hpom DVR Information Center - Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)





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

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)



Policy

Plans for Employment

Options for Developing a Plan for Employment

The plan for employment should be developed as soon as possible, but the time shall not exceed 90 days after the consumer is activated from an order of selection waiting list unless an extension of time request has been granted.* (See Page 6.)

(*Indicates Wisconsin-Imposed Requirements.)

Mandatory Procedures

Signatories

A plan for employment shall be:

  1. Agreed to and signed by the consumer or, as appropriate, the consumer’s representative.
  2. Approved and signed by a VR Counselor employed by the DVR.

Copy

A copy of the plan for employment and any amendments to the plan shall be provided to the consumer or, as appropriate, to the consumer’s representative, in writing and, if appropriate, in the native language or mode of communication of the consumer or, as appropriate, the consumer’s representative.

Review and Amendment

Amendments are not to take effect until agreed to and signed by the consumer or, as appropriate, the consumer’s representative, and by a VR Counselor employed by DVR.

Mandatory Components of a Plan for Employment

The plan for employment shall contain, at a minimum, the following mandatory components:

Related Information

Forms/Publications

Rehabilitation Act/Federal Regulations Comparison

Federal Regulations

Sec. 361.45 Development of the individualized plan for employment.

(a) General requirements. The State plan must assure that--

(1) An individualized plan for employment (IPE) meeting the requirements of this section and Sec. 361.46 is developed and implemented in a timely manner for each individual determined to be

eligible for vocational rehabilitation services or, if the designated State unit is operating under an order of selection in accordance with Sec. 361.36, for each eligible individual to whom the State unit is able to provide services; and

(2) Services will be provided in accordance with the provisions of the IPE.

(b) Purpose.

(1) The designated State unit must conduct an assessment for determining vocational rehabilitation needs, if appropriate, for each eligible individual or, if the State is operating under an order of selection, for each eligible individual to whom the State is able to

provide services. The purpose of this assessment is to determine the employment outcome, and the nature and scope of vocational rehabilitation services to be included in the IPE.

(2) The IPE must--

(i) Be designed to achieve the specific employment outcome that is selected by the individual consistent with the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice; and

(ii) To the maximum extent appropriate, result in employment in an integrated setting.

(c) Required information. The State unit must provide the following information to each eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative, in writing and, if appropriate, in the

native language or mode of communication of the individual or the individual's representative:

(1) Options for developing an IPE. Information on the available options for developing the IPE, including the option that an eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative may

develop all or part of the IPE--

(i) Without assistance from the State unit or other entity; or

(ii) With assistance from--

(A) A qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor employed by the State unit;

(B) A qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor who is not employed by the State unit; or

(C) Resources other than those in paragraph (A) or (B) of this section.

(2) Additional information. Additional information to assist the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative in developing the IPE, including--

(i) Information describing the full range of components that must be included in an IPE;

(ii) As appropriate to each eligible individual--

(A) An explanation of agency guidelines and criteria for determining an eligible individual's financial commitments under an IPE;

(B) Information on the availability of assistance in completing State unit forms required as part of the IPE; and

(C) Additional information that the eligible individual requests or the State unit determines to be necessary to the development of the IPE;

(iii) A description of the rights and remedies available to the individual, including, if appropriate, recourse to the processes described in Sec. 361.57; and

(iv) A description of the availability of a client assistance program established under 34 CFR part 370 and information on how to contact the client assistance program.

(d) Mandatory procedures. The designated State unit must ensure that--

(1) The IPE is a written document prepared on forms provided by the State unit;

(2) The IPE is developed and implemented in a manner that gives eligible individuals the opportunity to exercise informed choice, consistent with Sec. 361.52, in selecting--

(i) The employment outcome, including the employment setting;

(ii) The specific vocational rehabilitation services needed to achieve the employment outcome, including the settings in which services will be provided;

(iii) The entity or entities that will provide the vocational rehabilitation services; and

(iv) The methods available for procuring the services;

(3) The IPE is--

(i) Agreed to and signed by the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative; and

(ii) Approved and signed by a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor employed by the designated State unit;

(4) A copy of the IPE and a copy of any amendments to the IPE are provided to the eligible individual or, as appropriate, to the individual's representative, in writing and, if appropriate, in the

native language or mode of communication of the individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative;

(5) The IPE is reviewed at least annually by a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor and the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative to assess the eligible individual's progress in achieving the identified employment outcome;

(6) The IPE is amended, as necessary, by the individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative, in collaboration with a representative of the State unit or a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor (to the extent determined to be appropriate by the individual), if there are substantive changes in the employment outcome, the vocational rehabilitation services to be provided, or the providers of the vocational rehabilitation services;

(7) Amendments to the IPE do not take effect until agreed to and signed by the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative and by a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor employed by the designated State unit; and

(8) An IPE for a student with a disability receiving special education services is developed--

(i) In consideration of the student's IEP; and

(ii) In accordance with the plans, policies, procedures, and terms of the interagency agreement required under Sec. 361.22.

(e) Standards for developing the IPE. The designated State unit must establish and implement standards for the prompt development of IPEs for the individuals identified under paragraph (a) of this

section, including timelines that take into consideration the needs of the individuals.

(f) Data for preparing the IPE.

(1) Preparation without comprehensive assessment. To the extent possible, the employment outcome and the nature and scope of rehabilitation services to be included in the individual's IPE must be

determined based on the data used for the assessment of eligibility and priority for services under Sec. 361.42.

(2) Preparation based on comprehensive assessment.

(i) If additional data are necessary to determine the employment outcome and the nature and scope of services to be included in the IPE of an eligible individual, the State unit must conduct a comprehensive assessment of the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice, including the need for supported employment services, of the eligible individual, in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with the informed choice of the individual in accordance with the provisions of Sec. 361.5(b)(6)(ii).

(ii) In preparing the comprehensive assessment, the State unit must use, to the maximum extent possible and appropriate and in accordance

with confidentiality requirements, existing information that is current as of the date of the development of the IPE, including--

(A) Information available from other programs and providers, particularly information used by education officials and the Social Security Administration;

(B) Information provided by the individual and the individual's family; and

(C) Information obtained under the assessment for determining the individual's eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs.

Sec. 361.46 Content of the individualized plan for employment.

(a) Mandatory components. Regardless of the approach in Sec. 361.45(c)(1) that an eligible individual selects for purposes of developing the IPE, each IPE must include--

(1) A description of the specific employment outcome that is chosen by the eligible individual that--

(i) Is consistent with the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, career interests, and informed choice; and

(ii) To the maximum extent appropriate, results in employment in an integrated setting;

(2) A description of the specific rehabilitation services under Sec. 361.48 that are--

(i) Needed to achieve the employment outcome, including, as appropriate, the provision of assistive technology devices, assistive technology services, and personal assistance services, including training in the management of those services; and

(ii) Provided in the most integrated setting that is appropriate for the services involved and is consistent with the informed choice of the eligible individual;

(3) Timelines for the achievement of the employment outcome and for the initiation of services;

(4) A description of the entity or entities chosen by the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative that will provide the vocational rehabilitation services and the methods used to procure those services;

(5) A description of the criteria that will be used to evaluate progress toward achievement of the employment outcome; and

(6) The terms and conditions of the IPE, including, as appropriate, information describing--

(i) The responsibilities of the designated State unit;

(ii) The responsibilities of the eligible individual, including--

(A) The responsibilities the individual will assume in relation to achieving the employment outcome;

(B) If applicable, the extent of the individual's participation in paying for the cost of services; and

(C) The responsibility of the individual with regard to applying for and securing comparable services and benefits as described in Sec. 361.53; and

(iii) The responsibilities of other entities as the result of arrangements made pursuant to the comparable services or benefits requirements in Sec. 361.53.

(b) Supported employment requirements. An IPE for an individual with a most significant disability for whom an employment outcome in a supported employment setting has been determined to be appropriate must--

(1) Specify the supported employment services to be provided by the designated State unit;

(2) Specify the expected extended services needed, which may include natural supports;

(3) Identify the source of extended services or, to the extent that it is not possible to identify the source of extended services at the time the IPE is developed, include a description of the basis for

concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that those sources will become available;

(4) Provide for periodic monitoring to ensure that the individual is making satisfactory progress toward meeting the weekly work requirement established in the IPE by the time of transition to extended services;

(5) Provide for the coordination of services provided under an IPE with services provided under other individualized plans established under other Federal or State programs;

(6) To the extent that job skills training is provided, identify that the training will be provided on site; and

(7) Include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

(c) Post-employment services. The IPE for each individual must contain, as determined to be necessary, statements concerning--

(1) The expected need for post-employment services prior to closing the record of services of an individual who has achieved an employment outcome;

(2) A description of the terms and conditions for the provision of any post-employment services; and

(3) If appropriate, a statement of how post-employment services will be provided or arranged through other entities as the result of arrangements made pursuant to the comparable services or benefits requirements in Sec. 361.53.

(d) Coordination of services for students with disabilities who are receiving special education services. The IPE for a student with a disability who is receiving special education services must be

coordinated with the IEP for that individual in terms of the goals, objectives, and services identified in the IEP.

Rehabilitation Act

Sec. 102

(b) Development of an Individualized Plan for Employment

(1) Options for developing an individualized plan for employment

If an individual is determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services as described in subsection (a), the designated State unit shall complete the assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs, as appropriate, and shall provide the eligible individual or the individual's representative, in writing and in an appropriate mode of communication, with information on the individual's options for developing an individualized plan for employment, including--

(A) information on the availability of assistance, to the extent determined to be appropriate by the eligible individual, from a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor in developing all or part of the individualized plan for employment for the individual, and the availability of technical assistance in developing all or part of the individualized plan for employment for the individual;

(B) a description of the full range of components that shall be included in an individualized plan for employment;

(C) as appropriate--

(i) an explanation of agency guidelines and criteria associated with financial commitments concerning an individualized plan for employment;

(ii) additional information the eligible individual requests or the designated State unit determines to be necessary; and

(iii) information on the availability of assistance in completing designated State agency forms required in developing an individualized plan for employment; and

(D)(i) a description of the rights and remedies available to such an individual including, if appropriate, recourse to the processes set forth in subsection (c); and

(ii) a description of the availability of a client assistance program established pursuant to section 112 and information about how to contact the client assistance program.

(2) Mandatory procedures

(A) Written document

An individualized plan for employment shall be a written document prepared on forms provided by the designated State unit.

(B) Informed choice

An individualized plan for employment shall be developed and implemented in a manner that affords eligible individuals the opportunity to exercise informed choice in selecting an employment outcome, the specific vocational rehabilitation services to be provided under the plan, the entity that will provide the vocational rehabilitation services, and the methods used to procure the services, consistent with subsection (d).

(C) Signatories

An individualized plan for employment shall be--

(i) agreed to, and signed by, such eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative; and

(ii) approved and signed by a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor employed by the designated State unit.

(D) Copy

A copy of the individualized plan for employment for an eligible individual shall be provided to the individual or, as appropriate, to the individual's representative, in writing and, if appropriate, in the native language or mode of communication of the individual or, as appropriate, of the individual's representative.

(E) Review and amendment

The individualized plan for employment shall be--

(i) reviewed at least annually by--

(I) a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor; and

(II) the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative; and

(ii) amended, as necessary, by the individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative, in collaboration with a representative of the designated State agency or a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor (to the extent determined to be appropriate by the individual), if there are substantive changes in the employment outcome, the vocational rehabilitation services to be provided, or the service providers of the services (which amendments shall not take effect until agreed to and signed by the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative, and by a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor employed by the designated State unit).

(3) Mandatory components of an individualized plan for employment

Regardless of the approach selected by an eligible individual to develop an individualized plan for employment, an individualized plan for employment shall, at a minimum, contain mandatory components consisting of--

(A) a description of the specific employment outcome that is chosen by the eligible individual, consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the eligible individual, and, to the maximum extent appropriate, results in employment in an integrated setting;

(B)(i) a description of the specific vocational rehabilitation services that are--

(I) needed to achieve the employment outcome, including, as appropriate, the provision of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services, and personal assistance services, including training in the management of such services; and

(II) provided in the most integrated setting that is appropriate for the service involved and is consistent with the informed choice of the eligible individual; and

(ii) timelines for the achievement of the employment outcome and for the initiation of the services;

(C) a description of the entity chosen by the eligible individual or, as appropriate, the individual's representative, that will provide the vocational rehabilitation services, and the methods used to procure such services;

(D) a description of criteria to evaluate progress toward achievement of the employment outcome;

(E) the terms and conditions of the individualized plan for employment, including, as appropriate, information describing--

(i) the responsibilities of the designated State unit;

(ii) the responsibilities of the eligible individual, including--

(I) the responsibilities the eligible individual will assume in relation to the employment outcome of the individual;

(II) if applicable, the participation of the eligible individual in paying for the costs of the plan; and

(III) the responsibility of the eligible individual with regard to applying for and securing comparable benefits as described in section 101(a)(8); and

(iii) the responsibilities of other entities as the result of arrangements made pursuant to comparable services or benefits requirements as described in section 101(a)(8);

(F) for an eligible individual with the most significant disabilities for whom an employment outcome in a supported employment setting has been determined to be appropriate, information identifying--

(i) the extended services needed by the eligible individual; and

(ii) the source of extended services or, to the extent that the source of the extended services cannot be identified at the time of the development of the individualized plan for employment, a description of the basis for concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that such source will become available; and

(G) as determined to be necessary, a statement of projected need for post-employment services.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Cost/Payment Questions

1. Is it OK if all the services on the IPE are being provided directly by DVR but none are being purchased?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, as in a job development only IPE where the counselor is providing the job development. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

12. When listing post-secondary training in IPEs, what do we put down as the method of payment?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Training grant. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

16. What is the DVR current definition of a high cost plan?

DVR does not have a definition of a high cost plan. If any given purchase exceeds $5,000, it must be approved by a WDA Director/VR Supervisor. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

28. What is the DVR policy on graduate school funding?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - DVR has no specific policy regarding graduate school. Therefore, the procedure for determining whether any service is appropriate should be used.

1. What is the IPE goal?

2. What services are necessary for the individual to achieve the IPE goal?

(Reviewed: 06/2014)

29. Can we fund clothing under the primary service of job development or do we need to call it maintenance on the IPE?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - This would be a secondary service and would be provided in support of one of the primary services on the IPE. Would list as a secondary service on the IPE and would just make sure what you call it is clear, e.g. interview clothing, maintenance-clothing, etc. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

35. Is an IPE needed to pay transportation costs for an individual to meet with a counselor at the job center?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, DVR can pay for transportation to and from the job center, with or without an IPE. If the individual is meeting with DVR to process the eligibility or order of selection, or to develop the IPE, then it is considered a secondary service in support of evaluation and it would not be on an IPE. If the IPE is in place and the person is coming to the job center to review the IPE or discuss needs, it would be part of the IPE and should be listed as a service on the IPE. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

36. Can DVR pay for school app./testing before IPE to determine a consumer's ability for pursuing a certain job goal?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, if the services are necessary to write the IPE they are considered evaluation services. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Disability Questions

18. 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)

19. 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)

23. Can DVR require a consumer with an AODA history to take a random drug test?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - An IPE should have specific progress measures designed to monitor successful implementation of the plan. Successful periodic drug testing could be an identified service on the IPE if DVR is purchasing or listed as a progress measure as long as a consumer has agreed in advance. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

IPE Component Questions

2. How do you specify services you aren't sure about, like rehab technology when you haven't done the service yet?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - It is not OK to say "Rehabilitation Technology if recommended by the assessment?" At any time during the implementation of the IPE, assessments can be provided to answer specific questions. If those assessments identify additional service needs, an amendment should be completed at that point adding those newly identified services. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

3. Is "contact DVR every month" a progress measure?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. Progress measures "evaluate progress toward achievement of the employment outcome." Contacting DVR every month, or applying for financial aids by April 30 tell you nothing about the consumer's progress toward achievement of the employment outcome. They can be added to the IPE as consumer responsibilities and the provision of services can be conditioned upon the consumer fulfilling his/her responsibilities, but they are not progress measures. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

4. When doing an amendment to and something is completed on the plan - should we delete what was completed?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There is no prohibition against doing this in regulations or policy, but it generally is not necessary or even a particularly good idea. If the amendment is changing the IPE direction in a major way, then I would rewrite it to reflect that change. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

8. Can an I/TW and job placement services be provided at the same time? Does a I/TW have to be listed in the IPE?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There is nothing prohibiting the completion of a work experience while a consumer is also participating in job placement services. The determination if the services are necessary and appropriate should be done on a case by case basis. If the IPE has not been developed yet and the work experience is being completed as an assessment to determine an appropriate IPE goal or services it does not have to be listed in the IPE. If it is being provided after the IPE is written, it should be in the IPE even if it has an assessment component. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

9. Should OJT and temporary work experiences be listed as separate primary services?

These should be listed as separate services. The reason for this is that each service included on the IPE should be necessary for the achievement of the IPE goal. Each service would have its own purpose of why it is needed. OJT and work experience are two separate primary services and each can have different purposes. Services listed on an IPE should be incremental and have measurable progress measures that demonstrate how the consumer and DVR would know that progress is being made. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

15. Do assessments have to be listed in the IPE as a service?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The answer depends on what the assessment is meant to accomplish.:

• If the assessment is for the purpose of determining eligibility or OOS category, it can be provided, obviously, without being put on an IPE.

• If the assessment is for the purpose of writing the IPE (determining appropriate vocational objective or identifying need for specific services - e.g., supported employment assessment prior to the IPE), then it would not appear on an IPE.

• If the assessment is a planned part of the IPE, then it should be put on the IPE.

• If the assessment is for the purpose of re-writing the IPE (the original IPE is not working well), then it does not need to be put on the IPE.

(Reviewed: 06/2014)

17. Can DVR accept an "X" for a consumer's signature?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, we can accept an X as the consumer's signature. There should be a case note to reflect the authentication by the DVR staff. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

22. Can a new counselor remove a service from an IPE?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - An IPE can be amended at any time. If the amendment results in a service being removed from the IPE, the consumer may appeal the amendment if the consumer does not agree. During the appeal, the service continues until there is a resolution.

There should always be a casenote explaining the amendment. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

24. Can a consumer constantly change her employment plan for reasons not related to her disability.

There is nothing in policy to prohibit changing the IPE goal several times. What you need to consider is why this is happening. Is it an indication of something else going on which is sabotaging the initiation of the IPE? Is the consumer really ready to start an IPE? I would have a good talk with the consumer before making this change and share with her your concerns. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

25. Can we require placement info from a consumer on a school when we are unsure of the kind of job it will result in?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Absolutely. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

26. Is it OK to write an IPE with guidance and counseling as the only service?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, if that is the only service required for the consumer to achieve the vocational objective. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

27. Is it OK to write an IPE with only one service, or do federal regulations require two or more on an IPE?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - It is entirely legal to write an IPE with only one service if that is what is appropriate for the consumer, provided the one service is not a secondary service: transportation, maintenance, childcare, or attendant care. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

30. Must the IPE amendment be signed by the consumer; would a phone call to review with a casenote be sufficient?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - A signature by the consumer, legal guardian, or the consumer's representative is required to complete the IPE amendment process. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

31. Can DVR force you to do something even if you agreed to do it as part of an appeal?

No; on the other hand, if you do not do something you previously agreed to do, that may result in a termination of your IPE with DVR and a suspension of services DVR is providing.(Reviewed: 06/2014)

34. How does DVR follow-up with someone who has entered the military if they are deployed?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - I would think that a call to a recruiter's office could get an approximate wage. Staff should ensure they are not revealing any confidential information.) As for follow up, I would discuss that with the consumer in advance. The presumption here is that the consumer talked this over with the counselor prior to enlisting. If the counselor heard about it after the fact and had no prior knowledge it would be much harder to justify a successful closure. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

IPE Goal Questions

10. If a service is necessary for achievement of the employment outcome, is it OK to include it on the IPE?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Not necessarily. Some services, like maintenance and transportation are only included if the IPE generates additional costs to the consumer. But everybody has a need for basic maintenance.

Every primary service on the IPE must be needed to achieve the employment outcome goal; but not every needed service is necessarily appropriate to be included on the IPE. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

20. Are jobs in Affirmative Industries considered competitive employment in an integrated setting for VR purposes?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. The RSA Informal Policy Group has reviewed the "Affirmative Industry" question submitted by the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Specifically, the Wisconsin DVR queried, with regard to an "Affirmative Industry," whether an employee mix of 60% disabled and 40% non-disabled would meet the definition of "integrated setting" at 34 CFR 361.5(b)(33). The Wisconsin DVR expressed their belief that at least 51% of the employees should be non-disabled for an "Affirmative Industry" to meet the definition of an "integrated setting."

The Wisconsin DVR describes an "Affirmative Industry" as a an entity being established by a Community Rehabilitation Facility (CRF) in Wisconsin in which individuals with disabilities and non-disabled individuals will work together in similar positions. "Affirmative Industries" are typically located away from the CRF, in industrial settings. Individuals with disabilities receive the customary wages and benefits paid to non-disabled individuals performing similar work.

An "integrated setting," with respect to an employment outcome, means a setting typically found in the community in which applicants or eligible individuals interact with non-disabled individuals, other than non-disabled individuals who are providing services to those applicants or eligible individuals, to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with other persons. 34 CFR 361.5(b)(33)(ii), emphasis added.

The consensus of the Informal Policy Group is that an "Affirmative Industry," as described by the Wisconsin DVR, does not meet the definition of the term "integrated setting." The Group interprets the phrase "a setting typically found in the community" to refer to everyday work settings that exist without consideration of whether employed individuals are disabled. No specific number or percentage of disabled versus non-disabled employees is required, nor expected, for purposes of meeting the definition. Work settings that are purposely set up to employ a given number or percentage of persons with disabilities are not "typically found in the community." (Reviewed: 06/2014)

21. Is working at a CRP on a production line considered a competitive and integrated setting?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - This is an excellent question. I am including with my response several citations from federal regulations, the definitions of competitive employment, of employment outcome, of integrated setting, and the discussion of competitive employment.

It seems to me you need to ask 3 questions to determine if the work at the community rehabilitation center is competitive and integrated. These three questions cannot really be separated.

1. Is the salary at or above minimum wage and customary to that received by non-disabled employees?

2. Does the position give the individual the same opportunities to interact with non-disabled people that exist for non-disabled employees?

3. Is this job considered a job for people with disabilities, or a job for any qualified person in the community? Is this the kind of job your non-disabled neighbor might consider if he/she was laid-off from their current job?

The issue is not so much the number of non-disabled people the consumer interacts with as it is the normalcy (relative to non-disabled employees) of the position. In other words, does the consumer have the same opportunities and full range of choices which exist for the non-disabled general public?

Another way of looking at it is what is the mission of the employer? If the mission of the employer is to provide a service or good to the public then they are probably an integrated setting. If the mission is to provide employment to people with disabilities, then they are probably not an integrated setting.

Sec. 361.5 Applicable definitions.

(b)(11) Competitive employment means work--

(i) In the competitive labor market that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis in an integrated setting; and

(ii) For which an individual is compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled.

(b)(16) Employment outcome means, with respect to an individual, entering or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market to the greatest extent practicable; supported employment; or any other type of employment, including self-employment, telecommuting, or business ownership, that is consistent with an individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

(b)(33) Integrated setting,--

(i) With respect to the provision of services, means a setting typically found in the community in which applicants or eligible individuals interact with non-disabled individuals other than non-disabled individuals who are providing services to those applicants or eligible individuals;

(ii) With respect to an employment outcome, means a setting typically found in the community in which applicants or eligible individuals interact with non-disabled individuals, other than non-disabled individuals who are providing services to those applicants or eligible individuals, to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with other persons.

Competitive Employment:

Comments: One commenter questioned the basis for the requirement that ``competitive employment'' be limited to employment outcomes in integrated settings. A second commenter asked that we broaden the definition of ``competitive employment'' in the proposed regulations to include employment under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) program if that employment is chosen by the eligible individual. Discussion: The proposed definition of ``competitive employment'' was the same as that found in the previous regulations.

Although the term is not defined in the Act, section 7(11), the statutory definition of "employment outcome" does refer to competitive employment in the integrated labor market. On that basis, and in light of the great emphasis that the Act places on maximizing the integration into society of persons with disabilities, it has been our longstanding policy to define ``competitive employment'' to mean employment in an integrated setting (at or above minimum wage). For further information on the integrated setting (and wage) components of the "competitive employment" definition, please refer to the relevant discussion in the preamble to the previous regulations (62 FR 6310 through 6311). Whether an employment outcome meets the regulatory definition of ``competitive employment'' is to be determined on case-by-case basis. If a particular job, including a job secured under the JWOD program, is integrated (i.e., the individual with a disability interacts with non-disabled persons to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with other persons; Sec. 361.5(b)(33)(ii) of the final regulations) and the individual is compensated at or above the minimum wage (and not less than the customary wage and benefit level paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled; Sec. 361.5(b)(11)(ii) of the final regulations), then that position would be considered competitive employment. In fact, we expect that many jobs secured under JWOD service contracts would meet these criteria. On the other hand, employment in a non-integrated setting such as a sheltered workshop would not qualify as competitive employment regardless of whether the position is obtained under a JWOD contract or another program or arrangement.

Changes: None.

The federal regs of January 22, 2001 contain some additional language on this topic. The purpose of these regs was to convey the message to the states that sheltered employment was no longer appropriate for VR to consider as a successful outcome.

I have mixed feelings about the situation you are describing. I think you need to weigh, on a case by case basis, the extent to which this is the best employment outcome for the individual, relative to all of the criteria listed below. To what extent does the consumer want this job? Since it is not subsidized by the county and since it is minimum wage or higher, you don't have a problem there. But you and the counselor will need to decide how comfortable you are with the appropriateness of this job for this particular consumer. The next paragraph is from the introduction to the regulations:

The chief purpose of these regulations is to ensure, as we believe Title I of the Act intends, that participants in the VR program, particularly those with significant disabilities, are afforded a full opportunity to integrate within their communities and participate in jobs that are available to the general population.

Sec. 361.5 Applicable definitions.

* * (b) * * *

(16) Employment outcome means, with respect to an individual, entering or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment, as defined in Sec. 361.5(b)(11), in the integrated labor market, supported employment, or any other type of employment in an integrated setting, including self-employment, telecommuting, or business ownership, that is consistent with an individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

33. Is military service an appropriate employment outcome?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There is nothing prohibiting us from using military service as an appropriate employment outcome, For this consumer if the job meets the criteria of the identified goal in the IPE and you can show that DVR services helped significantly in them choosing this occupation and reaching the goal, DVR could collect a successful closure outcome (26). (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Primary/Secondary Service Questions

5. When I add counseling as a primary service to the IPE, do I need to say what the counseling is for?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - An IPE must identify the specific services needed by the individual to achieve his/her employment outcome. Any service on the IPE should be needed for the consumer to achieve his/her employment outcome. This is the vocational rehabilitation story which IPEs must tell. Federal regulations and DVR policy do not specifically mandate how that is to be built into the IPE, but it must be communicated somehow. So, one way or another, you will need to have a rationale for the services you include on the IPE stating why each is needed. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

6. Does each IPE have to have a primary service?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

7. Is it OK if all the primary services on the IPE are being provided by comparable benefits (rather than DVR)?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. DVR cannot claim a successful rehabilitation unless substantive services have been provided by DVR. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

11. Is it true that progress measure should be associated only with primary services, not secondary services?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. It makes no sense to have a progress measure associated with a secondary service since each secondary service exists only to support a primary service. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

32. Can secondary services be provided in conjunction with evaluations before the IPE is developed?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Support services can be provided while someone is in evaluation status. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Timing Questions

13. Do IPEs "expire" at the end of each year and should services be interrupted until an amendment is signed?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Plans for employment (IPEs) do not expire when it is time for an annual review. If the consumer is not making adequate progress toward achieving the employment outcome specified on the IPE and as measured by the progress measures on the IPE, services may be interrupted until the problem is addressed to the satisfaction of the consumer and counselor. If the consumer appeals the interruption of services, they must continue until the appeal is resolved.

But there is no automatic expiration for IPE's based on the annual review date. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

14. Does a consumer need to have stable housing and basic needs met prior to IPE development?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There have been discussions at trainings related to consumers needing to address their basic needs to assist them in being successful in participating in the DVR process and ensuring that consumers understand that DVR does not providing funding for basic needs such as housing, food, etc. (DVR may provide assistance with some maintenance expenses if the IPE generates additional costs to the consumer).

In some cases this could be addressed prior to the development of the IPE or at least working towards this. If we feel we need to address this prior to the development of the IPE (because without something more stable in place, the VRC & consumer agree that the consumer will have a very difficult time keeping in contacting, making progress if the IPE were developed), that this should be case noted, including the specific activities and timeframes related to this (e.g. referrals that will be made by the counselor, research the consumer will do, etc.).

In other cases these could be listed in the IPE and be the first items addressed such as guidance and counseling and connecting them with the resources (homeless shelters, locating family and friends, etc.). I would not agree with denying the development of the IPE or DVR services based upon a consumer not be able to obtain housing as that would be setting up an additional barrier as you mentioned. A consumer does however need to be available for services and able to make timely progress towards their goal. If they are able to do this without stable housing I see no reason why the case cannot continue to move forward and have the consumer continually working on addressing this.

In many cases you are correct, consumer may be living in homeless shelters or staying with family and friends, and that is okay as long as they are available for services and able to work towards their goal and complete services.

To summarize, there is nothing in policy prohibiting DVR from working with consumers who do not have their basic needs met. Policy does state however that we need to make referrals as appropriate to assist our consumers and that consumers need to be making timely progress towards their goal and available for services. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Email DWD DWD Photo Gallery DWD on Twitter DWD on Facebook DWD on YouTube DWD on LinkedIn DWD RSS Feed

A proud partner of the network