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 5: Services

5.1 Assistive Technology Evaluations

(Revised 07/14)

5.1.1 Job Function

Assistive technology evaluations are conducted to determine the most effective assistive technology to meet the consumer's vocational or scholastic needs.

5.1.2 Qualifications

(Revised 04/09)

Education, Training, and Experience

(Revised 4/07)

Assistive technology evaluators must

Proficiency Tests

(Revised 03/12)

Assistive technology evaluators must pass proficiency tests administered by the Assistive Technology Unit (ATU) in Austin before they can be approved to evaluate a DBS consumer's ability to benefit from the purchase of assistive equipment in achieving a vocational or scholastic goal.

Phase I testing may be completed at the DBS ATU in Austin or online at the discretion of the DBS ATU staff. Phase II testing is completed at the DBS ATU in Austin.

Phase II testing can be scheduled two weeks after successful completion of Phase I.

Service providers are responsible for all travel costs related to Phase I and Phase II testing including transportation, food, and lodging. Costs will not be reimbursed.

Periodic performance checks are also conducted by the Employment Assistance Services (EAS) specialist or his or her designee.

In-Service Training Requirement for Service Providers

Contract service providers are encouraged to budget funds for each evaluator to attend a yearly conference or workshop relating to assistive technology. At a minimum, each evaluator must attend a technology vendor demonstration or Train the Trainer Workshop in Austin offered by DBS.

Provider Authorization

Services must not be provided to DBS consumers until DBS has issued written authorization and a service authorization and/or purchase order (PO). No service by a provider's employee will be paid for if the service is provided before written authorization is given. For additional information, see Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.6.4 Additional Requirements/Documenting Staff Changes and Chapter 4: Service Delivery Guidelines, 4.2 Staff Information Sheets of this manual.

Product Authorization

Each assistive technology evaluator must pass a product-specific proficiency test before evaluating DBS consumers on that specific product. DBS maintains a list of approved assistive technology evaluators and the products they are authorized to evaluate consumers on. To maintain DBS approval, the evaluator must obtain new models, upgrades, or versions of the equipment and software that he or she has been authorized for within 45 days of notice that the new product is available.

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

Assistive technology evaluations must be conducted one-on-one with one staff member for each consumer.

On-Site Visits

DBS has the right to conduct initial and periodic on-site visits to verify that each contract service provider (or potential provider) meets DBS minimum requirements for assistive technology evaluators or that the provider has evaluators on staff who meet DBS minimum requirements.

On-site visits may include

5.1.3 Service Delivery

(Revised 04/09, 08/10, 03/12 12/12)

Scope of Services

Assistive technology evaluations determine the most effective assistive technology for the consumer's vocational or scholastic needs. Assistive technology evaluations give DBS consumers access to

When not conducted by DBS, assistive technology evaluations must be conducted at the provider's facility.

Referral

DBS requires the consumer's DBS counselor or case manager to

The provider shares the responsibility of securing an EAS report or referral forms and service authorization before scheduling an assistive technology evaluation for a DBS consumer. Note: A service authorization must be obtained before any services are provided to DBS consumers.

An assistive technology evaluator may request a consumer's

Consultation reports must be less than one year old. Typing tests are conducted if the consumer is being evaluated for computer-based assistive technologies.

Referral Requirement—Exception

The only exception to the requirement for an EAS Consultation Report or Basic Consultation Report applies to consumers who require evaluation for a stand-alone and/or portable video magnifier. A video magnifier uses a video camera's zoom lens to project magnified text and images to a monitor or screen. Stand-alone, portable, luggable, and hand-held video magnifiers do not connect to a computer system.

Minimum Assessment Requirements

DBS requires most consumers to have

These minimum assessment requirements are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For example, these requirements may be waived for consumers who have secondary disabilities that limit the use of one or both hands and for consumers who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. The evaluator should discuss these circumstances with the consumer's counselor or case manager as appropriate.

Initial Assessment for Assistive Technology

If initial assessments indicate that the consumer does not meet the minimum requirements for typing or braille reading, the evaluator may substitute a demonstration for the evaluation. The evaluator should

Evaluation Period for Assistive Technology

The initial interview should generally require between 30 minutes and one hour. Other segments of the evaluation process generally require two and three hours to complete. However, the length of time required to complete an assistive technology evaluation is based on the consumer's individual circumstances. Therefore, there are no set requirements as to the amount of time each evaluation will require.

Conducting the Evaluation

The evaluator must

Evaluation Components

Assistive technology evaluations include three components.

  1. A private interview is conducted with the consumer to discuss the individual's background and to review information developed by DBS staff, including the consultation report, if applicable, provided by the EAS specialist.
  2. The consumer's ability (or potential ability) to use assistive technology equipment and to benefit from the contract service provider's recommendations is assessed and observed.
  3. A closing interview is conducted to summarize the results of the evaluation process and is documented in the evaluation report.

Interview Process—Overview

Interviews are conducted in a confidential manner. The purpose of the interview is to

Some consumers may experience anxiety related to the evaluation and the use of computers or assistive technology. Therefore, it is important for the evaluator to set a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

The evaluator may find it helpful to explain to the consumer exactly what will be done during the evaluation. It should be stressed that the evaluation process is not an evaluation of the consumer, but an opportunity for the consumer to evaluate the equipment.

The evaluator should refrain from saying "I will be teaching you" and instead emphasize that the consumer and evaluator will be working together during the evaluation process. The evaluator should stress to the consumer that he or she should be as specific as possible regarding which piece of equipment works best and why.

For additional information about the interview process, assistive technology evaluators are encouraged to contact the ATU at atu@twc.state.tx.us or (512) 377-0310.

Interview Process—All Evaluations

During the interview process for all evaluations, the evaluator should

Interview Process—CCTV Evaluations

The evaluator should address the following questions during closed circuit television (CCTV) evaluation interviews:

Interview Process—Scanner Evaluations

During scanner evaluation interviews, the evaluator should determine

Interview Process—Computer Applications

The following areas should be addressed during evaluation interviews for screen magnification devices, refreshable braille PC screen access devices, and screen review systems:

Post-Evaluation Discussion

When the interview and product evaluation(s) have been completed, the assistive technology evaluator should

The contract service provider also must remind the consumer that the evaluation process is for the sole purpose of making recommendations and that the decision to purchase (or not to purchase) assistive technology equipment can only be made by the consumer's counselor.

Documenting Assistive Technology Evaluations

Evaluation reports must be submitted in the standard format required by DBS using a DARS2867, Assistive Technology Evaluation Report. Confidentiality issues must be adhered to at all times.

Information gathered during the interview and evaluation process does not need to be included in the evaluation report unless it is different from the information noted in the referral packet and/or the consultation report.

Submitting Evaluation Reports

Evaluation reports must be completed within seven working days from the date of the evaluation and may be submitted by email to

The evaluation report, DARS2867, identifies consumers using only (a) the consumer's first name and last initial and (b) the DBS caseload number. The consumer's Social Security number (SSN) must not be used when contract evaluation reports are submitted by email.

Consumer Statistics Worksheet

The DBS consumer statistics worksheet (available by request) summarizes the services provided to individual consumers. Contract service providers must complete the worksheet on a quarterly basis by the following deadlines:

5.1.4 Product Inventory

(Revised 04/09, 08/10, 03/12, 12/12, 02/14)

On-Site Visits

DBS may conduct initial and periodic on-site visits to verify that each facility-based contract service provider (or potential provider) meets the following requirements:

Approved Products

DBS consumers are evaluated only on products and equipment included on the DBS-approved product list. To obtain a list of approved products, vendors can call (512) 424-4558.

Questions about the approved product lists may be addressed to the ATU at atu@twc.state.tx.us or (512) 377-0310.

Product categories on the approved product lists include

Before completing an evaluation on any product that is not included on the DBS list of approved products, the assistive technology evaluator must get approval from the ATU at atu@twc.state.tx.us. The request should be made in writing.

Vendors must submit an up-to-date inventory list within 30 calendar days of each contract award.

Minimum Inventory Requirements

Service providers must conduct assistive technology evaluations using at least two competing products. There may be times when there is only one of a "type" of product available, especially when a product is new to the market. In these circumstances, providers are required to obtain written approval from the regional program support specialist. They can contact Consumer Procurement and Client Services Contracting (CPCSC) at (512) 424-4702 to begin the approval process.

Video Magnifier Products

All products used in evaluations must be on the DBS-approved product list. Stand-alone video magnifiers must be available in

Provider must have two competing products from each of the following video magnifier categories:

Computer-Based Assistive Technology

The provider must have at least two computer-based assistive technology programs in each of the categories listed below, as defined in the provider's contract and from the most current DBS-approved products list. The products in the following categories must be compatible with the most current version of Microsoft Windows or the agency standard operating system for DBS-issued computer systems for consumers:

Special Technologies

The provider must have a product from the approved products list for

The provider must also have a Mac computer with the current Mac operating system and the newest version of MS Office installed.

Synthesizers—External

A minimum of two external synthesizers from the most recently updated DBS list of approved products is required.

Synthesizers—Internal

No internal synthesizers are required. Since software synthesizers are included as an integral component of the screen review software package with which the synthesizer will be used, there is no requirement to maintain internal synthesizers separately.

5.1.5 Performance Measures

(Revised 04/09, 01/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

5.2 Assistive Technology Training

(Revised 04/09, 01/11, 07/14)

In addition to the standards outlined below, contractors that provide assistive technology training services must also comply with requirements outlined in the Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures.

5.2.1 Job Function

(Revised 10/09)

Assistive technology training is provided to prepare a consumer to use assistive technology effectively in employment and postsecondary educational settings. Training may be provided at a facility, on-site at a consumer's home or workplace, in a DARS office, or in a community resource center. Group training can be provided by facility-based trainers or on-site trainers.

5.2.2 Qualifications

(Revised 12/08)

Education, Training, and Experience

Assistive technology trainers must

Proficiency Tests

Assistive technology trainers must pass proficiency tests administered by DBS before providing services to DBS consumers.

Assistive technology trainers must pass periodic proficiency tests administered and conducted by DBS, as well as periodic performance monitoring conducted by the EAS specialist, regional program support specialist (RPSS) or designated representative.

In-Service Training

Contract service providers are encouraged to budget funds for each evaluator to attend a yearly conference or workshop relating to assistive technology. At a minimum, each evaluator must attend a technology vendor demonstration or Train the Trainer Workshop in Austin offered by DBS.

Provider Authorization

Services must not by provided to DBS consumers until DBS has issued written authorization and a PO.

No service by a provider's employee will be paid for if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is given.

For additional information, see Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.6.4 Additional Requirements/Documenting Staff Changes and Chapter 4: Service Delivery Guidelines, 4.2 Staff Information Sheets.

Product Authorization

Assistive technology trainers must meet DBS testing and approval requirements on specific products before providing services to DBS consumers.

DBS proficiency tests are product-specific (separate tests are required for each product). Assistive technology trainers must pass the required tests for each product in order to provide training on each specific product.

DBS maintains a list of approved assistive technology trainers and authorized products for each trainer.

Performance

Assistive technology trainers must provide training only on the specific products for which they have met DBS testing and approval requirements.

DBS approval is granted for individual trainers only. DBS approval applies to the individual and not the position held by the individual.

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

(Revised 01/11)

For the purpose of conducting assistive technology training, the staff-to-consumer ratio for group training may not exceed one staff member to three consumers (1:3).

On-Site Visits

DBS may conduct initial and periodic on-site visits to verify that each contract service provider (or potential provider) meets DBS minimum requirements for assistive technology trainers or that the provider has trainers on staff who meet DBS minimum requirements.

5.2.3 Service Delivery

(Revised 08/10)

Scope of Services

Assistive technology trainers provide the following services:

Required Curriculum

Assistive technology trainers must use the DBS-established training curriculum. The required curriculum is detailed in the DBS Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures Manual.

Predefined Curriculum Modules

(Revised 04/12)

Assistive technology trainers must receive predefined curriculum modules for various levels of program skills and/or specific skills. Each module will include appropriate time frames. The required modules are detailed in the DBS Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures Manual, but reasonable flexibility to vary the training curriculum will be authorized in order to accommodate the specific needs of individual consumers.

Baseline Assessment

(Revised 01/11, 04/12)

The assistive technology trainer or EAS specialist administers a basic-skills test to each consumer who is referred for assistive technology training. The baseline assessment is used to determine the level of training each consumer requires. The assistive technology trainer requests a copy of the baseline assessment before beginning services. If the baseline assessment has not been completed by the EAS specialist or designated staff member, the assistive technology trainer may complete the baseline assessment and document the results on a DARS2902, Assistive Technology Training: Baseline Assessments. The baseline assessment is included as a separate line item in the PO.

Post-Training Assessment

(Revised 04/12, 02/14)

Post-training assessments are used to determine training effectiveness and assess whether the consumer requires additional training. The post-training assessment is conducted by the EAS specialist, vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC), or assistive technology trainer once training is complete. On average, each assessment takes two to four hours. The EAS specialist, VRC, or designee may observe the post-training assessment. The post-training assessment is documented on form DARS2902 and is listed as a separate line item on the PO. The initial baseline can be used to document if the training met the consumer's training needs and objectives, if the training was effective, and to justify additional training hours. If training services were job- or task-specific, assistive technology trainers must list objectives on the training report and whether the objectives were met. Assistive technology trainers may consult with the EAS specialist or VRC if other objectives are needed that are not listed in the DBS Assistive Technology Trainer Guidelines and Procedures Manual.

Authorization for Additional Training

(Revised 04/12, 12/12)

If the post-training assessment indicates the need for additional training that exceeds the maximum number of hours for that module in the assistive technology trainer guidelines, the consumer's counselor or case manager may approve up to 10 additional hours of training.

If additional training is still required, the local DBS regional director may approve up to 10 hours of training in addition to the 10 hours previously approved by the consumer's counselor or case manager.

Training beyond the above limits, if any, must be approved through the supervisory chain of management to the appropriate director of field services, after consultation with the ATU and/or technical support specialists.

Changes to Configuration Files

(Revised 04/12)

At the end of the last training session, the trainer must provide the consumer with electronic media containing copies of any changes or additions to the consumer's batch, keyboard, script, set, or other configuration files. Trainers must also document changes to configuration files in the technology training report.

Consumer Equipment Problems

(Revised 01/11, 04/12)

If a problem is discovered with a consumer's equipment or hardware, the trainer must contact the consumer's counselor or case manager and/or the staff who conducted the consumer's consultation report before leaving the consumer's home. The trainer documents all equipment problems and resulting contacts with DBS staff members in the final training report.

Service Limitations

(Revised 01/11)

Assistive technology trainers must not

Assistive technology trainers must document compliance with the above requirements in the narrative portion of the final training report.

Interim Training Reports

(Revised 01/11, 04/12)

If consumer training continues beyond one 30-calendar-day period, the trainer must submit an interim training report for each 30-calendar-day period within 10 working days of the close of each 30-calendar-day period.

Training reports for DBS consumers are submitted to the consumers' counselors.

Final Training Reports

(Revised 01/11, 04/12)

Final training reports must be submitted within 10 working days from the date training is completed. For more information, see Chapter 3: Rates, 3.5.2 Submitting Service Reports.

Final training reports for DBS consumers are submitted to

Documenting Assistive Technology Training

(Revised 01/11, 04/12)

All training reports must be submitted in the standard format required by DBS using a DARS2868, Assistive Technology Training Report. Confidentiality issues must be adhered to at all times.

Information gathered during the training process does not need to be included in the interim or final report unless it is different from the information noted in the referral packet.

Submitting Training Reports

(Revised 04/12)

Email is the preferred method for submitting assistive technology training reports.

Training reports submitted by email should identify consumers using only (a) the consumer's first name and last initial and (b) the DBS caseload number. The consumer's SSN should never be used when training reports are submitted by email.

Training reports submitted in writing should identify consumers by first name, last initial, and caseload number.

Never use the consumer's full name in the DARS2868, Assistive Technology Training Report.

The DARS2868, Assistive Technology Training Report is used only for documenting training services and information related to the consumer and must not be used to market services to DBS staff members. Forms and reports submitted to DBS are public records. DBS does not provide marketing services for any service provider.

5.2.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 05/09, 01/12, 04/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

5.3 Independent Living Services (Individualized Skills Training Only)

(Revised 04/09)

5.3.1 Job Function

Independent living (IL) services are designed to accommodate for the consumer's vision loss in daily living activities.

5.3.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

(Revised 4/07)

All independent living trainers must

Provider Authorization

Services must not begin until DBS has issued a service authorization and/or purchase order.

Providers must have written authorization from DBS before the provider's employee provides services to DBS consumers. No service will be paid if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is received.

For additional information, see Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.6.4 Additional Requirements/Documenting Staff Changes of this manual and Chapter 4: Service Delivery Guidelines, 4.2 Staff Information Sheets.

5.3.3 Service Delivery

(Revised 12/12, 02/13, 11/13)

Scope of Services

Independent living skills vendors provide the following services in the consumer's residence or local community. The independent living skills vendor may provide one or more of the following services as authorized by the DBS IL worker (ILW):

Note: Information and referral (I&R) services help the consumer identify and use alternative resources, such as Meals on Wheels, the Texas State Library, and the How To Guide, to meet his or her individual needs. These services can be provided at any point in the independent living process.

Designation of Independent Living Worker

The ILW, who is designated by the DBS field director, provides case coordination, direction to the IL skills vendor on service provision, as well as the following services:

Case Management

The case manager is responsible for:

IL Skills Vendor Responsibilities

The IL skills vendor

Initial Contact

The IL skills vendor must make the initial contact with a DBS consumer who is referred for independent living skills training within 15 working days of the referral.

Initial Contact and Application Assessment

All initial contacts and application assessments must be conducted individually and documented using the following forms:

Comprehensive Assessment

The IL skills vendor must contact a DBS consumer who is referred for a comprehensive assessment within 30 calendar days of the referral.

The vendor must document the comprehensive assessment on the DARS2954, Comprehensive Assessment for Independent Living Program. The recommendations section of the form must contain a summary of IL skills training and services that the vendor has identified for inclusion on the Independent Living Plan (ILP).

Independent Living Skills Training

After the ILW has developed the ILP, the IL skills vendor provides monthly training services as authorized by the ILW. The services are documented monthly using the DARS2891, Independent Living Services Progress Report. The monthly report must

5.3.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 12/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring vendor performance:

5.4 Vocational Evaluations

5.4.1 Job Function

The vocational evaluation process is designed to determine the consumer's present and future vocational potential including evaluating the consumer's employment-related strengths and limitations.

5.4.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

Vocational evaluators must have one of the following

Certification Requirements

Each person who administers vocational tests, batteries, and/or related instruments that require certification must be certified by the appropriate entity. Examples of these tests or batteries include the Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation System (CVES), the McCarron Dial System (MDS), psychological tests, etc.

Provider Authorization

Services must not begin until DBS has issued a service authorization and/or purchase order.

Providers must have written authorization from DBS before the provider's employee provides services to DBS consumers. No service provided by a provider's employee will be paid if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is received.

For additional information, please see Documenting Staff Changes in section 1.6.4 of this manual and Staff Information Sheets in section 4.2 of this manual.

Performance

Vocational evaluations must be performed by a vocational evaluator who meets the criteria described in this manual or a psychologist who is licensed and certified in the state of Texas.

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

For the purpose of conducting vocational evaluations, the staff-to-consumer ratio must not exceed one staff member to three consumers (1:3). If the number of DBS consumers receiving vocational evaluation services at the same time is more than three but less than seven—in other words, a maximum of six consumers—a competent aide (technician) under the supervision of the vocational evaluator may be used to ensure the staff-to-consumer ratio does not exceed one to three (1:3).

5.4.3 Service Delivery

Scope of Services

Vocational evaluators provide the following services:

Referral Form

Prior to each vocational evaluation, DBS will provide the vocational evaluator with a Referral for Vocational Evaluation form (or equivalent). The referral form will:

Developing the Consumer's Case History

Information about the consumer's case history shall be gathered through a review of available records and consumer self-reports and a summary of this information included in the vocational evaluation report. The consumer's case history should encompass:

Information To Be Assessed

The evaluation process must address the consumer's employment assets and liabilities, potential for training, and overall work adjustment.

In the majority of instances at least two different techniques should be utilized to provide a more thorough evaluation. Vocational evaluators have the discretionary authority to determine which techniques should be used—in each case, however, the governing factor in selecting the most appropriate techniques must be the individual needs of the consumer.

The following areas shall be assessed.

  1. Cognitive abilities
    • learning ability including attention, concentration, comprehension, memory/ retention, creativity, and conceptualization;
    • communication skills and interaction with others;
    • ability to follow oral or written instructions;
    • work organization and planning; and
    • spatial concepts.
  2. Academic achievements (grade level) in reading, writing, spelling and mathematics.
  3. Physical abilities
    • fine motor abilities including bimanual dexterity, speed, coordination, and strength;
    • gross motor abilities including strength, balance, and coordination; and
    • stamina/physical tolerances and endurance.
  4. Sensory abilities (identify preferred learning style: visual, auditory, or tactile)
    • use of residual vision,
    • auditory processing and sound localization, and
    • tactile perception.
  5. Aptitudes and vocational interests/exploration
    • specific equipment and technical skills and
    • preferred vocational interests compared to abilities.
  6. Behavioral observations and work habits
    • general behaviors and work related behaviors;
    • self-image (pertaining to self and work);
    • appearance (grooming, hygiene, appropriate clothing for the work setting, etc.);
    • motivation and attitude toward work;
    • attendance and punctuality;
    • orientation to the work setting and travel within the work setting;
    • work stability (including attention to work despite environmental distractions);
    • work quality;
    • work productivity;
    • acceptance of supervision (accepting and responding to suggestions and corrections);
    • responsibility for materials and work;
    • adherence to workplace standards (employee policies, rules, schedules, etc.);
    • safety standards (understanding and adhering to safety standards);
    • impulse control (predictable behavior, adequate self-control, etc.);
    • stress tolerance;
    • flexibility;
    • persistence (following through on the work task to completion);
    • initiative (working independently);
    • job seeking skills; and
    • the consumer's potential to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services.

Test Instruments

All test instruments must be appropriate for use with the DBS target population including appropriate norms, adaptations, and accommodations.

Prior to the initiation of each contract, the vocational evaluator must provide DBS with a written list that:

The emphasis of the vocational evaluation is based on the outcome. Because the scope of each evaluation is governed by the consumer's individual need(s), there are no fixed guidelines regarding the number of days or hours per day required to complete an evaluation. Generally, an evaluation would be expected to take three to five days to gather all of the work characteristics outlined above.

The techniques used to establish and measure consumer work characteristics can generally be categorized as follows.

Standardized Tests

Standardized tests include tests that measure the consumer's academic achievement, cognitive abilities, aptitude, personality, vocational interests, sensory/motor skills, and independent living skills and compare the individual's performance with the performance of an appropriate sample population.

Psychological Tests

Psychological tests include any battery of tests or psychometric instruments that are administered and interpreted by a licensed psychologist or psychological associate to assess intelligence, aptitude, academic achievement, interests, personality, and level of adjustment.

Work Samples

Work samples provide a close simulation of an actual industrial task, business operation, or component of an occupational area.

Situational Assessments

A situational assessment is done at multiple work sites within a usual business or industry setting in the community. These community-based assessments provide an opportunity for the consumer to explore their ability to perform a variety of job tasks and help the consumer make informed choices about the type of work environment and job tasks they prefer. The evaluator's observations and the consumer's experiences are then used to determine the kind of job and needed supports that most closely match the consumer's preferences.

Vocational Evaluation Reports

(Revised 4/07)

Vocational evaluation reports must be submitted in the standard format required by DBS using a DARS2869, Vocational Evaluation Report.

Vocational evaluation reports are due within 15 working days after the evaluation is completed.

Each report must summarize

  1. the cumulative findings of the vocational evaluation; and
  2. the evaluator's outcome-oriented recommendations relating to the consumer's
    • vocational potential,
    • vocational rehabilitation needs, and
    • objective.

The direct service provider (i.e., vocational evaluator or psychologist) must sign the evaluation report.

The provider is not required to submit the DARS2869 if the provider performs a psychological evaluation in conjunction with the vocational evaluation. Reporting for this combination must be submitted using the traditional psychological evaluation format.

Cumulative Findings

The evaluator's written report must include:

  1. consumer demographic information,
  2. the reason for referral,
  3. background information (including visual impairment; other medical conditions; psychological, academic and work history; and social/emotional information),
  4. a complete list of all tests administered,
  5. interpretations of all test results (including a summary of strengths and limitations),
  6. the consumer's vocational interests,
  7. behavioral observations, and
  8. the evaluator's recommendations.

Outcome-Oriented Recommendations

Each report must include the evaluator's recommendations and must address the following.

  1. A response to each specific referral question.
  2. The consumer's optimal level of employment potential and job readiness.
  3. Specific occupations for the consumer to consider/explore.
  4. Job-related accommodations or adaptations, if needed.
  5. Any additional training or education needed for employment.
  6. Any additional evaluation needs such as medical or psychological evaluations, rehabilitation technology evaluations, etc.
  7. Consideration for supported employment services, if appropriate.
  8. Independent living needs, accommodations, and/or adaptations.
  9. Other vocational rehabilitation needs.

Pre-Staffing, Interim Staffing, and Post-Staffing

After the vocational evaluation has been completed, a post-staffing is required for each consumer receiving services. The meeting must include the evaluator, the consumer (and/or their representative if applicable), and the consumer's counselor or case manager.

If needed, pre-staffings and interim staffings may be held.

All staffings must be documented and placed in the consumer's file.

5.4.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 01/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

5.5 Vocational Adjustment

5.5.1 Job Function

Vocational adjustment training provides formal classroom training designed to increase a consumer's interpersonal skills relating to basic traits and attitudes. The focus of vocational adjustment training is work-related skills and successful employment.

5.5.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

(Revised 04/09)

Vocational adjustment trainers must have one of the following:

Provider Authorization

Services must not begin until DBS has issued a service authorization and/or purchase order.

Providers must have written authorization from DBS before the provider's employee provides services to DBS consumers. No service provided by a provider's employee will be paid if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is received.

For additional information, please see Documenting Staff Changes in section 1.6.4 of this manual and Staff Information Sheets in section 4.2 of this manual.

Performance

Reasonable flexibility to vary vocational adjustment services will be authorized in order to accommodate the specific needs of individual consumers.

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

For the purpose of conducting vocational adjustment training, the staff-to-consumer ratio must not exceed one staff member to six consumers (1:6). In a group setting (a maximum of ten consumers per group), a competent aide under the supervision of the vocational adjustment trainer may be used if the number of DBS consumers receiving vocational adjustment training at the same time is more than six but not more than ten consumers.

5.5.3 Service Delivery

Scope of Services

Vocational adjustment training may be provided one-on-one or in a group setting, as determined by the trainer. Training is provided in a formal classroom environment and includes job-related skills such as:

Outcome—Social Skills

The consumer will demonstrate appropriate social behavior in selected settings on a routine basis.

Outcome—Daily Living Skills

The consumer will demonstrate the daily living skills (food preparation, homemaking, etc.) necessary to function independently.

Outcome—Effective Communication Skills

The consumer will demonstrate clear and open communication in multiple settings including authority figures, co-workers, and peers. Skill areas will include appropriate phone etiquette, face-to-face communication, and cooperative communication with an interactive group.

Outcome—Grooming and Hygiene

The consumer will demonstrate appropriate personal grooming and hygiene for a work environment.

Outcome—Problem Solving

The consumer will demonstrate appropriate solutions to pre-identified work-related barriers.

Outcome—Goal Setting

The consumer will demonstrate an understanding of realistic goals and objectives.

Outcome—Time Management

The consumer will demonstrate effective time scheduling including but not limited to: understanding the importance of punctuality, following attendance guidelines, meeting deadlines, and scheduling appointments appropriately.

Outcome—Financial Management

The consumer will demonstrate an understanding of basic budgeting, banking services, and the responsible use of credit.

Outcome—Disability Awareness

The consumer will demonstrate proficiency in explaining their disability and offering solutions to disability-related problems.

Outcome—Self-Concept

The consumer will demonstrate a clear understanding of their personal assets, skills, and abilities.

Outcome—Self-Motivation

The consumer will demonstrate a clear understanding of the concept, influence, and benefits of self-motivation.

Outcome—Work Traits and Work Ethics

The consumer will demonstrate appropriate work-related behaviors including acceptable attendance and tardiness records during vocational adjustment training, developing and maintaining productive interpersonal relationships with both co-workers and supervisors, recognition of "quality" work, and the ability to compete appropriately for work assignments, supervisory recognition, promotions, etc.

Outcome—Conflict Resolution

The consumer will demonstrate the ability to cope with and resolve work-related problems or conflicts in an appropriate manner.

Vocational Adjustment Training Reports

Vocational adjustment training reports must be submitted in the standard format required by DBS using a DARS2870, Vocational Adjustment Progress Report form.

Vocational adjustment training reports are due within 35 calendar days from the date training is completed.

5.5.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 01/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

5.6 Work Adjustment

5.6.1 Job Function

Work adjustment trainers provide formal hands-on training for DBS consumers within the context of "real" work (training on work-related behaviors is provided in a work setting where the work performed by the consumer produces compensation for both the community rehabilitation program facility and the consumer).

5.6.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

(Revised 04/09)

Work adjustment trainers must have one of the following:

Provider Authorization

Services must not begin until DBS has issued a service authorization and/or purchase order.

Providers must have written authorization from DBS before the provider's employee provides services to DBS consumers. No service provided by a provider's employee will be paid if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is received.

For additional information, please see Documenting Staff Changes in section 1.6.4 of this manual and Staff Information Sheets in section 4.2 of this manual.

Performance

Reasonable flexibility to vary work adjustment services will be authorized in order to accommodate the specific needs of individual consumers.

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

For the purpose of conducting work adjustment training, the staff-to-consumer ratio must not exceed one staff member to six consumers (1:6). A competent aide under the supervision of the work adjustment trainer may be used if the number of DBS consumers receiving work adjustment training at the same time is more than six but not more than ten consumers.

5.6.3 Service Delivery

Scope of Services

Work adjustment services are designed to assist consumers in the following areas.

  1. Address the consumer's work behaviors.
  2. Motivate the consumer to:
    • perform productive work,
    • be self-reliant,
    • accept supervision, and
    • interact appropriately with co-workers.
  3. Help the consumer develop:
    • work tolerance,
    • good work practices (including safety and speed), and
    • job-readiness skills based on community standards.

Work adjustment services may also include training in other job-related skills such as:

Documenting Work Adjustment Training

DARS2955, Consumer Services Report: Work Adjustment Progress Report for individual consumers must be signed by the work adjustment trainer who conducted the training and submitted to the consumer's counselor or case manager upon completion of training.

5.6.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 01/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

5.7 Job Readiness Training

5.7.1 Job Function

Job readiness trainers provide complex, interrelated services designed primarily to help prepare individual consumers for job searches.

5.7.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

Job readiness trainers must have:

Provider Authorization

Services must not begin until DBS has issued a service authorization and/or purchase order.

Providers must have written authorization from DBS before the provider's employee provides services to DBS consumers. No service provided by a provider's employee will be paid if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is received.

For additional information, please see Documenting Staff Changes in section 1.6.4 of this manual and Staff Information Sheets in section 4.2 of this manual.

5.7.3 Service Delivery

Scope of Services

Job readiness services may include:

Job Readiness Training Period

The extent of services required for individual consumers to complete job readiness training is based on each consumer's specific needs. It is anticipated that most DBS consumers will complete job readiness training in 20 hours or less.

Personal/Socialization Skills Training

Purpose—Personal/socialization skills services reinforce the proper socialization skills needed in the workplace.

Outcome—The consumer will understand the importance of:

Resume Development

Purpose—Resume development services are designed to assist the consumer in developing and completing an effective resume.

Outcome—The consumer will understand the importance of and how to develop a resume, vita, cover letter, and/or portfolio. The consumer will demonstrate the ability to:

Note: A copy of the consumer's completed resume, vita, cover letter, and/or portfolio must be submitted to the consumer's counselor at the post-staffing.

Job Application Training

Purpose—Job application services are provided to assist and/or train the consumer in the skills needed to accurately complete a job application.

Outcome—The consumer will demonstrate the ability to:

Note: No less than three applications must be completed. A copy of each completed application must be submitted to the consumer's counselor at the post-staffing.

Job Seeking Skills Training

Purpose—Job seeking skills services are designed to assist the consumer in developing the skills needed to conduct an effective job search.

Outcome—The consumer will demonstrate the ability to:

Note: A copy of the consumer's resource list must be submitted to the consumer's counselor at the post-staffing.

Interviewing Skills Training

Purpose—Interviewing skills services reinforce essential skills and/or instruct the consumer in new skills necessary to help the consumer complete a successful interview.

Outcome—The consumer will demonstrate the skills needed to conduct a successful interview including the ability to:

Note: At the post-staffing, the trainer must provide the consumer's counselor or case manager with a written evaluation (critique) of three video/audio taped mock interviews and documentation of face-to-face discussions with the consumer regarding each of the three interviews. Discussion of each interview should include areas such as appearance, attentiveness, confidence, motivation, and communication skills. The trainer should make a video/audio copy of the three mock interviews available to the consumer upon request. The tapes may be destroyed after the consumer has been successfully placed in employment or upon counselor authorization.

Job Retention Skills Training

Purpose—Job retention skills help the consumer develop the skills and techniques necessary to maintain successful employment.

Outcome—The consumer will demonstrate the skills needed to maintain successful employment including the ability to:

Initial and Interim Staffings

An initial staffing must be completed before services may be initiated.

The consumer (and/or their representative if applicable), the consumer's counselor or case manager, and the provider will conduct an initial staffing before training is initiated to ensure a complete understanding of the consumer's vocational goal.

During the initial staffing, a DARS2877, Initial Staffing Recommendations, form will be completed to detail the job readiness training needed by the individual consumer. The form shall be signed by the consumer, the consumer's counselor or case manager, and the provider.

If needed, interim staffings may be held.

All initial and interim staffings must be documented using a DARS2877 form and placed in the consumer's file.

Authorization for Training

Based on the results of the initial staffing, the consumer's counselor or case manager may approve from one to 20 hours of job readiness training.

Authorization for Additional Training

If the consumer requires more than 20 hours of training, an interim staffing must be completed to determine the consumer's progress and to document the status of their job readiness training.

If it is determined that additional training is appropriate, the consumer's counselor or case manager may request approval for up to ten additional hours of training through the regional director.

All requests for additional training must be approved by the regional director. Training beyond the first 25 hours, if any, must be approved through the supervisory chain of management to the DBS director of field services.

Post-Staffing

After job readiness training has been completed, a post-staffing is required for each consumer receiving services. The meeting must include the consumer (and/or their representative if applicable), the consumer's counselor or case manager, and the provider.

At the time of the post-staffing,

The post-staffing process determines:

  1. Is the consumer job ready?
  2. What is the anticipated number of hours the consumer will work per week?
  3. Will the provider accept the referral of the consumer for job placement services?

If the provider accepts the job placement referral, a DARS2876, Job Placement Referral Acceptance, form must be completed and signed before the post-staffing process is concluded (for additional information, please see 5.8 Job Placement in this manual).

All staffings must be documented and placed in the consumer's file.

Documenting Services

Completion of job readiness training services requires the following documentation:

5.7.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 01/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

5.8 Job Placement

(Revised 04/09)

5.8.1 Job Function

Job placement service providers assist consumers with employment-related services necessary for the consumer to secure and maintain acceptable employment.

5.8.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

Job placement service providers must have:

Provider Authorization

Services must not begin until DBS has issued a service authorization and/or purchase order.

A service authorization and/or purchase order must be completed at placement for the first payment and the second payment. Then, when all progress reports and payments are due, DBS will adjust dollar amounts as needed based on the check stub at the final billing.

Providers must have written authorization from DBS before the provider's employee provides services to DBS consumers. No service provided by a provider's employee will be paid if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is received.

For more information, see Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.6.4 Additional Requirements/Documenting Staff Changes of this manual and Chapter 4: Service Delivery Guidelines, 4.2 Staff Information Sheets.

5.8.3 Service Delivery

(Revised 01/10)

Scope of Services

Job placement services include, but are not limited to, the following.

  1. Account building, employer contacts, and job analysis.
  2. Matching individual DBS consumers with appropriate employment opportunities.
  3. Job placement services for individual consumers including pre-employment orientation, support of newly-hired consumers for at least 90 days of employment, and; follow-up with the consumer and/or employer as appropriate.

Acceptable Employment

Acceptable employment is a position in an integrated employment setting at or above current minimum wage. Integrated employment is defined in federal regulations as:

"a setting typically found in the community in which applicants or eligible individuals interact with non-disabled individuals other than non-disabled individuals who are providing services to those applicants or eligible individuals."

Acceptable Job Placement

Acceptable job placement means acceptable employment of a DBS consumer in a meaningful job commensurate with the individual consumer's stated vocational goals in an integrated employment setting at a wage equal to or above current minimum wage for at least 90 days.

Acceptable job placement is limited to job placement in an integrated setting within an organization or business that is not owned, operated, controlled, or otherwise governed by the contract service provider.

Outcome—Job Placement

Job placement services are completed when the consumer:

Referral Process

An initial staffing must be completed before job placement services may be initiated. The purpose of the initial staffing is to allow the consumer, the counselor, and the job placement provider an opportunity to meet and discuss the consumer's employment goals including:

All initial staffings must be documented using a DARS2876, Job Placement Referral Acceptance, form (see immediately below) and placed in the consumer's file.

Referral Acceptance

Following completion of the initial staffing, the job placement provider shall complete a DARS2876, Job Placement Referral Acceptance form.

The DARS2876 form documents the job placement provider's acceptance (or non-acceptance) of the referral for job placement services.

The DARS2876 form must be signed by both the counselor and the job placement provider.

Notification of Job Placement

The job placement provider is required to notify the consumer's counselor or case manager when the consumer is scheduled for an employment interview.

The job placement provider is required to submit a DARS2873, Initial Placement Report, form to the consumer's counselor or case manager when the consumer accepts a job offer.

Follow-Up Reports

On the 30th and 60th day of employment, the job placement provider must submit a written report to the consumer's counselor or case manager.

All post-employment follow up reports must be submitted in the standard format required by DBS using a DARS2875, Post-Employment Follow Up Report form.

The written report must include a brief narrative of the consumer's performance including:

The narrative should include any actions taken to resolve problems/issues and expected outcomes as a result of the actions. These actions may include but are not limited to:

Documenting Job Placement

After the consumer has been successfully employed for at least 90 calendar days, the job placement provider is required to submit a fully completed and signed DARS2872, Job Placement Final Billing, form to the consumer's counselor or case manager verifying that the consumer has been employed for at least 90 days in a job that is consistent with the consumer's vocational goal.

The job placement provider's signature on the DARS2872 form is the provider's verification of the following minimum employment conditions:

Note: A copy of the consumer's most recent paycheck or check stub must be attached to the provider's DARS2872, Job Placement Final Billing form. If the job placement provider is unable to obtain a copy of the consumer's most recent paycheck or check stub, a fee estimated to be the equivalent of one-week salary will be paid if the consumer's counselor or case manager documents verification of employment in the consumer's case file.

Verification of Employment

Upon receipt of the job placement provider's written statements, DBS will verify completion of job placement services by

Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Employment Network

For providers who are also employment networks as defined by the Social Security Administration, see 5.13 SSA/VR Ticket to Work Partnership Plus—EN Employment Advancement Payments.

5.8.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 01/12)

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

5.9 Diabetes Self-Management – Education Services

(Revised 4/07, 04/09, 03/12, 09/15)

5.9.1 Job Function

DBS educates consumers about diabetes self-management.

Diabetes self-management education services are used to:

5.9.2 Qualifications

(Revised 01/10)

Diabetes self-management education services are provided by a service provider who instructs and counsels the consumer and family through individual and/or group skills training.

Education and Experience Requirement

A service provider is a health professional, who:

A service provider for consumers must be a registered nurse (RN), registered dietician (RD), or certified diabetes educator (CDE). For RNs and RDs, DARS Contract Oversight and Support (COS) unit keeps a copy of the service provider's active license on file. For a CDE, COS keeps a copy of the service provider's current certification from the National Certification Board for Diabetes Education (NCBDE) or the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) on file.

Through academic preparation, continuing education, or on-the-job training, the service provider will have developed:

A service provider (CDE, RN, or RD) must have at least one year of paid experience providing diabetes education. RNs and RDs must have completed 15 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) on diabetes from an accredited agency within 12 months of the application date. A CDE must have completed 10 hours of CEUs on diabetes from an accredited agency within 12 months of the application date. The CEUs must be from an agency approved by the service provider's licensing or certifying body.

The service provider must send a copy documenting the CEUs to the diabetes program specialist (DPS).

The specialist:

Technical Skills Requirement

A service provider must:

To determine a potential service provider's knowledge about diabetes and behavioral change, a diabetes program specialist may interview the potential provider during the initial contracting process and/or ask him or her to take a skills test.

Training Requirement

Before providing services to consumers, the service provider must either:

Veteran service providers must attend Texas Confidence Builders training at least every two years.

Texas Conference Builder training is a 14-hour training led by the diabetes program specialist. The training includes a two-hour blindfold experience. The service provider is expected to attend the entire training. Exceptions must be approved by the diabetes program specialist in writing before the training begins.

At the discretion of the diabetes program specialist, service providers may also be required to attend additional periodic training seminars.

If travel is necessary in order to attend the required training, the service provider is responsible for paying all travel costs including transportation, food, and lodging.

5.9.3 Service Provider Authorization and Reimbursement

Diabetes self-management education services must not begin until a service authorization (SA) has been issued by DARS. It is the service provider's responsibility to check the accuracy of the SA before scheduling a visit with the consumer.

If the service provider is unable to schedule the visit within three calendar weeks, the service provider notifies the consumer's vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) or independent living worker (ILW).

Service providers must have written authorization before the service provider or the provider's employees provide diabetes self-management education services to consumers. DARS does not pay for diabetes self-management education services, if the services are provided before written authorization is received.

For additional information, see Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.6.4 Additional Requirements/Documenting Staff Changes and Chapter 4: Service Delivery Guidelines, 4.2 Staff Information Sheets.

5.9.4 Service Delivery

Scope of Services

Up to 15 hours of individual and group diabetes self-management education services can be approved, including skills training. Additional hours must be approved by the field director and discussed with the diabetes program specialist (DPS).

Self-management of diabetes is an important component of an education plan. The education plan must be customized for each consumer

Diabetes self-management education services include:

Individual skills training on diabetes self-management is divided into short segments (ideally two-hour blocks) to reduce travel costs and ensure that the consumer maintains the physical and intellectual stamina needed to benefit from the skills training.

Group sessions (that is, sessions for two or more consumers at a time) can be cost effective. Service providers are encouraged to coordinate group skills training sessions when they will benefit the instruction process and better meet the needs of the consumer. Approval must be obtained from the referring case manager before skills training begins.

If group skills training sessions are conducted, the initial assessment and post training assessment must be conducted individually, so that a consumer’s health information and other concerns may be addressed privately.

Providers of diabetes education are reimbursed only for the time spent teaching consumers about diabetes.

Providers are not reimbursed for:

Note: If diabetes self-management education services take more or less than the recommended amount of time (for instance, if an assessment takes more than two hours), the service provider: must document the exceptions to the recommended amount of time; and include the documentation in the report before DARS will consider payment.

The required documentation must be submitted within 35 calendar days of the date that any diabetes self-management education service is provided, including initial assessment, skills training, and post training assessment.

Service providers are strongly encouraged to call or email the consumer's vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) or independent living worker (ILW) immediately when situations arise that affect the consumer's health or ability to participate in skills training on diabetes self-management.

Assessing Diabetes Self-Management Education Service

The service provider ensures that the individualized education program (including the initial assessment, instructional and skills training methods, and teaching materials) is appropriate for each consumer, based on the consumer's:

The Initial Assessment

The initial assessment for each consumer must include the consumer's:

As part of the initial assessment, the service provider recommends the specific skills training that the consumer may need.

The training may include information on:

Blood Glucose Meter

For the purpose of assessing consumers and providing them with skills training, service providers may use the talking blood glucose meter recommended by DBS. If the provider recommends using another talking meter, the diabetes program specialist must approve it before skills training occurs.

If DBS changes its recommendation on a talking blood glucose meter, the service provider has 90 calendar days after being notified about the change to obtain the new talking blood glucose meter.

The consumer’s vocational rehabilitation counselor (VCR) or independent living worker (ILW) is responsible for approving the purchase of the recommended equipment or supplies.

Skills Training for Diabetes Self-Management

The number of skills training hours recommended for individual diabetes self-management is based on:

Skills training on diabetes self-management must include:

A copy of the current DARS diabetes education materials is provided to the consumer in his or her preferred medium (for example, large print, CD, and so on).

Other education materials, resources and referrals are documented on the required forms.

Diabetes self-management education is primarily intended to:

The initial assessment and subsequent skills training on diabetes self-management is based on the seven self-care behaviors identified by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

The AADE’s seven self-care behaviors (known as AADE7) are:

Group Training

Skills training for diabetes self-management can be provided:

In most cases, the training should not exceed 15 hours, total.

Individual skills training for diabetes self-management may be authorized, if group training cannot be scheduled in a timely manner.

The initial assessment and subsequent skills training are usually conducted in the consumer's home. If the skills training is conducted in a group and meets outside the consumer's home, the training and payment are different. Contact the DARS regional program support specialist (RPSS) for more information.

Post-Training Assessment

Post-training (follow-up) assessments are conducted by the service provider at least one month (30 calendar days) after the skills training is completed.

As part of the post training assessment, the service provider:

If a post-training assessment is provided before one month (30 calendar days) after the skills training is completed, the service provider must secure approval from the referring case manager.

5.9.5 Documentation of Diabetes Self-Management Education Services

Documentation of Initial Assessments

The service provider's initial assessment and other findings for each consumer are documented using:

Documentation of Skills Training and Equipment

Service providers must document each two-hour skills training session provided to each consumer using DARS2884, Diabetes Self-Management Educator Notes.

If the diabetes self-management education services for a consumer include providing the consumer with a talking blood glucose meter or other diabetes equipment, the service provider's responsibilities include:

Note: When submitting paperwork electronically, the service provider may enter the phrase "signature on file" to represent the consumer's signature. The service providers must keep the original signature on file and be able to provide it on request.

Documentation of Post Training (Follow-Up) Assessment

The one-hour post-training (follow-up) assessment must be documented using:

Exceptions

When speaking by phone or in person to a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC), independent living worker (ILW), or rehabilitation assistant (RA) about differences in service delivery, including changes in a service authorization or no-show request, the provider's call or in-person discussion is documented in an email between all parties.

Exceptions, such as being unable to complete skills training or provide a blood glucose meter other than the currently approved talking glucose meter, require written approval from the diabetes program specialist (DPS).

5.9.6 Performance Measures

(Revised 01/12)

To adequately measure the performance of a service provider, DBS staff members ask the following questions:

5.10 Aides and Drivers

5.10.1 Aides

  1. Aides (such as vocational evaluation aides, work adjustment aides, etc.) must be qualified and must work under the direct supervision of an authorized service provider.
  2. Aides are required to have one year of actual work experience in vocational areas directly related to vocational evaluation, personal-social adjustment, and/or work adjustment. At the discretion of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services-Division for Blind Services (DBS), post-secondary education in a related field may be substituted for actual work experience.
  3. Aides must be able to follow instructions and establish rapport with DBS consumers.
  4. Aides are not authorized to sign reports.

5.10.2 Drivers

Any person who transports DBS consumers must have a valid Class B or Class C driver's license, appropriate liability insurance, and a good driving record.

5.11 Orientation and Mobility Training

(Revised 04/09)

5.11.1 Job Function of O&M Providers

(Revised 11/10)

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) providers offer complex, interrelated services designed to promote independent travel skills for people who are blind or visually impaired.

O&M training prepares DBS consumers to travel independently with competence and confidence. Orientation is the process of using the available senses to establish one's position and relationship within the environment. Mobility is the ability to travel in the environment with the help of an established tool (including white canes, dog guides, and electronic travel aids).

5.11.2 Qualifications and Requirements of O&M Providers

(Revised 01/10, 11/10, 03/11, 07/11)

Education, Training, and Experience

(Revised 03/12)

The O&M contractor must ensure that each person approved to provide O&M services to DBS consumers under its contract meets one of the following requirements.

  1. The provider is certified by either the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) or the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB).
  2. The provider is not certified at the start of the contract, but he or she
    • has a degree in O&M from an accredited college or university with an established O&M training curriculum and will be certified within one year of the contract date by ACVREP or NBPCB; or
    • has at least two years' full-time work experience teaching O&M skills for an entity DBS recognizes, such as a rehabilitation center, VA hospital, or educational system; and also
      • has three professional references indicating the person's ability to teach O&M skills to blind or visually impaired people, and
      • will be certified within one year of the contract date by ACVREP or NBPCB.

To continue contracting services with DBS, all O&M service providers under the contract must maintain ACVREP or NBPCB certification.

Required Texas Confidence Builders Training

(Revised 4/07, 11/10)

In addition to meeting the education, training, and experience requirements described above, all prospective O&M providers must successfully complete the DBS Texas Confidence Builders Training before becoming providers. Texas Confidence Builders Training is offered quarterly in Austin and is a two- or three-day training program. Each provider is responsible for all costs related to training attendance.

Additional training may be provided by the DBS O&M consultant if necessary or requested by the O&M provider.

Recommended Blindfold Travel Activities

(Revised 11/10)

O&M providers are encouraged to complete a minimum of 20 hours of blindfold travel per fiscal year and submit a detailed statement describing each travel activity completed and the number of hours achieved per activity. This ensures that an O&M provider

Examples of acceptable blindfold travel activities include traveling around a city block, sidewalk travel on an L-shaped sidewalk route, traveling to the grocery store, and exploring a new neighborhood.

DBS recommends that the O&M providers create a report like the sample O&M Provider's Independent Travel Activity Report. Each O&M provider sends a copy of the provider's blindfold travel activity statement to

Internship Requirements

(Added 11/10)

O&M providers using interns to work with DBS consumers must

O&M interns must

Provider Authorization

Providers must not provide services without a service authorization and/or purchase order. DBS does not reimburse for costs or pay for services provided before the date on the service authorization and/or purchase order.

5.11.3 Service Delivery

(Revised 11/10, 07/11, 02/14, 03/16)

Scope of Services

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) services include:

Provider Objectivity

The O&M provider must remain impartial and objective.

Referral Information

Before contacting the consumer, the O&M provider receives referral information from the consumer's DBS counselor or case manager. The DBS counselor or case manager fills out known information on DARS2897, O&M Referral. The O&M referral form helps the O&M provider prepare and plan before contacting the consumer.

Initial Assessment

Assessments may be conducted using the consumer's functional vision, which is an opportunity for consumers to recognize that their vision may not meet all their travel needs.

The initial assessment includes an evaluation of the consumer's orientation and mobility skills in multiple situations, which may include:

Post-Assessment Discussion

Following the initial assessment, the O&M provider reviews the results with the consumer and answers any questions that he or she may have about the recommended training. A meeting with the consumer, counselor or case manager, and O&M provider is strongly recommended, so that all parties can agree on the overall O&M training plan.

Documenting the Initial Assessment

Initial assessment reports must be submitted using DARS2894, Consumer Services Report: O&M Assessment.

The assessment report includes:

Training Authorization

After submitting the DARS2894, Consumer Services Report: O&M Assessment, the O&M provider must contact the consumer's counselor or case manager to discuss the initial assessment and get authorization to provide training services.

The discussion includes:

Monthly Progress Reports

After receiving authorization to provide training services, the O&M provider must document each consumer's monthly training progress using DARS2896, Consumer Services Report: O&M Training.

Monthly progress reports must be submitted within 30 days of the end of each calendar month until the consumer's O&M services are completed or services are no longer recommended by the consumer's counselor or case manager.

Each consumer's monthly progress report must include:

Expectations of Training

(Revised 03/11)

All O&M training services for DBS consumers must be conducted using nonvisual (blindfold) techniques and a rigid (nonfolding) cane. All exceptions must be discussed with the consumer's counselor or case manager before training services are begun, and must be fully documented in the provider's required reports. Approval must be fully documented by the case manager in the case notes.

O&M providers discuss the benefits of nonvisual training with each consumer. Role modeling and peer support for nonvisual training are encouraged.

With prior authorization from the consumer's counselor or case manager, visual training may be provided after nonvisual training is completed to transfer skills.

Note: The provider must get written authorization (by email or handwritten note) before providing visual training of any kind. DBS does not reimburse visual training without prior written authorization.

Group Training

DBS encourages O&M providers to coordinate group trainings (of up to three consumers) when it will benefit the instruction process and better meet the needs of the consumers. However, the O&M provider must get approval from each consumer's counselor or case manager before providing group training.

Travel Aids

The counselor or case manager provides one rigid, long, white cane for each consumer for O&M assessment and training, to be distributed by the O&M provider or vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT).

If a consumer has a guide dog, the consumer is assessed by the O&M provider to ensure that the consumer has proficient cane skills. O&M training can occur with either a cane or guide dog.

The DBS provider must include observations and recommendations of cane skills in the initial assessment. Recommended hours for training must be inclusive of the consumer's travel needs, regardless of the mobility tool (dog or cane). Additional hours are not requested for training with a guide dog.

In addition, O&M providers give cane-purchasing information to each consumer. Consumers are responsible for acquiring all replacement canes, cane tips, back-up canes, and so on.

O&M providers may recommend additional travel aids or other items to the consumer's counselor or case manager; but the decision to purchase additional items rests solely with the counselor or case manager.

DBS does not reimburse O&M providers for any items provided to a DBS consumer by the provider.

DBS encourages consumers to contact the school from which they obtained their guide dog for further assessments and direct training for the guide dog, if needed.

Providing Services

(Revised 11/11)

Orientation and mobility training may not exceed the extent of services (type of training and total number of training hours) authorized by the consumer's counselor or case manager.

An O&M provider cannot have more than 25 DBS consumers in active training at any time, and must keep counselors and case managers informed of the total number of consumers in active training. Any consumer who has been provided services, from assessment through completion, is considered to be in active training. The capacity for 25 consumers in active training was determined to allow for group lessons. Priority for training is determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with each consumer's counselor or case manager.

O&M providers cannot provide more than six hours of training on any given day, even if multiple consumers are served in that day. Lessons are approximately two hours long. Without prior authorization from a counselor, an individual consumer must not receive more than four hours or less than two hours of O&M instruction on any given day.

Consistent and frequent scheduling is recommended to maximize consumer learning. Daily O&M training is considered best practice. For VR consumers, one two-hour lesson a week is the minimum training allowable.

For IL consumers, the IL worker authorizes two to three hours for the initial assessment. If training is recommended, the IL worker allows no more than five hours of training per month. If additional training time is needed (because of safety-related concerns, secondary disability, or a specific consumer request), the O&M provider sends a written request to the IL worker, including the number of additional hours requested and the reason more hours are needed. Requests for additional training are made as part of the initial assessment, when possible.

Transporting consumers does not count toward training time. O&M providers are not reimbursed for time spent in the car, even when a consumer is present.

The O&M provider must notify the consumer's counselor or case manager within 24 hours about all:

O&M providers must get written approval from the counselor or case manager before deviating from any of these standards during training (even when based on an individual consumer's needs).

If Services Are Interrupted

If training cannot be completed as planned or if services are postponed indefinitely because of unexpected circumstances, the O&M service provider must notify the consumer's counselor or case manager within 24 hours.

5.11.4 Performance Measures

(Revised 11/10, 01/12)

DBS considers the following questions when measuring an O&M provider's performance:

5.12 Supported Employment Overview

(Revised 10/08, 07/09, 04/11, 12/14, 07/17)

Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) Supported Employment is a comprehensive service package for both blind and visually impaired and for general vocational rehabilitation customers. It includes a variety of services formerly purchased separately.

VRS Supported Employment enables customers with the most significant disabilities to enter competitive integrated employment by:

The VRS Supported Employment Outcome-Based System (SE) places and then trains customers in order to support them in obtaining and maintaining long-term competitive integrated employment.

By matching the customer to a job and then providing ongoing supports and training, the customer develops job readiness skills while on the job. An employer who hires a VRS customer should provide training for the customer just as it does for other new employees, with help and support from the vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselor and the supported employment specialist.

5.12.1 Customized Employment Approach

Customized employment is used to develop the best job match for the customer through the use of flexible strategies to meet the needs of both the individual and the unmet business needs of the employer. It addresses the unique skills, interests, abilities, capabilities, and support needs of an individual with a significant disability. Many times these jobs must be created or carried out by means of flexible strategies to ensure a good job match.

5.12.2 Role of the Supported Employment Specialist and/or Job Skills Trainer

The supported employment specialist:

5.12.3 Ongoing Support Services

Supported Employment Services must include such ongoing support services as:

Ongoing Support Services must be provided at least twice each month to monitor the customer at the work site and as necessary off-site to ensure the customer maintains successful competitive integrated employment. Under certain circumstances, especially at the request of the customer and with approval from the counselor, the twice-monthly monitoring meetings with the customer may be held off-site. If off-site monitoring is determined to be appropriate, at least one contact with the employer each month is required.

5.12.4 Extended Services

The VR counselor coordinates the provision of Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Department of State Health Services, and Managed Care Organization funding for long-term support services. These state agencies may provide Extended Services for a customer at completion of Benchmark 5: Job Stability, through such programs as Community Living Assistance and Support Services, Home and Community-Based Service, and Texas Home Living waivers. VRS providers coordinate with and train all Extended Service providers before a case achieves Job Stability.

5.12.5 Benchmarks Required for Payment

VRS Supported Employment includes the following benchmarks and components required for payment to providers:

5.12.6 Eligibility for Supported Employment Services

A VR counselor authorizes the purchase of Supported Employment if the customer:

5.12.7 Duration of Supported Employment Services

VRS Supported Employment services should not be longer than 24 months. Services may be extended if the customer needs additional time to reach job stability. The VR counselor and the customer must agree to extend services and document the extension in the customer's Individual Plan of Employment. A DARS3472, Contract Service Modification Request, must be completed and submitted for approval if the VRS Supported Employment Services are longer than 24 months. If VRS grants an extension, the provider receives a copy of the approved DARS3472, and VRS issues a new service authorization and sends it to the provider.

5.12.8 Other Services Not Purchased with Supported Employment

The following vocational rehabilitation services cannot be purchased while a customer is receiving Supported Employment services from an Employment Services provider:

5.12.9 Referral for Supported Employment Services

The VR counselor completes the DARS1610, Supported Employment Service and Supported Self-Employment–Referral, and submits it to the provider. The VR counselor is responsible for overseeing the Supported Employment services provided to VRS customers.

The Supported Employment provider must receive a:

5.12.10 Documentation Requirements

Forms

All of the VRS forms for these services must be:

If a section of the form is marked as not applicable (N/A), the section must include an explanation of why the section so marked.

The following forms must be completed before job placement:

Signatures on Forms

All signatures must be original, handwritten, and dated; electronic signatures are not accepted.

Before signing a form, the provider reviews the applicable Standards for Providers to ensure the report is complete and accurate before submission. If VRS verification indicates the provider documented inaccurate information, repayment of funds may be required.

Invoices

The following are required when a provider submits an invoice:

Use the date on which the benchmark is achieved as the date of service on the invoice (for example, the date of the SEA meeting, the date that SESP–1 was completed, the date of the fifth, 28th, and 56th day of paid employment, the job stability date, and the 90th day after the job stability date.) The billing documentation may not be submitted until the day after achieving the service benchmark.

A Supported Employment specialist verifies a customer's dates of employment through employer or customer contact and documents the verification on the appropriate form for the invoice.

If the customer loses his or her job, the customer's progress within the benchmark is stopped until:

If an invoice is incomplete or inaccurate, or if supporting documentation is incomplete or inaccurate, VRS sends the provider a DARS3460, Vendor Invoice Additional Data Request, and payment is not made until the provider submits corrections to VRS.

Each benchmark is authorized only one time per customer unless VRS determines it is in the customer's best interest to authorize the benchmark more than once. Any change to the benchmarks must be approved using the DARS3472, Contract Service Modification Request.

Premiums

The following premiums are payable at Benchmark 1B:

The following premium services are paid after achievement of Benchmark 6:

Other Changes That Might Occur

If the customer does not work for seven or more days because of illness, injury, vacation, or short-term disability before the completion of Benchmark 5, the customer's progress within the benchmark is stopped until the customer returns to work and works the required hours outlined in the SESP–1 for at least one day in a seven-day work week.

If the customer wants to change his or her targeted job tasks, negotiable employment conditions, or nonnegotiable employment conditions, a SESP–1 meeting must be held to update the DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan 1 (SESP–1) Plan and Benchmark Report.

If the customer obtains a new position with the current employer or begins a new job with another employer, the customer must complete a minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment in the new job before Benchmark 5: Job Stability, is established or re-established;

5.12.11 Provider Staff Qualifications

Before any services are provided to customers, the Employment Service provider director must approve the DARS3455, Provider Staff Information, completed by each staff, such as trainer and aides, and submit the approved form to the provider's assigned TWC contract manager and assigned VRS regional program specialist. The DARS3455 must state the staff's qualifications and provide evidence of meeting all qualifications, such as transcripts, diplomas, reference letters, credentials, and licenses.

Staff qualification for each service is described below. If a qualification requires a University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE) Texas Credential, see Texas Credential Training for more information.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Provider's staff that provides services to customers who are deaf and who will be paid a premium for their specialized skills must document proficiency in sign language skills by holding a Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification, a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certification, or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) rating of "intermediate plus." For more information on the SLPI, go to SLPI ASL.

Autism

Provider's staff that provides services to customers who meet the qualifications for the Autism Premium and have an up to date University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE) Autism Specialization Endorsement will be paid a premium if the VR counselor has identified a need for specialized skills related to Autism.

Non-Credentialed Staff

A non-credentialed provider staff may provide services to a VRS customer only when the Temporary Waiver of Employment Services Credential Standards is followed. For more information, refer to RSD Standards for Providers Chapter 1: Basic Services, 1.13 Staff Documentation, Temporary Waiver of Director and Employment Services Credential.

Supported Employment Specialist

The required qualifications for a Supported Employment specialist are:

Job Skills Trainer

The required qualifications for a job skills trainer and/or job coach can be found in RSD Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.7 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching), Staff Qualifications.

Additional staff qualifications are required for Supported Employment specialists or job skills trainers who work with individuals that use sign language or individuals that qualify for the Autism Service Premiums. Refer to RSD Standards for Providers Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services, 8.4 Employment Premium Services for more information.

5.12.12 Benchmarks for Supported Employment

5.12.12.1 Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Supported Employment Assessment, and the SEA Review Meeting

Service Description

The completion of the SEA, using the Discovery Process, and the SEA review meeting are required for Benchmark 1A.

The provider achieves Benchmark 1A when the provider:

The SEA and the SEA review meeting may be authorized only one time per customer.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist begins the process for achieving Benchmark 1A by completing the Discovery Process.

The Discovery Process helps the provider to collect the information needed to answer the questions on the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA). The Supported Employment Assessment report must describe the customer and the customer's employment goals clearly.

VRS recommends the person-centered planning process be used when collecting information for the SEA.

The Discovery Process completed by the Supported Employment specialist includes:

Best practice indicates the Discovery Process should take between 20 to 30 hours for each customer.

Completing the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA)

When completing the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA), the Supported Employment specialist will incorporate information about:

The DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment, must include the following information:

The DARS1612 also captures the following information:

Use of Environmental Work Assessment

If an Environment Work Assessment (EWA) is purchased for a customer, the SEA must be prorated. In these cases, the Informational Interview or Work Skills Observations section of the SEA are not completed; information from the EWA will be used in place of this section in the SEA.

Deadline for Submission of the SEA

The SEA is submitted to the VR counselor at least one week before the SEA review meeting. If the SEA does not meet the standards stated above, the SEA is returned to the provider so the information can be added before the meeting.

Holding an SEA Review Meeting

The SEA review meeting is held after the Discovery Process and the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment, has been completed. The SEA review meeting is held to determine whether an employment outcome for the customer can be achieved through Supported Employment or if no employment outcome will be pursued, and to identify the next steps. The meeting may be held by teleconference.

The SEA review meeting must include the:

The SEA meeting must:

The SESP–1 meeting to develop the Supported Employment Service Plan can be held immediately following the SEA review meeting as long as the customer and, as appropriate, the customer's representative are present.

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 1A is made:

A fully complete, accurate, signed, and dated DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment, is required before the provider can be paid for achieving Benchmark 1A.

On the DARS1612, the Supported Employment specialist must clearly identify:

The DARS1612 must be completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures. VRS may contact the customer and/or the customer's Circle of Supports to verify the information on the form is correct.

The DARS1612 must be signed by the Supported Employment specialist that completed the Discovery Process with the customer and documented the information on the form.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

5.12.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan 1

Service Description

SEA information and recommendations are used to develop the DARS1613A, SESP–1 Demographics; DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report; and DARS1613C, SESP–1 Extended Supports.

The SESP–1 is used to identify:

Process and Procedure

Benchmark 1B is met by attending the SESP–1 meeting and completing, printing, and signing the DARS1613A, and initialing the DARS1613B and DARS1613C at the SESP–1 meeting.

The VR counselor, Supported Employment specialist, customer, customer's Circle of Support, and identified Extended Support providers meet to complete the DARS1613A, DARS1613B, and DARS1613C.

The DARS1613A, Supported Employment Service Plan 1, Demographics identifies the members of the SESP team and the

The DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan 1, Plan and Benchmark Report identifies

The DARS1613C, Supported Employment Service Plan 1, Extended Supports identifies the Extended Services and support needs of the customer.

The VR counselor or designated VRS staff assists with completing the DARS1613A, DARS1613B, and DARS1613C during the meeting to ensure all information is captured correctly. The provider must not bring a completed DARS1613A, B, and C to the meeting or complete the DARS1613A, B, and C after the meeting. The customer leads the meeting with assistance from the team. To complete the SESP–1, all attendees sign the DARS1613A and initial the DARS1613B and DARS1613C at the end of the meeting, indicating their agreement with the plan.

The forms must be:

Signatures and initials are gathered at the end of the meeting for submission of benchmark paperwork. When necessary, an updated DARS1613B is completed before the achievement of any benchmark.

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 1B is made after the SESP–1 meeting and after the VR counselor receives and approves a complete, accurate, signed, initialed, and dated DARS1613A, SESP–1 Demographics, DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report, and DARS1613C, SESP–1 Extended Supports, and an invoice.

The provider must submit the DARS1613A, B, and C, Supported Employment Services Plan–1 to VRS, preferably at the conclusion of the SESP–1 meeting, with:

The DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report indicates whether the provider is eligible for Employment Premium Services payments as determined by the VR counselor. If the provider is eligible for Employment Premium Service payments—such as the Autism Premium or Deaf Services Premium—the VR counselor refers to 5.12.11 Provider Staff Qualifications for additional information to identify whether the outcomes have been achieved.

The Autism and Deaf Service Premium, as approved and agreed to by the VR counselor, apply to the SEA and SESP–1 and are paid after the achievement of Benchmark 1B. These premiums also may be paid after the achievement of Benchmark 6.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

5.12.12.3 Benchmark 2: Job Placement and Supported Employment Service Plan 2

Service Description

Benchmark 2 is achieved when the customer:

The job in which the customer is placed must be in an organization or a business that is not owned, operated, controlled, or governed by the provider of Supported Employment services. Exception: State agencies, state universities, or facilities that are a part of a state university system that are also Employment Services Providers (ESP) are exempt from this requirement.

To achieve Benchmark 2, the Supported Employment specialist must have at least two contacts with the customer and one contact with the employer to monitor the employer's satisfaction with the customer's performance during the benchmark and must:

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist must collect all information needed to complete an accurate SESP–2 through interviews and observations with the customer and the employer, supervisor, and co-workers.

To achieve Benchmark 2, the Supported Employment specialist submits the DARS1613B and DARS1613C, which are used as the guide for providing services.

Job Placement

To receive payment for Benchmark 2, the Supported Employment specialist must assist the customer in activities related to the job placement, such as:

The Supported Employment specialist is not solely responsible for finding the job the customer accepts. The customer's Circle of Support can offer job leads as well.

Documentation

Services provided must be documented on DARS1613B and DARS1613C; hours worked on the DARS1613D, Supported Employment Services, Hours Worked Time Log; and DARS1614A and DARS1614B must be completed and submitted.

The DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, must include the following:

The information included in the DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, documentation must be individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, the customer's representative (if any), or the employer to verify that the SESP–1 and the SESP–2 information is accurate.

The DARS1613B and DARS1613C, SESP–1, must be updated through a new SESP–1 meeting (see the policy in 5.12.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan 1) before the count of days of employment can begin. If the VR counselor and customer or the customer's representative choose not to make changes to the original SESP–1 and the customer does not achieve 100 percent of the nonnegotiable conditions, at least 50 percent of the negotiable conditions, and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B SESP–1, VRS will not accept the job placement.

When a customer accepts a new position with their current employer or begins a new job with another employer, the Supported Employment specialist must submit an updated DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, to reflect the new position.

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 2 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete, accurate, signed, and dated DARS1614B, Supported Employment Services Plan–2 Job Analysis and Training Plan that has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures.

The DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, verifies and documents that the customer:

Additionally, the DARS1614A and DARS1614B document:

Using the customer's current approved DARS1613B, DARS1613C, and DARS1613D SESP–1, the Supported Employment specialist records the customer's progress at the fifth day worked at employment related to the achievement of the following sections of the form:

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

5.12.12.4 Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance, when the customer:

To complete Benchmark 3, the Supported Employment specialist must have a minimum of two contacts with the customer and one contact with the employer to monitor the employer's satisfaction with the customer's performance during the benchmark and must:

When necessary, the DARS1613B, SESP–1, must be updated with changes to employment or job skills through a new SESP–1 meeting (see 5.12.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Service Plan 1 before the count of days of the benchmark may occur.

Process and Procedure

To achieve Benchmark 3, the Supported Employment specialist completes the DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary report that states:

Measures that help the customer to adjust to the demands of the competitive integrated work environment include:

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 3 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must maintain employment for 28 cumulative days without a break of seven days (or more) that is consistent the requirements documented in the DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report: 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions and at least 50 percent negotiable employment conditions were met and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B SESP–1 are met.

The Supported Employment specialist must have at least two contacts per month with the customer. See 5.12.2 Role of the Supported Employment Specialist and/or Job Skills Trainer for more information.

The Supported Employment specialist monitors, arranges, and/or provides:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete, accurate, and dated DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary has been completed on a computer, and includes handwritten signatures.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations, including:

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at the 28th cumulative day of employment on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, DARS1613C, and DARS1613D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1. The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D:

The information documented in DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1615 must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, customer's representative, or employer to verify the information on the DARS1613 and DARS1615 is accurate.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

5.12.12.5 Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance, when the customer:

To complete Benchmark 4, the Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer must have at least two contacts with the customer and one contact with the employer to monitor the employer's satisfaction with the customer's performance during the benchmark and must:

When necessary, the DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan 1 (SESP–1) Plan and Benchmark Report must be updated with changes to employment or job skills through a new SESP–1 meeting (see the policy in 5.12.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Service Plan 1 before the count of days of the benchmark can occur.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist and job skills trainer may provide the following services to help the customer maintain competitive integrated work environment:

Outcomes Requirements for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 4 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must maintain employment for a minimum of 56 cumulative days of employment, without a break of seven days (or more), that is consistent with the requirements documented in the DARS1613B SESP–1: 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions, at least 50 percent of negotiable employment conditions, and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B SESP–1 are met.

The Supported Employment specialist must have at least two contacts per month with the customer. See 5.12.2 Role of the Supported Employment Specialist and/or Job Skills Trainer for more information.

The Supported Employment specialist monitors, arranges, and/or provides:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete accurate, signed, and dated DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary that has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations. The form includes information about:

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at the 56th cumulative day of employment on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, C, and D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1 (SESP–1). The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D SESP–1:

The information in the DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1615 must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, customer's representative, or employer to verify that the DARS1613 and DARS1615 information is accurate.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

5.12.12.6 Benchmark 5: Job Stability

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 5 when the customer:

The Extended Services (long-term supports) identified on the DARS1613C must be in place before the VR counselor can determine whether the customer is stable in the job.

If the customer obtains a new position or new job, or requires additional supports from the Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer, a minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment must elapse before job stability is re-established.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer must:

The VR counselor makes the final decision in determining the job stability status. A case is considered "job stable" once the job stability date is established through a Job Stability meeting.

If the customer does not work for seven or more days after the achievement of Benchmark 5: Job Stability, a new job stability date must be established through a job stability meeting.

Outcomes Requirements for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 5 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must maintain employment for a minimum of 56 cumulative days, without a break of seven days (or more) that meets the requirements in the DARS1613B, SESP–1. Additionally, 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions, at least 50 percent negotiable employment conditions, and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B, SESP–1 must be met.

The Supported Employment specialist must:

Neither the Supported Employment specialist nor the job skills trainer may provide the long-term support needs, training needs, and/or accommodations unless funding from a source other than VRS is secured.

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete, accurate, signed, and dated DARS1616A, Supported Employment Job Stability Justification Summary has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations.

The form must include:

A minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment is required if the customer gets a new position or a new job before the customer eligible to be determined "job stable."

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at the 56th cumulative day of employment on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, C, and D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1 (SESP–1). The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D SESP–1:

The information documented in the DARS1613B and C and the DARS1616A, Supported Employment Job Stability Justification Summary must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, the customer's representative, or the employer to verify the DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1616A information is accurate.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

5.12.12.7 Benchmark 6: Service Closure

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 6 when the customer:

After the stability date has been set, the Supported Employment specialist and the job skills trainer cannot provide direct services, such as training the employer or Extended Service providers, for or on behalf of the customer.

At Benchmark 5: Job Stability, the Extended Service providers, employer, and other supports must be in place and be providing the intended supports as defined in the DARS1613C, SESP–1; DARS1614B, SESP–2; and the DARS1616A, Supported Employment Job Stability Justification Summary must be submitted.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer must:

The VR counselor makes the final determination as to whether the customer maintained the required 90 cumulative days of job stability from the most recently established job stability date, which is necessary to achieve Benchmark 6: Service Closure.

If the customer does not work as a result of illness, injury, vacation, or short-term disability for seven days (or more) after the achievement of Benchmark 5: Job Stability, a new job stability date is established through a job stability meeting before a new 90-cumulative-day count for the achievement of Benchmark 6: Service Closure.

If it becomes necessary to provide direct services to the customer; to train or consult with the Extended Service provider, employer, or "natural support", or to address issues related to the customer's performance or employment situation or transportation issue, the current job stability period ends.

If the customer is hired for a new position or new job, or requires additional supports from the Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer, a minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment must occur before job stability is re-established before a new 90-day count towards the achievement of Benchmark 6: Service Closure.

If a customer's employment lasts more than 26 weeks, the DARS1613D is used to record the additional hours worked until Benchmark 6: Service Closure is achieved.

Outcomes and Criteria for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 6 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must be job stable for a 90-cumulative-day period of employment, without break of seven days (or more) in employment consistent with the DARS1613B, SESP–1 requirements of 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions and at least 50 percent of negotiable employment conditions and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B, SESP–1.

The Supported Employment specialist must:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete accurate, signed, and dated DARS1616B, Supported Employment Service Closure Summary that has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures. The customer must be employed on the date the customer signs the DARS1616B.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations.

The form must include:

If the customer obtains a new position, changes employers, or has significant challenges in the job, a new Job Stability meeting is held to establish the customer is job stable and to set a new 90-day count for achievement of Benchmark 6.

The Supported Employment specialist must have a minimum of two contacts per month with the customer, employer, Extended Service provider, and/or person providing natural supports to monitor the Extended Service provider and Natural supports outlined in the DARS1613C, SESP–1, to ensure that the customer can maintain a successful long-term competitive integrated employment outcome.

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at 90 cumulative days after the final job stability date on the DARS1616A and on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, C, and D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1.

The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D, SESP–1:

The information documented on the DARS1613B and C and on the DARS1616B must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, customer's representative, or employer to verify that the DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1616B information is accurate.

If the DARS1613B indicates the provider is eligible for any Employment Premium Service and VRS staff has verified that the required outcomes have been achieved, payment will be made at the achievement of Benchmark 6.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule, below.

5.12.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule

Supported Employment

Unit Rate

Comment

Benchmark 1A: Supported Employment Assessment (SEA)

$975.00

Not paid until after the VR counselor and Supported Employment specialist have met to discuss result and recommendation of SEA.

Benchmark 1A: SEA is prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment has been completed.

$525.00

Used when an EWA completed before the SEA.

Benchmark 1B: SESP Part 1

$150.00

Benchmark paid only once, even if multiple SESP meetings occur.

Benchmark 2: Job Placement and SESP Part 2

$1,500.00

Customer must work five days before achievement of Benchmark.

Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance

$1,500.00

Customer must work 28 cumulative calendar days from the first day of paid employment.

Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance

$750.00

Customer must work 56 cumulative days from the first day of paid employment

Benchmark 5: Job Stability

$750.00

Stability meeting must take place with the VR counselor to establish the stability date before payment of Benchmark.

Time between achievement of Benchmark 4 and Benchmark 5 is not defined.

Customer can have more than one stability date.

Benchmark 6: VR Closure

$3,000.00

Customer must have maintained employment 90 days from the Stability date with no support or assistance from the Supported Employment provider.

Needed supports must be provided by Extended Service providers.

Supported Employment Premiums

Premium Type Premium Amount

Professional Placement Premium

$500.00

Criminal Background Premium

$500.00

Wage Premium

$500.00

Deaf Service Premium at completion of Benchmark 1b

$533.00

Deaf Service Premium at completion of Benchmark 6

$3,550.00

Autism Premium at completion Benchmark 1B

$225.00

Autism Premium at completion of Benchmark 1B is prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment is completed

$135.00

5.13 Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Ticket to Work Partnership Plus—EN Employment Advancement Payments

(Added 01/10)

5.13.1 Overview

Under the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Program, DARS and Employment Networks (ENs), as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), partner to provide a seamless system of service delivery that supports a consumer who receives either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in his or her 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 an EN while VR services are being provided.

DARS offers incentive payments called EN Employment Advancement Payments to DARS community rehabilitation program (CRP) providers under the following circumstances:

Note: DARS EN Employment Advancement Payments are not available to the CRP-EN when the consumer decides to assign the Ticket to an EN other than the CRP-EN. In keeping with informed choice, DARS will provide the consumer with a list of all available ENs at VR case closure.

If a CRP-EN is the holder of the consumer's Ticket assignment, the Ticket must be unassigned from CRP-EN and placed in use with DARS before the CRP-EN can partner with DARS and be eligible for EN Employment Advancement payments.

5.13.2 Definitions

CRP-EN
A provider of job placement and/or supported employment services under contract with DARS in accordance with these standards, and who is also under contract with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an Employment Network.
EN Employment Advancement Payments
Payments to those DARS CRPs who are also under contract with the SSA as an Employment Network and who partner with DARS in an effort to ensure that VR consumers participating in the SSA's Ticket to Work Program receive job retention services and other types of services that advance employment or increase earnings after the consumer's VR case is closed.
Employment Networks (ENs)
Public or private entities that enter into an agreement with the Social Security Administration to provide employment, vocational, or other support services and help Ticket holders (consumers) obtain and maintain employment.
MAXIMUS
A private organization that contracts with the SSA to help manage the Ticket to Work Program.
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
A level of consumer work activity and earnings defined by the SSA that includes the following concepts:
Substantial Work
Doing significant physical or mental activities, or a combination of both (full- or part-time).
Gainful Work
Work performed for pay or profit.

SGA is increased every January 1. Go to http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/sga.html to view the current amount.

105 percent of SGA
Amount calculated by identifying the SGA from the link above and then multiplying that amount by 1.05.
Tier Level (1 or 2)
A payment level assigned by a DARS counselor to a consumer receiving job placement or supported employment services and that is used as a basis for determining the amount of an EN Employment Advancement Payment.
Ticket
A paper document that is SSA's agreement to pay an EN the agreed-upon payments under the Ticket to Work Program.

5.13.3 EN Employment Advancement Payments

DARS offers a total of two EN Employment Advancement Payments to CRP-ENs who provide ongoing support services or job retention services that advance employment or increase earnings after a consumer's VR case is closed. Services provided by the CRP-EN must help the consumer meet the following outcomes:

  1. Consumer achieves one month of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds SGA for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 12 months after VR case closure; and  
  2. Consumer achieves eight of twelve consecutive months of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds 105 percent of SGA for the year in which the pay was earned. This payment is available only during the first 18 months after the first payment.

EN Employment Advancement Payment 1

Service Description

The CRP-EN provides services necessary for the consumer to retain and advance in employment to the point that the consumer can achieve one month of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds SGA for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 12 months after VR case closure. For SE only, the CRP must be identified on the DARS1616, Job Stability or Service Closure Justification Summary as one of the primary providers helping the consumer achieve an identified long-term support need outlined in the DARS1616.  

The CRP-EN must notify the VR counselor, in writing, at least 30 days before the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve the required income level, so that appropriate service authorization and/or purchase orders may be issued.

Required Documentation

The DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment is required. The form must be signed by the job placement services or supported employment provider. Written documentation (such as a Ticket Assignment confirmation letter from MAXIMUS or SSA Form 1365 completed and signed by the consumer and CRP-EN within 30 days of the invoice) must also be provided as proof that the consumer's Ticket is currently assigned to the CRP-EN.

One of the following must be attached to the DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment to provide evidence of consumer gross earnings:

Outcome

The first EN Employment Advancement outcome is achieved when

Payment

The first EN Employment Advancement Payment can be made no more than 12 months after VR case closure.

Payment (see the Chapter 3: Rates, 3.2 Service Rates) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves

EN Employment Advancement Payment 2

Service Description

The CRP-EN provides services necessary for the consumer to retain and advance in employment to the point that the consumer is able to achieve 8 of 12 consecutive months of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds 105 percent of SGA for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 18 months after the first EN Employment Advancement Payment.

The CRP-EN must notify the VR counselor, in writing, at least 30 days before the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve the required income level, so that appropriate service authorization and/or purchase orders may be issued.

Required Documentation

The DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment is required. The form must be signed by the JP or SE provider. Written documentation (such as a Ticket Assignment confirmation letter from MAXIMUS) must also be provided as proof that consumer's Ticket is currently assigned to the CRP-EN. 

One of the following must be attached to DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment to provide evidence of consumer gross earnings for 8 of 12 consecutive months:

Outcome

The second EN Employment Advancement outcome is achieved when

Payment

The second EN Employment Advancement payment can be made no more than 18 months after the first payment.

Payment for the second EN Employment Advancement (see the Chapter 3: Rates, 3.2 Service Rates) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves