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​​Chapter 5 PLAN Contents:​

A1. Mandatory Client Notifications During IPE Development

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

The counselor shall advise the individual (or representative, as appropriate) in writing and in an appropriate mode of communication of (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5) and (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45):

    1. The availability of appropriate modes of communication if required to develop the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE or Employment Plan), 

    2. The timeframe for developing the IPE, 

    3. Any additional needs assessment information needed, 

    4. All the components that are required in an IPE.  For use of RS-4b form and AWARE Eligible And IPE Appointment letter as client notification, see Chapter 4.01, ELIGIBILITY, Policy 1, Section D2).  For policies on IPE components,  see Policy 2 of this chapter. 

    5. If the individual (or representative) wishes to take the lead in developing all or part of the IPE, ways the counselor may provide assistance upon request (e.g., explaining DRS policies, obtaining additional information or identifying sources, providing DRS forms and assisting in completing them, etc.), 

    6. DRS policies regarding eligibility criteria and consumer responsibilities for specific services under consideration, informed choice (see Chapter 1.6, INFORMED CHOICE, Policy 1), consumer financial participation (see Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL), and comparable benefits (see Chapter 14.2 COMPARABLE). 

    7. Consumer rights and avenues of appeal and Client Assistance Program (which are pre-printed on the RS-4b form and IPE).

    8. Individuals receiving SSI or SSDI who become eligible for a Ticket to Work anytime during the VR process will automatically have their Ticket assigned to DRS if they have a signed IPE. The counselor shall (per agency mandate) inform the client of this prior to the signing of the IPE and shall document this notice in the case record.

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[REVISED: 11/22/16]

     

  1. If DRS is operating under an Order Of Selection (OOS) and the case is not moving to the Delayed status waiting list (see Chapter 2.2 ORDER, Policy 2), the case is moved into Eligible status and the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) shall be developed and signed as soon as possible, but within 90 days of the Eligible Date. For required IPE format, see Policy 1: Section D of this chapter. When the IPE is finalized, mutually agreed to, and signed, the counselor shall complete the AWARE Plan screen and move the case into Service status. To extend the deadline, including for PERT and Transition cases, the counselor shall complete the AWARE Plan Development Extension screen to justify the IPE delay and move the case into Eligible - E status

  2. For students with disability who are VR clients
    To continue to provide pre-employment transition services already initiated before Eligible status, whether the assigned Order of Selection priority category is open or closed, see Chapter 2.2, ORDER OF SELECTION, Policy 2 Section B

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A3. Eligible - E status

[REVISED: 11/22/16] 


As often as necessary, but at least every 90 days the case remains in Eligible - E status, the case record must demonstrate casework, IPE planning, vocational counseling and guidance, or justification for the IPE delay.  If the IPE for a transition case (per 2016 Federal regulation 34 CFR § 361.22) is not finalized and signed before the student leaves the school setting, the counselor shall (per agency policy) document supervisor consultation.

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A4. Counseling Relationship and Client Informed Choice during IPE Development

[REVISED: 5/1/16]

For vocational counseling and guidance see Chapter 8.03, VR COUNSELING, Policy 1.  For informed choice see Chapter 1.6, INFORMED CHOICE, Policy 1

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A5. IPE Development Participants and Signature Requirements

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. By signing, the parties agree to abide by the contents.  DARS maintains final approval of the IPE as required by the Rehabilitation Act. 

  2. For counselor qualified to develop and sign the IPE for a Workers Compensation case, see Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A1.

  3. The counselor shall not sign the IPE or substantial amendment on behalf of the client (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45).

  4. For clients with SSA Ticket to Work, the client name and signature on the IPE must exactly match the name as it appears on the documentation of SSI or SSDI Disabled Worker benefits (SSA-1099, Award Letter, etc.).

  5. A client who cannot manually affix the legal signature or mark, must designate someone (other than the counselor) legally competent and age 18 or older to sign the client legal name followed with "by" and the designee printed legal name and signature.

  6. The signatures must be in writing. "Verbal signatures" by telephone are unacceptable

  7. The client and counselor are not required to sign in the presence of each other.

  8. It is acceptable for the parties to sign a mutually agreed-upon draft IPE or amendment when there are no changes between the draft and final document; the counselor shall keep the signed draft and shall provide the signatories a copy of the signed draft and final document.

  9. The counselor shall ask, using an appropriate mode of communication (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5 (c) (5), if the client has read the document and understands each section. It is not necessary to review every right and responsibility and term and condition that has previously been reviewed and understood. However, it may be appropriate for the counselor to probe to ensure the client understands the IPE contents and implementation. 

  10. For clients at least age 18 and not declared legally incompetent, informed written consent/release is required for others (parent, spouse, etc.) to participate with them and sign the IPE (see Chapter 1.1, CONFIDENTIALITY, Policy 1, Section A6).  If the counselor professional judgment is that this client does not understand the IPE development process, contents, and implementation, then the counselor may inform the client of support services available to exercise informed choice and the right to include legally competent adults (not the counselor) to participate and sign the IPE along with the client.

  11. Clients under 18 years old (unless legally emancipated) require a custodial parent or court-appointed legal guardian participation and signature on the IPE.

  12. For students with disabilities (those receiving special education services and those who are not), appropriate individuals in the school system (e.g., IEP team, 504 Coordinator) shall participate in the IPE development process but are not required to sign the IPE or substantial amendment.

  13. Individuals declared legally incompetent require a court-appointed legal guardian participation and signature on the IPE.

  14. Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) counselor shall participate (but is not required to sign the IPE or substantial amendment) when the client is at WWRC for vocational evaluation and all parties agree the client will stay at the Center for training services (per agency mandate).

  15. In developing IPE for a Supported Employment case, the participants should consider the ancillary circumstances surrounding the employment, such as family support, work disincentives, medication effectiveness, residential environment, etc.   For more information on Supported Employment, see the Virginia DRS Supported Employment Guide.


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A6. IPE Development and Individuals Jointly Served by DARS and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)​

[REVISED: 12/3/18]

  1. For cases jointly served by DARS and DBVI, each agency develops an IPE with the individual. See Chapter 16, INDIVIDUALS JOINTLY SERVED BY DARS AND THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE BLIND AND VISION IMPAIRED (DBVI), Policy 16, Section 7.​


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B. Scope of Services During IPE Development

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. For each individual certified eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation program (or if DRS is under Order Of Selection, each individual certified eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation program to whom DRS is able to provide services), an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) must  (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45) be developed and agreed to and signed by the vocational rehabilitation counselor and the eligible individual (or representative, as appropriateThe counselor shall not provide, or commit to providing, non-diagnostic, non-evaluation, non-assessment goods or services (e.g., college training, vehicle or home modification, supported employment, occupational tools and equipment, etc.) before the IPE is completed and signed. During Eligible and Eligible –E status, the  counselor may provide only the services listed in Chapter 4.02, TRIAL WORK, Policy 1, Section A2 that are needed to develop the IPE.  The counselor shall evaluate with each client the need for post employment services.  

 

 
 
 

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. The RS-5 form may be used to draft the individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), but the final IPE shall  (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54). be entered and saved in AWARE and the signature page saved.

  2. The counselor shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5 (c) (e) and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45) promptly provide  a copy, in the native language or appropriate mode of communication, of the signed IPE and any amendments (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.18 (e) and ).

  3. From Service status the case may be moved into Service-J, or directly into Employed status, or may be closed.
 

[REVISED: 2/15/05]

The individual and counselor shall complete the RS-13 form, or update it, before the individual receives any fee-based services (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54).

 

[REVISED: 1/21/99]

See Chapter 7, SCHOOL, Policy 1, Section D3 for use of RS-13 and RS-25 forms when authorizing post-secondary training services.

 

[REVISED: 10/1/01]

See Chapter 4.01, ELIGIBILITY, Policy 1, Section D2.

 
 
 

[REVISED: 11/22/16] 

  1. The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is a written, signed agreementThe IPE is not a legal contract and DRS will pay for services as long as there is money available to do so, the laws affecting the VR program do not change, and the client makes satisfactory progress toward reaching the employment goal on the IPE.  For requirements when developing the IPE, see Policy 1 of this chapter.  For IPE review requirements, see Policy 4 of this chapter.

  2. At a minimum, the IPE shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46) contain:

           

  1. An employment goal (for requirements, see Policy 2: Section B of this chapter)


  2. Projected time frame for achieving the employment goal.                          

     
     
  3. Progress measures.
    Progress measures are a description of criteria to evaluate progress toward achieving the established employment goal Each must be a specific measurable outcome (skill, behavior change, etc.) needed to reduce or remove the documented impediments to employment/serious functional limitations and achieve the IPE employment goal, and way to measure it (grades, vendor report, etc. ). In developing progress measures, consider changes needed in educational level, job skills, interpersonal skills, physical or mental condition, environmental conditions and accessibility issues, and other relevant factors.  Try to use a positive tone (e.g., maintain sobriety, acquire a degree or skill, increase a specific behavior, etc.). Progress measures may used to
    address ancillary issues that support achieving the IPE employment goal.  For example, a progress measure to acquire skills to manage child care issues may be appropriate for an individual. However, if the individual simply needs child care services to access DRS-approved services (e.g., training) a progress measure regarding child care may not be necessary.  For samples of progress measures, see Policy 2: Section C of this chapter.  
                                           
                                  
  4. Specific vocational rehabilitation services.

    1. The IPE shall include specific vocational rehabilitation services to be provided.  For example, if rehabilitation technology services are required, the IPE must identify the specific rehabilitation technology service.  The IPE shall include the projected service start date, service provider name, cost (if known), and funding source(s) including any client financial contribution and any comparable benefits.  The anticipated service end date is optional and, if used, must (per agency mandate) be based on the specific vocational rehabilitation needs of the individual. 

    2. The IPE shall include, at a minimum, 1) vocational counseling and guidance as an essential VR service (per RSA Manual Transmittal RSA-MT-92-27) and 2) job search assistance and follow up for at least 90 days after Employed Date.  See Chapter 8.03, COUNSELING, Policy 1 for counseling and guidance requirements.

    1. Counseling and guidance IPE
      This means the primary planned service is substantial counseling and guidance. While counseling and guidance is provided throughout the vocational rehabilitation process, a counseling and guidance IPE is written when the individual and counselor agree that i) planned, substantial counseling and guidance is the primary service the individual requires to achieve the established employment goal, and ii) the provision of counseling and guidance services will remove or substantially reduce the impediment to employment and will enable the individual to achieve the established employment goal.  Specific counseling issues (see ) shall be included in the progress measures.  See Chapter 8.03, COUNSELING, Policy 1 for frequency of scheduled sessions, C and G progress measures, and other requirements.  Unplanned sessions may also occur when a counseling and guidance issue needs immediate attention.  Other progress measures and services required for the individual to achieve the established employment goal or to remove or reduce the documented impediment to employment/serious functional limitation may be included as appropriate.

    1. Physical or mental restoration IPE
      This means the primary planned services are medical or mental services and related services.  A physical or mental restoration IPE is written when the individual and counselor agree that i) the individual’s substantial impediment to employment is caused by an identified physical or mental condition, and ii) the provision of physical or mental restoration services will remove or substantially reduce this impediment to employment and will enable the individual to achieve the established employment goal. Specific counseling issues (see Chapter 8.03, COUNSELING, Policy 1) shall be included in the progress measures.  See Chapter 8.03, COUNSELING, Policy 1 for frequency of scheduled sessions, progress measures, and other requirements.  For samples of physical or mental restoration progress measures, see section C of this policy.   Other progress measures and services required for the individual to achieve the established employment goal or to remove or reduce the documented impediment to employment/serious functional limitations may be included as appropriate. 

    1. Training IPE
      This means the primary planned service is vocational training, academic training, supported employment (SE) training, Work Adjustment Training (WAT), on-the-job training (OJT), training at Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC), or other type of training program.  A training IPE is written when the individual and counselor agree that the client i) does not have a marketable skill or the current employment is not consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and functional limitations of the individual based on the results of the eligibility determination assessment and any additional needs assessments needed to develop the IPE, and ii) training will remove or substantially reduce this impediment to employment and will enable the individual to achieve the established employment goal.  For multi-year training programs (e.g., college degree program), the IPE shall list services, costs, providers, etc. for year 1 only. The IPE must be amended annually. Specific training-related counseling issues  and progress measures (see Chapter 8.03, COUNSELING, Policy 1) shall be included in the progress measures.  See Chapter 8.03, COUNSELING, Policy 1 for frequency of scheduled sessions, training progress measures, and other requirements.  For samples of progress measures, see section C of this policy.  Other progress measures and services required for the individual to achieve the established employment goal or to remove or reduce the documented impediment to employment/serious functional limitations may be included as appropriate.  For training services for Workers Compensation cases, see paragraph m below. 

                
       
    1. The counselor shall be responsible for identifying providers of comparable benefits and for assisting the individual in obtaining those resources. The individual shall be responsible for applying for appropriate comparable benefits identified by the counselor.  For policy, see Chapter 14.2, Comparable Benefits. 

    2. Consumer financial participation in the cost of fee-based services is based on the Client Financial Statement RS-13 form  see Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL, Policy 1), and RS-25 when applicable (see Chapter 7, SCHOOL, Policy 1, Section D3). 

    1. If it is not possible to identify all the information for a planned service that will be provided at a future date (i.e., transition services to be provided after the students with an IEP exits school, extended services to be provided following time-limited supported employment services, anticipated post employment services to be provided following successful rehabilitation and reassessment for post employment services) to avoid delays in the IPE development and implementation, it is acceptable to record the information that is known (i.e., the anticipated extended services service provider and basis for determining that extended services will be available) and then note on the IPE that missing information will be determined later.  

    1. Planned services include services funded by another resource that DRS staff plans, arranges, or coordinates (i.e., work site accommodation paid by employer under P.L. 101-336 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, physical or mental restoration paid by insurance carrier, college training paid by federal student financial aid, etc.).        

         
    1. Planned services include services funded by DRS VR Program but provided by a vendor (i.e., job coach training services paid by DRS and provided by an Employment Services Organization, etc.).

    2. Planned services include services provided at no charge by DRS staff, such as counseling and guidance and job placement services.

    1. The IPE should include VR support services (i.e., dependent or child care, PAS, maintenance, and transportation) that are necessary to access another VR service on the IPE.   

    1. The IPE shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46) include statements concerning the expected need (yes, no/unknown) for VR services under a Post-Employment Services (PES) Plan after case closure and anticipated services needed.  Cross-reference: For definition of post-employment services (PES) and procedure to provide PES after case is Closed- Rehabilitated, see Chapter 8.22, POST EMPLOYMENT, Policy 1.

    1. For each service on the IPE, the counselor must document in the client record that the service is vocationally necessary to achieve the established employment goal and the client meets eligibility criteria for the service (see Chapters 7, 8, and 9).  

    1. Each service on the IPE shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46) be provided in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with client informed choice, or the IPE shall include a brief justification why it is not provided in an integrated setting.  For example, “Client requires a non-integrated setting for work adjustment before moving to an integrated setting.”   

  5. Schedule for periodic review and evaluation of progress.

  6. How, in the words of the individual (or individual’s representative, as appropriate), how the individual was informed about and involved in choosing among alternative employment goals, progress measures, services, providers, and methods used to procure or provide services (for informed choice policy, see Chapter 1.6, CHOICE, Policy 1). This statement should include the manner in which the individual was informed about the level of integration of services and job placement options. The individual should complete this section as independently as possible.

  7. The individual’s rights, avenues of appeal, responsibilities, terms, and conditions regarding the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.

  8. Signatures (for requirements, see Policy 1: Section A5 of this chapter).

  9. For a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the DRS IPE, at a minimum, must be consistent with the transition components (goals, objectives and services related to transition from school to post-secondary activities, such as further education, vocational training, employment, and independent living) of the student’s IEP (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.22 and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45 and 2016              Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46.  The counselor shall keep a copy of the IEP (or Individualized Transition Plan, if available) in the client record as documentation that the IPE and IEP transition components are consistent. The counselor may (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.47), but is not required to, summarize on the DRS IPE the transition components of the IEP.  Planned services include any VR fee-based services to be provided as well as any school-sponsored services in which DRS is not involved (i.e., vocational awareness/readiness services), but are required to achieve the established employment goal.  The DRS IPE may include, as appropriate, other progress measures in addition to those relating to the transition components of the student IEP.

  10. For Supported Employment (SE) cases, the IPE shall include (per 2016  Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46) the IPE contents required in Chapter 8.16, SE, Policy 1.  

  11. For Self-Employment Enterprise (SEE) cases, see additional IPE requirements and SEE approval process in Chapter 8.17, SEE, Policy 1.

  12. For alcohol or substance abuse cases,

  1. The individual must agree, as part of the IPE, to voluntarily participate in a treatment program or a support group. Due to limited DRS resources, DRS shall not (per Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A11) pay for treatment.


    Guidance: All issues pertaining to the individual's other responsibilities (e.g., transportation, VR counseling sessions, etc.) should be listed in the IPE.


     
  2. The individual must agree to a progress measure to maintain abstinence from alcohol/substances and agree that no fee-based services shall be authorized until the individual has demonstrated, to the counselor's satisfaction, abstinence for a period of time specified in the IPE (per agency mandate).

  3. If the individual has a relapse, the counselor shall initiate an evaluation at DRS expense. Continuation of services on the IPE shall generally be contingent upon the individual's participation in the evaluation and recommended treatment, and abstinence from alcohol or substances.  DRS shall not pay for any recommended treatment and the counselor shall refer the individual to other community resources for treatment.



    Guidance 1: The recommended period of time for abstinence before authorizing fee-based services is at least 90 consecutive days. The 90 days may be counted from a date before the IPE is signed (e.g., from the date of application or date of certification of eligibility is the individual has not used alcohol or substances since that time).



    Guidance 2: If the individual has a relapse and refuses to abstain, even after counseling and guidance and referral to community resources, the counselor may close the case.


    Guidance 3: More than one relapse within a six (6) month period, even when the individual agrees to abstain, may be an indication that the individual cannot benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome due to the severity of the disability.

              
     

 

  1. Sample progress measures (or written as client responsibilities) may be:

    Progress Measure: Individual will abstain from alcohol or drugs or any substances not currently prescribed by a physician familiar with the individual's alcohol/substance abuse diagnosis. No services subject to consumer financial participation will be authorized until the individual has demonstrated abstention for at least (enter appropriate time period) consecutive days. This will be measured through the treatment records or consulting with the case manager on an ongoing basis [use if individual is involved in treatment] and counselor observations of arrival time for appointments [add other behaviors consistent with abstinence].


    Progress Measure: Individual agrees to voluntarily participate in a treatment program or support group (but DRS shall not pay for treatment). This will be measured through attendance.


    Progress Measure:  Individual agrees to meet with the counselor at least twice a month for the first (enter appropriate time period) consecutive days of this IPE. This will be measured through attendance at scheduled counseling sessions.

 

 

  1. For all Workers’ Compensation cases, the IPE shall contain this statement:  “The carrier will be notified at time of employment and any termination or addition of services for which the carrier is paying some or all of the cost.” 

  2. For Workers' Compensation cases, before planning training services, the counselor must send the insurance company a letter containing:  
        

  1. Documentation from the former employer indicating there is no job (without restructuring) available within the company for the injured worker,

     
  1. The proposed training program, duration, and the rationale for such a program,

     
  1. Projected costs of the training program itemized (e.g., tuition and fees, textbooks and supplies, transportation, etc.),

     
  1. Projection, insofar as possible, of the injured workers earning potential after the completion of the training program as compared to the current/continuing Workers' Compensation benefits,

     
  2. Job Market Survey showing jobs that will exist upon completion of training, and

     
  1. Name and address of the individual at the training institution to whom the carrier payment checks should be forwarded.


    Note: The Virginia Workers' Compensation Act requires that the carrier provide for reasonable and necessary rehabilitative training services for claimants if so directed by the Workers' Compensation Commission. If the carrier is so directed but refuses to voluntarily participate in DRS recommended program, the injured worker can appeal the carrier decision to the Workers' Compensation Commission. The injured worker must do this in writing and should include the above letter the DRS VR counselor sent the insurance carrier.



    Guidance: For guidelines on working with these cases, visit the Virginia Workers' Compensation Web site at
    http://www.vwc.state.va.us/sites/default/files/documents/Vocational-Rehabilitation-Guidelines.pdf
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[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. Recorded on IPE.
    The established employment goal shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45 (d)) be recorded on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) (or amendment to the Plan).  


  2. Specific.
    At a minimum, the established employment goal shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46 (a)) describe a particular type of profession or occupation (i.e., clerical work). Use the O*Net code listing in AWARE Employment Plan screen. An employment goal of "supported employment" or "self-employment" is too vague. (per Federal Register Vol. 62, No. 28, February 11, 1997, page 6326). 
  3. Employment outcome.
    The established employment goal shall (per Public Law 113-128, Title IV, Section 404, Sec 7) be competitive integrated employment (including customized employment) or supported employment. For definition of competitive integrated employment, see Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1, Section A2.) For definition of customized employment, see Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1, Section A2. For definition of supported employment, see Chapter 8.16, SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT, Policy 1, Section A1.
  4. Mutually agreed upon.
    The established employment goal shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45 (d)) be mutually agreed-upon by the client and VR counselor.  It shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46 (a)) reflect the client 
    career interests and informed choice to the extent that those factors are consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of the individual based on the results of the eligibility determination assessment and any additional needs assessments needed to develop the Employment Plan (see Chapter 6).  It shall consider the client current (and projected, if the disability is of a progressive nature) physical and mental condition and functional limitations (such as diminishing or increasing strength and energy). The counselor shall not agree to a goal that is inconsistent with these factors.

    Guidance 1: For a high school student with a disability (students in special education programs and those who are not), reflects the  current status since strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities may change significantly during the transition years (per agency mandate). For example, assessment information older than three years from the date the student applies for the Vocational Rehabilitation program may require updating.

     
    Guidance 2: The client may be able to keep/return to same job, choose a different job goal not requiring re-training/school by using marketable or transferable skills, be qualified for other jobs with the current employer, etc. However, underemployment, certain changes in the job market or prognosis/functional limitations, etc. may make the work history become less of a factor in choosing an appropriate employment goal.

     
    Guidance 3: If the client has no work history or has a work history that does not include a recent job consistent with the client unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities, consider job opportunities in the following order, consistent with the individual’s informed choice:


    Competitive integrated employment, then

    Supported employment

    Guidance 4: Resources to assist the consumer and counselor to establish the employment goal include OnetOnLine.org, Virginia Career View, VaView.VT.edu, Virginia Employment Commission, vocational evaluation, school counselors, local job market survey, etc.

  5. Is not precluded by a felony conviction.
    A felony conviction precludes employment in certain occupations. A criminal background check is required by state law for the following:

 

  1. applicants for ABC license and certain ABC employees,

  2. applicants for explosives blaster certification or handling permit,

  3. applicants for mental health provider license,

  4. employees and volunteers providing care to children, the elderly, and people with disabilities (specifically child care facilities, day care centers, child welfare agency, family day homes, nursing homes, juvenile residential facilities),

 

  1. fire departments,

  1. law enforcement officers,

  1. gun dealers,

  1. hospital pharmacy employees,

  1. lottery employees and sales agents,

  1. private school employees,

  1. private security services businesses, and

  1. pari-mutuel wagering on horses.

Note: This Web site lists of some of the regulated occupations http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/ProfessionsAndOccupations/

  1. Job Market.
    The fact that the local job market for the client desired employment goal may be limited should not by itself affect the appropriateness of that goal if the individual is willing to relocate to a market in which the particular job is available. On the other hand, if there is a limited local job market for the individual’s desired employment goal and the individual is unwilling to relocate, then local job market conditions become a relevant factor in identifying employment options (per federal policy RSA-PD-97-04 issued August 19, 1997).
     

 

  1. Cost is not a consideration in goal selection.
    The counselor shall not consider the cost or the extent of vocational rehabilitative services that the client may need to achieve a particular employment goal. For example, the fact that an employment goal may require an advanced degree, while another may only require job retraining or job placement assistance, should not affect the determination of an employment goal. This does not preclude DRS from enforcing its consumer financial participation and comparable benefits policies (per federal policy RSA-PD-97-04 issued August 19, 1997).

     
  1. Maximize employment outcome.
    If the client is interested in one employment goal requiring an associate degree and another goal requiring a bachelor degree, and the client has the ability and capability and interest to earn a bachelor degree, the counselor cannot use service cost as the reason to reject the latter goal.

     
  1. Entry-level job.
    Entry level employment is an appropriate employment goal if the client is only capable of performing entry level work or if the client chooses an entry level job as the employment goal (per federal policy RSA-PD-97-04 issued August 19, 1997).

     
  2. Advancement in employment.
    See Policy 2: Section B2 of this chapter.



 

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B2. Advancement in Employment as an Employment Goal

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

The extent to which DRS should assist individuals who are determined eligible to advance in their careers depends upon whether the individual has achieved employment consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of the individual. Vocational rehabilitation services to an individual whose job is not consistent with these factors must assist that individual to obtain employment consistent with these factors and informed choice (per Federal Register, Vol. 66, No. 11, issued January 17, 2001, Page 4419).

Guidance 1: There should be evidence (vocational evaluation, comparison of job description to individual’s qualifications, situational assessment, etc.) that the individual is underemployed, there are disability-related barriers to advancement in employment, and the individual cannot remove or substantially reduce these barriers on their own but needs vocational rehabilitation services provided within a counseling and guidance relationship. DRS should not assist individuals who are in a job consistent with the individual’s strengths, etc. and who are choosing to change careers/occupations/jobs for reasons other than disability-related barriers to employment.

Guidance 2: Advancement in employment is not restricted to those in competitive employment. DRS may assist an individual in extended employment when an integrated setting becomes appropriate.

Guidance 3: Advancement in employment may include, but is not limited to, better employee benefits, part-time to full-time, increased salary or wages that reduces some or all public assistance amount received (but not doing same job for more money elsewhere), job promotion, change from unskilled or semi-skilled to skilled job, change from “dead end” job to one with career path or in a growth industry, change from employee to self-employment, when they reach retirement age during competitive employment and need VR services to remove or substantially reduce disability-related barriers to becoming self employed, etc.

​ 

 

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. Definition.
    Homemaker is a man or woman whose activity is keeping house for persons in their household, or for him- or herself if living alone (per federal policy directive RSA-PD-00-06 Reporting Manual for Case Service Report RSA-911, March 16, 2000).

  2. Homemakers do not earn a wage and homemaker is not competitive integrated employment (per 2016 Federal regulation 34 CFR 361.5(c)(9) and preamble to 2016 Federal regulation 34 CFR 361.5(c)(15).

  3. Beginning September 19, 2016, the counselor and supervisor shall not (per preamble in 2016 Federal regulation 34 CFR 361.5(c)(15)) approve an IPE with homemaker employment goal or an IPE amendment that changes the IPE goal to homemaker. For clients with homemaker employment goal on the IPE approved and signed before September 19, 2016, the case is grandfathered and the counselor shall continue to provide services until June 30, 2017.

  4. Closure as homemaker.
    All grandfathered (see item 3 above) homemaker cases shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.47) be closed on or before June 30, 2017. For Closed – Rehab status, the counselor shall document the individual's pre-IPE and post-IPE homemaker skills and abilities, and how services were required and contributed to achievement of the employment outcome. A grandfathered case that does not meet those criteria, and a grandfathered case in which the client lives in a nursing home, rest home, or assisted living residence shall be closed in Closed – Other status.

Cross-reference: For Closed – Rehab status criteria and definition of competitive integrated employment , see Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1, Section A2.

 
 

[REVISED: 4/9/18]

Guidance: The following sample progress measures are provided only to show how to: phrase them in a positive tone, focus on changes or outcomes, and include measurable criteria and progress evaluation methods. Counselors should customize the progress measures on a case-by-case basis and are not restricted to the wording shown in these samples.  Additional examples of how to relate counseling and guidance service to progress measures and serious functional limitations are in Chapter 8.03, COUNSELING, Policy 1.

  1. Progress measure: I will acquire drafting skills by taking appropriate courses and maintaining a 'C' average or better during the academic year. This will be measured by my school grades which I will share with my counselor immediately when I receive them. I will promptly advise my counselor of any difficulty with my school assignments or schedule.

  2. Progress measure: During pre-vocational training, I will increase my concentration and work tolerance to 6 hours a day over 8 cosecutive weeks. This will be measured through vendor reports to my counselor.

  3. Progress measure: I will learn effective job interview skills and demonstrate eye contact, personal hygiene, and appearance at job interviews. This will be measured through my self-report, my counselor's observations, and feedback to my counselor from employer interviewers and my job placement counselor.

  4. Progress measure: I will acquire understanding of the functional limitatioins of my disability and become as independent as possible in my self-care. This will be measured through my self-report, my counselor's observations, and feedback to my counselor from service providers regarding my demonstrated increased independence in self-care.

  5. Progress measure: I will maintain the mental health required for me to be successful in my vocational rehabilitation program and stable in employment. I will take my medication as prescribed and continue to attend monthly counseling sessions with my therapist for at least 1 year. This will be measured through my counselor's contact with my therapist and case managers and my counselor's review of physician and therapist reports.

  6. Progress measure: My driving options will be assessed. This will be measured through successful completion of classroom and on-the-road training and vendor recommendation to counselor regarding driving potential.

  7. Progress measure: I will improve my speech and language skills to communicate more effectively. This will be measured through counselor observations, feedback to counselor from speech therapist, and vendor reports to counselor.

  8. Progress measure: I will learn how to use checklists, alarm watch, and other compensatory strategies to assist in satisfactory completion of job-related duties. This will be measured through vendor reporting to counselor on completion of required job tasks within an acceptable time frame.

  9. Progress measure: I will interact appropriately with supervisor and co-workers at my job site in one-on-one and group situations. This will be measured through feedback to counselor from job supervisor.


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[REVISED: 5/1/16]

  1. Implementation of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) begins within 90 days after the signature date. If additional time is required, the counselor must provide written justification in the case notes and further justification every 90 days thereafter.

  2. Case note is required every 90 days to justify why the case remains in any service status over 90 days, to ensure the client is receiving services appropriately.

  3. C&G scheduled sessions are required for all IPEs.  For policy, see Chapter 8.03, VR COUNSELING, Policy 1

  4. To implement other services on the IPE, see the chapter for the specific service.
                                                      

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[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. Annual review.
    At least once a year (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45), a multi-year Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) shall be reviewed for satisfactory client progress towards employment, PAS and AT needs assessment shall be considered and authorized if appropriate (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46), progressive disabilities shall be considered for changes affecting vocational rehabilitation, and the review results shall be recorded in the AWARE Plan Review screen.  The review is conducted by the counselor and individual (and others who signed the IPE).

  2. The counselor shall update the Client Financial Statement RS-13 form when required (see Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL, Policy 1) and Student Need and Aid Assessment RS-25 form for school training if required (see Chapter 7, SCHOOL, Policy 1, Section D3).  

  3. Amendments.
    To amend the IPE, see Policy 6 of this policy.  For formal appeals, see Chapter 15, APPEALS, Policy 1.    

5. Services Interrupted

[REVISED: 8/1/15]
  1. The counselor shall place the case in Service – I status in AWARE when all planned services in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) are interrupted.

  2. The counselor shall (per 2015 Public Law 114-18, Title I, Section 102 (c) (2)) provide the Services Interrupted letter to notify the client in writing of the service suspension, the reason, and the right and avenues to appeal.

  3. Services shall not be provided while the case is in Service - I status, except PAS may be provided consistent with PAS policy (see Chapter 8.13, PAS, Policy 1).

  4. Supervisor pre-approval shall be required for the case to remain in Service - I status more than 18 months over the life of the case.

  5. The counselor shall write a case progress note in AWARE at least every 90 days.

  6. Reasons for  Service – I status include, but are not limited to: 
                                                                          
  1. Incarceration less than 18 months 

 

  1. Medical issues

     
  1. Mental health issues

     
  1. Alcohol or substance abuse relapse

     
  1. Emergency in client family

     
  2. Waiting for Grades and GPA to go back up

     
  3. Client request - definite VR return date

     
  1. Client request - indefinite VR return date

     
  1. Lack of client progress

     
  2. Lost contact with client

     
  1. Other (specific reason must be noted in AWARE and letter to client)

6. Amending the IPE

[REVISED: 11/13/17]

 
  1. Timing.
    The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) may be amended any time.  For IPE amendments needed at closure, see 
    Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1,  

  2. Mutual agreement.
    The IPE amendment shall (per 2016
    Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45) require the client (or representative, as appropriate) and DRS VR counselor mutual agreement.  The counselor may obtain the individual’s agreement by telephone call documented in the case notes, Certified Mail — Return Receipt Requested, fax, e-mail, or other appropriate method.  However, for any substantial changes to the IPE signatures are required. For formal appeals and continuation of services pending appeal, see Chapter 15, APPEALS

  3. Signatures.
    The amendment shall not (per 2016
    Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45) take effect until the new signature page is signed by the required signatories (see Policy 1: Section A5 of this chapter), unless this policy does not require a signature.   At closure, see Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1, Section A2

  4. Employment goal amendment.

    1. Signatures shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45) be required to change the employment goal, even when there are no changes to progress measures, services, or service providers. At closure, see Chapter 11, CLOSURE, Policy 1, Section A2.

    1. The counselor shall update the Occupational Information Network (O*NET-SOC) Titles in AWARE when an employment goal is changed.


  5. Services amendment.   

    1. Signatures shall be required to discontinue or delete a service already on the IPE, whether before or after the service is initiated. However, signatures are not required when canceling hospital days authorized but not needed or fully utilized, or for an ancillary service not funded by DRS that is not directly related to achieving the employment goal. The counselor should try to recognize as early as possible when a planned service will not be necessary and should amend the IPE at that time rather than waiting until case closure. To delete services at case closure, see Chapter 11, CLOSURE.


      Cross-reference: For Service - I status when services provided under the IPE are interrupted after IPE implementation, see Policy 5 of this chapter.

    1. The counselor shall (per agency mandate) document in the client record (e.g., letter, case note, etc.) the justification for deleting or discontinuing the planned service, and cancel any unused authorized amount. If all services are being temporarily discontinued , use Service-I status and see Policy 5 of this Chapter.

    1. Signatures shall be required to add a new core service (e.g., training, school training, physical restoration services, vehicle or home modification, etc.). Signatures are not required when:

      1. Authorizing additional diagnostic, evaluation, and assessment services.

      2. While client is hospitalized for VR services, authorizing a specialist or additional hospital days when recommended by the physician. 

      3. Adding a short-duration service required to support a service already being provided under the IPE. Examples include: transportation, additional PAS hours and maintenance costs, interpreting and reader services, hearing aids, eyeglasses, work clothing.

  6. Service provider amendment.         
    Signatures shall be required to change the service provider.

  7. Financial participation.
    Signatures shall be required to increase the client financial participation amount, but are not required to decrease it.

  8. Other amendments.
    If the counselor anticipates consumer misunderstanding or disagreement regarding a change to the IPE that does not specifically require signatures, the counselor may, but is not required to, obtain signatures and initial each change before implementing the change.

  9. Distribution of IPE amendment.
     
  1. The counselor shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45) provide a copy to all signatories in the native language, or appropriate mode of communication, and keep the signature page in the client record. AWARE stores the other pages either as a cloned plan or a new plan.


  2. The counselor shall notify others (or provide a copy of the amendment) as appropriate (e.g., for Workers' Compensation case immediately notify the insurance carrier only when the carrier is paying all or part of the VR cost).                                                              

 

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Links to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are currently unavailable while we await federal changes to the vocational rehabilitation program. Upon promulgation of the final regulations the links will be updated and activated.