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. A-Z Resources List 12. Chronological Announcements
Technical & General Information
- DVR Policy Manual
- Related Information
- Rehabilitation Act/Federal Regulations Comparison
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Case Management System - Integrated Rehabilitation Information System (IRIS)
- Attaching and Scanning Documents to the Official Case Record
- Storing of Consumer Case Documents and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in IRIS
- IRIS Help Pages
- IRIS Program
- IRIS SharePoint Site
- Case Noting Style Guidance and Best Practice
- Case Transfer Process
- Case Transfers, Covering Vacant Caseloads, and Discharge Summaries Best Practices
- Consumer Contact Standards
- DOJ Background Check Procedures
- DVR Staff Directory
- Eligibility and Closure Documentation
- IPE Services Temporarily Interrupted
- Newsletter (Rehabilitation Resource)
- Office Locations
- On-the-Job Training (OJT) Hiring Initiative
- Providing Sign Language Interpreter Services
- Rapid Engagement Tip Sheet
- Records Requests from the Department of Corrections (DOC)
- Regulation & Licensing:
- State of Wisconsin, Department of Regulation & Licensing - Professional Counselor
- Alternative Methods of Face-to-Face Contacts
- Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
- Rehabilitation Act
- Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)
- RSA-107 / FY 2010 Monitoring Reports on the VR Program
- Sub Regulatory Guidance - Including Information Memoranda (IM), Policy Directives (PD), and Technical Assistance Circulars (TAC)
- Telework Providers (CORA)
- Top Ten Things About DVR
- Using Unemployment Insurance (UI) Data
- The Vocational Rehabilitation Process and Your Choices in the Process (CAP-18484-P)
- Wisconsin Administrative Code:
- DWD 60 - Supervised Business Enterprises Operated by Blind Persons
- DWD 65 - Order of Selection for Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- DWD 68 - Confidential Information
- DWD 75 - Appeal Procedures
- Working with Social Security Consumers
Activating the headings using enter from the keyboard expands the answer text underneath the question, so it can be read.
Sec. 361.47 Record of Services.
(a) The designated State unit must maintain for each applicant and eligible individual a record of services that includes, to the extent
pertinent, the following documentation:
(1) If an applicant has been determined to be an eligible individual, documentation supporting that determination in accordance with the requirements under Sec. 361.42.
(2) If an applicant or eligible individual receiving services under an IPE has been determined to be ineligible, documentation supporting that determination in accordance with the requirements under Sec. 361.43.
(3) Documentation that describes the justification for closing an applicant's or eligible individual's record of services if that closure is based on reasons other than ineligibility, including, as appropriate, documentation indicating that the State unit has satisfied the requirements in Sec. 361.44.
(4) If an individual has been determined to be an individual with a significant disability or an individual with a most significant disability, documentation supporting that determination.
(5) If an individual with a significant disability requires an exploration of abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in realistic work situations through the use of trial work experiences or,
as appropriate, an extended evaluation to determine whether the individual is an eligible individual, documentation supporting the need for, and the plan relating to, that exploration or, as appropriate,
extended evaluation and documentation regarding the periodic assessments carried out during the trial work experiences or, as appropriate, the extended evaluation, in accordance with the requirements under Sec. 361.42(e) and (f).
(6) The IPE, and any amendments to the IPE, consistent with the requirements under Sec. 361.46.
(7) Documentation describing the extent to which the applicant or eligible individual exercised informed choice regarding the provision of assessment services and the extent to which the eligible individual
exercised informed choice in the development of the IPE with respect to the selection of the specific employment outcome, the specific vocational rehabilitation services needed to achieve the employment outcome, the entity to provide the services, the employment setting, the settings in which the services will be provided, and the methods to procure the services.
(8) In the event that the IPE provides for services or an employment outcome in a non-integrated setting, a justification to support the non-integrated setting.
(9) In the event that an individual obtains competitive employment, verification that the individual is compensated at or above the minimum
wage and that the individual's wage and level of benefits are not less than that customarily paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by non-disabled individuals in accordance with Sec. 361.5(b)(11)(ii).
(10) In the event that an individual obtains an employment outcome in an extended employment setting in a community rehabilitation program or any other employment under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, documentation of the results of the annual reviews required under Sec. 361.55, the individual's input into those reviews, and the
individual's or, if appropriate, the individual's representative's acknowledgement that those reviews were conducted.
(11) Documentation concerning any action or decision resulting from a request by an individual under Sec. 361.57 for a review of determinations made by designated State unit personnel.
(12) In the event that an applicant or eligible individual requests under Sec. 361.38(c)(4) that documentation in the record of services be amended and the documentation is not amended, documentation of the request.
(13) In the event an individual is referred to another program through the State unit's information and referral system under Sec. 361.37, including other components of the statewide workforce
investment system, documentation on the nature and scope of services provided by the designated State unit to the individual and on the referral itself, consistent with the requirements of Sec. 361.37.
(14) In the event an individual's record of service is closed under Sec. 361.56, documentation that demonstrates the services provided under the individual's IPE contributed to the achievement of the
(15) In the event an individual's record of service is closed under Sec. 361.56, documentation verifying that the provisions of Sec. 361.56 have been satisfied.
(b) The State unit, in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council if the State has a Council, must determine the type of documentation that the State unit must maintain for each applicant and
eligible individual in order to meet the requirements in paragraph (a) of this section.
Sec. 361.12 Methods of Administration.
The State plan must assure that the State agency, and the designated State unit if applicable, employs methods of administration found necessary by the Secretary for the proper and efficient administration of the plan and for carrying out all functions for which
the State is responsible under the plan and this part. These methods must include procedures to ensure accurate data collection and financial accountability.
Sec. 361.37 Information and referral services.
(a) General provisions. The State plan must assure that--
(1) The designated State agency will implement an information and referral system adequate to ensure that individuals with disabilities, including eligible individuals who do not meet the agency's order of
selection criteria for receiving vocational rehabilitation services if the agency is operating on an order of selection, are provided accurate vocational rehabilitation information and guidance (which may include counseling and referral for job placement) using appropriate modes of communication to assist them in preparing for, securing, retaining, or
regaining employment; and
(2) The designated State agency will refer individuals with disabilities to other appropriate Federal and State programs, including other components of the statewide workforce investment system.
(b) Criteria for appropriate referrals. In making the referrals identified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, the designated State unit must--
(1) Refer the individual to Federal or State programs, including programs carried out by other components of the statewide workforce investment system, best suited to address the specific employment needs of an individual with a disability; and
(2) Provide the individual who is being referred--
(i) A notice of the referral by the designated State agency to the agency carrying out the program;
(ii) Information identifying a specific point of contact within the agency to which the individual is being referred; and
(iii) Information and advice regarding the most suitable services to assist the individual to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.
(c) Order of selection. In providing the information and referral services under this section to eligible individuals who are not in the priority category or categories to receive vocational rehabilitation
services under the State's order of selection, the State unit must identify, as part of its reporting under section 101(a)(10) of the Act and Sec. 361.40, the number of eligible individuals who did not meet
the agency's order of selection criteria for receiving vocational rehabilitation services and did receive information and referral services under this section.
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;
Sec. 101(a)(6) Methods for administration
(A) In general
The State plan shall provide for such methods of administration as are found by the Commissioner to be necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the plan.
Sec. 131 Data Sharing
(b) Treatment of Information
For purposes of the exchange described in subsection (a)(1), the data described in subsection (a)(1)(B)(ii) shall not be considered return information (as defined in section 6103(b)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) and, as appropriate, the confidentiality of all client information shall be maintained by the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the Social Security Administration.
(20) Information and referral services
(A) In general
The State plan shall include an assurance that the designated State agency will implement an information and referral system adequate to ensure that individuals with disabilities will be provided accurate vocational rehabilitation information and guidance, using appropriate modes of communication, to assist such individuals in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining employment, and will be appropriately referred to Federal and State programs (other than the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this title), including other components of the statewide workforce investment system in the State.
An appropriate referral made through the system shall--
(i) be to the Federal or State programs, including programs carried out by other components of the statewide workforce investment system in the State, best suited to address the specific employment needs of an individual with a disability; and
(ii) include, for each of these programs, provision to the individual of--
(I) a notice of the referral by the designated State agency to the agency carrying out the program;
(II) information identifying a specific point of contact within the agency carrying out the program; and
(III) information and advice regarding the most suitable services to assist the individual to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.
Activating the headings using enter from the keyboard expands the answer text underneath the question, so it can be read.
1. Can a consumer under the age of 18 or over 18 with a court appointed guardian sign DVR documents?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The parent or court appointed guardian is required to sign. The consumer can sign along with them if the parent or guardian wants them to.
2. Should consumers report grants they receive from DVR to the IRS as income?
No, consumers should not report any value of goods, services, or cash received from DVR as income.
For IRS purposes, their publication 17 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf) Chapter 12 (Other income) page 86 under the section “Welfare and Other Public Assistance Benefits” under the subsection “persons with disabilities” (page 91) states: “You must include in income, compensation benefits you receive for services you perform unless the compensation is otherwise excluded. However, you do not include in income the value of goods, services, and cash that you receive, not in return for your services, but for your training and rehabilitation because you have a disability.
Consumers should contact the IRS directly with any specific questions they may have. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
3. 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.
4. I have received a release from CAP. What can I release?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - DVR has a special relationship with the Client Assistance Program because of their mandate under the Rehabilitation Act American College Testing. Upon receipt of a release, the CAP Client Assistance Program investigator can inspect the entire case record, not just the information prior to the date the consumer signed the release.
For additional information refer to the Confidentiality Guidance Piece section on providing information to CAP.
5. Who should certified copy fee checks be sent to? Bureau of Finance?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The check should be sent to you and then you submit it to Central Office for proper coding. CO staff will then provide to
Finance for deposit.
PO Box 7852
Madison, WI 53707
6. Do we have to check with a psychologist who wrote a report prior to determine if it could cause harm to release?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - )No. Before records can be released to the consumer, a counselor or manager must review psychological reports, medical records, and other information to determine if any might cause significant harm to the consumer. If so, the consumer must select a third party to receive the records on his/her behalf. As necessary the psychologist can be consulted with.
If it is unclear if the report could cause harm the counselor should consult with their supervisor.
7. I have been subpoenaed to appear tomorrow in a civil case. Do I need to obtain a release from the consumer?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Yes, you do need to get the consumer's permission (a signed release of medical information) to testify. You can take a release with you and get the consumer's signature in the court If the consumer refuses, you need to tell the judge that you cannot testify because of confidentiality restrictions (s. 47 and s. 146 Wisconsin State Statutes and 34 CFR Code of Federal Regulations 361.38, federal regulations). If the judge will grant you immunity from prosecution, you can be ordered to testify. If the judge does that, then go ahead and testify. Otherwise, politely and respectfully refuse.
The only difference in regard to a subpoena to a hearing (unemployment, worker's compensation, social security appeal) is that in a hearing the hearing officer cannot grant immunity so if the consumer refuses to sign a release granting you permission to testify, you cannot be compelled by the hearing officer to do so.
8. DVR has a current & closed file on a person; if we get a signed release specifying the complete file, do we copy both?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - Before making that decision you should contact the consumer and ask what he/she intended when signing the release form. Make sure he/she knows what information you have. Then casenote what the consumer tells you.
9. Release of Records …
[Entire Question] - I have received a release from a lawyer which includes a statement (psychological testing including vocational evaluations) as one of the kinds of records requested. Medical records and social history are also requested.
Do any of these allow me to send records covering depression and other mental health/mental illness records? In other words, are these records covered by the psychological testing statement?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - You should call the consumer and make sure it is OK to send the records before you do. Make sure the consumer knows what mental health records you possess when you ask permission to release them.
See the Confidentiality Guidance Piece for more information.
10. Do we need a release to provide a county child support investigator inform on if a consumer is following their IPE?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No. Child support investigators are exempt by state statute.
Child Support Investigation - Section 49.22(2m), Wisconsin State Statutes, requires disclosure of personal information including employment information to the Child Support Program without prior notice or consent of the subject of a record.
11. I have a release which allows for ongoing sharing of information with another agency. What can I share?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No signed release allows the ongoing sharing of information with other agencies.
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - No signed release allows the ongoing sharing of information with other agencies.
A signed release allows the release of file information one time only, and only information which was in our possession prior to or at the time of the consumer's signature on the release. How then do you ever have the ability to contact others and obtain/share information like who is providing which service, what is the consumer's current address, and eligibility for comparable benefits?
A release does not cover those situations. Instead, the Rehabilitation Act, the Workforce Investment Act and DWD 68 give counselors the legal ability to share information like that in the above paragraph, without having a signed release. Each consumer is to be informed of this contingency at time of application in writing. The citations for this authority are in the Confidentiality Guidance Piece.
So, no, the release you have is no longer valid. The release you had was never valid for the purpose you now need to share information for. But no release is needed for you to call another agency and ask them if they have current information like the consumer's current address.
12. My understanding is that medical records should be obtained by the requestor to the agency of origin. Correct?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - If the requestor has a valid signed consent to release, and if you believe the consumer was aware we had the records, and if the records are not stamped by the originator as not being able to be re-released, then you can release them.
13. Medical Records and FAR Documentation …
[Entire Question] - I am under the belief that once the counselor has reviewed medical records to determine eligibility and function, they should be able to get
rid of the report. They could keep a summary or notes, even the doctor's summary but not the whole report, which often include the doctors' visit notes. However,
on the FAR sheets in Wisconsin where it asks where the documentation is, there really isn't the option of shredding/destroyed or it does not seem like an option,
only in paper file or in IRIS?
[Response] - Your interpretation about being able to shred reports (provided the counselor had not previously made them part of the consumer's file) is correct. If the documentation of the disability is not retained, a summary of the disability information should be included in the file including where the information is from and how it can be obtained if needed. An appraisal of the limitations related to the disability information would be included on the FAR and should indicate where the disability information was obtained from, like at Sacred Heart Hospital, Memorial High School, doctor’s name, dates of the records, etc. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
14. When does the 60 day eligibility clock begin to tick: the date the application was received or entered in IRIS.
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The date DVR staff received the signed application. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
15. Can the consumer and counselor agree to an extension of the 60 days to get documentation for elig determination?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - The 60 day time limit is intended for the state agency. However, it is expected that the consumer is available to participate in
the evaluation leading to the determination and is reasonably cooperative.
Yes, the consumer and counselor can agree to an extension to get adequate documentation. Extensions should be granted when the reason documentation is missing is outside of the control of the counselor and consumer, not because one or the other fell down on the job or forgot to carry through with his/her responsibilities. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
16. When an assessment cannot be scheduled within the 60 days, should the consumer reapply to avoid an extension?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - If the eligibility determination could not be completed because the consumer did not show up for appointments or did not make
him/herself available for evaluations, and multiple attempts/methods were used then the file should be closed. Appeal rights should be provided.
If steps were put in motion, such as RMIs sent to hospitals or evaluations scheduled, but it was not possible to complete these steps through any fault of the consumer, then an extension should be asked for. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
17. Can we work with prisoners who are on work release?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There are a couple of issues you need to address relative to anyone who is institutionalized.
• Are they available to participate in any necessary evaluations to determine whether they are eligible for services?
• Are they available to participate in any necessary evaluations to determine what OOS category they are in?
• Are they able to participate in whatever process is necessary to write an IPE (determine the scope of services necessary and an appropriate vocational objective)?
• Are they able to work?
If you can answer yes to all 4 questions, you can work with the individual. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
18. Can we work with consumers who have open cases in other states? What are the rules/regulations?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst]
1. The law is silent on the issue of having multiple files open in different states. Because there is no restriction, there is no reason to believe it is somehow inappropriate. I would ask the Texas counselor with whom you are speaking to provide you with documentation as to the prohibition, because it does not exist in the federal regulations
2. As to opening a file prior to the consumer relocating, that is a gray area. The law does say that a state cannot impose a residency requirement for eligibility for anyone currently in the state. It does not say that states should open files for consumers prior to their relocation. I would suggest that the consumer apply as soon as he/she arrives in Texas and that you make it known that you will facilitate the transfer of information to expedite the process. But you may need to pick up the slack for a few months until the case is found eligible and a plan written in Texas. Here is the citation from federal regs as to this point so you can read it for yourself:
Sec. 361.42 - Assessment for determining eligibility and priority for services.
(c) Prohibited factors.
(1) The State plan must assure that the State unit will not impose, as part of determining eligibility under this section; a duration of residence requirement that excludes from services any applicant who is present in the State.
http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/info_ctr/app/services_non_residents.pdf. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
19. Why don't providers provide follow-up services for 90 days after transition to 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: 03/2018)
20. Should a case be kept open for 90 days from the last purchase before it can be closed as successfully rehabilitated?
The file should remain open for a minimum of 90 days after the employment goal has been achieved and the consumer no longer needs rehabilitation services (services that are needed for the achievement of the IPE goal have been provided). DVR Policy Analysts will get recent email correspondence to update. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
21. If a consumer wants to work with a specific counselor, does they need to justify that choice to a DVR supervisor?
[Opinion of DVR Policy Analyst] - There is no policy governing this situation. A consumer has the right to appeal the assignment of a particular counselor. But as to how the request is handled, it could vary from situation to situation. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
22. 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: 03/2018)
23. Checks for Subpoenas, Civil and Workers Compensation Witness Fees.
These are considered “earned only as a result of the grant agreement during the grant period” (34CFR80.25), and the checks are deposited into a program income account as revenue. General DVR operation costs are then transferred to this account to use the revenue. The program income account is within program revenue appropriation 530, is reported on the SF-269 as program income and is used only by DVR. DWD does not have a formal procedure for these specific items, but the DO Finance Cashiers do have personal notes/files that identify this process. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
24. What is the policy on case transfers within a WDA?
There is no policy on how cases can be transferred within a WDA. Each WDA can set up an internal practice for the transfer of cases. There are some considerations
that include unintended consequences which include: consumers opting to transfer offices whenever they disagree with a decision or because they heard that certain
VRCs provide more services than others, maintaining consistency and to help balance caseload sizes/workload.
A consumer can request a case transfer at any time.
Consumers addressing concerns directly through their counselor (with advocacy support as necessary) can promote development of self-advocacy skills and that decisions not to support a transfer request can be appealed.
It is important that the underlying reason for the request for transfer be addressed or the issues will go unresolved and may be repeated.
What are the specific issues?
Did the Consumer provide specific instances to the Supervisor?
Did the Supervisor provide any instruction to the Consumer?
What does the Consumer want resolved?
The Counselor and/or Supervisor may not have understood the level of concern or frustration expressed by the Consumer. If they agree that the relationship is not reparable, an inter-WDA transfer could be considered.
There is other guidance available to explain how to transfer a case from one WDA to another. (Reviewed: 03/2018)
25. Could VR be considered an "educational program" and be exempt from fair labor standards of requiring payment for meaningful work activity?
[Opinion of Policy Analyst] - DVR is considered an employment program. As an employment program we may provide training/education as a service to assist an
individual in achieving their goal but we are not considered an educational program.
DVR and the consumer may determine that a Work Experience or "Work" Internship is necessary for the achievement of the employment goal. For the vast majority of these DVR would assist in paying for these experiences as we are encouraging the employer to hire the consumer at the work site to assist in providing real work experience that may or may not lead to long term employment.
There are times when a consumer is participating in an educational training program for which they are required to obtain an unpaid internship, as you mentioned below. Through the educational program the consumer may choose to apply and take an internship like this to assist them in their long term goal. These experiences may be very beneficial for the consumer, very appropriate, and can legally be unpaid as part of the educational program.
When DVR is looking at assisting the consumer with an internship or work experience, under the Wage and Hours Fair Labor, since we are not considered an educational program we would assist with wages as these should be paid. Any specific questions on the Wage and Hour Fair Labor Standards they should be contacted. (Reviewed: 03/2018)