As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 9: Employment Services

(Revised 12/14 , 05/15, 04/16)

9.1 Overview

(Revised 03/08, 12/08, 12/10, 12/14)

Employment assistance is one of the primary services counselors offer to consumers. It includes the planning and service provision that each consumer needs to be successfully employed. This chapter provides direction on how to assess each consumer's readiness for employment, and strategize which employment services are needed for the consumer to be successful in their selected career.

*VR programs are directed to provide expertise and services to people with disabilities and businesses with the goal of increasing access to employment opportunities for people with disabilities.*

*Based on Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Sec. 101(a)(11)(A)(iv)ii

*Counselors are responsible for completing accessing and planning activities with each consumer to determine the nature and scope of services needed to support the consumer in obtaining and maintaining employment in their chosen career.*

*Based on Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Sec. 7(2)(B)

*The vocational rehabilitation program helps eligible people enter employment. An employment outcome for the VR program consists of entering or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market.

The employment must be consistent with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.*

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.5(b)(16)

The counselor is responsible for:

Refer to Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning for additional information.

Types of employment services available to consumers:

Wage Employment

Self-Employment (Business Ownership)

9.1.1 Navigating Employment Services Chapter

Within many of the sections in this chapter, the reader will find links to the DRS Standards for Providers Manual. The Standards for Providers Manual includes detailed specifications that must be followed by providers as a part of compliance with their contracts.

Modifications can be made to these services only when a DARS3472, Contract Service Modification form has been completed and approved. See Chapter 17: Purchasing, 17.4.8 Exceptions to Contracts.

9.1.2 Key Terms

For a list of Key Terms and definitions that are used throughout this chapter, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Manual Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.2 Key Terms.

9.2 Role of the Counselor

(Added 05/16)

The counselor should remain actively involved with both the provider and the consumer when employment services are being purchased. Monthly contacts with the consumer and the provider are required to ensure and facilitate quality employment outcomes. Document these contacts and the consumer's progress or lack of progress in case notes in ReHabWorks.

9.3 Employment Services

(Added 12/08, revised 06/09, 09/14, 12/14, 05/15)

9.3.1 Fees

Fees are established for all employment services. This includes Basic Job Placement, Enhanced Job Placement, Supported Employment Services, Job Skills Training (Job Coaching), Non-Bundled Job Placement Services, and Employment Premium Services.

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.3 Fees, Employment Services Fee Table for a detailed list of services and fees.

Modifications cannot be made to these services without completing a DARS3472, Contract Service Modification, form.

See Chapter 17: Purchasing, 17.4.8 Exceptions to Contracts for additional details regarding Contract Service Modifications policies and procedures.

9.3.2 Employment Premium Services

(Revised 02/11, 12/14, 05/15, 08/15)

The vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) can purchase Employment Premium Services from contracted providers when a consumer can benefit from the service. One or multiple Employment Premium Services can be purchased for a consumer; for example, the Deaf Service Premium and Criminal Background Premium can be purchased if the consumer meets the criteria for each. The Deaf Premium Service can be purchased with either Bundled or Non-bundled Job Placement Services. The Criminal Background Premium, Wage Premium, or Professional Placement Premium can be purchased with Bundled Employment Services.

If a counselor decides to purchase an Employment Premium Services, the purchase must be indicated on the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, and be authorized by a service authorization.

The VRC must complete a case note in ReHabWorks to justify the purchase of Employment Premium Services. When using the Autism Premium Service, if the consumer does not have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, the counselor must use the template found in the Case Note Template: Justification for Autism Service Premium.

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.4 Employment Premium Services for additional details.

9.4 Job Readiness

(Revised 12/14)

9.4.1 Overview

Throughout the VR process, services provided should support each consumer in achieving an individualized level of job readiness as it pertains to their disability, support needs, and specific employment goals.

The consumer should have completed any services or training related to disability issues, vocational adjustment, interpersonal skills training, and work force readiness issues that interfere with their participation in obtaining or maintaining employment.

The counselor must address the following to ensure each consumer is job ready prior to the consumer beginning the job search process:

Disability Factors

Vocational Adjustment

Interpersonal Skills

Workforce Readiness

For additional assistance in assessing job readiness, please check out the tools posted on Counselor Toolbox.

Case notes and documentation in ReHabWorks must accurately show how a consumer demonstrates being "Job Ready" prior to the case being designated as "Job Ready" in ReHabWorks. When a consumer demonstrates job readiness, they are ready to either begin the job search process or return to employment. ReHabWorks case notes and documentation should reflect that the consumer is job ready, providing

If the consumer uses any services, in addition to DARS, to assist him or her in gaining Job Readiness, these services should be documented as comparable benefits in the consumer's IPE.

Accurately and consistently marking cases as "Job Ready" is a function of effective caseload management. "Job Ready" status in ReHabWorks allows DARS staff to query job search information such as identifying current business accounts and business industries to target for establishing job opportunities that match the consumer's interests and knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Note related to Supported Employment: Typically consumers who need Supported Employment services have difficulty in transferring skills learned across environments and need long term supports to be successfully employed. When a consumer is in Supported Employment, Extended Services and training at a jobsite often must happen after the placement and therefore the consumer would be considered "Job Ready" once Extended Services providers are identified and established without the consumer demonstrating all skill necessary for job readiness. If the counselor identifies that a consumer with a most significant disability might benefit from supported employment services, the Supported Employment Assessment (SEA) can be purchased to assist in determining if the consumer needs long-term supports in place to be successfully employed.

9.5 Counselor-Directed Placement

(Added 12/14)

9.5.1 Overview

In addition to reasonable and necessary services to prepare the consumer for employment, the counselor needs to determine and coordinate strategies to assist the consumer in obtaining employment. The counselor's participation and the strategy or combination of strategies to achieve successful outcomes depends on the consumer's needs.

For counselor Directed Placement, counselors and VR staff provide direct services to consumers which include counseling and guidance, mentoring, and/or training to assist the consumer in gaining employment in the competitive labor market. Counselors coordinate the placement process and can direct other VR staff members and/or providers to assist the consumer with certain aspects of his or her job search process if needed. Consumers are provided as much assistance as they need to become successfully employed.

When the counselor directs the placement services, he or she must address any of these areas identified during assessing and planning to ensure that the consumer is successful in his or her job search:

Counselors and other VR staff such as RSTs and CCCs can assist with job placement which includes but is not limited to the following activities:

Non-Bundled Employment Services can be purchased to assist the consumer when comprehensive placement services (Bundled Employment Services) are not needed. After placement, Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) can also be provided if the consumer needs additional training that the business cannot provide.

For additional information and resources on job placement go to the Counselor Toolbox-Customized Employment.

Consumer characteristics appropriate for Counselor-Directed Placement Services are as follows:

9.5.2 DARS Staff Responsibilities

The counselor is responsible for

Other DARS staff members, such as RSTs and CCCs, under the direction of the counselor can assist with

The Business Relations Specialist can assist by providing labor market information to the counselor and consumer.

9.5.3 EN Employment Advancement Payment 1

The first EN Employment Advancement payment is available only during the first 12 months following case closure. When the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve monthly gross pay that meets or exceeds the SGA level, the CRP-EN must notify you, in writing, no less than 30 days in advance. Contact the consumer, and, if appropriate,

Upon receipt of required documentation (see the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.10 Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Ticket to Work Partnership Plus-EN Employment Advancement Payments), payment may be made.

9.5.4 EN Employment Advancement Payment 2

The second EN Employment Advancement payment is available only within the first 18 months after the first EN Employment Advancement payment. When the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve monthly gross pay that is at least 105 percent of SGA level for 8 of 12 consecutive months, the CRP-EN must notify you, in writing, no less than 30 days in advance. Follow the same procedure as above to make the second EN Employment Advancement payment.

9.6 Non-Bundled Job Placement Services

(Revised 06/09, 10/14, 12/14)

9.6.1 Overview

(Added 12/14)

The VRC can purchase Non-Bundled Job Placement Services from contracted providers when a consumer needs more assistance than a counselor or DARS staff member can provide related to a specific skill(s) or task(s) that must be completed for the consumer to gain employment.

Non-Bundled Job Placement Services can include:

Non-Bundled services are not purchased for consumers that need Bundled Employment Services.

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.5 Non-Bundled Job Placement Services for additional details about utilizing non-bundled job placement services.

9.6.2 Job Application Training and Completion

The Job Placement Specialist supplies initial instruction, assistance, monitoring, and any resources and tools necessary to assist the consumer in completion of job applications and pre-employment screenings questionnaires and/or testing.

Training must include

The Job Placement Specialist completes the DARS1871, Non-Bundled Job Placement Services--Summary Report. The report must include a clear, descriptive summary of the assistance, training, and supports provided by Job Placement Specialist and must document a clear descriptive summary of the consumer's skills at the conclusion of the training.

9.6.3 Employment Data Sheet and Resume with instruction

Resume Completion for Consumer

When the consumer is able to demonstrate skills necessary to complete the Employment Data Sheet and Resume,

9.6.3.1 Employment Data Sheet and Resume completed for the consumer

When a consumer needs the Employment Data Sheet and resume completed by the Job Placement Specialist,

9.6.4 Interview Training

The Job Placement Specialist supplies initial instruction, assistance, monitoring, and any resources and tools necessary to assist the consumer in gaining the skills necessary to interview effectively with businesses that relate to the consumer's employment goal(s).

Training must include:

The Job Placement Specialist completes the DARS1871, Non-Bundled Job Placement Services--Summary Report. The report must include a clear, descriptive summary of the assistance, training, and supports provided by Job Placement Specialist and must document in a clear, descriptive summary the consumer's skills at the conclusion of the training.

If Deaf Employment Premium Service was authorized, the invoice will be paid after the DARS1871, Non-Bundled Job Placement Services--Summary Report, is approved. For information on outcomes to verify before payment of Deaf Employment Premium Service, see the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.4 Employment Premium Services for additional information.

Purchasing Fees: For a fees chart, see DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.3 Fees.

Staff Qualification: See Job Placement Specialist qualifications.

Provider Guidance Tools: None

9.7 On the Job Training

(Added 12/14)

9.7.1 Overview

On the Job Training (OJT) is a way to help individuals to build their skills and to re-establish employment when he or she has a history of limited skills, limited work history, unemployment, legal issues, or incarceration. OJT can be used as a hiring incentive with employers while also assisting the consumer in overcoming his or her employment barrier(s). The United States Department of Labor offers the Federal Bonding Program link added that can also be helpful for job placement for the "at-risk job seeker."

On-the-Job-Training (OJT) is:

9.7.2 Workforce Board Funding

On-the-job (OJT) trainings can also be funded by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) if a consumer is jointly served by DRS and the local Workforce Investment Board currently offers OJT programs. Using a WIA-funded OJT is a comparable benefit and should be documented in ReHabWorks. However, not all Workforce Investment Boards in Texas offer OJT. Contact the Business Relation Specialist serving your region or the DARS representative serving on the Workforce Investment Board, if any, for additional information.

OJT opportunities can be developed using the same business development techniques used in regular placement. OJT is a service that businesses can access to offset any additional training costs they may incur from hiring a consumer. Review Chapter 12: DARS Business Services.

9.7.3 Description

OJT is when DARS pays an employer to train a consumer that has been hired as an employee of the business earning the same rate of pay and benefits of other individuals hired into the position or similar position. The employer trains the consumer in the skills necessary to perform both essential and non-essential job duties. The specifications of the training are established through the use of the DARS OJT Worksheet and entered into a Service Authorization in ReHabWorks.

The length of an OJT depends on the skills to be learned and the consumer's learning ability. If the training is longer than three months, area manager approval is required and approval must be documented in ReHabWorks in a case note. An area manager will consider the following as possible reasons to justify increasing the length of the OJT so that the consumer can get and keep successful long-term employment:

Note: The above list is not inclusive. Contact the regional or state program specialist assigned to OJT, as necessary, to discuss the appropriateness to extend the length of an OJT beyond than three months.

The following vocational rehabilitation services cannot be purchased when a consumer is receiving OJT services:

OJT is a substantial service. Time spent in OJT cannot be counted toward the 90 days of employment required for a successful closure. The start date of employment entered to ReHabWorks must be after the date of OJT completion.

9.7.4 Procedures

When a VRC and a consumer determine that OJT is appropriate, prepare the consumer before approaching employers. Ensure that the consumer is "Job Ready" by emphasizing such areas as attendance, transportation, work rules , work culture, work standards of conduct, and basic labor market information about the occupation and industry. Review the RPM section on Job Readiness to assist in determining if the consumer needs additional support/training or is ready to pursue OJT as an option.

Identify a business that will hire the consumer and will participate in the OJT program.

DARS staff educates the business that is hiring the consumer about DARS' expectations related to participation in the DARS On the job Training program.

Once the Business agrees to provide OJT for a DARS consumer

9.7.5 Purchasing

DARS may pay OJT fees to the employer for

Training Fees paid to the business cannot be greater than $5,000. This dollar amount is not subject to any level of management override due to requirements in Texas Administrative Code.

OJT employer payments are based on a sliding scale and are based on the business size at the local worksite where the training will take place. Employer payments are based on the following number of employees:

If necessary, an area manager can approve a higher percentage of reimbursement, but the total reimbursement for the OJT cannot be greater than $5,000.

Examples of when paying a higher percentage is acceptable include:

The area manager is required to document in a case note in ReHabWorks the approval justifying the reason for the higher percentage of reimbursement.

DARS needs to negotiate a payment schedule that progressively decreases throughout the training period as the consumer's skills increase. See examples in the Counselor Toolbox.

Outcomes Required for Payment:

9.8 Apprenticeship Opportunities

If a consumer is interested and capable, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) apprenticeship opportunities should be explored by the counselor with the consumer. TWC registered apprenticeships offer opportunities for employment and ongoing training paid through WIA funds to become proficient in a skilled trade or craft.

Counselors should review the criteria at TWC apprenticeship program to determine basic eligibility for an apprenticeship. Consumers pursuing apprenticeships must be job-ready and meet the qualifications of each apprenticeship position offered before applying. Consumers need to be able to contact the businesses themselves and have the ability to participate in a panel interview in order to successfully compete for an apprenticeship position.

After determining that apprenticeship is a feasible alternative for the consumer, the counselor and consumer should explore options on the website called My Next Move.

9.9 Bundled Job Placement Services

(Added 12/14, 05/15)

9.9.1 Overview

Counselors may purchase Job Placement Services from contracted providers if the counselor believes that the consumer is going to need more assistance than DARS staff members can provide in achieving the consumer's employment goal(s). If any Non-Bundled Job Placement Service (such as Personal Data Sheet/Resume, Interview Training, or Applications Trainings) has been purchased, the Bundled Job Placement Services purchased from an employment service provider will be reduced.

Two types of Bundled Job Placement Services are available: Basic and Enhanced.

Basic Job Placement is for the consumer who:

Enhanced Job Placement is for consumers who:

The Support Needs Assessment to Determine the Appropriate Service found on the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, can be used to assist in determining whether Basic or Enhanced Job Placement is the best service for the consumer. A score of less than 16 indicates that the consumer should be in Basic Job Placement and a score of 16 or greater indicates that the consumer should be in Enhanced Job Placement Services.

Go to the Counselor Tool Box for additional job aids to assist in determining the level of support the consumer requires to be successful on the job.

Counselor responsibilities are as follows:

If the Support Needs Assessment to Determine Appropriate Service, Employment Goal(s), or the Employment Conditions change, including changing from Non-Negotiable to Negotiable, a new updated DARS1833 must be completed before the placement will be accepted.

If a counselor determines that an employment services provider has become eligible for an Employment Premium and this was not documented on the current DARS1833, an updated DARS1833 must be completed or the counselor must document why the consumer's case is now eligible for the Premium Services in a detailed case note in ReHabWorks.

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.6 Bundled Job Placement Services for more information.

9.9.2 Bundled Basic Job Placement as a Purchased Service

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.6.1 Bundled Basic Job Placement for additional details.

9.9.3 Bundled Enhanced Job Placement as a Purchased Service

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.6.2 Enhanced Job Placement for additional details.

9.10 Supported Employment

(Added 05/15, revised 07/17)

9.10.1 Overview of Supported Employment

Supported Employment is competitive integrated employment (including customized employment in an integrated setting) in which the customer is working toward a competitive integrated employment outcome.

Often, these customers have been:

These customers need assistance to:

Supported Employment (SE) Services provide individualized training and support to assist customers in finding competitive integrated employment that is consistent with their unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. SE also establishes extended services and long-term support within the work environment to maintain employment.

Key Terms

Definitions of key terms related to Supported Employment Services can be found in the Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.2 Key Terms.

9.10.2 Purchasing Requirements

Supported Employment Services are only purchased through contracted providers.

For more information on general purchasing policies and procedures, refer to:

For a table of fees for Employment Assistance Services, including Supported Employment, refer to:

To ensure accountability and quality of services to Vocational Rehabilitation customers, VRS staff must be familiar with and apply the contracting program requirements as published.

For specific information about purchasing outcome-based Supported Employment Services, refer to:

9.10.3 Eligibility Requirements for Supported Employment

Level of Significance for Supported Employment Cases

A State may provide services under this part to any individual, including a youth with a disability, if:

(a) The individual has been determined to be:

(1) Eligible for vocational rehabilitation services in accordance with 34 CFR 361.42; and

(2) An individual with a most significant disability;

(b) For purposes of activities carried out under §363.4(a)(2), the individual is a youth with a disability, as defined in 34 CFR 361.5(c)(59), who satisfies the requirements of this section; and

(c) Supported employment has been identified as the appropriate employment outcome for the individual on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs, as defined in 34 CFR 361.5(c)(5), including an evaluation of rehabilitation, career, and job needs.

*34 CFR 363.3

All Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) customers who use Supported Employment Services must have their case files designated in ReHabWorks as "most significant." The level of significance is determined prior to eligibility. However, this designation can be updated any time thereafter if new information becomes available to support the change in the level of significance.

Manager review and approval is required to change the level of significance for customers who have received Supported Employment Services, if the level of significance is being changed from "most significant" to any other level of significance.

For more information about determining the level of significance, refer to:

Types of Disabilities

Supported Employment Services can be used for customers with any type of disability; however, the services are most commonly used for customers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), significant mental health conditions, or autism.

For more information about determining eligibility, refer to RPM Chapter 3: Eligibility and VRM Chapter 3: Eligibility.

9.10.4 Comprehensive Assessment for Supported Employment Services

Customer characteristics appropriate for SE Services are:

Supported Employment must be identified as an appropriate rehabilitation objective for the individual on the basis of a comprehensive assessment to determine the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice and must be included in the customer's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

If the original IPE did not specifically identify Supported Employment as a planned service, the IPE must be amended to include Supported Employment and the specific provider for these services. All changes to planned Supported Employment Services must be documented in an IPE or in an IPE amendment. (Use of service justification case notes in lieu of an IPE or IPE amendment is not allowed).

For more information on eligibility for SE Services, refer to:

9.10.5 Comparable Services and/or Benefits and Supported Employment

SSI and SSDI Recipients

If a customer is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, counselors must obtain a Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and share this information with the SE provider as a part of the referral packet.

If the customer is eligible for any Social Security work incentives, such as a Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) or Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE), the counselor works with the customer to facilitate access to these resources.

For more information about this process, contact the program specialist for benefits for the Rehabilitation Services Division (DRS) or Blind Services Division (BSD) or the designee (unit or regional subject matter expert) and refer to:

Medicaid Waiver Programs

Home and community based waivers—such as the Home and Community-based Services (HCS) program, Texas Home Living program, and Community Living Assistance Support Services (CLASS) program, or a managed care organization (MCO)—must be used as a comparable benefit when establishing extended services and support for the customer.

For more information about using a comparable benefit, refer to:

If the customer is a current participant in a Medicaid waiver program and is going to need Extended Services and support, the MCO case manager and/or service coordinator and provider must be involved in coordinating services beginning with the Supported Employment Assessment.

Extended support must be approved for payment on the customer's waiver plan by no later than the end of Benchmark Four [Title]. For assistance in coordinating Medicaid Waiver services, contact the appropriate benefits subject matter resource staff person.

Note: This section applies only to customers who have a Medicaid waiver already available to them.

Other Sources for Extended Support

Extended services can be provided by other public agencies, private nonprofit organizations, or other sources, including employers and other natural sources of support, following the provision of authorized Supported Employment Services.

9.10.6 IPE for Supported Employment

The IPE must include:

Refer to RPM Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning (general services) and VRM Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning (blind services) for additional information on developing an IPE.

9.10.7 Closing a Case from Supported Employment

Before successfully closing a case with a Supported Employment outcome, in addition to the requirements outlined in RPM Chapter 16: Closure, all of the following conditions must be met:

The vocational rehabilitation counselor must select Supported Employment as the employment status on the Successful Closure window in ReHabWorks.

9.10.8 Program Staff Responsibilities

The vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC):

Program Support Staff

The Rehabilitation Services Technician (RST), Rehabilitation Assistant (RA), and Customer Case Coordinator (CCC), under the direction of the VRC, can:

9.11 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching)

(Added 05/15)

9.11.1 Overview

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.7 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) for additional information.

9.11.2 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) by a Non-Traditional Provider

Overview

A nontraditional provider is a person who is not an approved provider with a bilateral contract and who is in a position to help a consumer achieve the goals required for the consumer to meet the employer's job performance expectations. A nontraditional provider may request to become an approved provider with a bilateral contract when an open enrollment is available.

A nontraditional job skills trainer (job coach) may be used when:

(See "Purchasing Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) Services from Non-Traditional Providers" for more information.)

Agreement with Nontraditional Provider

DARS must explain the following to the nontraditional provider:

If the person agrees, request that the regional CRP contract manager set up the non-traditional job skills trainer (job coach) as a vendor. (This could take up to a week.)

The nontraditional job skills trainer (job coach) may work with up to five consumers. If the provider wants to serve more than five consumers, he or she must apply to become a provider with a bilateral contract. Contact the region's CRP contract manager to reactivate the non-traditional job skills trainer (job coach) each time you wish to use him or her. Issue the service authorization to the non-traditional job skills trainer (job coach) and send a copy to the CRP contract manager in the regional Office.

Procedures

Use the following procedures each time you need to issue or change a service record (SR) or service authorization using the non-traditional provider, after provider setup is completed:

Counselor

  1. requests the regional CRP contract manager's assistance to link a provider to nontraditional job skills trainer (job coach) specification.

Regional program specialist for quality assurance (PRS-QA)

  1. requests that RHW Provider Services (rhw.providerservices@twc.state.tx.us) link the provider to the nontraditional job skills trainer (job coach) specification; and
  2. informs the requestor that the provider is linked.

Counselor or RST

  1. issues or changes the needed SR or SA for a specific consumer ensuring that the detailed description specification remains on the SR or SA;
  2. enters all additional information related to the Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) services such as goals or skills to be required of the nontraditional job skills trainer (job coach) (for example, union welder required) to the end of the detailed description specification in ReHabWorks; and
  3. informs the regional CRP contract manager when the SR or SA is completed.

Regional CRP Contract Manager

  1. asks HHSC PCS to remove the specification link to the provider.

Service Description

Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) by Nontraditional Provider

Use the Service Description/Scope, Procedures, Outcomes Required for Payment and Provider Guidance Tools sections found in the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.7 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching).

Note: The sections titled Staff Qualifications and Purchasing Fees listed in the Standards for Providers Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) do not apply to non-traditional service providers.

Basic Fee Schedule

The basic fee schedule for Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) services by nontraditional job skills training (job coaching) providers is $22.00 per hour per consumer.

Refer to the DRS Standards for Providers for a detailed fee schedule for other purchased services.

9.12 EN Employment Advancement Payments

(Added 01/10)

Under Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Program, DARS and Employment Networks (ENs) partner to provide a seamless system of service delivery that supports a consumer's efforts toward achieving and maintaining self-supporting employment. DARS provides vocational rehabilitation services, including Job Placement or Supported Employment, if appropriate, and, after VR case closure, an EN provides ongoing job supports and services to ensure that the consumer maintains and has opportunities to advance in employment. In order for an EN to partner with DARS under the Ticket to Work Partnership Plus option, the consumer's Ticket cannot be assigned to the EN during the provision of VR services.

DARS encourages Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) to become ENs, and to partner with DARS to better help consumers who receive Social Security benefits achieve self-supporting employment.

The CRP-EN may be eligible to receive up to two EN Employment Advancement Payments when it

If the CRP-EN is the holder of the consumer's Ticket assignment, follow procedures in Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.10.10 Ticket to Work Program to unassign the Ticket for the duration of the VR case.

9.12.1 EN Employment Advancement Payment Eligibility

The following criteria must be met for a CRP-EN to be eligible for the EN Employment Advancement Payments on an individual consumer:

Payment for EN employment advancement occurs after JP or SE outcome payments have been made to the CRP-EN and after VR case closure. Payment is made to the CRP-EN for employment advancement when

  1. the consumer has one month of gross income that meets or exceeds the SGA level for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 12 months following VR case closure; or
  2. the consumer has gross income in 8 of 12 consecutive months which is at least 105 percent of the SGA level for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 18 months following the first payment.

The DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.10 Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Ticket to Work Partnership Plus-EN Employment Advancement Payments contains a detailed description of the EN Employment Advancement Payment system, including service definitions, required documentation, outcomes, and payment information.

9.12.2 VR Counselor Responsibility

Follow procedures in Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.10.10 Ticket to Work Program to ensure that the consumer's Ticket is designated as "in use" by SSA. If the CRP chosen to provide job placement (JP) or supported employment (SE) services is an EN, discuss the assignment of the Ticket following case closure with the provider and consumer during the pre-placement meeting (for JP) or during the SESP Part 1 meeting (for SE). To facilitate informed choice, explain to the consumer (and representative, if applicable) that, following VR case closure, he or she will have the option to assign his or her ticket to the EN of his or her choice, including the CRP-EN providing services. Refer the consumer to the MAXIMUS Web site for additional information about other available ENs.

In preparation for successful case closure with Ticket consumers,

If the consumer chooses to assign his or her Ticket to the CRP-EN that provided JP or SE services during his or her VR case, the CRP-EN will monitor the consumer's employment and provide necessary support services to allow the consumer to maintain and advance in employment.

9.12.3 EN Employment Advancement Payment 1

The first EN Employment Advancement payment is available only during the first 12 months following case closure. When the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve monthly gross pay that meets or exceeds the SGA level, the CRP-EN must notify you, in writing, no less than 30 days in advance. Contact the consumer, and, if appropriate,

Upon receipt of required documentation (see DRS Standards for Providers, Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.10 Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Ticket to Work Partnership Plus-EN Employment Advancement Payments), payment may be made.

9.12.4 EN Employment Advancement Payment 2

The second EN Employment Advancement payment is available only within the first 18 months after the first EN Employment Advancement payment. When the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve monthly gross pay that is at least 105 percent of SGA level for 8 of 12 consecutive months, the CRP-EN must notify you, in writing, no less than 30 days in advance. Follow the same procedure as above to make the second EN Employment Advancement payment.

9.13 Self-Employment Services

(Revised 06/09, 10/14)

The following policy and procedures apply when a consumer requests that DRS pay for the costs of starting or maintaining self-employment.

Consult the regional program specialist on every self-employment case regardless of cost.

Self-employment

Self-employment does not include

For a complete list of refer to the Texas Secretary of State website.

9.13.1 When to Consider Self-Employment

Consider self-employment when

Conduct a thorough exploration of self-employment as an employment strategy, particularly assessing the consumer's capacity for

Also counsel the consumer about the need for and availability of worker benefits such as

9.13.2 When Self-Employment Is Indicated

The process for developing a plan for self-employment is progressive and begins with assessing the consumer. If self-employment is indicated as a strategy for obtaining employment

9.13.3 SSI/SSDI Beneficiaries

The Social Security Administration rules used to determine which form of self-employment an SSI/SSDI beneficiary is participating in and how this will impact his or her benefits are complex. All SSI/SSDI beneficiaries must consult with a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) before developing a formal Business Plan or finalizing an IPE that includes self-employment as an outcome.

9.13.4 Developing the Business Plan

Before you develop the IPE, the consumer completes a business plan that

A business plan is required in every case except when

The business plan

To the extent necessary, the business plan includes the following:

Either as part of the business plan or in a separate attachment, the consumer must provide a list of

*DRS may purchase technical assistance for the consumer, including consulting services to

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.48(s)

For experienced help in developing a business plan, consumers can use comparable benefits that are available from

Payment information for technical assistance and consultative services for self-employment is listed in ReHabWorks specifications for

The cost of such consultations is not considered as part of the cost of the self-employment plan.

9.13.5 Developing the IPE for Self-Employment

(Revised 06/08)

You may consider including some services specific to self-employment in the IPE, in addition to the usual scope of VR services reasonable and necessary to support the employment goal.

The following table lists some of those services, their description, and any related procedures.

Service

Description and Procedure

Business plan evaluation

If needed, purchase from individuals or organizations an evaluation of the business plan that documents

  • the viability of the business and likelihood of its success,
  • the likelihood of the consumer achieving the projected net income stated in the plan, and
  • weaknesses that must be addressed.

Tools and equipment

You may purchase tools and equipment customarily used in similar businesses. Advise the consumer that

For guidance in obtaining these items, see:

Maintenance

Maintenance is available for a business start up

Ordinarily, maintenance does not exceed 16 weeks from the date the consumer begins self-employment.

Initial stock and supplies

Initial stock and supplies include

  • office supplies, and
  • an inventory of salable merchandise or goods needed to start the business.

Advertising

For a business start-up, you may

  • help plan advertising; and
  • if appropriate, purchase advertising.

Utilities

You may pay utilities costs for a maximum of six months during the first phase of the new business.

Rent or lease payments

You may help pay rent or lease payments for a maximum of six months and a maximum of $300 per month, during the first phase of the business. Rent or lease payment should be in line with projected income.

Advise the consumer to consider location and zoning ordinances. Location and proximity to public transportation are two important factors in a successful retail business. If the consumer requests help with negotiating or otherwise preparing a lease agreement, consult the regional program support director (RPSD).

Each service authorization for consumer rent or lease of business space must include

  • name of the building owner,
  • building location,
  • amount of space to be rented or leased,
  • amount of rent or lease payment, and
  • period of rent or lease.

You may also pay for utilities for a maximum of six months. If utilities are included in the payment, and the payment is more than $300, you may issue separate service authorizations for rent (not to exceed $300) and utilities.

Paying deposits, such as rental or utility deposits, for consumers is not allowed by the Comptroller's State of Texas Purchase Policies and Procedures Guide, and area managers cannot approve these purchases.

Legal fees

Under certain conditions, pay legal fees to a private attorney to help a consumer's rehabilitation program. Submit a memorandum to DARS Legal Services, through the management chain, covering

  • how the legal service will enhance consumer's rehabilitation program, and
  • an estimate of the attorney's fee.

Upon review and concurrence by DARS Legal Services, the DRS assistant commissioner must approve the expense.

9.13.6 Goods and Services Not Provided

See Chapter 17: Purchasing, 17.5.10 Goods and Services DRS Does Not Provide.

9.13.7 Funding

"Self-employment cost" means the cost of starting and maintaining the business as described in the business plan to which you and the consumer agreed. The area manager must approve paying for self-employment costs above $3,000. The regional director must approve pay for such costs above $10,000.

Self-employment cost does not include the cost of

9.13.8 The Consumer's Participation in Costs

Consumers who have income and/or liquid assets in excess of the basic living requirement (BLR; see Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.6.3: Basic Living Requirements) must pay the excess toward the self-employment cost. Additionally, the consumer must contribute any other available resources to help establish and maintain the business; for example, use of a vehicle, labor, a building, or tools.

If the consumer is pursuing a loan from a lending institution or other source, and the funds are critical to the business start-up, the consumer must provide

The IPE for self-employment must include

9.13.9 Actions after Receiving Required Approvals

After obtaining approvals, send a copy of the following to the regional program specialist for inclusion in the file of self-employment plans:

9.13.10 Closing a Case as Rehabilitated

Before closing a case in self-employment as successful, ensure that it meets all criteria in Chapter 16: Closure, 16.2.1 Requirements for a Successful Closure, and that

Business stability is the point at which you and the consumer agreed in the IPE the business revenue equals a specified level, such as

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.56

9.13.11 Required Documentation for Closing as Self-Employed

Documentation must

Documenting the Length of Business Operation

Document the length of business operation through one or more of the following means:

Documenting the Income Level

Obtain and file in the case record one or more of the following documents for income verification:

9.14 Supported Self-Employment Services

(Added 12/10; revised 03/11, 09/11, 11/11)

9.14.1 Supported Self-Employment (SSE) Overview

Supported Self-Employment (SSE) is competitive integrated employment where the consumer solely owns, manages, and operates a business and is not considered an employee of another person, business, or organization; and the business is consistent with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

SSE enables consumers with the most significant disabilities to demonstrate

SSE is similar to self-employment but incorporates many of the concepts of Supported Employment, including that the consumer receives ongoing supports throughout the VR case and then transitions to extended services and supports, not funded by DARS, after case closure. Supports may include long-term Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) supports, ongoing case management, peer supports, natural supports, family supports, or ongoing paid professional services for the business.

SSE businesses are typically small and require a team approach to planning and support. The business team helps explore and determine the feasibility of the proposed business, assists in the development of the business plan, launches the business, and addresses the consumer's long-term support needs.

The SSE process combines person-centered planning strategies with the development of a business plan. The goal of the planning process is to develop an individualized, profitable, and sustainable microenterprise. This process focuses on the talents, interests, and assets of the consumer. For many consumers with disabilities, including consumers who need ongoing supports throughout their careers, SSE can be a viable option to meet their employment needs.

If the consumer has a legal guardian and you have questions about the appropriateness of planning services leading to supported self-employment, consult with your area manager. If, after discussing the case your area manager has concerns, he or she should consult with the regional director. If questions remain after these consultations, the area manager may contact Legal Services for guidance.

DRS will purchase SSE services only from community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) that employ staff who have been certified as Certified Business Technical Assistance and Consultants (CBTAC) by The Center for Social Capital. DRS identifies these certified individuals as supported self-employment specialists (SSESs).

The SSES helps the consumer (the potential business owner) develop the business plan by coordinating planning activities and facilitating the team planning process. The SSES also takes the lead in developing business ideas, conducting feasibility studies, and writing the business plan with the consumer.

9.14.2 Supported Self-Employment (SSE) General Definitions

Note: Definitions for terms followed by an asterisk (*) are from Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities, Carrie Griffin and David Hammis, 2003.

The Business Feasibility Study* is an assessment, through the use of research tools such as surveys or statistical analyses, regarding the likelihood of a business succeeding.

The Business Plan is a formal, detailed written description of a proposed business. The business plan helps the business owner to consider all the details related to the venture and to plan accordingly. It also provides information to funding sources regarding the type of proposed business, how much funding is needed, why this amount is needed, how funding might be used, how the business will be run and marketed, and other details. (See the planning resources from the Small Business Administration).

The Business Team (BT)* is a working collection of friends, colleagues, and experienced business people assembled to help the consumer formulate an enterprise idea, launch the business, and support the venture's growth. Typically, the BT includes four to eight people. DARS requires a minimum of two BT members to be current or past business owners, excluding the self-employment specialist. You should be invited to all BT meetings, and are encouraged to attend.

*Competitive Integrated Employment as used in the definition of supported employment is work

*Based on 34 CFR Section 363.6(a)(2)(i)

Discovery is the process of collecting information about the consumer through interviews and observations of the consumer's abilities in multiple settings on multiple occasions. Research indicates that the discovery process may take as many as 20 to 30 hours per consumer (The Job Developer's Handbook, Griffin, Hammis, Geary).

Extended Services and Supports, according to federal law, are ongoing support services necessary to support and maintain the employment outcome following VR case closure that

Necessary extended services and supports are identified in the SSESP and updated as needed throughout the VR case.

Extended services and supports begin at Benchmark 6 (SSE Business Stability), continue beyond Benchmark 7 (SSE Service Completion), and are provided as long as the consumer needs them.

Examples of extended services and supports in SSE provided by natural supports or service providers not funded by DARS include

Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE) is an SSI and SSDI work incentive that allows the Social Security Administration to deduct the cost of certain impairment-related items and services that the consumer needs in order to work from the consumer's gross earnings when Social Security Administration is determining a consumer's "countable earnings."

An Integrated Work Setting under federal law is an environment in which people with disabilities regularly interact with nondisabled people and/or the general public.

A consumer has a Most Significant Disability if he or she

Natural Supports are supports that exist naturally in the workplace and the community. Primary consumer supports should occur naturally, and professional supports (training or consultation) should be used only when the consumer needs additional support or accommodations.

Examples of natural supports include the following:

Negotiable Employment Conditions are conditions that a consumer would like the employment specialist to consider when helping the consumer establish a business. Negotiable conditions are preferences for working conditions.

Nonnegotiable Employment Conditions are conditions that a consumer has indicated must be or must not be present in the work situation. The employment specialist must always consider these conditions when helping the consumer establish a business. Nonnegotiable conditions may include

Person-Centered Planning is planning in which the process and the products are owned and controlled by the person (consumer). The process creates a comprehensive portrait of who the person is and what the person wants to do with his or her life, and brings together all the people who are important to the person, including family, friends, neighbors, support workers, business professionals, and other professionals. This team then identifies the person's skills, preferences, and abilities that can help achieve the person's goals for supported self-employment, independent living, continuing education, and full inclusion in the community. The team also identifies areas in which the person may need assistance and support and decides how the team can meet those needs.

Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) is an SSI-only work incentive. A PASS allows a consumer to set aside other income besides his or her SSI and/or resources for a specified period of time so that the consumer may pursue a work goal. When the Social Security Administration calculates an SSI payment, it does not count the income set aside under a PASS Plan. Money set aside under a PASS Plan does not count towards a consumer's resource limit.

9.14.3 Eligibility for Supported Self-Employment

A consumer is eligible for supported self-employment services when

9.14.4 Case Note Documentation

Before developing the IPE, *document in the consumer's case record the reasons the consumer is expected to need and benefit from SSE services, with the basis of this determination being disability-related.*

*Based on 34 CFR Section 363.3(A-C.)

Throughout the life of the case, document

9.14.5 Supported Employment Funds

Use supported employment funds to purchase services from an SSE provider when you have

When encumbering funds for supported self-employment services, you should not issue a single service authorization for all benchmarks at the beginning of the process. Instead, issue service authorizations for future benchmarks as earlier ones are completed.

During the 90-day transition period between stability and closure completion, you may use SE funds to purchase only services that are necessary to maintain the consumer's abilities to ensure the stability of the business. No money can be spent related to the business.

Examples of items that can be purchased include

  • replacement of prosthetic and orthotic devices,
  • maintenance of prosthetic and orthotic equipment, or
  • counseling and guidance to family members to support the consumer's job stability.

9.14.6 Benchmarks of the Supported Self-Employment Outcome System

(Revised 03/11)

Benchmarks are defined outcomes for which payments are made to the provider during the course of the SSE process. These include

Note: Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium is an outcome of payment that may be made to a provider after the achievement of Benchmark 7: Supported Self-Employment Service Completion, if all criteria have been achieved.

The DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.9 Supported Self-Employment Services contains a detailed description of the Supported Self-Employment Outcome-Based System, including staff qualifications, service definitions, required documentation, outcomes, and payment information.

9.14.7 Quality Criteria for SSE

Quality criteria are points of reference for you to use when reviewing provider documentation and services rendered to determine whether certain conditions or outcomes have been achieved by the consumer and/or provider and effectively documented on the appropriate reporting forms. Quality criteria for each benchmark must be met before you may authorize payment to the provider for that benchmark.

When approving an invoice for payment, review the documentation from the SEE provider to ensure that all quality criteria for that benchmark have been addressed and achieved. Return documentation to the provider for correction before authorizing payment if the documentation does not include the required information. Below are links to the quality criteria (under construction) and respective reporting forms for each benchmark.

Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA), and the CCSA Review Meeting Quality Criteria-Discovery and CCSA
Benchmark 1B: Supported Self-Employment Services Plan Quality Criteria-DARS1800, SSE Services Plan
Benchmark 2: Business Concept Development and Feasibility Study Quality Criteria-DARS1801, Concept Development and Feasibility Study Worksheet
Benchmark 3: Business Plan and Supporting Documentation Quality Criteria- the DARS1803-1, Business Plan Support Summary Report and the DARS1803-2, Business Plan
Benchmark 4: SSE Business Start-Up Quality Criteria-SSE Business Start-Up
Benchmark 5: SSE Business Maintenance Quality Criteria-SSE Business Maintenance
Benchmark 6: SSE Business Stability Quality Criteria-SSE Business Stability
Benchmark 7: SSE Service Completion Quality Criteria-SSE Service Completion
Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium Quality Criteria-Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium

9.14.8 Supported Self-Employment (SSE) Process

The counselor, the consumer, and the SSES meet, as determined in the IPE, to

If, at any point in the process, you and the consumer decide that supported self-employment is not working, the consumer will end participation in the SSE process. If the consumer switches to traditional Supported Employment Services, you and the consumer may choose a different provider. A DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan-Part 1 must be completed before any supported employment services are provided.

See Diagram Comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks or the text summary of the Diagram Comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks.

If, at any point in the process, the consumer wants to change any of the negotiable or nonnegotiable employment conditions, a new SSESP must be completed in an additional SSESP meeting.

The consumer must be performing the duties outlined in the DARS1800, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP), and extended services and supports identified in the SSESP must be in place and working before you can determine that the consumer is stable in the job.

Each benchmark payment is made only once to an SSE provider for an individual consumer. If the consumer switches between supported employment and supported self-employment services, you, with approval from your area manager, negotiate the benchmark at which the consumer continues.

The Supported Self-Employment Outcome-Based System is a comprehensive service package that may encompass a variety of services traditionally purchased separately. Therefore, the following vocational rehabilitation services cannot be purchased when a consumer is receiving Supported Self-Employment Services:

9.14.9 Counselor and Provider Responsibilities

(Revised 11/11)

You are responsible for overseeing the services provided to your consumer by the SSE provider. Use the quality criteria to help you evaluate both the service and documentation provided by the SSE provider. The SSE provider is responsible for providing services in accordance with the DRS Standards for Providers. The DRS Standards for Providers, Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.9 Supported Self-Employment Services lists general standards for providing services that providers are responsible for maintaining. If you become aware that a supported self-employment provider is not meeting these or any other standards, you should inform the liaison counselor and the regional community rehabilitation program (CRP) specialist in writing of your concerns. Your concerns will be reviewed and, if necessary, the provider will be required to develop an action plan to resolve them.

The counselor must ensure that the DARS1801, Concept Development and Feasibility Study Worksheet, the DARS1802, Planning Meeting Record, the DARS1803-1, Business Plan Support Summary Report, the DARS1803-2, Business Plan, and the DARS1805, Financial Actual Spreadsheet are submitted by the CRP and are reviewed by either the regional program specialist or the Central Office program specialist assigned to Self-Employment. Before payment of the benchmark, you and the area manager should review the program specialist's recommendation. The area manager must approve the DARS1801, Concept Development and Feasibility Study Worksheet, the DARS1802, Planning Meeting Record, the DARS1803-1, Business Plan Support Summary Report, the DARS1803-2, Business Plan, and the DARS1805, Financial Actual Spreadsheet before the benchmark invoices are paid.

9.14.10 Developing the IPE for Supported Self-Employment

This section contains information on developing and documenting an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that includes supported self-employment services as a strategy to obtain employment.

As part of the assessment to develop the IPE, determine if supported self-employment is the best service option for the consumer. The first Supported Self-Employment benchmark-Discovery and Career Community Support Analysis-must be purchased using VR money. At the CCSA meeting, you, the consumer, and the provider discuss the benefits and challenges of pursuing a self-employment outcome. If self-employment is the outcome chosen, complete the IPE. Purchase the remaining supported self-employment benchmarks using available Supported Employment funds. Otherwise, pursue Supported Employment Services or other options determined to meet the needs, resources, and choice of the consumer.

Include on the IPE

You may consider including some services specific to self-employment in the IPE, in addition to the usual scope of VR services reasonable and necessary to support the employment goal.

The following table lists some of those services, their description, and any related procedures.

Service Description and Procedure
Tools and equipment

You may purchase tools and equipment customarily used in similar businesses. Advise the consumer that

For guidance in obtaining these items, see

Maintenance

Maintenance is available for a business start-up

Ordinarily, maintenance does not exceed 16 weeks from the date the consumer begins self-employment.

Initial stock and supplies

Initial stock and supplies include

  • office supplies, and
  • an inventory of salable merchandise or goods needed to start the business.
Advertising

For a business start-up, you may

  • help plan advertising; and
  • if appropriate, purchase advertising.
Utilities

You may pay utilities costs for a maximum of six months during the first phase of the new business. DRS may not pay for utility deposits. See Chapter 17: Purchasing, 17.5.10 Goods and Services DRS Does Not Provide.

Rent or lease payments

You may help pay rent or lease payments for a maximum of six months and a maximum of $300 per month, during the first phase of the business. Rent or lease payments should be in line with projected income.

Advise the consumer to consider location and zoning ordinances. Location and proximity to public transportation are two important factors in a successful retail business. If the consumer requests help with negotiating or otherwise preparing a lease agreement, consult the regional program support director (RPSD).

Each service authorization for consumer rent or lease of business space must include

  • name of the building owner,
  • building location,
  • amount of space to be rented or leased,
  • amount of rent or lease payment, and
  • period of rent or lease.

You may also pay for utilities for a maximum of six months. If utilities are included in the payment, and the payment is more than $300, you may issue separate service authorizations for rent (not to exceed $300) and utilities.

Paying deposits, such as rental or utility deposits, for consumers is not allowed by the Comptroller's State of Texas Purchase Policies and Procedures Guide, and area managers cannot approve these purchases.

Legal fees

Under certain conditions, pay legal fees to a private attorney to help a consumer's rehabilitation program. Submit a memorandum to DARS Legal Services, through the management chain, covering

  • how the legal service will enhance consumer's rehabilitation program, and
  • an estimate of the attorney's fee.

Upon review and concurrence by DARS Legal Services, the DRS assistant commissioner must approve the expense.

9.14.11 Goods and Services Not Provided

For goods and services not provided by DRS, see Chapter 17: Purchasing, 17.5.10 Goods and Services DRS Does Not Provide.

9.14.12 Funding

"Self-employment cost" means the cost of starting and maintaining the business as described in the business plan to which you and the consumer agreed. The area manager must approve paying for self-employment costs above $3,000. The regional director must approve pay for such costs above $10,000.

Self-employment cost does not include the cost of Supported Self-Employment Outcome-Based Services.

9.14.13 The Consumer's Participation in Costs

Consumers who have income and/or liquid assets in excess of the basic living requirement (BLR) (see Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.6.3: Basic Living Requirements) must pay the excess toward the self-employment cost. Additionally, the consumer must contribute any other available resources to help establish and maintain the business; for example, use of a vehicle, labor, a building, or tools.

If the consumer is pursuing a loan from a lending institution or other source, and the funds are critical to the business start-up, the consumer must provide

The self-employment specialist may help the provider gain a loan and be paid the Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium. This premium is paid at closure of the case. For details, see the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.9 Supported Self-Employment Services for details.

9.14.14 Time Limits for Supported Self-Employment Services

*Supported Self-Employment services are provided for a period generally not longer than 18 months. Under some circumstances, a longer period of Supported Self-Employment services may be necessary for an individual to achieve the employment outcome. The additional time in Supported Self-Employment services must be established in the consumer's IPE* and justified in the case notes.

*Based on 34 CFR Sections 361.5(b)(54)(i) and 363.54