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 38: Closure

38.1 Criteria for Closing Cases Outcome, Not Accepted

(Revised 02/13)

38.1.1 Reasons for Case Closure

(Revised 7/3/06, 04/14, 07/16)

Reasons for terminating cases before eligibility include the absence of one or more of the basic conditions for eligibility for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services.

No Disabling Condition (Visual)

The counselor's preliminary assessment reveals the applicant does not have a disability (as defined by DBS). The individual does not meet eligibility criterion 1.

The Disability Does Not Present an Impediment to Employment Outcome

The counselor's preliminary assessment reveals no substantial impediment to employment. The applicant does not meet eligibility criterion 2.

The Disability Is Too Significant

The counselor cannot close a consumer's case because his or her disability is too severe without an exploration of an individual's ability to perform in realistic work situations. There must be clear and convincing evidence that the individual cannot benefit from VR services.

To support the closure of a case in this instance, DARS must develop a written plan to periodically assess the consumer's abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in work situations through the use of trial work experiences. DARS must provide more than one trial work experience in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with the informed choice and rehabilitation needs of the individual.

Trial work experiences must

DARS must provide appropriate supports, including assistive technology devices and services and personal assistance services, to accommodate the rehabilitation needs of the individual during the trial work experiences.

Based on 34 CFR Section 361.42(e)

Unfavorable Medical Prognosis

If medical information shows that the applicant's medical condition is rapidly progressive or terminal, the counselor must consult with the treating physician to determine (1) whether the consumer knows the prognosis and (2) how to communicate the closure decision. The applicant does not meet eligibility criterion 3.

Does Not Require VR Services

The counselor must determine if the applicant

The applicant does not meet eligibility criterion 3 if any of the above are true.

Reasons other than ineligibility include

Rule

Cases closed for "other reasons" must be restricted to reasons that do not appropriately fit into more definitive categories.

Example: When an individual declines to participate for reasons determined to be related to the severity of the condition, such as emotional problems that cannot be satisfactorily resolved, the reason for closure might be "unfavorable medical prognosis" rather than "refused services" or "other reasons."

Documentation of Ineligibility

If an applicant is determined ineligible, the counselor should complete a DARS5102 in ReHabWorks and send it to the applicant unless the case is closed before an application has been signed, the applicant has died, or the counselor is unable to locate the applicant.

38.1.2 Closing a Case from Pre-Eligibility Trial Work Due to Disability Too Severe

(Revised 12/15, 07/16)

If after completing pre-eligibility trial work, a consumer is determined to be ineligible for services because of a disability that is too severe, before closing the case, the counselor

When "Disability too Severe" is the reason for closure, anticipate an annual computer-generated alert to review the case for reconsideration of the consumer's eligibility.

38.2 Criteria for Closing Cases as Rehabilitated

(Revised 02/13)

38.2.1 Basic Criteria

(Revised 04/14)

Criteria for terminating rehabilitation services to a consumer in status 26 and reporting the consumer as rehabilitated or successful are:

Note: Consumers must meet all three of these criteria.

38.2.2 Definition of Competitive Integrated Setting

(Revised 12/15)

Further, to be considered a competitive integrated setting:

*Based on 34 CFR Sections 361.5(b)(11) and (16) and 361.56(c)

38.2.3 Implications of Competitive Integrated Setting Definition

Counselors must not decide that an employment setting is not an integrated setting based on the name of the employer. If the suitability of a setting as integrated is in question, the counselor must review each job offered there.

For a consumer to be considered employed in an integrated setting:

38.2.4 Employment and ReHabWorks

As soon as the consumer is employed, complete the Employment page as much as possible. The 90-day clock is based on the date that the counselor enters, so enter the date the consumer actually starts working.

You may close a case 90 days after the criteria listed under "Suitable Occupation" have been met.

38.2.5 Notification to Consumer

(Revised 03/12)

It is the responsibility of the counselor to inform the consumer in writing on a DARS2306, VR Successful Closure Letter.

38.2.6 Accepting Employment Prior to Completion

In some cases, the consumer may identify an employment opportunity prior to completing the planned program of services. This employment may occur as a result of

The consumer and counselor may jointly decide that it is necessary or appropriate for the consumer to accept this employment opportunity.

38.2.7 Changed Program

If the employment opportunity is a different type of goal, then the planned program of services should be reevaluated to determine if there is a need for additional services.

If so, the program should be amended to show this new employment goal and the additional services needed to assist the consumer to obtain or maintain this employment opportunity.

If the reassessment determines that additional services are not needed, as jointly decided by the consumer and counselor, then services may be terminated and the case closed. The consumer would be considered "rehabilitated" since all the services needed for the consumer to be successful in obtaining or retaining this job have been planned and provided.

38.2.8 More Than One Employment in the 90-Day Period

An individual can have more than one job, consecutively or concurrently, and still meet the minimum requirements for successful closure so long as each job is consistent with the employment goal as stated in the IPE. Employment for the 90-day period before case closure must be

Consecutive Jobs

If the criteria for successful closure are met and an individual changes jobs with no periods of unemployment, or is promoted by the same employer, then consecutive employment occurs in one 90-day period. However, employment is considered "consecutive" so long as any gaps are not due to the disabling condition.

Any gap in employment greater than an 8-week period results in a new 90-day employment period.

38.2.9 Interruption of Planned Program

If the interruption is to secure seasonal employment or for other temporary reasons, then the case is not terminated as rehabilitated. The case remains open.

If the interruption is lengthy or if other factors make rehabilitation unlikely, then the case is closed "not rehabilitated".

Note: When a consumer accepts seasonal employment for economic or other reasons, it is considered the same as temporary employment, unless such employment is consistent with the original or revised program and meets the conditions of a suitable occupation.

38.2.10 Substantial Rehabilitation Services

Substantial rehabilitation service is defined as any vocational rehabilitation service provided within a counseling relationship that assists the consumer's vocational rehabilitation.

The substantiality of the service can best be determined by its impact on the consumer's vocational rehabilitation, not on factors such as

38.2.11 Suitable Occupation

(Revised 06/13)

An occupation is generally considered suitable when, after a reasonable period of employment (90 days is considered minimum), the following conditions have been met:

In addition, for ReHabWorks on the Successful Closure page, conditions for suitable employment include the following:

38.2.12 When All of Conditions Are Not Apparent

In some situations, a case may be justifiably closed even though some of the conditions are not completely apparent.

Example: A consumer may desire to accept or remain on a job which, in the opinion of the counselor, is not compatible with the consumer's physical, mental and educational abilities, or the job is not sufficiently permanent to assure continued self-support. Good counseling procedure recognizes the consumer's right to make such choices. The counselor's obligation is to

38.2.13 When One or More Conditions Are Not Met

When a consumer accepts a job which fails to meet one or more of the criteria for suitability, the counselor must assure that

Note: The case record must clearly indicate the justification for closing the case under these exceptional circumstances, including alternatives which were considered.

38.2.14 Verifying Consumer Employment

(Added 04/16)

To verify consumer employment, contact the employer if such contact is not detrimental to the consumer's employment. If it is detrimental, use other options that confirm the consumer's current employment, such as:

Other means include the verification services at Texas Workforce Commission cross-match, which provides information about the consumer's:

38.3 Criteria for Closing Cases as "Unsuccessful"

(Revised 02/13)

38.3.1 Basic Criteria

(Revised 10/09, 02/13)

Cases may be closed as not rehabilitated or unsuccessful if a suitable occupation cannot be achieved. Such closure is categorized as either

Note: Some terms such as "outcome" and "closure" and "rehabilitated" and "successful" are used interchangeably throughout this manual and ReHabWorks.

Important Reminder: Once a consumer's case has been closed two or more times as unsuccessful in status 28 or 30, the field director must review the case before the counselor determines eligibility.

38.3.2 Status 30 Closures

Situations will occur which may necessitate closing a case (from 10) before services are begun under an IPE. A determination that a suitable occupation cannot be obtained must be based upon all facts and circumstances and documented in the case folder.

Notification to Consumer

It is the responsibility of the counselor to advise the consumer by letter of the closure. If the case is being closed with the consumer being closed as disability too significant, use the DARS5201. For all other reasons, use the DARS5203.

Decision Not to Follow Through

An individual for whom eligibility has been determined and a rehabilitation program is being developed or has been formulated may decide to not follow through with a program of services. Before closing such a case, the counselor should take the following actions:

  1. Ensure that the individual understands the purpose of the program and the services that are available.
  2. Inform the consumer that he or she may reapply for services at a later date.
  3. Document the reasons for the consumer's decision not to proceed on the letter of ineligibility (DARS5102).

Contact with a consumer may be lost before a rehabilitation program is formulated or services have begun as a result of the consumer's changing residence. Caseload management involving sufficient consumer contact will keep such occurrences at a minimum.

In some instances, after an individual has been determined eligible but before services are begun, new information or complications will require reconsideration of the consumer's prospects of attaining an employment outcome and, after further evaluation, the counselor may determine that such attainment is not possible.

Referrals to Other Agencies

When a consumer can appropriately be referred to another agency, such referral involves more than merely advising the consumer to make application to the other agency. Counselors take the following action in such cases:

38.3.3 Status 28 Closures

After services have been initiated under an IPE (statuses 14-20), various circumstances may prevent the attainment of a suitable occupation. When such a decision is reached after full consideration of all pertinent facts, services are discontinued and the case closed in status 28.

Note: All case service procedures as described above (under status 30 closures) apply as well to cases closed after initiation of the IPE (status 28).

38.3.4 Reasons for Unsuccessful Closures

(Revised 07/11, 04/14)

No longer interested in receiving services or further services

Refers to an individual who chooses not to participate or continue in the VR program at this time or when an individual's actions make it impossible for him or her to begin or continue a VR program. Examples would be repeated failures to keep appointments for assessments and/or services.

Applicant institutionalized in prison or jail and is not expected to be available to pursue a DBS program

Applicant institutionalized in facility other than prison or jail and is not expected to be available to pursue a DBS program

The counselor should document the case closure in the case file. If the applicant's address is known, the counselor should notify the applicant in writing of the case closure and his or her right to appeal on the Unsuccessful Closure Letter (DARS5203), available in ReHabWorks.

Death

Referred to another agency

(Revised 01/08)

When it becomes apparent that the services of another agency are more appropriate than a DBS program, the counselor should

Extended services not available

The individual could benefit from the provision of supported employment services but no source of extended services is available.

Other

(Revised 01/08)

Services may be denied or ended for reasons other than those described above. It may be because

The counselor should document the case closure in the case file and, if the address is known, notify the consumer in writing of the case closure and his or her right to appeal as explained in the brochure "Your Rights."

Unable to Locate, or Moved Out of State

Close under this reason only if contact with the individual is lost, repeated attempts over a reasonable time period have failed.

Prior to closing a consumer in status 28 as unable to locate, the counselor should:

Also use this reason for closure when the individual moves out-of-state and gives little evidence of returning in the foreseeable future.

When the individual moves to another state before the substantial completion of the IPE, and additional VR services are necessary which can not be provided by DBS,

Document the case closure in the case file.

Transportation Not Feasible

The provision of suitable transportation for the

Document the case closure in the case file. If the address is known, then notify the applicant in writing of the case closure and the right to appeal, on the DARS2408, Unsuccessful Closure letter.

Disability Too Severe

Counselor determines, after extended evaluation/trial work, that VR services will not enable the individual to obtain an employment outcome because of the severity of the disability.

When this reason for closure is used, document the demonstration by "clear and convincing evidence" in the statement of ineligibility using the DARS5201, Disability Too Severe letter.

When available, refer the individual to a local nonintegrated (e.g., employment in a Lighthouse) and document the referral in a case note.

Extended Employment

In those cases where an individual's case is closed in a non-integrated (e.g., sheltered employment) setting due to the individual

the following actions are required:

Select integrated setting for a definition in order to insure that extended employment is the correct coding.

Unfavorable Medical Prognosis

Medical information shows the individual's medical condition is rapidly progressive or terminal. Consult with the treating physician to determine (1) whether or not the consumer knows the prognosis and (2) how the closure decision should be communicated. The applicant does not meet criterion 3 or 4.

Documentation of Ineligibility

If an individual is determined ineligible, a DARS5102 is completed and sent to the consumer unless the case is closed before an application has been signed, the consumer has died, or the counselor is unable to locate the consumer.

38.4 Homemaker Closures

38.4.1 Introduction

Historically, there have been many problems in determining what constitutes a valid homemaker closure. This section contains descriptions and definitions which will aid the counselor in determining what constitutes a valid homemaker closure.

38.4.2 Definition

A homemaker is an individual who:

  1. Has the skills and abilities to maintain a home, and
  2. Actively functions in that capacity and routinely performs a minimum of 7 of the following home management activities:
    • meal preparation
    • sewing
    • washing dishes
    • child care or care of a family member
    • marketing/shopping
    • laundry
    • cleaning
    • accessing mail and attending to correspondence, including paying bills
    • yard work
    • home finances, including money management and budgeting
    • home maintenance/repair
    • accessing transportation
    • other (list and explain)

Document in the case notes at closure that the consumer performs the above activities.

Note: To be closed as a homemaker the consumer must be performing 7 of 13 home management activities on a routine basis. If not performing 7 of 13 activities, closure "not rehabilitated" status 28 may be appropriate.

38.4.3 Independent Living Skills

Listed below are examples of activities of daily living which, while being essential for consumers to learn, do not constitute the responsibilities of a homemaker.

38.4.4 Changes in Vocational Objective

A consumer who decides to stay at home may become a candidate for a homemaker closure if the following criteria are met:

38.4.5 Family Status

Family status refers to the number of people in the family. When determining a homemaker closure it is a fairly straightforward decision when an individual is responsible for the homemaking activities of an entire family.

However, for individuals who live alone, the counselor must differentiate between

38.4.6 Rule

An individual's

38.4.7 Single Person Households

A man or a woman who

may be closed as a homemaker.

38.4.8 Documentation and Coordination

(Revised 04/10)

Complete the homemaker checklist and place it in a case note in ReHabWorks at closure. Normally, completing this checklist requires the counselor to meet with the VR teacher who provided services for an evaluation of the consumer's skills and abilities. Before closure, the counselor must also contact the consumer and ensure that he or she is functioning as a homemaker and is satisfied with his or her employment outcome.

38.5 Unpaid Family Worker

An unpaid family worker is a person who works without actual cash reimbursement

38.6 SSA/VR Ticket to Work Partnership Plus

(Revised 01/10, 12/15)

See Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.6.10 Ticket to Work Program.