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

DVR Services



Policy

VR Services for Consumers

VR services are any services described in a plan for employment that are “necessary and appropriate” to assist a consumer in preparing for, securing, retaining or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of the consumer, including:

  1. Assessment for determining eligibility and priority for services.
  2. Assessment for determining Vocational Rehabilitation needs.
  3. Assessment for determining Rehabilitation Technology needs.
  4. Counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist a consumer in exercising informed choice.
  5. Referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies.
  6. Job-related services, including job seeking skills, job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services and follow-along services.
  7. Vocational and other training services, including the provision of personal and vocational adjustment services, books, tools and other training materials, except that no training services provided at an institution of higher education shall be paid for with funds under this title unless maximum efforts have been made by the DVR and the consumer to secure grant assistance, in whole or in part, from other sources to pay for such training. See Addendum A of this policy for additional information regarding the participation of DVR in the cost of post secondary training.
  8. To the extent that financial support is not readily available from a source such as health insurance or through comparable services and benefits, other than the DVR, diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments, including:
  1. Maintenance for additional costs, such as expenses for food, shelter, and clothing, incurred while participating in an assessment for determining eligibility and VR needs or while receiving services under a plan for employment. Maintenance is provided when relocation is necessitated by the IPE, is feasible and results in increased costs to the consumer. If commuting and relocation are both feasible, the consumer will have the choice. However, DVR costs will be limited by the less costly of the two alternatives.
  2. Transportation, including adequate training in the use of public transportation vehicles and systems. Transportation can only be provided in connection with the provision of any other service described in this section and needed by the consumer to achieve an employment outcome.
  3. On-the-job or other related personal assistance services provided while a consumer is receiving other services described in this section.
  4. Interpreter services provided by qualified personnel for consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing or deaf-blind, and reader services for consumers who are determined to be blind after an examination by qualified personnel who meet state licensure laws.
  5. Rehabilitation teaching services and orientation and mobility services for consumers who are blind.
  6. Occupational licenses, tools, equipment and initial stocks and supplies necessary to achieve the employment goal or start up a business consistent with the goals established in the Plan for Employment (IPE).
  7. Services to achieve self-employment or small business goals: Technical assistance and other consultation services to determine consumer readiness and appropriateness for self-employment, conduct feasibility analysis, development of business plans, and otherwise provided resources to the extent such resources are authorized to be provided through the statewide workforce investment system to consumers who are pursuing self-employment or telecommuting or establishing a small business operation as an employment outcome. The DVR and the consumer must assess the individual’s readiness and appropriateness for self-employment including: knowledge, ability, skills, experience, motivation, and personal commitment to establish, operate, and maintain a business that generates a competitive wage and will be self-sustaining as well as the feasibility of the proposed business idea. The consumer must complete a thorough and well-researched business plan for approval. The plan must address all aspects of start-up costs, sources of funding, sufficient resources to leverage start-up capital, ongoing operation costs, and the likelihood of profitability within a reasonable timeframe.
  8. Rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices. Replacement of equipment must be disability-related and linked directly to the consumer’s IPE.
  9. Transition services for students with disabilities that facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the plan for employment.
  10. Supported employment services, including ongoing support services and other appropriate services needed to support and maintain a consumer with a most significant disability in supported employment that are provided singly or in combination and are organized and made available to assist the consumer to achieve competitive employment. Supported employment services are provided based on a determination of the needs of the consumer and specified in a plan for employment. Supported employment services are provided for up to a maximum of 18 months unless, under special circumstances, the consumer and the VR Counselor agree to extend the time in order to achieve the rehabilitation objectives identified in the plan for employment.
  11. Services to the family of a consumer necessary to assist the consumer to achieve an employment outcome.
  12. Post-employment services necessary to assist a consumer to:

Post employment services are available to meet rehabilitation needs that do not require complex and comprehensive services. Post employment service plans are not to exceed two primary services and/or more than six months in duration.

  1. Planned temporary work provided in a realistic, integrated, competitive work site in the community which evaluates the individual's abilities, capabilities, and work capacity. The selection of specific work sites for temporary work must be consistent with the consumer's exercise of informed choice. Temporary work may include supported employment work situations or on-the-job training if they meet the aforementioned criteria. If the individual has accommodation needs which can be addressed through provision of assistive technology devices, assistive technology services, or personal attendant care services, those must be addressed when temporary work is provided. The plan for temporary work must incorporate and document periodic assessments to be carried out during the temporary work.
  2. Other goods and services necessary to assist a consumer to retain, regain or advance in employment.

Services are to be provided in an integrated setting, must meet the competitive employment standard, and follow procedures and/or technical specifications outlined for those services.

DVR Services A-Z

Rehabilitation Act/Federal Regulations Comparison

Federal Regulations

Sec. 361.50 Written policies governing the provision of services for individuals with disabilities.

(e) Authorization of services. The State unit must establish policies related to the timely authorization of services, including any conditions under which verbal authorization can be given.

Sec. 361.48 Scope of vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities.

As appropriate to the vocational rehabilitation needs of each individual and consistent with each individual's informed choice, the designated State unit must ensure that the following vocational rehabilitation services are available to assist the individual with a disability in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice:

(a) Assessment for determining eligibility and priority for services by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology, in accordance with Sec. 361.42.

(b) Assessment for determining vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology, in accordance with Sec. 361.45.

(c) Vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice in accordance with Sec. 361.52.

(d) Referral and other services necessary to assist applicants and eligible individuals to secure needed services from other agencies, including other components of the statewide workforce investment

system, in accordance with Secs. 361.23, 361.24, and 361.37, and to advise those individuals about client assistance programs established under 34 CFR part 370.

(e) In accordance with the definition in Sec. 361.5(b)(40), physical and mental restoration services, to the extent that financial support is not readily available from a source other than the

designated State unit (such as through health insurance or a comparable service or benefit as defined in Sec. 361.5(b)(10)).

(f) Vocational and other training services, including personal and vocational adjustment training, books, tools, and other training materials, except that no training or training services in an institution of higher education (universities, colleges, community or junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, or hospital schools of nursing) may be paid for with funds under this part unless maximum efforts have been made by the State unit and the individual to secure grant assistance in whole or in part from other sources to pay for that training.

(g) Maintenance, in accordance with the definition of that term in Sec. 361.5(b)(35).

(h) Transportation in connection with the rendering of any vocational rehabilitation service and in accordance with the definition of that term in Sec. 361.5(b)(57).

(i) Vocational rehabilitation services to family members, as defined in Sec. 361.5(b)(23), of an applicant or eligible individual if necessary to enable the applicant or eligible individual to achieve an employment outcome.

(j) Interpreter services, including sign language and oral interpreter services, for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and tactile interpreting services for individuals who are deaf-blind provided by qualified personnel.

(k) Reader services, rehabilitation teaching services, and orientation and mobility services for individuals who are blind.

(l) Job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services.

(m) Supported employment services in accordance with the definition of that term in Sec. 361.5(b)(54).

(n) Personal assistance services in accordance with the definition of that term in Sec. 361.5(b)(39).

(o) Post-employment services in accordance with the definition of that term in Sec. 361.5(b)(42).

(p) Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, initial stocks, and supplies.

(q) Rehabilitation technology in accordance with the definition of that term in Sec. 361.5(b)(45), including vehicular modification, telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices.

(r) Transition services in accordance with the definition of that term in Sec. 361.5(b)(55).

(s) Technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans, and otherwise provide resources, to the extent those resources are authorized to be provided through the statewide workforce investment system, to eligible individuals who are pursuing self-employment or telecommuting or establishing a small business operation as an employment outcome.

(t) Other goods and services determined necessary for the individual with a disability to achieve an employment outcome.

Sec. 361.50 Written policies governing the provision of services for individuals with disabilities.

(a) Policies. The State unit must develop and maintain written policies covering the nature and scope of each of the vocational rehabilitation services specified in Sec. 361.48 and the criteria under which each service is provided. The policies must ensure that the provision of services is based on the rehabilitation needs of each individual as identified in that individual's IPE and is consistent with the individual's informed choice. The written policies may not establish any arbitrary limits on the nature and scope of vocational rehabilitation services to be provided to the individual to achieve an employment outcome. The policies must be developed in accordance with the following provisions:

(b) Out-of-State services.

(1) The State unit may establish a preference for in-State services, provided that the preference does not effectively deny an individual a necessary service. If the individual chooses an out-of-State service at a higher cost than an in-State service, if either service would meet the individual's rehabilitation needs, the designated State unit is not responsible for those costs in excess of the cost of the in-State service.

(2) The State unit may not establish policies that effectively prohibit the provision of out-of-State services.

(c) Payment for services.

(1) The State unit must establish and maintain written policies to govern the rates of payment for all purchased vocational rehabilitation services.

(2) The State unit may establish a fee schedule designed to ensure a reasonable cost to the program for each service, if the schedule is--

(i) Not so low as to effectively deny an individual a necessary service; and

(ii) Not absolute and permits exceptions so that individual needs can be addressed.

(3) The State unit may not place absolute dollar limits on specific service categories or on the total services provided to an individual.

(d) Duration of services.

(1) The State unit may establish reasonable time periods for the provision of services provided that the time periods are--

(i) Not so short as to effectively deny an individual a necessary service; and

(ii) Not absolute and permit exceptions so that individual needs can be addressed.

(2) The State unit may not establish absolute time limits on the provision of specific services or on the provision of services to an individual. The duration of each service needed by an individual must be determined on an individual basis and reflected in that individual's individualized plan for employment.

(e) Authorization of services. The State unit must establish policies related to the timely authorization of services, including any conditions under which verbal authorization can be given.

Rehabilitation Act

Sec. 103. Vocational Rehabilitation Services

(a) Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Individuals

Vocational rehabilitation services provided under this title are any services described in an individualized plan for employment necessary to assist an individual with a disability in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual, including--

(1) an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;

(2) counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice consistent with the provisions of section 102(d);

(3) referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies through agreements developed under section 101(a)(11), if such services are not available under this title;

(4) job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;

(5) vocational and other training services, including the provision of personal and vocational adjustment services, books, tools, and other training materials, except that no training services provided at an institution of higher education shall be paid for with funds under this title unless maximum efforts have been made by the designated State unit and the individual to secure grant assistance, in whole or in part, from other sources to pay for such training;

(6) to the extent that financial support is not readily available from a source (such as through health insurance of the individual or through comparable services and benefits consistent with section 101(a)(8)(A)), other than the designated State unit, diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments, including--

(A) corrective surgery or therapeutic treatment necessary to correct or substantially modify a physical or mental condition that constitutes a substantial impediment to employment, but is of such a nature that such correction or modification may reasonably be expected to eliminate or reduce such impediment to employment within a reasonable length of time;

(B) necessary hospitalization in connection with surgery or treatment;

(C) prosthetic and orthotic devices;

(D) eyeglasses and visual services as prescribed by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws and who are selected by the individual;

(E) special services (including transplantation and dialysis), artificial kidneys, and supplies necessary for the treatment of individuals with end-stage renal disease; and

(F) diagnosis and treatment for mental and emotional disorders by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws;

(7) maintenance for additional costs incurred while participating in an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs or while receiving services under an individualized plan for employment;

(8) transportation, including adequate training in the use of public transportation vehicles and systems, that is provided in connection with the provision of any other service described in this section and needed by the individual to achieve an employment outcome;

(9) on-the-job or other related personal assistance services provided while an individual is receiving other services described in this section;

(10) interpreter services provided by qualified personnel for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and reader services for individuals who are determined to be blind, after an examination by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws;

(11) rehabilitation teaching services, and orientation and mobility services, for individuals who are blind;

(12) occupational licenses, tools, equipment, and initial stocks and supplies;

(13) technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans, and otherwise provide resources, to the extent such resources are authorized to be provided through the statewide workforce investment system, to eligible individuals who are pursuing self-employment or telecommuting or establishing a small business operation as an employment outcome;

(14) rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices;

(15) transition services for students with disabilities, that facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;

(16) supported employment services;

(17) services to the family of an individual with a disability necessary to assist the individual to achieve an employment outcome; and

(18) specific post-employment services necessary to assist an individual with a disability to, retain, regain, or advance in employment.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Assessment

1. We are required to obtain three price quotes. What if vendors require a fee or assessment? Can we pay those fees?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. You may purchase additional assessments if necessary to obtain the additional estimates. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

34. 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)

60. Can DVR pay for alcohol or drug abuse assessments to help a consumer get his driver's license back?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Generally not. While the license may be needed for the IPE, the need for the assessment is the direct result of a legal conviction with the loss of the license as a consequence. Therefore, it would be the consumer's responsibility to pay for the assessment. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

63. 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)

78. 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)

86. Is benefits counseling exempt from the comparable benefits requirement?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. Assessment for determining VR needs are exempt from the comparable benefits requirement. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

89. 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: 07/2014)

Attendant/Child Care

52. Can DVR purchase child care from an unlicensed provider as long as we stay within the county rates?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Unlicensed is OK provided you have no reason to believe the child/children might not be safe and well cared for. For rates, please refer to the county rates. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

79. Is there a standard rate for attendant care?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. DVR should stay within the rate range established by the county within which the consumer resides? (Reviewed: 07/2014)

80. Can a family member be paid to provide attendant care for a consumer?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

82. Does a childcare center need to be certified for DVR to purchase services with them?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. For example, family members can provide child care. On the other hand, DVR staff have a responsibility to ensure the quality of services being purchased. Reasonable prudence should be shown in picking a provider. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

83. Do consumers have to use a childcare provider who is at least provisionally certified if they are not on W-2?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst]

1. A consumer can use anyone they choose for child care. The certification is done through the county.

2. The rate can be negotiated but no more than what is paid for a provisionally certified provider.

3. We can pay the vendor or the consumer, preferably the vendor through a PO. Billing can be any agreed upon unit (daily, weekly or monthly for hours provided). If the consumer is paid/reimbursed, receipts will be required. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

Home Modifications

13. Can we do home modifications to help someone maintain full time employment (build a ramp or home/van mods)?

[Opinion of the DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, you can provide those services, and it is appropriate to have her seek comparable benefits.

The language in our Fed. Regs that addresses home modification is as follows: The ramp would be considered Rehabilitation Technology as defined in 361.5(b)(45) and Rehabilitation engineering under 361.5(b)(44). Rehabilitation Technology is a primary service. In this case it is necessary in order to remove or minimize mobility issues affecting employment.

Rehabilitation Technology services are exempted from comparable benefits requirements under 361.53(b)(5) although there is no prohibition, and staff are encouraged to use other available funding to help pay for the cost, if it does not delay unreasonably the provision of the service. You may be able to work out a cost share agreement with a local service, DVR paying part and the organization paying part.

When thinking of rehabilitation technology, many people think in terms of assistive technology, which under the Rehab Act is a more restrictive definition. The definition of rehab technology is more expansive and includes both rehab engineering, assistive technology and assistive technology services.

It is important to understand that Rehabilitation Technology is a primary service and does not need to be tied to any specific services nor is it limited to cases with an approved IPE. It can be used to assess and develop the capacities of the individual to perform in a work environment per 361.5(b)(6)(i)(D)(iii). (Reviewed: 06/2014)

75. Is WisLoan a resource that could help an individual with home remodeling costs (wheelchair or expand bathrooms)?

[Answer from Patti Kraemer] - Yes, WisLoan would be an appropriate resource, but... the question comes up regarding how much of the addition would be covered if part of it is for the accessibility and how much is for other reasons. That type of decision would be left to our nine member board. With that being said, please refer the person and we would take the application and go from there. The person does need to own the home to apply for this type of loan through this program. Also, if the person is able to get a home equity loan, they may be able to get a lower interest rate that way. Our interest rate will be 2% points above prime - or at this time about 6.75%. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

Individualized Plan for Employment

30. If a consumer can hear and speak, but prefers to use ASL, do we have to go with her preference?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - If the consumer can hear and speak, but prefers ASL, then ASL should be used. The consumer may not feel comfortable with his/her grasp of English grammar and usage when spoken.

The law is pretty clear that the choice of preferred method rests with the consumer. See Providing Sign Language Interpreter guidance. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

50. Can DVR pay for alcohol and other drug abuse treatment or counseling?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. It does fall under the comparable benefits requirement, however, so if treatment is available from another public source, like the county, that should be utilized. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

53. Is it okay to tell a consumer that DVR does not purchase handguns?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No, the purchase of guns is not prohibited per se in policy or the law. On the other hand, when you are involved in a potentially volatile or embarrassing case, make sure you consult with your district director and bureau director to make sure that good sustainable decisions are being made in the eligibility and development of the IPE. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

58. Can we pay for a job hire twice if a consumer gets a different job?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - An additional payment is allowable if the wage reduction really was unforeseeable, but this should not be a frequent occurrence.

Should the vendor have known about a possible wage reduction - was this really an appropriate placement to begin with? Did the consumer accept a placement that was a questionable fit for them and was through no fault of the vendor?

It is recommended that consultation on these cases be sought as there could be extenuating circumstances. Payment of a second hire fee should be rare. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

59. Do we pay for job development if the vendor did not participate significantly in obtaining the placement?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Our technical specifications state that as part of the hire criteria that the vendor was actively involved in assisting the consumer in obtaining the job.

If the job developer has been actively involved throughout the process, documenting that they are contacting employers on behalf of the consumer and actively developing leads for the consumer, even though they may have not created this one specific placement, then it is appropriate to pay the hire fee. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

61. 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)

62. 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)

65. 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)

66. 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)

76. 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: 07/2014)

84. Do consumers receiving benefits need to take out a PASS plan for services before DVR can pay for a service or item?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - RSA has ruled that PASS plans cannot be used as comparable benefits. The reason is that the source of PASS plan funds is the personal resources of the consumer and we cannot consider the personal resources of an individual as a comparable benefit. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

90. Does DVR have a policy on therapy/service animals?

Service animals (usually a dog) are trained to perform tasks to assist an individual with a disability. Service animals are generally free to the individual receiving them and are specifically trained by certifying organizations for specific disability types and purpose of activity. Additionally the recipient is required to demonstrate the ability to provide for the animal, appropriate need and skilled use of the animal.

Therapy animals are generally not trained to perform tasks for the consumer. They are not typically owned by the consumer but used instead by other health professionals to assist in treatment goals.

We can support the request for this service based strictly on IPE policy but there are implications beyond the IPE when obtaining a service dog/animal. It will be helpful for you to consider what is necessary for this consumer to reach their IPE goal. These situations will need consultation with a Supervisor.

Items for consideration:
Is there evidence that an animal will assist this particular consumer?
What is that evidence?
What resources exist for obtaining an animal?
Is there a certifying or training entity/body?
If there is no animal to assist the consumer, will they reach their employment goal?
What are the specific tasks that the animal will perform to assist the consumer?
What are the costs associated with obtaining an animal?
What is the time commitment needed to obtain the animal and care for the animal once obtained? What are the process steps and responsibilities of the consumer?
Are there comparable benefits available?
Are the settings in which the consumer will be trained or work, allow the presence of an animal? Is the consumer able to care for the needs of the animal?

(Added: 07/2015)

Internship/Temporary Work

5. 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)

24. Can DVR wages for a students required field experience/internship if it is unpaid by the employer?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - (Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst) If the counselor feels that paying wages for the work experience is necessary for the achievement of the IPE goal, then wages could be paid. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Maintenance

25. Can a consumer receiving SSI benefits receive maintenance services from DVR?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, Assuming, of course, that there was a legitimate reason to provide maintenance for increased costs incurred by the IPE , DVR does not force a consumer to use SSI to cover those increased costs. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

26. Can maintenance be used to replace a consumer's salary (the consumer needs to quit a job to participate in an IPE)?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

27. Can DVR pay a consumer for wages lost by having to take time off from work to attend a vocational evaluation?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. However, all efforts should be made to schedule evaluations during non-work hours. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

28. Can we pay security deposits for our consumers when they move?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes DVR can. And it is OK for the consumer to keep the deposit when it is returned if the rehabilitation plan has been completed.

I am assuming that the consumer is moving because the IPE requires it. If the move is a matter of consumer choice and not IPE necessity, the consumer would need to pay the security deposit. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

29. Can maintenance be provided to consumers who go to short evaluations?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. If there is an increased cost to the consumer due to participating in the IPE, maintenance could be provided as determined necessary and appropriate. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

43. We received a receipt for groceries that indicates that consumer paid with Food Stamps.

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - We should not pay for anything paid for by Food Stamps. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

44. Can we purchase pre-paid telephone cards for consumers?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - If there is an IPE vocational need for the service. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

45. Can DVR fund remodeling or construction that is necessary for a consumer to achieve his/her IPE goal?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, the law does not prevent this if it is a disability-related need or necessary for the achievement of the IPE goal?

The concern is whether or not this is constituted as construction under EDGAR Education Department General Administrative Regulations:

Sec. 76.533 Acquisition of real property; construction.

No State or subgrantee may use its grant or subgrant for acquisition of real property or for construction unless specifically permitted by the authorizing statute or implementing regulations for the program.

After considerable discussion with the management team, they have determined that Knowledgebase language should be clarified to reflect that if construction is necessary for the consumer to go to work and achieve his/her IPE goal, that DVR can provide it. The relationship between the remodeling/construction and the job must be clearly established in the case record.

*DVR does not purchase land or buildings

We would not consider construction as a service if: (1) The property is not owned by the consumer (e.g. rental properties- responsibility of rental company; (2) The construction is not necessary or appropriate for the achievement of the IPE goal

The following process has been agreed to for construction/remodeling services:

• The service needs to be determined as necessary and appropriate by the counselor and the counselor must document in IRIS the rationale for this decision.

• The request needs to be submitted to the supervisor/ director who will review the counselor’s rationale and determine if the service is necessary and appropriate.

• The supervisor/director will then pass the request up to the Bureau of Consumer Services Director for review.

(Reviewed: 06/2014)

48. Can DVR pay a consumer's health insurance premiums?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Generally, DVR does not pay for health insurance for a consumer, because health insurance is a maintenance kind of purchase as opposed to restoration. Exceptions can be made when the purpose is to access resources for restoration, or to allow temporary continuation like COBRA until the consumer can step in, but not as an ongoing time unlimited purchase. Please note: If the IPE does call for the payment of health insurance for a limited period of time, the payments must be made directly to the consumer (purchase orders for subscription services should not be used). The consumer must take responsibility for all communications and payments to the insurance carrier. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

54. I have a consumer who owes for BadgerCare costs incurred prior to becoming a DVR consumer. Can we pay for this?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - DVR cannot pay for expenses incurred prior to the individual becoming a DVR consumer. Therefore, DVR cannot pay for the back BadgerCare costs. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

55. Is there a policy regarding DVR paying late fees?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There is no prohibition against paying late fees. The question becomes, why are they necessary? Are the late fees because the consumer delayed in making payment? If that is the case, the consumer should pay them. Are the late fees because we were not aware the service was needed in time to avoid them? If that is the case, DVR should pay them. Are the late fees because the institution does not count our purchase order as payment and charges late fees if a check is not in hand within 30 days? Then we should be talking to the institution about their practices. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

68. 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)

69. Where does it say DVR can't reimburse a consumer for state sales tax?

In the policy manual under the heading Rates of Payment is the following:

The service that will meet the consumer's need at the least cost to the DVR shall be the service purchased. In all purchasing, the consumer may choose his or her preferred vendor. In making this selection, if the consumer chooses a product or vendor that exceeds the maximum rate of payment established by the above procedures, the consumer will be responsible for the excess amount.

This is interpreted to mean that if the consumer makes a decision which results in the payment of sales tax when a more cost effective option is available, then the sales tax is an excess or extra cost and it is the consumer's responsibility.

If, on the other hand, the service is not available through use of a purchase order and the only way to purchase it is to pay the sales tax, then this would not be an additional cost created by the consumer's choice and DVR could pay the sales tax. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Medicaid Rate

23. Is there a website to acquire medications?

The following website will help consumers acquire medications if they do not otherwise have the means to purchase them. http://www.needymeds.com/ (Reviewed: 06/2014)

37. Are we limited to just the Medical Assistance price guidelines when purchasing glasses for a consumer?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, if you can find a vendor who will provide the service for that amount. As far as the frames are concerned, if the consumer wants more expensive ones, he/she would have to pay the extra. Unless there is a rehabilitation plan reason why other frames or lenses are needed. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

38. Prosthetic MA rates …

[Entire Question] - I would like to know what action to take when a vendor charges more than the Medical Assistance rate for services such as purchase of prosthesis. In this case, there were also extenuating circumstances in that the consumer was larger than average size. Are we expected to search for a vendor who will provide the MA rate?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - You ask several questions.

• Should you try to find a vendor who will accept the MA rate? Yes.

• If you can't find a vendor who will accept the MA rate, is it OK to get three price quotations and go with the lowest of the three? Yes.

• Can the consumer pick whichever vendor he wants if he pays the extra? Yes.

• Is the justification for why the vendors would not accept the MA rate sufficient for this case? Yes.

(Reviewed: 06/2014)

39. Should we wait for MA to see if they will pay? If it takes a month does that constitute a delay in services?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The answer depends on what you plan to do with the consumer. Is there activity imminent which requires that the procedure/work be done quickly? What would the cost of the delay be to the consumer? Some people are on a relatively slow track and a month delay is insignificant. For others, it could cost them a job. You need to decide based on your work with the consumer to date. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

47. I can't find the MA fee for a medical service I need to purchase. Can I authorize at the clinic's usual rate?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - If you can't find the MA rate for the service, then authorize at the rate quoted by the hospital.

If you can find the MA rate, then authorize at the MA rate regardless of the hospital billing at a higher rate. Then when the invoice is received and receiving is done, the person doing the receiving can indicate that payment should only be made at the authorized rate. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Medical Restoration

12. I do not see a definition for what a reasonable period of time means/implies related to medical restoration.

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - You are correct, "reasonable period of time" is not defined in policy and is not always easy to determine. It should be determined on an individual basis based on what is appropriate for that case.

It is assumed that the counselor has already determined that the service is needed for the consumer to participate in their plan for employment, it is likely the service will correct or modify substantially a stable or slowly progressive physical or mental impairment that constitutes a substantial impediment to employment, and that comparable benefits have been well researched.

To assist in making the appropriate determination the counselor should work closely with the consumer and their medical provider. The medical provider should be able to provide information regarding the expected progress with the treatment being provided and timeframes for this. Specific benchmarks should be developed and included in the IPE to assist in demonstrating that progress is being made and that the treatment is assisting the consumer in achieving their employment goal. An example would be that at the end of one month of treatment the consumer is able to work 4 hours a day, after two month 6 hours a day, and so on. If these benchmarks are not being met and improvement is not occurring then the counselor and consumer should discuss if the service should continue. If a service is not assisting a consumer towards achieving their IPE goal it should not continue to be provided.

Making these determinations requires a counselor to use professional judgment, documenting their reasoning, and incorporating the expectations and benchmarks into the IPE. It is always helpful for a counselor to consult with other counselors and their supervisor when making these decisions and working through the scenarios. A supervisor could also consult with other supervisor for further assistance. These are not easy decisions to make. If a counselor is unclear on what the appropriate determination would be they should take the time needed to examine the situation, gather information, and consult with their colleagues. They should not feel rushed into making a decision but allow the appropriate amount time needed to make the best determination.

A counselor should continue to work with the medical provider and consumer to determine if there are any available comparable benefits that can assist the consumer that were not available before. Are there any community agencies or resources that can assist with payment of the service? If the benchmarks continue to be met, there is no other assistance available to the consumer to receive the treatment, and the service is allowing the consumer to work towards achieving their goal then there is no reason the service cannot continue. It is important that if the treatment is something that will need to be ongoing and continue beyond the case with DVR that it is built into the IPE that there is an expectation of the consumer being able to sustain the treatment on their own before we close the case. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Training

6. Do we pay for accommodations at private schools (i.e., interpreter costs)?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. If the school receives federal monies (like financial aids) then they need to be accessible the same as public schools. It is their responsibility. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

7. Are we done financially supporting accommodations for UW and WTCS systems?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, as of June 30, 2005. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

14. Does DVR fund college campus visits?

As is true for all IPE services, providing this service should be determined on a case by case basis. You should discuss the following questions with the consumer when determining if this is an appropriate and reasonable service for the consumer:

• Is this service necessary for the consumer to reach his/her IPE goal?

• What are the consequences of not providing this service?

• Can the consumer use other methods to seeking information from the school, such as correspondence, school information packets, web sites, etc?

• If you do determine that the consumer will derive certain benefits from the visit that are necessary for the consumer to reach his/her IPE goal, is a campus visit the least costly option? Are there other services that would provide the same benefits to the consumer which are less costly?

It is important to determine the appropriateness of this service based on the consumer’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. You should also consult with your supervisor or WDA Director. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

16. Can DVR support experiential programs at colleges?

Supporting programs such as Minnesota Life, Edgewood-Cutting Edge, Shepard's College and other Think College programs should be looked at on an individual basis. The counselor and consumer together should determine what training (individual classes, certificate, degree, etc.) and/or skills the consumer needs to achieve his/her IPE goal. After that has been identified, the counselor and consumer can then determine the appropriate provider of those services to meet the consumers need at the least cost to the agency. DVR would only fund courses/ training (e.g. temporary work, job shadows, academic courses leading to an employment outcome, etc.) needed for the consumer to achieve the IPE goal.

DVR staff should determine if there are comparable services available locally that would meet the consumer's IPE needs at a lower cost (e.g. public program, independent living center, etc.). If the consumer selects a higher cost service they may be responsible for the additional cost.

These colleges do not currently provide FAO for their programs. If it is determined that attendance at one of these programs is necessary and appropriate, the DVR Non-FAO process would be followed. These schools would also be considered private schools.

It is recommended that you consult with your supervisor on cases where programs such as these are being considered. (Updated: 07/2015)

31. For a correspondence course, does the business need to be approved by the WI Higher Education Approval Board?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Our policy no longer specifically requires that the provider of the course be approved by the WHEAB. However, if a course is offered by an approved school which would also meet the consumer's needs and if that school offers financial aids for the coursework, then that would need to be a consideration. Also, it is the responsibility of the consumer and counselor to ensure that the coursework that is approved will meet the consumer's needs. Is it recognized by employers so it will ultimately enable the consumer to get a job?

If both of those considerations are satisfactorily addressed, then you can use the school regardless of its WHEAB approval status. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

33. A UW student is requesting assistance with airfare/housing (not a requirement of the program), do we fund?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The central question here is whether study abroad (Hawaii in this example) s essential to him achieving his vocational objective.

If it is, you can help with the additional costs.

If it is not, but he still wants to do it, (nice to do but does not have to do) he should pay the extra costs. You would pay the same as if he were studying in a state university in Wisconsin. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

35. Is the purchase of a computer for a student a primary service or a secondary service?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Purchase of a computer, regardless of the type or whether it is an accommodation or not, is always considered to be a primary service. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

36. Can we pay an employer's liability insurance when it increases because of an OJT with one of our consumers?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - We can compensate the employer for those costs as part of the OJT. But the employer must make the payments to the insurance company. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

64. 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)

67. 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)

71. For students in college, do we require a 2.0 cumulative GPA or 2.0 semester GPA?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Policy does not require either. You may set the progress measures for the IPE as you feel appropriate. For a student in graduate school, the grade point expectation would likely be higher than at the undergraduate level. But you have to decide with the consumer what constitutes successful progress. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

72. Can DVR pay for failed courses or dropped classes a second time?

This is determined on an individual basis. It is OK to give the person another chance, if appropriate. It also is OK to say no if you feel the person is not cooperating. What you need to do is establish some ground rules for what is expected of the consumer to continue receiving VR services. These should be in writing on the IPE. I suggest you meet the consumer and go over what you feel needs to happen if she is to be successful in school. If the consumer refuses to comply, then you can deny further services. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

73. Can DVR pay for "formal theological education" required for this consumer to be a chaplain?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes. If "Chaplain" other occupation related to religion is the most appropriate vocational objective for this person, then DVR can support that IPE goal. What DVR cannot do is make payments Directly to the Seminar - this is based upon EDGAR. But we can do direct payments to the consumer to be used for the purpose of paying for school costs as done through the training grant process. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

Training Grant/Funding

8. Any special procedure to be in place for those with defaulted loans?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The same procedure will be in effect as what DVR has used in the past. The consumer will need to make a maximum effort to reconcile the default and become eligible for comparable benefits (i.e. financial aids). (Reviewed: 06/2014)

9. Does the training grant fee schedule also apply to Masters and PhD situations where PELL grants are not available?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Sometimes, significant grants and assistance are available to post graduate students, but often special application and special effort is required to apply for them. Where comparable benefits are available, the student will be expected to make the maximum effort required by the law to obtain them. When comparable benefits are not available, each situation will need to be evaluated individually to determine whether an exception to the fee schedule is warranted or not. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

10. Student loan default ...

[Entire Question] - If a student is in default of a student loan and has not made an effort to clear the default, DVR cannot fund a post-secondary program. But if that same student enrolls in a short term (one semester) program which is not eligible for financial aids, can DVR provide funding since comparable benefits are not jeopardized?

[Response] - The consumer needs to make maximum effort to acquire comparable benefits (financial aids). This means that the consumer needs to demonstrate a significant effort to resolve the outstanding issue. If the issue cannot reasonably be reconciled despite good faith efforts, especially if the reason involves disability issues, DVR can fund despite the delinquency. A good faith effort often involves setting up a repayment schedule through the loan company or the courts for child support and making payments on time. Documentation of the repayment plan should be obtained and included in the consumers IRIS case file. How best to proceed should be looked at on an individual basis. The key is that they did everything they could to try to become eligible for financial aids. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

17. If a consumer is no longer eligible for financial aids due 150% rule is an exception required to provide a TG?

No, an exception is not needed unless the consumer has exceeded the maximum duration of DVR support outlined in the Training Grant Fee Schedule.

If a consumer has maxed out their eligibility for F/A (150% rule) they need to demonstrate that they have made maximum effort to obtain comparable benefits before DVR can assist. The determination that maximum effort has been made can be determined by the VR Counselor. Documentation demonstrating that maximum effort was made should be included in the IRIS case file.

The consumer should appeal the 150% ruling with the school F/A office as part of demonstrating that they have made maximum effort. How schools handle these appeals varies. I would encourage you to check out the specific schools website for more information or contact the local FAO office.

Regarding the duration of support outlined in the DVR Training Grant Fee Schedule, this duration only relates to training that DVR has assisted with. If it is anticipated that the consumer will exceed the durations outlined in the fee schedule, and the reasoning is appropriate, the counselor should consult with their supervisor early on so that services are not delayed. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

22. If a student fails or drops out of a class or semester, can DVR pay to retake the class or pay a subsequent semester?

DVR has no policy that prohibits us from paying course costs for a student to retake a class or paying for subsequent semester costs, after a failed semester. The determination about providing funding should be decided on a case-by-case basis. The vocational rehabilitation counselor should discuss with the student the reasons the student did not successfully complete the class or the semester. If the counselor determines the student has good cause, DVR can pay for it again. Examples of good cause could include not having the necessary accommodations/supports in place, the student being hospitalized for disability issues, serious family problems, etc. Depending on the reason, it would be important to discuss additional services the student may need and work with the student to develop strategies to prevent a recurrence. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

85. Can DVR pay tuition for a consumer who is not FAO eligible for failing to register for the selective service?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. The student will have to correct his Selective Service issue and then apply for Financial Aid. He has not, because of his failure to register for the Selective Service, exerted maximum effort to obtain FAO grants. He is, therefore, not eligible for DVR school tuition funding. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

87. Are athletic scholarships considered comparable benefits for college students?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. Athletic scholarships are exempt from consideration as a comparable benefit. They are a merit scholarship; not a need based grant. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

88. Is an RSA stipend to do graduate work in vocational rehabilitation count as a comparable benefit?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. The stipend is not need based and therefore is exempt from the comparable benefits consideration. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

Transportation

4. If we provide travel funding at public transportation rate, must it be used to ride bus or can they use for gas?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The consumer can use whatever method he/she wants.(Reviewed: 06/2014)

18. Is it allowed under VR law and policy pay a consumer's traffic fines to regain his/her driver’s license?

[Response from Howard Bernstein (2011), DWD Legal Counsel] - There are clearly many situations in which a VR consumer's earning and employment prospects will be greatly improved by having a valid driver’s license. However, the overall intent of the VR law is that the funds spent on behalf of VR consumers are expected to be spent on education, training, and specialized equipment that relate directly to the consumer's DVR status and plan for employment.

The use of VR funds as "general assistance," so that a consumer can clear up a debt that is impeding his or her employment prospects, could easily be expanded beyond this single instance. There will be other consumers whose drivers licenses are suspended due to nonpayment of traffic fines. Would they all now be eligible for the payment of traffic fines with VR funds? The same rationale could also be applied to a consumer whose business property has been seized or attached due to nonpayment of a debt or judgment.

I believe that the correct analysis is to stay with the expressly authorized purpose of VR funds as intended for education/training or specialized equipment for the consumer. Therefore, it is my conclusion and recommendation that VR funds should not be used to pay a consumer's traffic fines. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

19. What is the mileage reimbursement rate for consumers using a modified van or a modified car?

For modified vans, the consumer should be paid the turndown rate for modified van as established by the department -http://dwdworkweb/asdfin/travel/travelrates.htm. For modified cars, use the turndown rate for cars. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

32. Can DVR help consumers get their drivers licenses (paying for the license itself)?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, if it is necessary to achieve the IPE employment outcome. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

40. Can DVR purchase vehicles?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, if there is an approved exception request necessary to address a disability related need and is also necessary to achieve the IPE employment outcome. All other options and resources must be considered and an exception requested. DVR will not purchase vehicles to address a basic transportation need. (Reviewed: 11/2015)

42. A consumer submitted an ERL with the cost of gas listed on it. No miles are listed. Does DVR pay for gas?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] – DVR does not pay for "gas". DVR pays for transportation costs based on mileage. There may be an exception made to the fee schedule amount (approved by the WDA director), but mileage would be required regardless (unless it was set up as a stipend following those procedures). (Reviewed: 06/2014)

51. Do we have a specific website to use for used car prices? Some staff use Edmonds' and others use Kelly's blue book.

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - You can use whichever you prefer. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

70. Mileage Reimbursement …

[Entire Question] - A current consumer is asking to be reimbursed for previous mileage as he states DVR counselor never told him this was available. He said he called CAP and they said we can go back one year. As part of this question-what is the obligation of DVR counselors to inform consumers of services available such as mileage?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - First, as to reimbursement for services not provided, counselors do not have the authority to reimburse for services which were not prior authorized. It is really an appeal issue.

As to your question of counselor's responsibility to inform consumers of all the services they might be eligible for, yes, the Rehabilitation Act does require that we fully inform consumers of the complete scope of services in preparation for development of the IPE. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

74. Is a modified van considered rehab tech or just the modifications (if the van is purchased pre-modified)?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - If the vehicle is purchased already modified it would be rehab tech. If the vehicle is purchased separate (pre-modification) the vehicle would be transportation and the modifications would be rehab tech. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

Self-Employment

11. A consumer wants to buy an existing restaurant in Florida. Should he apply for services in Florida or can we assist?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - It could go either way. If he is going to require significant support resources, including funding for the business, those will likely to be local to where he will be moving. It is unlikely that business consultants in Wisconsin are going to be able to provide accurate analyses of marketing potential and resource acquisition for a business in Florida.

On the other hand, there is no prohibition for you to start services here. It is a matter of what is most feasible and helpful to the consumer and reasonable for VR.

I suggest you talk this over with your supervisor before making a decision. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

20. Does the self-employment toolkit have to be followed for existing and expanding businesses?

The Self-Employment Start-up Toolkit was not developed for existing businesses. How best to proceed with these cases should be determined on a case by case basis by determining if the business is meeting their needs, if it is viable, and what assistance they are requesting.. It may be appropriate in some cases to complete some or all of the steps of the toolkit, while in others where the business is well established and determined viable, it may not be needed. Not all current businesses would require a BP it would depend on what they are looking to do and what they are asking of DVR (expand, take business in a different direction, add new services, etc.).

For existing businesses we also need to document that the consumer is reporting their business income to the IRS and that they do the required withholding, payroll and IRS reporting for employees of the business. DVR will not support a cash based business that does not comply with the IRS regulations.

Please note the information below is general information. If you have specific questions about your case with an existing business and the use of the toolkit process, I would recommend discussing it with your supervisor.

Maintaining of Business:

If the goal is to maintain a current business, and the consumer can demonstrate financial viability, a BP is not necessary. We would want to ensure that we are supporting a viable goal for the consumer. Looking at his financials and the history of the business such as the taxes for past three years, and how it is currently functioning- profit/loss will help you answer the question "Is this business financially viable?". It is also important to have a discussion on what the consumers work goals are - does he/she want to work PT or FT, stay on benefits, what is his income need, is this goal appropriate for the consumer, etc. Answering these questions will give you all a good sense of whether or not this business is meeting those needs and the viability of the business.

If it is meeting his/her employment needs, is viable, and following IRS regulations then determine with the consumer what he needs from DVR to maintain his current business and what is necessary and appropriate for DVR to assist with. The DVR purchasing policies would apply.

If it appears that the business is not meeting his/her needs and it appears the business is not financially viable, a full BP should be written to look at the business in more detail and what needs to be addressed to make it viable. The viability of the business is important for us to support the IPE and provide services. We should not support a business that is not viable and not meeting the needs of the consumer.

Expansion of Business:

If the consumer is interested in expanding his/her business then following the steps of the toolkit and the development of a business plan is required. Doing so is very beneficial to the consumer to explore the new services he wants to add and how this expansion could look. As discussed in the BP toolkit, the BP is the business's roadmap and helps layout where they want to be and how to get there. Done properly, the BP will help answer questions of business viability, both past and projected. Will the consumer’s needs be met with the expansion? What are the projections for the business over the next couple of years? (Reviewed: 06/2014)

46. Entrepreneur Readiness Worksheet ...

[Entire Question] - If the Entrepreneur Readiness Worksheet in IRIS indicates the consumer needs to address their defaulted loans, unpaid income tax, child support payments, etc. before moving forward, how do we proceed?

[Response] - How to proceed will need to be determined on a case by case basis.

In some cases it may be appropriate for DVR to support the consumer setting up a repayment plan and making payments for a reasonable period of time before continuing with self-employment process. If determined appropriate, DVR could also assist the consumer in getting a job allowing them to have the funds necessary to make the payments. In other cases it may be determined that self-employment is not appropriate and other occupational options need to be explored.

When making these determinations consideration should be given to:

√ How much the consumer owes and their ability to set up re-payment and get in good standing.

√ If there is an anticipated consumer participation will they be able to secure those funds within a reasonable period of time.

√ Would the owed amounts impact their ability to start-up and keep the proposed business running if not paid back in full prior to proceeding.

If DVR agrees to support the consumer making payments for a period of time, the IPE should be developed and reflect how we will determine progress is being made and the amount of time DVR agrees to support. In some cases it may be determined appropriate to proceed with the feasibility study in order to know if the business idea is even feasible before setting up plan to address defaulted funds.

It is recommended that you consult with your supervisor on these cases. (Created: 04/2014)

77. Can self-employment be considered for consumers receiving mental health services from a county?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst) - Yes. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

Supported Employment

2. Can we provide supported employment to someone in Category 2?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, if it is necessary to achieve the IPE employment outcome. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

15. Who is responsible for services if a consumer loses their job after transition to long term support (LTS)?

A supported employment consumer can come back just as any other consumer can. There is nothing different about supported employment consumers. If post-employment services are determined not appropriate, the consumer would need to reapply for DVR services and be found eligible.

DVR would not necessarily take over extended services or other services. We would provide services that are determined necessary and appropriate for VR reasons. We would also consider comparable benefits as we would in any other case. Decisions should be made on an individual basis, based upon what is necessary and appropriate for the specific consumer. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

56. If we paid supported employment hire fee and job was lost, can we re-authorize for an additional hire fee?

The counselor may authorize another $1,400 if the consumer was receiving appropriate supports and follow-up by the vendor and, indeed, the employer changed their mind. This should not be a common occurrence. Discussion to verify this with the consumer and approval by your supervisor is recommended. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

57. I have a consumer in SE who did not get placed in 60 days per the tech specs in the contract. Now what do I do?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The Supported Employment technical specifications do not require the consumer to be placed in 60 days - the specs state "Job Development services are delivered per the Employment and Support Plan. The Plan is to be reviewed and revised every 60 days at a team meeting." A meeting should occur with the consumer and vendor to determine next steps and whether different job search strategies are needed. (Reviewed: 06/2014)

81. Why don't providers provide follow-up services for 90 days after LTS in supported employment?

[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - When a case is transitioned to long term supports (LTS) there has been a provider identified by the long term care provider to serve the consumer using their funding. It may be the same provider or a different provider. In the meeting where transition is discussed, DVR should provide information so that if issues arise, DVR is informed-reports can also be sent to us if the consumer and long term support provider agree and a release is signed. We still need to provide 90 days of follow-up and can get information at that 90 day date from the long term support provider. (Reviewed: 07/2014)

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