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1 The Basic Public Vocational Rehabilitation Process Process Presented by: Cheryl Bates-Harris and David Hutt, NDRN.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The Basic Public Vocational Rehabilitation Process Process Presented by: Cheryl Bates-Harris and David Hutt, NDRN."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The Basic Public Vocational Rehabilitation Process Process Presented by: Cheryl Bates-Harris and David Hutt, NDRN

2 2 Congressional Findings Work is valuable for everyone Individuals w/ disabilities experience staggering levels of unemployment Individuals with disabilities have demonstrated ability to achieve gainful employment Provision of workforce investment activities and VR services can enable individuals with disabilities to pursue meaningful careers.

3 3 State VR Program Each State and Territory of the United States has a public VR system designed to assess, plan, develop and provide VR services to eligible individuals with disabilities, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice.

4 4 Policy of the United States That Individuals with Disabilities be provided the opportunities to obtain gainful employment in INTEGRATED settings. Individuals are to be ACTIVE and FULL partners in the VR process making meaningful and informed choices.

5 5 Referral A referral is defined as any individual who has applied to or been referred to the VR agency by letter, by telephone, by direct contact, or by any other means, and for whom the following minimum information has been furnished: (1) name and address, (2) disability, (3) age and sex, (4) date of referral, and (5) source of referral.

6 6 Applicant As soon as the referred individual signs a document requesting vocational rehabilitation services, the person is designated as an applicant. There is no residency requirement other than the individual be present in the state. Eligibility must determined within 60 days unless there are unusual or unforeseen circumstance.

7 7 Criteria for Eligibility for VR Services 1) Physical or Mental Impairment which is a substantial impediment to employment. 2) Individual needs Vocational Rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment. 3) Individual can benefit from Vocational Rehabilitation services (this is presumed).

8 8 Criteria for Eligibility for VR Services (continued) Special Rule for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplement Security Income (SSI) SSDI and SSI Recipients are... Presumed to have a physical or mental impairment which is a substantial impediment to employment (criteria #1). Presumed to need vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment (criteria #2).

9 9 Eligibility for VR Services - Order of Selections If a state VR agency cannot provide the full- range of VR services to eligible individuals, the agency may establish an order of priority. The order of priority developed by the state VR agency must be based on the severity of the disability, such that the most significantly disabled are provided VR services first.

10 10 Eligibility for VR Services - Order of Selections (continued) The state criteria for who is considered most significantly disabled must follow general federal requirements. The criteria may not be based on The type of disability. The anticipated costs or the type of VR services an individual may need. Individual characteristics such as age, race, etc. The type of employment the individual may seek. The income of the individual, or his or her family.

11 11 Determination Cannot Benefit From VR Services If an individual meets the other criteria for eligibility (criteria # 1 and #2), he or she is presumed to be able to benefit from VR services (criteria #3). The state VR agency can overcome this presumption by showing by clear and convincing evidence the individual could not become employed even with VR services.

12 12 Determination Cannot Benefit From VR Services (continued) The state VR agency must do the following to overcome the presumption: Conduct realistic trial work experiences with the individual to assess his or her abilities, capabilities, and capacities to work. In some cases, VR must conduct an extended evaluation to see if the individual can benefit from VR services by providing those services to determine if the services will help.

13 13 After Eligibility – the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) Critical document that outlines the individuals employment goal and the services the state VR agency will provide. The IPE is not a contract (there is no entitlement to state VR services), but the document may have significant weight if disagreements occur.

14 14 Individualized Plan for Employment (continued) Components of the IPE: 1) An employment outcome or goal – what the individual wants to do. 2) Services required to achieve the goal and those services the VR agency will provide. 3) VR and the individual eligible for services must both agree on 1 and 2, and sign the IPE.

15 15 Individualized Plan for Employment – the Employment Outcome (continued) The employment outcome must be based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual. In other words, the outcome must be individualized.

16 16 Individualized Plan for Employment – the Employment Outcome (continued) What if the individual does not know what type of employment they want? The VR agency must conduct an assessment to determine the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, [and] interests of the individual.

17 17 Individualized Plan for Employment (continued) Be provided in the native language or mode of communication of the individual. Be reviewed (at least) on an annual basis by the individual and a qualified rehabilitation counselor, and if necessary, amended if there are substantive changes in the employment outcome, the services to be provided, or the service providers.

18 18 What Services Can the VR Agency Pay For? Any service necessary to assist in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual Each VR agency has established procedures related to the authorization of services

19 19 What are Some Specific Services? Assessments to determine eligibility and needs Counseling, guidance, and job placement services Training, and purchase of tools, materials, and books Maintenance for costs incurred during rehabilitation

20 20 Services (continued) Diagnosis and treatment of physical or mental impairments to reduce or eliminate impediments to employment when comparable benefits are not available. These may include: Corrective surgery Therapeutic treatment Prosthetic and orthotic devices Eyeglasses and visual services Diagnosis and treatment for mental or emotional disorders

21 21 Services (continued) Transportation: including training, vehicle modification and/or purchase Personal assistance services while receiving VR services Interpreter services, readers, rehab teaching O&M services Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, initial stocks and supplies

22 22 Services (continued) Technical assistance for self employment Rehabilitation technology Transition services for students with disabilities Supported employment Services to family members to assist a person with disability achieve an employment outcome Post-employment services necessary to assist an individual to retain, regain, or ADVANCE in employment. (PD 97-04)

23 23 Financial Need Criteria Generally: There is no requirement that a state consider financial need when providing VR services. However, if a state VR agency chooses to establish a financial needs test, it must establish written policies which govern the determination of financial need and identify the specific VR services that will be subject to the financial needs test.

24 24 Comparable Services & Benefits Comparable services and benefits means services that are provided or paid for in part or whole by other Federal, state, or local agencies and are available to the individual at the time needed to further the progress of the individual toward achieving his/her identified employment outcome.

25 25 Comparable services & benefits VR is considered payer of last resort if another agency refuses to provide service, VR is responsible for obtaining those services pending resolution with that agency Specific language prevents VR from paying for higher education until maximum efforts have been made to secure grant assistance from other sources…

26 26 The Employment Outcome The emphasis of the VR agency must be on integrated employment. Employment in a sheltered workshop may be an employment goal, but it must be the informed choice of the individual and consistent with the abilities of the individual. The setting needs to be included in the IPE.

27 27 If Circumstances Change – Changes to the IPE Change the IPE including the employment or services to be provided by VR. Any changes must be signed by both the individual and the state VR agency.

28 28 If Problems or Disagreements Occur Disagreements can occur over: Determination one is not eligible for services. Order of Selection category. Employment outcome/goal. Services the VR agency will provide. Closure of VR case. Other issues.

29 29 If Problems or Disagreements Occur (continued) Free services available to assist with resolving disagreement with VR available in every state and territory: Client Assistance Program (CAP) - available to all applicants for and eligible recipients of VR services. Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) – available to beneficiaries of SSDI and recipients of SSI who face barriers to employment, including problems obtaining VR services.

30 30 The Required Process When A Disagreement Occurs Informal review of the problem with the VR agency (voluntary) Negotiation/Mediation (voluntary) Administrative Hearing Must request within a time period set by each state. Hearing must be held within 60 days of request unless everyone agrees to extend. Decision must be made within 30 days of the closing of the hearing. Review in Federal or State Court

31 31 The Required Process When A Disagreement Occurs (continued) Most disagreements do not go to an administrative hearing and even fewer go to federal or state court. The CAP program attempts to settle disagreement through meeting and negotiations with VR, though ultimately the individual decides whether to accept or reject any agreement.

32 32 Whats Next? Ready for employment - Clients have completed preparation for employment and are ready to accept a job but have not yet been placed In employment - clients have been begun employment and will be monitored for 90 days to ensure adequacy of employment in accordance with the needs and limitations of the individual. Post employment services are available if needed.

33 33 Questions?? Contact your local CAP agency. Information can be found at Thank you all for joining us!


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