I need a sign language interpreter for a job interview?

If you are a DRS consumer, your rehabilitation counselor can arrange for an interpreter to assist you.

Does DRS pay for college or vocational training?

DRS can assist its consumers with vocational training or college. All consumers planning to pursue postsecondary education must apply for financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The results of that application will indicate a student’s Expected Family Contribution and financial aid from other sources. Once those have been applied, DRS may contribute toward tuition, books, and supplies, but not exceeding the student’s unmet need.

Can I work and keep my Social Security benefits?

The Social Security Administration has several incentive programs to help people who are receiving Social Security benefits go to work while not immediately affecting benefits.
West Virginia offers the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program to provide information and expertise to beneficiaries of Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to enable those beneficiaries with disabilities to make informed choices to successfully transition to work.

For more information, call 1-800-642-8207 or send us an email.