20.1 Overview of Premiums

Premiums are payments made to contractors in addition to the base rate paid for services.

Premiums are paid to providers when:

  • the provider:
    • places a customer in a job that pays more than $16 an hour, provides 20 or more hours of work per week, and requires at least a bachelor's degree; and/or
    • places a customer who has a felony; and
  • the provider has obtained the credentials necessary to work with individuals who have disabilities such autism or deafness.

Premium payments compensate providers for their additional efforts, such as taking required training that ultimately benefits customers but can increase the costs of providing services. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) encourages all staff of contracted providers to obtain specialty endorsements. The specialist endorsement identifies the individuals working for contractors who possess the necessary knowledge for competent practice related to disability populations and complex employment barriers.

Whether a contractor receives a premium payment depends on a customer's specific vocational needs and barriers to employment. Multiple premiums may be associated with a base rate when vocationally justified. VR counselors are not required to provide premium payments when a direct service provider qualifies for the premium, if the VR counselor determines that extra effort made by the provider, such as taking required training, is not necessary for the customer's success. Premiums that are agreed on for providing support and job placement services are noted on each benchmark service authorization in the special instructions section. If a customer does not have a vocationally justified need for the service, it will not be approved by the VR counselor.

Premium payments must be authorized when the applicable benchmark (1B Supportive Employment, 6 Closure, and/or C Bundled Job Placement, as applicable) is reached.

Payment

Premiums are paid only when all outcomes for the service have been achieved and the criteria for the premium are achieved.

Premium payments must be vocationally justified. They must be approved through a service authorization and must be indicated on the service authorization in the special instructions section.

No partial payments are made.

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20.2 Staff Qualifications

A contracted provider's staff member who provides services directly to the customer must:

  • meet the staff qualifications identified for the base service; and
  • maintain all staff qualifications required for the premium.

If more than one staff member works with the customer, each staff member must meet the qualifications required for the base service and for any premium authorized. VR does not issue waivers or exceptions for staff qualifications related to specialty endorsements.

See additional staff qualifications under each premium description, as appropriate.

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20.3 Autism Premium

20.3.1 Service Description

A service provider is eligible for the Autism Premium when:

  • the customer has been diagnosed with one or more of the following, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5):
    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • Social communication disorder;
  • the counselor determines that the customer requires intervention to remove barriers to employment that are directly related to the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder in any of the following categories:
    • Level of independence
    • Social skill deficits
    • Communication deficits
    • Obsessive thoughts and/or interests, resistance to change
    • Sensory integration issues (such as but not limited to, seeking deep pressure or having sensitivity to lights or noise)
    • Level of anxiety
    • Comorbidities (such as but not limited to, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder); and
  • the direct service provider has a University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE) Autism Specialization Endorsement.

The Autism Premium may be available for the services covered in:

20.3.2 Process and Procedures

A contracted provider's staff member who provides a direct service to the customer must:

  • meet the staff qualifications identified for the base service; and
  • maintain a current UNTWISE Autism Endorsement.

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Autism Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Autism Premium for Supported Employment Autism 1 B must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 1 B is issued. A premium that is agreed on for Supported Employment Autism Benchmark 6 or for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C is noted on the service authorization in the special instructions section. The service authorization for the premium must be issued at the time that the benchmark (1B Supportive Employment, 6 Closure, and/or C Bundled Job Placement, as applicable) is reached.

The referral and/or service authorization identifies the categories in which the customer may need intervention to remove barriers related to the customer's diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder.

The provider's staff member:

  • ensures that all deliverables for the base service are provided; and
  • provides interventions, as needed, to remove any barriers related to the customer's autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder.

The staff member with the UNTWISE Autism Endorsement assigned to work with the customer must:

  • provide the base service, as defined in the VR Standards for Providers (VR-SFP) manual;
  • remain on-site providing all necessary interventions, as identified on the referral form and/or service authorization;
  • identify interventions and compensatory techniques to address and/or remove the barriers directly related to the customer's diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder; and
  • complete and sign DARS1882, Autism Service Premium Report.

The DARS1882, Autism Service Premium Report, must be submitted each time a deliverable is submitted (such as a report on the achievement of Job Placement benchmarks A, B, and C) or a report on Job Skills training.

20.3.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The services provider is eligible for an Autism Premium when:

  • the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual); and
  • the staff member of an UNTWISE autism–endorsed provider documents in descriptive terms all information required on DARS1882, Autism Service Premium Report, and on the service authorization.

VRS does not pay for fees related to excused or unexcused absences or holidays.

The premium is paid after:

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20.4 Criminal Background Premium

20.4.1 Service Description

For a customer's case to be eligible for the Criminal Background Premium, VR must have documentation of criminal history in the customer's case file, such as:

  • a name-based criminal background check;
  • the customer's conditions of probation or parole; or
  • the customer's fingerprint record indicating that the customer has a:
  • felony conviction;
  • guilty plea with deferred adjudication for a felony; or
  • no-contest plea with deferred adjudication for a felony.

The VR counselor determines whether the type of felony interferes with the customer's ability to obtain competitive integrated employment to meet the goals listed on the customer's individualized plan for employment (IPE), based on consideration of such factors as the:

  • type of felony and how long ago the felony was committed;
  • customer's job history;
  • customer's qualifications; and
  • local job market conditions.

A provider is not automatically issued a service authorization for the Criminal Background Premium because a customer has a felony.

An employment service provider is eligible for the Criminal Background Premium when:

The premium is paid only once, at the conclusion and achievement of Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

To be eligible for payment of the premium, the employment obtained by the customer must meet all the criteria outlined in DARS1845B, Bundled Job Placement Services Plan Part B and Status Report, or in DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan Part 1 - Plan and Benchmark Report.

20.4.2 Process and Procedures

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Criminal Background Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Criminal Background Premium must be received with the last benchmark for Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment services.

The staff member working with the customer must provide the Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment service as required in the VR-SFP manual.

The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for either Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment, including the section for the Criminal Background Premium. The Criminal Background Premium is paid only after all required outcomes for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6 deliverables have been achieved and approved by the VR counselor.

20.4.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The direct services provider is eligible for the Criminal Background Premium when the customer achieves all outcomes required for either Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6, as outlined in the corresponding chapters of the VR-SFP manual.

The service provider is eligible for the Criminal Background Premium when the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual.

Payment for the Criminal Background Premium is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • report for the base service, with the Criminal Background section completed; and
  • invoice.

20.4.4 Fee

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.5 Deaf Service Premium

20.5.1 Service Description

A service provider is eligible for the Deaf Service Premium when:

  • the customer's primary mode of communication is a form of sign language (such as American Sign Language, Manually Coded English, Signed Exact English, and/or Pidgin Signed English); and
  • services are delivered by a staff member qualified to communicate in the customer's primary mode.

To qualify for this premium, the staff member providing direct services must show proof of proficiency in sign language by providing documentation of certification from the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI), certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) rating of intermediate plus.

The Deaf Service Premium may be available for the services covered in:

For interviews and meetings with an employer, the customer may request an interpreter who is not providing the base service by contacting the customer's VR counselor.

20.5.2 Process and Procedures

A contracted provider's staff member who provides direct service to the customer must:

  • meet the staff qualifications identified for the base service; and
  • be certified by the BEI or the RID, or hold an SLPI rating of intermediate plus.

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Deaf Service Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization must be received at the time that base services are authorized for all services.

Exceptions:

  • Supported Employment Deaf 1B — The service authorization must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 1B is issued.
  • Deaf Service Premium for Supported Employment Deaf Benchmark 6 — The service authorization must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 6 or Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C is issued.
  • Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C — The service authorization must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 6 or Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C is issued.

The provider's staff member:

  • ensures that all outcomes are achieved for the base service; and
  • provides interpretation in the customer's primary mode of communication, such as American Sign Language, Manually Coded English, Signed Exact English and/or Pidgin Signed English.

The staff member interpreting for the customer:

  • provides the base service as defined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual; and
  • remains on-site providing all interpretation necessary for the customer to participate in the base service.

The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for the base service, including the section for the Deaf Service Premium.

20.5.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The services provider is eligible for the Deaf Service Premium when:

  • the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual; and
  • the provider's staff member who provides the interpretation attaches current evidence of the staff member's proficiency in sign language.

VRS does not pay fees related to excused or unexcused absences or holidays.

The Deaf Service Premium is paid when the VR counselor:

  • verifies that interpreting was provided to the customer; and
  • approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:
    • report for the base service, with the Deaf Service Premium section completed; and
    • invoice.

20.5.4 Fees

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.6 Travel Premium

20.6.1 Service Description

The Travel Premium may be available to providers whose customers:

  • who has no alternative option is available to address needs outlined in their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) or independent living plan (ILP) that is within a reasonable distance;
  • require contracted services to achieve the long-term goal of competitive integrated employment or the independent living goals established under the Independent Living for Older Individuals Who Are Blind program; and
  • require at least two hours of service, not including travel time.

The Travel Premium is authorized when:

  • no contracted provider within a 50-mile radius of the customer's location is available to provide the services outlined in the customer's IPE or ILP; or
  • the contracted provider staff members who are available within the 50-mile radius do not meet the qualifications for providing the services.

The Travel Premium must be authorized in advance—before the travel occurs—using a service authorization. VR does not pay a travel premium to transport customers.

The Travel Premium is based on the distance traveled between:

  • the city or town listed as the provider's physical location on the provider's contract; and
  • the city or town where the customer lives or the site of the training session or visit.

The Travel Premium is based on direct, round-trip travel only. Travel within the customer's community is not allowed. When a provider sees more than one customer, the provider is paid for the direct, round trip to the furthest city or town.

The distance traveled is determined using the route with the lowest mileage according to MapQuest.

The Travel Premium may be available for the services discussed in:

20.6.2 Process and Procedures

The provider receives two service authorizations—one that approves the services to be provided and the other that approves the Travel Premium. The service authorization for the Travel Premium includes the anticipated distance and number of trips.

The provider schedules the services with the customer.

The provider travels from the contractor's physical location identified in the contract to the city or town where the customer lives (or other site of the training session or visit).

The provider provides the service. The length of time needed to provide the service must be a minimum of two hours, not including travel time. Travel within the customer's city or town is not counted when determining the amount of the Travel Premium.

When multiple customers are seen during the trip and the location of one or more customers requires the provider to travel more than 50 miles from the first stop, the mileage used to determine the Travel Premium for the trip is the mileage to the furthest customer's city or town or other site of the training session or visit.

Stops made during the round trip are not included when calculating the Travel Premium.

The provider uses MapQuest's Route Planner to determine the shortest round trip from the contractor's physical location identified on the contract to the city or town where the customer lives (or other site of the training or visit). Only direct mileage is used to calculate the Travel Premium.

For example:

  • 123 provider headquarters, Lubbock, Texas; to
  • 456 Main Street Snyder, Texas; for
  • Mileage calculates to 171 miles using MapQuest Route Finder with the shortest distance and round-trip options.

To receive a Travel Premium, the provider must submit DARS3433, Travel Premium Report.

20.6.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The services provider is eligible for the Travel Premium when:

  • the customer receives at least two hours of services, excluding travel time;
  • there is no provider for the service within a 50-mile radius of the customer's city or town, or the staff of the providers within the 50-mile radius do not meet the qualifications necessary to provide the service; and
  • all information required on DARS3433, Travel Premium Report, is provided.

The information required on DARS3433, Travel Premium Report, includes the:

  • case ID for all customers served during the round trip;
  • date of the training;
  • city or town where the contractor is located, as listed in the contract (departure city);
  • city/town of each customer served on the round trip;
  • city or town used for the midpoint of the round trip;
  • shortest round-trip mileage, according to MapQuest;
  • total mileage for the round trip, according to MapQuest;
  • number of round trips for which the premium is being claimed;
  • name of the customer for whom an invoice will be submitted and a Travel Premium claimed; and
  • name of the customer for whom an invoice will not be submitted and for whom a Travel Premium will not be claimed.

Travel Premiums are not paid if a customer does not receive a minimum of two hours of service delivery, excluding travel time—unless the provider requests a modification by submitting a DARS3472, Contracted Service Modification Request, and the modification is approved by the VR director.

If multiple customers are served during a round trip, the provider may be eligible to receive a Travel Premium for each customer who received at least two hours of service.

Payment for the Travel Premium is made when the VR counselor verifies the travel and approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

20.6.4 Fee

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.7 Professional Placement Premium

20.7.1 Service Description

A provider receives a Professional Placement Premium when the customer finds a job that meets all the criteria outlined in DARS1845B, Bundled Job Placement Services Plan Part B and Status Report, or DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan Part 1 - Plan and Benchmark Report.

In addition to meeting the requirements in DARS1845B or DARS1613B, the position obtained must require at least a bachelor's degree, and the requirement must be stated in the job description or job posting.

The Professional Placement Premium is paid only once, after achievement of the Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.7.2 Process and Procedures

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Professional Placement Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Professional Placement Premiums agreed upon for Supported Employment and Job Placement is noted on each benchmark service authorization in the special instructions section.

A service authorization for a premium must be issued when the customer has met the requirements of Supported Employment Benchmark 6: VR Closure, as applicable, and Bundled Job Placement Closure Benchmark C.

The staff member working with the customer must provide the Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment service as defined in the VR-SFP manual.

The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for either Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment, including the section for the Professional Placement Premium. The Professional Placement Premium is paid only after all outcomes have been achieved and approved by the VR counselor for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.7.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The direct services provider is eligible for the Professional Placement Premium when the customer achieves all deliverables required for either Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6, as outlined in the corresponding chapters of the VR-SFP manual.

Proof that a degree is required for the position obtained by the customer must be submitted with the invoice.

The services provider is eligible for the Professional Placement Premium when:

  • the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual; and
  • proof that a bachelor's degree or higher was required for the position obtained by the customer is demonstrated by either a copy of the job posting or the customer's job description.

The Professional Placement Premium is paid when the VR counselor verifies that the position required a bachelor's degree or higher and approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • report for the base service, with the Professional Placement section completed; and
  • invoice.

20.7.4 Fee

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.8 Wage Premium

20.8.1 Service Description

For a customer's case to be eligible for a Wage Premium, a customer must:

Proof of the customer's earnings and average hours worked per week must be submitted with the invoice; for example, an itemized pay stub may be used to verify the earning and hours.

The Wage Premium is paid only once, after achievement and completion of Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.8.2 Process and Procedures

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Wage Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Wage Premium that is agreed upon for Supported Employment and Job Placement is noted on each benchmark service authorization in the special instructions section. A premium service authorization must be issued when the Supported Employment Benchmark 6 Closure or Bundled Job Placement Closure are issued, as applicable. The service authorization for Wage Premium must be received before services for Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment Benchmark 2 begin.

The staff member working with the customer must provide the Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment service as defined in the VR-SFP manual. The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for either Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment, including the section for the Wage Premium.

The Wage Premium is paid only after all outcomes have been achieved and approved by the VR counselor for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.8.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The direct services provider is eligible for the Wage Premium when the customer achieves all deliverables required for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6, as outlined in the corresponding chapters of the VR-SFP manual.

Proof of the customer's earnings and average hours worked per week must be:

  • documented in a format such as an itemized pay stub; and
  • submitted with the invoice.

The services provider is eligible for a Wage Premium when the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer:

  • has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual;
  • earns over $16 per hour (gross); and
  • works an average of 20 hours per week, as verified by documentation such as an itemized pay stub.

Payment for the Wage Premium is made when the VR counselor:

  • verifies that the customer earns over $16 gross per hour and works 20 or more hours per week; and
  • approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:
  • report for the base service, with the Wage Premium section completed; and
  • invoice.

20.8.4 Fee

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.9 Fee Chart

A provider cannot collect money from a VR customer or the customer's family for any service-related charge that exceeds VR's allowable service fees. If VR and another resource are paying for a service for a customer, the total payment must not exceed the fee specified in the standards.

Autism Premium

Autism Premium

Unit Rate

Non-Bundled Employment Data Sheet, Application and Resume Training

$35.00

Non-Bundled Interview Training

$28.00

Bundled Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$450.00

Bundled Job Placement Enhanced) Benchmark C

$600.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 1B

$225.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 1B (prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment has been completed)

$135.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$1500.00

Job Skills Training (Individual)

$7.50 per hour

Job Skills Training (Group)

$3.50 per hour

Criminal Background Premium

Criminal Background Premium

Unit Rate

Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$500.00

Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$500.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$500.00

Deaf Service Premium

Deaf Service Premium

Unit Rate

Non-Bundled Employment Data Sheet, Application and Résumé Training

$177.00

Non-Bundled Interview Training

$142.00

Bundled Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$1,065.00

Bundled Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$1,420.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 1B

$533.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$3,550.00

Job Skills Training (Individual)

$17.75 per hour

Job Skills Training (Group)

$ 8.50 per hour

VAT- Job Search Training

$390.00

VAT-Disability Disclosure

$390.00

VAT-Entering the World of Work

$195.00

VAT-Explore the You in Work

$195.00

VAT-Money Smart

$585.00

VAT-Public Transportation Training (Group)

$ 8.50 per hour

VAT-Public Transportation Training (Individual)

$17.75 per hour

VAT-Soft Skills for Work Success

$292.50

VAT-Soft Skills to Pay the Bills---Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success

$390.00

The Travel Service Premium is available for the following services:

  • Assistive Technology for Sighted-Related Disabilities Services
  • Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind
  • Bundled Job Placement Services
  • Combined Situational Assessments and Work Samples Service
  • Diabetes Self-Management Services
  • Environmental Work Assessments
  • Non-Bundled Job Placement Services
  • Orientation and Mobility Services
  • Personal Social Adjustment Training Services
  • Supported Employment Services
  • Vocational Adjustment Training Services
  • Vocational Assessments
  • Work Experience Services
Travel Service Premium

Travel Service Premium

Unit Rate

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 51–100 miles

$20.39

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 101-150 miles

$33.89

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 151-200 miles

$47.39

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 201-250 miles

$67.65

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 251-300 miles

$82.65

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 301-350 miles

$107.42

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 351-400 miles

$123.92

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 401-450 miles

$157.44

Distance of Round Trip Travel: 451-500 miles

$176.00

Professional Placement Premium

Professional Placement Premium

Unit Rate

Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$500.00

Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$500.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$500.00

Wage Premium

Wage Premium

Unit Rate

Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$500.00

Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$500.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$500.00

 

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