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Who Is Eligible For Services?

There are three ways to be eligible for services, applying for services through the Regional Center, through the Department of Rehabilitation, or applying through our client intake/application form located here.

To be eligible for services through a Regional Center, a person must have a disability that begins before the person's 18th birthday, be expected to continue indefinitely and present a substantial disability as defined in Section 4512 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. Eligibility is established through diagnosis and assessment performed by regional centers.

To be eligible for services from the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) an individual must:

  • have a physical or mental impairment that substantially impedes his / her ability to secure employment, and vocational rehabilitation services are required to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment consistent with the applicant's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, interests, and informed choice;

  • be able to benefit from the DOR's services in terms of an employment outcome in an integrated setting.

If your disability is so severe that you might not be able to benefit from DOR services, the DOR can arrange a trial work experience. This is an opportunity to work in a realistic work setting to demonstrate if you can benefit from DOR services.

If you are receiving Social Security Administration benefits or if you have a valid "Ticket to Work," you are presumed eligible for DOR services.

You will need to request services by first:


Even if you have a significant or most significant disability, there may be a  waiting list for services.

How does a person apply for services through Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC)?

To inquire about applying for services, simply call RCOC’s Intake and Assessment Department at (714) 796-5354 or send an email to  RCOC’s intake staff will assist you by walking through the application/referral and work with you to see what information RCOC will need you to submit to begin the intake process.

Parents, guardians and conservators, or an adult with a developmental disability that was diagnosed before age 18 may initiate the application process. A professional, such as a pediatrician, or other interested party may also do so, but only with permission from the individual or family.

What is Assessment?

Assessment is the term used to describe the process for determining whether a person is eligible for services through the regional center and conducted by the RCOC’s Intake and Assessment Department staff.  This process involves regional center professional staff obtaining information from the client, the client’s parents and other family members, advocates and service providers.  The goal is to gain as much information as possible to assist families in understanding the nature of their situation and to determine whether a person meets the standards for eligibility that the state sets for services to be funded by regional centers.

If the person is eligible for services, the information gained during assessment is used to help in developing an Individual Program Plan (IPP).

You may find more information on the RCOC website FAQ page linked here.

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