1. Purpose of DVR & Roles 2. Applying for DVR 3. Eligibility & DVR Wait List (OOS) 4. Plan for Employment (IPE) 5. DVR Services 6. Fiscal/Purchasing 7. Closing a DVR Case 8. Consumer Rights & Legal Info 9. Service Providers & Projects 10. Technical & General Info 11. Site Map 12. Chronological Policy Changes

Eligibility & DVR Waiting List (OOS)



Policy

Assessment for Determination of Eligibility

To be eligible for VR services, a consumer must:

It is presumed the consumer can benefit in terms of an employment outcome. Therefore, trial work experiences and extended evaluation are not used by DVR for the purpose of determining an individual's initial eligibility for VR services.*

A consumer who is determined eligible for disability benefits under Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act (SSI or SSDI) is presumed to be eligible for VR services provided that the consumer intends to achieve an employment outcome. Completion of the application process for VR services is sufficient evidence of the individual's intent to achieve an employment outcome.

The assessment for determination of eligibility shall be based on a review of existing data, including VR Counselor observations, to the maximum extent possible. Information may be obtained, as necessary, from other programs and providers, such as educational institutions,

Social Security Administration, physicians, hospitals and other information provided by the consumer or his/her family. The data used must describe the current functioning of the consumer.

(*Indicates Wisconsin-Imposed Requirements.) If existing data does not describe the current functioning of the individual or is unavailable, insufficient or inappropriate, the DVR shall base its determination of eligibility on an assessment of additional data resulting from the provision of VR services, including assistive technology devices/services and temporary work.

The determination of eligibility shall be made as soon as possible, but the time may not exceed 60 days after the consumer has submitted an application for VR services. However, the consumer and VR Counselor can agree on a specific extension of time due to exceptional and unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the consumer or DVR.

A written statement of eligibility must be included in the DVR case record. Consumers who are determined not to be eligible for VR services shall be informed of the decision in writing, and be provided with the reasons for the determination of ineligibility, notification of their appeal rights and information about the Client Assistance Program (CAP).

Ineligibility determinations due to not requiring DVR services must be made by a VR Counselor employed by DVR.

Order of Selection (OOS)

At any time DVR resources are not sufficient to serve all eligible consumers, an order of selection for services shall be implemented giving first priority (category 1) to consumers with the most significant disabilities. Second priority (category 2) shall be given to consumers with significant disabilities, and third priority (category 3) to all other eligible individuals. Eligible consumers will be served as resources allow.

A consumer has a most significant disability if he/she has a severe mental or physical impairment that seriously limits four or more functional capacities and requires multiple services over an extended period of time. A consumer has a significant disability if he/she has a severe mental or physical impairment that seriously limits one to three functional capacities and requires multiple services over an extended period of time. An allowed SSDI beneficiary or SSI recipient is presumed to be, at least, an individual with a significant disability. Other eligible individual is an individual with a severe mental or physical impairment that would not seriously limit a functional capacity or would not require multiple services over an extended period of time.

After a consumer is found eligible for VR services, an Order of Selection determination is completed. An assessment of existing and/or additional data, to the extent needed to make this determination, may be conducted. The VR Counselor, jointly with each consumer, shall evaluate his/her functional limitations and anticipated scope of services in the Order of Selection determination. This policy does not affect a consumer who has begun to receive services under an approved plan for employment prior to the implementation date of the Order of Selection or those who are in need of post-employment services. Each consumer must be notified in writing, supplemented as necessary by other appropriate modes of communication consistent with the informed choice of the individual, of the Order of Selection determination. Consumers in a closed category are offered referral services and the option to be placed on a waiting list until the consumer is activated for VR services. Each consumer in a closed category will be contacted annually to determine if additional information is available.

Related Information

Forms/Publications

Rehabilitation Act/Federal Regulations Comparison

Federal Regulations

Sec. 361.42 Assessment for determining eligibility and priority for services.

In order to determine whether an individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services and the individual's priority under an order of selection for services (if the State is operating under an order of selection), the designated State unit must conduct an

assessment for determining eligibility and priority for services. The assessment must be conducted in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with the individual's needs and informed choice, and in

accordance with the following provisions:

(a) Eligibility requirements.

(1) Basic requirements. The designated State unit's determination of an applicant's eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services must be based only on the following requirements:

(i) A determination by qualified personnel that the applicant has a physical or mental impairment.

(ii) A determination by qualified personnel that the applicant's physical or mental impairment constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment for the applicant.

(iii) A determination by a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor employed by the designated State unit that the applicant requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment consistent with the applicant's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

(iv) A presumption, in accordance with paragraph (a)(2) of this section, that the applicant can benefit in terms of an employment outcome from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.

(2) Presumption of benefit. The designated State unit must presume that an applicant who meets the eligibility requirements in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section can benefit in terms of an employment outcome unless it demonstrates, based on clear and

convincing evidence, that the applicant is incapable of benefiting in terms of an employment outcome from vocational rehabilitation services

due to the severity of the applicant's disability.

(3) Presumption of eligibility for Social Security recipients and beneficiaries.

(i) Any applicant who has been determined eligible for Social Security benefits under Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act is--

(A) Presumed eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section; and

(B) Considered an individual with a significant disability as defined in Sec. 361.5(b)(31).

(ii) If an applicant for vocational rehabilitation services asserts that he or she is eligible for Social Security benefits under Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act (and, therefore, is presumed

eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under paragraph (a)(3)(i)(A) of this section), but is unable to provide appropriate evidence, such as an award letter, to support that assertion, the State unit must verify the applicant's eligibility under Title II or Title

XVI of the Social Security Act by contacting the Social Security Administration. This verification must be made within a reasonable period of time that enables the State unit to determine the applicant's

eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services within 60 days of the individual submitting an application for services in accordance with Sec. 361.41(b)(2).

(4) Achievement of an employment outcome. Any eligible individual, including an individual whose eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services is based on the individual being eligible for Social Security benefits under Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act, must intend to achieve an employment outcome that is consistent with the

applicant's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

(i) The State unit is responsible for informing individuals, through its application process for vocational rehabilitation services, that individuals who receive services under the program must intend to

achieve an employment outcome.

(ii) The applicant's completion of the application process for vocational rehabilitation services is sufficient evidence of the individual's intent to achieve an employment outcome, and no additional

demonstration on the part of the applicant is required for purposes of satisfying paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(5) Interpretation. Nothing in this section, including paragraph (a)(3)(i), is to be construed to create an entitlement to any vocational rehabilitation service.

(b) Interim determination of eligibility.

(1) The designated State unit may initiate the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for an applicant on the basis of an interim determination of eligibility prior to the 60-day period described in Sec. 361.41(b)(2).

(2) If a State chooses to make interim determinations of eligibility, the designated State unit must--

(i) Establish criteria and conditions for making those determinations;

(ii) Develop and implement procedures for making the determinations; and

(iii) Determine the scope of services that may be provided pending the final determination of eligibility.

(3) If a State elects to use an interim eligibility determination, the designated State unit must make a final determination of eligibility within 60 days of the individual submitting an application for services in accordance with Sec. 361.41(b)(2).

(c) Prohibited factors.

(1) The State plan must assure that the State unit will not impose, as part of determining eligibility under this section, a duration of residence requirement that excludes from services any applicant who is present in the State.

(2) In making a determination of eligibility under this section,

the designated State unit also must ensure that--

(i) No applicant or group of applicants is excluded or found ineligible solely on the basis of the type of disability; and

(ii) The eligibility requirements are applied without regard to the--

(A) Age, gender, race, color, or national origin of the applicant;

(B) Type of expected employment outcome;

(C) Source of referral for vocational rehabilitation services; and

(D) Particular service needs or anticipated cost of services required by an applicant or the income level of an applicant or applicant's family.

(d) Review and assessment of data for eligibility determination. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, the designated State unit--

(1) Must base its determination of each of the basic eligibility requirements in paragraph (a) of this section on--

(i) A review and assessment of existing data, including counselor observations, education records, information provided by the individual or the individual's family, particularly information used by education officials, and determinations made by officials of other agencies; and

(ii) To the extent existing data do not describe the current functioning of the individual or are unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate to make an eligibility determination, an assessment of additional data resulting from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, including trial work experiences, assistive technology devices and services, personal assistance services, and any other support services that are necessary to determine whether an individual is eligible; and

(2) Must base its presumption under paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section that an applicant who has been determined eligible for Social Security benefits under Title II or Title XVI of the Social Security Act satisfies each of the basic eligibility requirements in paragraph

(a) of this section on determinations made by the Social Security Administration.

(e) Trial work experiences for individuals with significant disabilities.

(1) Prior to any determination that an individual with a disability is incapable of benefiting from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome because of the severity of that individual's disability, the designated State unit must conduct an

exploration of the individual's abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in realistic work situations to determine whether or not there is clear and convincing evidence to support such a determination.

(2)(i) The designated State unit must develop a written plan to assess periodically the individual's abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in work situations through the use of trial work experiences, which must be provided in the most integrated setting

possible, consistent with the informed choice and rehabilitation needs of the individual.

(ii) Trial work experiences include supported employment, on-the-job training, and other experiences using realistic work settings.

(iii) Trial work experiences must be of sufficient variety and over a sufficient period of time for the designated State unit to determine that--

(A) There is sufficient evidence to conclude that the individual

can benefit from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services in

terms of an employment outcome; or

(B) There is clear and convincing evidence that the individual is incapable of benefiting from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome due to the severity of the individual's

disability.

(iv) The designated State unit 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.

(f) Extended evaluation for certain individuals with significant disabilities.

(1) Under limited circumstances if an individual cannot take advantage of trial work experiences or if options for trial work experiences have been exhausted before the State unit is able to make

the determinations described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section, the designated State unit must conduct an extended evaluation to make

these determinations.

(2) During the extended evaluation period, vocational rehabilitation services must be provided in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with the informed choice and rehabilitation needs of the individual.

(3) During the extended evaluation period, the designated State unit must develop a written plan for providing services necessary to make a determination under paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section.

(4) During the extended evaluation period, the designated State unit provides only those services that are necessary to make the determinations described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section and

terminates extended evaluation services when the State unit is able to make the determinations.

(g) Data for determination of priority for services under an order of selection. If the designated State unit is operating under an order of selection for services, as provided in Sec. 361.36, the State unit

must base its priority assignments on--

(1) A review of the data that was developed under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section to make the eligibility determination; and

(2) An assessment of additional data, to the extent necessary.

Sec. 361.43 Procedures for ineligibility determination.

If the State unit determines that an applicant is ineligible for vocational rehabilitation services or determines that an individual receiving services under an individualized plan for employment is no longer eligible for services, the State unit must--

(a) Make the determination only after providing an opportunity for full consultation with the individual or, as appropriate, with the individual's representative;

(b) Inform the individual in writing, supplemented as necessary by other appropriate modes of communication consistent with the informed choice of the individual, of the ineligibility determination, including the reasons for that determination, the requirements under this section, and the means by which the individual may express and seek remedy for any dissatisfaction, including the procedures for review of State unit personnel determinations in accordance with Sec. 361.57;

(c) Provide the individual with a description of services available from a client assistance program established under 34 CFR part 370 and

information on how to contact that program;

(d) Refer the individual to other training or employment-related programs that are part of the One-Stop service delivery system under the Workforce Investment Act; and

(e) Review within 12 months and annually thereafter if requested by the individual or, if appropriate, by the individual's representative any ineligibility determination that is based on a finding that the individual is incapable of achieving an employment outcome. This review need not be conducted in situations in which the individual has refused it, the individual is no longer present in the State, the individual's whereabouts are unknown, or the individual's medical condition is rapidly progressive or terminal.

Sec. 361.44 Closure without eligibility determination.

The designated State unit may not close an applicant's record of services prior to making an eligibility determination unless the applicant declines to participate in, or is unavailable to complete, an

assessment for determining eligibility and priority for services, and the State unit has made a reasonable number of attempts to contact the applicant or, if appropriate, the applicant's representative to encourage the applicant's participation.

Sec. 361.36 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services.

(a) General provisions.

(1) The designated State unit either must be able to provide the full range of services listed in section 103(a) of the Act and Sec. 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals or, in the event that vocational rehabilitation services cannot be provided to all

eligible individuals in the State who apply for the services, include in the State plan the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services.

(2) The ability of the designated State unit to provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals must be supported by a determination that satisfies the requirements of

paragraph (b) or (c) of this section and a determination that, on the basis of the designated State unit's projected fiscal and personnel resources and its assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with significant disabilities within the State, it can--

(i) Continue to provide services to all individuals currently receiving services;

(ii) Provide assessment services to all individuals expected to apply for services in the next fiscal year;

(iii) Provide services to all individuals who are expected to be determined eligible in the next fiscal year; and

(iv) Meet all program requirements.

(3) If the designated State unit is unable to provide the full range vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals in the State who apply for the services, the State plan must--

(i) Show the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;

(ii) Provide a justification for the order of selection;

(iii) Identify service and outcome goals and the time within which the goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order, as required under Sec. 361.29(c)(5); and

(iv) Assure that--

(A) In accordance with criteria established by the State for the order of selection, individuals with the most significant disabilities will be selected first for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services; and

(B) Individuals who do not meet the order of selection criteria will have access to services provided through the information and referral system established under Sec. 361.37.

(b) Basis for assurance that services can be provided to all eligible individuals.

(1) For a designated State unit that determined, for the current fiscal year and the preceding fiscal year, that it is able to provide the full range of services, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals, the State unit, during the current fiscal and preceding fiscal year, must have in fact--

(i) Provided assessment services to all applicants and the full range of services, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals;

(ii) Made referral forms widely available throughout the State;

(iii) Conducted outreach efforts to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation system; and

(iv) Not delayed, through waiting lists or other means, determinations of eligibility, the development of individualized plans for employment for individuals determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, or the provision of services for eligible

individuals for whom individualized plans for employment have been developed.

(2) For a designated State unit that was unable to provide the full range of services to all eligible individuals during the current or preceding fiscal year or that has not met the requirements in paragraph

(b)(1) of this section, the determination that the designated State unit is able to provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services to all eligible individuals in the next fiscal year must be based on--

(i) Circumstances that have changed that will allow the designated State unit to meet the requirements of paragraph (a)(2) of this section in the next fiscal year, including--

(A) An estimate of the number of and projected costs of serving, in the next fiscal year, individuals with existing individualized plans for employment;

(B) The projected number of individuals with disabilities who will apply for services and will be determined eligible in the next fiscal year and the projected costs of serving those individuals;

(C) The projected costs of administering the program in the next fiscal year, including, but not limited to, costs of staff salaries and benefits, outreach activities, and required statewide studies; and

(D) The projected revenues and projected number of qualified personnel for the program in the next fiscal year;

(ii) Comparable data, as relevant, for the current or preceding fiscal year, or for both years, of the costs listed in paragraphs (b)(2)(i)(A) through (C) of this section and the resources identified in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(D) of this section and an explanation of any

projected increases or decreases in these costs and resources; and

(iii) A determination that the projected revenues and the projected number of qualified personnel for the program in the next fiscal year are adequate to cover the costs identified in paragraphs (b)(2)(i)(A)

through (C) of this section to ensure the provision of the full range of services, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals.

(c) Determining need for establishing and implementing an order of selection.

(1) The designated State unit must determine, prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, whether to establish and implement an order of selection.

(2) If the designated State unit determines that it does not need to establish an order of selection, it must reevaluate this determination whenever changed circumstances during the course of a

fiscal year, such as a decrease in its fiscal or personnel resources or an increase in its program costs, indicate that it may no longer be able to provide the full range of services, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals, as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(3) If a DSU establishes an order of selection, but determines that it does not need to implement that order at the beginning of the fiscal year, it must continue to meet the requirements of paragraph (a)(2) of this section, or it must implement the order of selection by closing one or more priority categories.

(d) Establishing an order of selection.

(1) Basis for order of selection. An order of selection must be based on a refinement of the three criteria in the definition of 'individual with a significant disability' in section 7(21)(A) of the

Act and Sec. 361.5(b)(31).

(2) Factors that cannot be used in determining order of selection of eligible individuals. An order of selection may not be based on any other factors, including--

(i) Any duration of residency requirement, provided the individual is present in the State;

(ii) Type of disability;

(iii) Age, gender, race, color, or national origin;

(iv) Source of referral;

(v) Type of expected employment outcome;

(vi) The need for specific services or anticipated cost of services required by an individual; or

(vii) The income level of an individual or an individual's family.

(e) Administrative requirements. In administering the order of selection, the designated State unit must- (1) Implement the order of selection on a statewide basis;

(2) Notify all eligible individuals of the priority categories in a State's order of selection, their assignment to a particular category, and their right to appeal their category assignment;

(3) Continue to provide all needed services to any eligible individual who has begun to receive services under an individualized plan for employment prior to the effective date of the order of selection, irrespective of the severity of the individual's disability; and

(4) Ensure that its funding arrangements for providing services under the State plan, including third-party arrangements and awards under the establishment authority, are consistent with the order of selection. If any funding arrangements are inconsistent with the order of selection, the designated State unit must renegotiate these funding

arrangements so that they are consistent with the order of selection.

(f) State Rehabilitation Council. The designated State unit must consult with the State Rehabilitation Council, if the State unit has a Council, regarding the--

(1) Need to establish an order of selection, including any reevaluation of the need under paragraph (c)(2) of this section;

(2) Priority categories of the particular order of selection;

(3) Criteria for determining individuals with the most significant disabilities; and

(4) Administration of the order of selection.

Rehabilitation Act

Sec. 102. Eligibility and Individualized Plan for Employment

(a) Eligibility

(1) Criterion for eligibility

An individual is eligible for assistance under this title if the individual--

(A) is an individual with a disability under section 7(20)(A); and

(B) requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.

(2) Presumption of benefit

(A) Demonstration

For purposes of this section, an individual shall be presumed to be an individual that can benefit in terms of an employment outcome from vocational rehabilitation services under section 7(20)(A), unless the designated State unit involved can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that such individual is incapable of benefiting in terms of an employment outcome from vocational rehabilitation services due to the severity of the disability of the individual.

(B) Methods

In making the demonstration required under subparagraph (A), the designated State unit shall explore the individual's abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in work situations, through the use of trial work experiences, as described in section 7(2)(D), with appropriate supports provided through the designated State unit, except under limited circumstances when an individual can not take advantage of such experiences. Such experiences shall be of sufficient variety and over a sufficient period of time to determine the eligibility of the individual or to determine the existence of clear and convincing evidence that the individual is incapable of benefiting in terms of an employment outcome from vocational rehabilitation services due to the severity of the disability of the individual.

(3) Presumption of eligibility

(A) In general

For purposes of this section, an individual who has a disability or is blind as determined pursuant to title II or title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et seq. and 1381 et seq.) shall be--

(i) considered to be an individual with a significant disability under section 7(21)(A); and

(ii) presumed to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under this title (provided that the individual intends to achieve an employment outcome consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual) unless the designated State unit involved can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that such individual is incapable of benefiting in terms of an employment outcome from vocational rehabilitation services due to the severity of the disability of the individual in accordance with paragraph (2).

(B) Construction

Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to create an entitlement to any vocational rehabilitation service.

(4) Use of existing information

(A) In general

To the maximum extent appropriate and consistent with the requirements of this part, for purposes of determining the eligibility of an individual for vocational rehabilitation services under this title and developing the individualized plan for employment described in subsection (b) for the individual, the designated State unit shall use information that is existing and current (as of the date of the determination of eligibility or of the development of the individualized plan for employment), including information available from other programs and providers, particularly information used by education officials and the Social Security Administration, information provided by the individual and the family of the individual, and information obtained under the assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs.

(B) Determinations by officials of other agencies

Determinations made by officials of other agencies, particularly education officials described in section 101(a)(11)(D), regarding whether an individual satisfies 1 or more factors relating to whether an individual is an individual with a disability under section 7(20)(A) or an individual with a significant disability under section 7(21)(A) shall be used, to the extent appropriate and consistent with the requirements of this part, in assisting the designated State unit in making such determinations.

(C) Basis

The determination of eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services shall be based on--

(i) the review of existing data described in section 7(2)(A)(i); and

(ii) to the extent that such data is unavailable or insufficient for determining eligibility, the provision of assessment activities described in section 7(2)(A)(ii).

(5) Determination of ineligibility

If an individual who applies for services under this title is determined, based on the review of existing data and, to the extent necessary, the assessment activities described in section 7(2)(A)(ii), not to be eligible for the services, or if an eligible individual receiving services under an individualized plan for employment is determined to be no longer eligible for the services--

(A) the ineligibility determination involved shall be made only after providing an opportunity for full consultation with the individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative;

(B) the individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative, shall be informed in writing (supplemented as necessary by other appropriate modes of communication consistent with the informed choice of the individual) of the ineligibility determination, including--

(i) the reasons for the determination; and

(ii) a description of the means by which the individual may express, and seek a remedy for, any dissatisfaction with the determination, including the procedures for review by an impartial hearing officer under subsection (c);

(C) the individual shall be provided with a description of services available from the client assistance program under section 112 and information on how to contact that program; and

(D) any ineligibility determination that is based on a finding that the individual is incapable of benefiting in terms of an employment outcome shall be reviewed--

(i) within 12 months; and

(ii) thereafter, if such a review is requested by the individual or, if appropriate, by the individual's representative.

(6) Timeframe for making an eligibility determination

The designated State unit shall determine whether an individual is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under this title within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 60 days, after the individual has submitted an application for the services unless--

(A) exceptional and unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the designated State unit preclude making an eligibility determination within 60 days and the designated State unit and the individual agree to a specific extension of time; or

(B) the designated State unit is exploring an individual's abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in work situations under paragraph (2)(B).

Sec. 101(a)

(5) Order of selection for vocational rehabilitation services

In the event that vocational rehabilitation services cannot be provided to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the State who apply for the services, the State plan shall--

(A) show the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;

(B) provide the justification for the order of selection;

(C) include an assurance that, in accordance with criteria established by the State for the order of selection, individuals with the most significant disabilities will be selected first for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services; and

(D) provide that eligible individuals, who do not meet the order of selection criteria, shall have access to services provided through the information and referral system implemented under paragraph (20).

Frequently Asked Questions

Activating the headings using enter from the keyboard expands the answer text underneath the question, so it can be read.

Presumptive Eligibility Questions

1. Presumed Eligibility ...

[Entire Question] - I have two individuals who recently applied and I am trying to determine if they are eligible for services. From a SS standpoint, they are no longer considered to have a disability but they are appealing their decisions. During the appeal they still get a check and I am wondering if this makes them automatically eligible?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes they are. The Rehabilitation Act says anyone who is an SSI or SSDI "recipient" at the time they apply for services is presumptively eligible and is presumed to be significantly disabled. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

6. Does the Rehabilitation Act allow us to prioritize firefighters injured on the job for services?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Not any longer. Public safety officers must be treated like everybody else relative to the order of selection waiting list. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

8. A consumer with a letter from SS stating "found to be disabled" but does not qualify for SSA automatically eligible?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. The actual language in the federal regulations is "Presumption of eligibility for Social Security recipients and beneficiaries." (Reviewed: 06/2014)

9. Disability Benefits and Eligibility ...

[Entire Question] - I met with a man the other day who receives blind disability benefits. He also states that he is working full time, has been for the last 6 years, and does not want help with employment. He states that he is coming to DVR for help with new hearing aids and glasses because he got them through us previously. He wears ear plugs while working and the glasses he wants are the tinted ones that will darken according to light intensity. My question is, due to the fact that he receives benefits he is automatically eligible in at least Category 2. However, the answer to the next four items is NO:

1. Does this person's disability impair their ability to obtain, maintain or advance in employment
2. Does this person require DVR services in order to do #1
3. Will 2 or more primary services be needed
4. Will the IPE take 6 months or longer

So, is he still automatically eligible? And if so, what happens when I can't write an IPE with him because he does not need/require the items he wants for maintaining his job?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, if the individual is a recipient of SSDI benefits for reasons of disability, then he is eligible for services. The next question, is he in category 1 or 2. To resolve that, you need to follow the functional assessment protocol.

Are there things which he cannot do which most employed people must do to retain employment?

That will give you a list of severe functional limitations which will place him in either category 1 or 2 (2 is the minimum).

The question of number of services required and extended period of time is not relevant because he is significantly disabled whether in category 1 or 2.

2 = significantly disabled 1 = most significantly disabled.

So, yes he is eligible. Yes, he is severely disabled. You still need to determine whether he is in category 1 or 2.

Regarding your question about what if you can't write an IPE, that is a later consideration. It is possible that you may not be able to identify an appropriate employment outcome or to write an IPE. But that would not affect the eligibility and order of selection determinations which need to be done first. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

18. If someone is determined no longer eligible for SS, but on last month payment, are they presumed eligible?

No, if at the time of completing the eligibility an individual informs us that he/she has been determined no longer eligible for SSI/SSDI benefits or we have the knowledge that they have been determined no longer eligible, we would not find them presumed eligible. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

28. If someone is receiving Katie Beckett funding for medical expenses, are they automatically eligible for VR services?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. To receive the Katie Beckett funding, the individual must pass the SSI eligibility criteria with the exception of income. Therefore, if the person is SSI eligible (even if not receiving cash payment) the person is VR eligible in category 2 minimally. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

29. An SSDI applicant has a diagnosis of sexual deviance only. Is he still automatically eligible?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. If a consumer is receiving SSI/SSDI benefits due to their disability they are presumed eligible. The specific disability is not a factor for eligibility. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

30. If a person receives a Railroad disability pension, is that similar to receiving SSI/SSDI for the question of eligibility?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. There are no automatic eligibility provisions for someone receiving a Railroad disability pension. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Timing Questions

2. If someone is presumed eligible, and we need more than 60 days to do OOS, do we need an extension on the OOS?

OOS should be completed within 60 days for all individuals. To accomplish that, the following procedures should be used.

SSA consumers:

Complete the OOS using self-report from the consumer, reported information from other sources, counselor observation, and/or existing records. Self-reported information could be obtained during the meeting with the consumer, from the application, or over the phone. WI VR policy allows the use of consumer self-report for OOS purposes. Other sources could include information on the person's functioning from family members, other professionals, etc. Use information from these sources to place the consumer in at least category 2. Do not wait for medical records to complete the OOS for category 2 placement.

Self-report from the consumer can also be used to place the consumer in category 1. If the VRC, using professional judgment, determines that the information is accurate, place the consumer in category 1. Do not wait for medical records. If the self-reported information is questionable, the person should be placed in category 2, additional assessment or records obtained, and the OOS updated based on the obtained information or records.

If only self-report was used to place the person in category 1 or 2, obtain medical records to document the disabilities prior to IPE development. Note: Disability documentation is not required for eligibility purposes for SSA consumers.

Non SSA consumers:

You must have medical documentation of at least one disability to determine eligibility or you may use observation if the impairment is clearly observable (e.g., amputation). Then you can use self-report to document (using VRC judgment to determine that self- reported information seems reasonable) additional limitations from other disabilities on the OOS/FAR. You must obtain medical records as soon as possible to document the additional disabilities.

Please note: The information obtained at this point in the process should only be information needed for eligibility/OOS determination. If additional assessment or information is needed to assist with plan development, that information should be obtained at the time of IPE development. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

12. When does the 60 day eligibility clock begin to tick: the date the application was received or entered in IRIS?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The date DVR staff received the signed application. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

19. Can the consumer and counselor agree to an extension of the 60 days to get documentation for elig determination?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The 60 day time limit is intended for the state agency. However, it is expected that the consumer is available to participate in the evaluation leading to the determination and is reasonably cooperative.

Yes, the consumer and counselor can agree to an extension to get adequate documentation. Extensions should be granted when the reason documentation is missing is outside of the control of the counselor and consumer, not because one or the other fell down on the job or forgot to carry through with his/her responsibilities. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

22. When an assessment cannot be scheduled within the 60 days, should the consumer reapply to avoid an extension?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - If the eligibility determination could not be completed because the consumer did not show up for appointments or did not make him/herself available for evaluations, and multiple attempts/methods were used then the file should be closed. Appeal rights should be provided.

If steps were put in motion, such as RMI's sent to hospitals or evaluations scheduled, but it was not possible to complete these steps through any fault of the consumer, then an extension should be asked for. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Technical Questions

7. Medical Records and FAR Documentation ...

[Entire Question] - I am under the belief that once the counselor has reviewed medical records to determine eligibility and function, they should be able to get rid of the report. They could keep a summary or notes, even the doctor's summary but not the whole report, which often include the doctors' visit notes. However, on the FAR sheets in Wisconsin where it asks where the documentation is, there really isn't the option of shredding/destroyed or it does not seem like an option, only in paper file or in IRIS?

[Response] - Your interpretation about being able to shred reports (provided the counselor had not previously made them part of the consumer's file) is correct. If the documentation of the disability is not retained, a summary of the disability information should be included in the file including where the information is from and how it can be obtained if needed. An appraisal of the limitations related to the disability information would be included on the FAR and should indicate where the disability information was obtained from, like at Sacred Heart Hospital, Memorial High School, doctor's name, dates of the records, etc. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

14. If a person receiving VR services in another state moves to Wisconsin, do they have to start over with our program?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - That is correct. Wisconsin DVR would need to start from scratch and do their own eligibility determination and if the person is found eligible and is activated off the waiting list, DVR would need to develop a new IPE. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

15. Eligibility includes requiring services to prepare, secure, retain or regain employment. What about advancing?

RSA was asked about that specific issue when the code of federal regulations was issued in draft form. Their response was that the existing language in the regulations is sufficient to allow for assisting consumers to advance in employment when it is appropriate for them. They specifically say that this is an allowed use of VR funds.

See Federal Regulations, comments: employment outcome (Page 4419). (Reviewed: 06/2014)

20. Is a dependent of a person with legal immigration status to work (but not a permanent resident) eligible for serv.?

The only question is whether the applicant, in this case the 19 year old dependent, can work legally in this country. The counselor would need to explore that with the person when she applied for services. They might need to call the Department of Labor office in Chicago to get the specific answer. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

23. Does the supervisor need to approve eligibility and order of selection (OOS) determinations?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. Neither. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

27. An applicant, with a history of sex offenses, poses a "high risk to the community." How should I handle this?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] -It seems to me that you would do eligibility like always. If you can answer the criteria questions appropriately and if the person rated in an OOS open category, then the real challenges would begin when you started IPE planning.

The "high risk" status would need to be resolved before you could identify an appropriate vocational objective. So long as the consumer posed an imminent threat to neighbors or co-workers, placement would not be appropriate. I would suggest that this barrier be shared with him and see if he still wants to apply. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

32. Does DVR have to provide evaluations to diagnose suspected or alleged disabilities?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - DVR is obligated to pursue "allegations" of conditions which are claimed for eligibility or significance of disability for order of selection priority, or which could affect the need for services or supports to make an IPE successful.

This does not mean that the evaluation cannot be structured hierarchically, with general or gross diagnostic strategies to assess the existence of the disability before pursuing more extensive or elaborate methodologies. The evaluation needs only to be sufficient to accomplish the DVR purposes for which it is ordered. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

OOS Questions

4. If an IPE has only 1 service, does the OOS need to change if originally stated that 2 or more services are needed?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No, the OOS determination is based on the best guess of the counselor at the time it is done. It is not binding and you should not go back and redo it if you later change your mind. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

5. If I disagree with a counselor's OOS category placement but it does not change the category, should I change that?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - I would suggest adding a general casenote to IRIS and providing some feedback to the counselor. This would allow the counselor to learn and would document the supervisor's opinion. I do not think a new FAR needs to be completed. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Disability Questions

3. If a consumer is found eligible, and the consumer's condition improves, do we find the consumer ineligible?

Wisconsin does not typically go back and find consumers ineligible unless the consumer shared fraudulent information when determined eligible for services.

For example, if a consumer's condition improved because DVR provided restoration services that eliminated the barriers caused by the disability, we would still continue to provide services to assist the consumer in reaching the IPE goal. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

10. Are non-disabled students whose parents are disabled eligible for DVR services?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. You can provide services to the family member of a consumer if that will enable the consumer to become competitively employed in the community (integrated environment). But DVR does not make students eligible because the parents are disabled. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

11. The only disability diagnostic information I have for eligibility is from an acupuncturist. Is this sufficient?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. Since the state doesn't license or credential acupuncturists, we have no good objective measure of their competence and training like we do with doctors, psychologists, teachers, chiropractors and social workers. Without that, we can't accept their diagnosis as standalone criteria for eligibility purposes. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

13. Why doesn't DVR require IQ scores for eligibility of cases of developmental or cognitive disability?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Reliance on IQ scores has been diminishing in recent years within the psychology and education professions. In fact, the guidelines for diagnosis of developmental or cognitive indicate that a diagnosis cannot be made without a functional assessment because IQ scores can be very misleading. Much more emphasis is being placed on functional assessments because it is much more useful information in determining needs and foreseeing problems which will need to be addressed. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

16. Medical treatment as main service ...

[Entire Question] - I have a client whose primary diagnosis is Psoriasis. Prognosis: If she received medical treatment, she should be able to control her psoriasis much better. She has over 40% involvement of her skin with psoriasis. Her doctor gave the following limitations: cannot lift more than 35#; needs to be off her feet the majority of time at work; unable to stand more than one hour at a time; unable to walk more than one hour at a time; and may have problems using her hands as she has hand involvement with her psoriasis. The doctor also states she would have problems holding down any full-time job now with psoriasis involvement, but limitations would be until she improves her psoriasis.

She does not have insurance and was referred to DVR by Social Services. She applied for MAPP through the HEC program, but was denied. I don't think she has any other options for insurance. Is psoriasis considered a disability? If it is, she does have an impediment to employment at this time; however, does she require DVR services? The main service that she requires is medical treatment. And if she received treatment than the limitations wouldn't exist. What do you think?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - You raise some really good questions.

1. Is psoriasis a disability? Any documented medical or mental condition can be considered a disability.
2. Does it cause an impediment to employment? The doctor has placed the applicant under work restrictions, so yes.
3. Does she require VR services? She has no way to achieve restoration unless DVR helps, so yes.

The reason this case seems questionable is because:

1. It does not appear to be a significant disability, and
2. Because it can be treated.

These issues do not affect the eligibility determination, but become factors when we look at the determinations of OOS category placement and significance of disability. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

17. Is there an educational qualification a person must have for DVR to accept LD diagnosis?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - DVR does not have specific standards about the qualifications necessary to make an LD diagnosis. If you believe that the person is not qualified to make this diagnosis, or that the tests are inappropriate or inadequate, send the person to another evaluation or ask the original diagnostician to administer additional tests.

To document the existence of a disability, DVR requires that a professional (state licensed or certified) verify the existence of the disability.

If you doubt the adequacy of the evaluation, pursue it to a more comprehensive level. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

21. Is a person with a diagnosis of Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse Addiction, no matter how long ago, eligible for serv.?

There is no specific guideline for documentation for AODA. You need to decide whether what you have received is sufficient and appropriate for your needs or whether you need to update it. The documentation should be from a state licensed or certified individual qualified to make that diagnosis. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

24. What is our policy about Alcohol or other Drug Abuse/Addiction applicants and sobriety?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There is none. The issue is most germane when developing an IPE individualized plan for employment. For example, is continued use a risk factor in the success of the IPE and, therefore, should planning or monitoring be set up to insure that the consumer remains safe, has a plan for Recovery or is gaining some success in maintaining long term sobriety as items to address in the IPE.

But there is no specific requirement(s) for eligibility/OOS Order of Selection or accepting an application. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

25. Can an SS consumer that was placed in a job and lost the job for non-disability related reasons, be found ineligible?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - None of the above is taken into consideration given that she is receiving SSI/SSDI. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

26. Medical Condition and Eligibility ...

[Entire Question] - We have an applicant who is working, but has a hernia. His doctor says he is working outside his restrictions and his condition will continue to worsen until he has surgery. But he has no insurance and cannot afford surgery. Would he be eligible?

If we provide him with services and correct the hernia, wouldn't he then be not eligible?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - From the information provided, it appears that he has a disability which is causing an impediment to employment. I suggest that the counselor research to verify whether there are any other resources available to help the consumer obtain surgery. But if there are none, then he would also have a need for VR services and would be eligible.

Not if that was the goal of the IPE and the services were planned for. Restoration (elimination of the disability through medical or psychiatric treatment) is allowed under the law. If DVR helped to remove the impairment so the man could continue employment, we could claim a successful rehabilitation. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

31. If we are aware that a consumer is actively using illegal drugs can we provide services?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - As far as the law is concerned, there is no prohibition against working with consumers who are actively using illegal substances under Title 1 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Having said that, however, the issue should be addressed in the development of the IPE if it jeopardizes achievement of the IPE employment outcome and may limit the options which are available if he continues using. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

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