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DIVISION POLICY 2.35

SUBJECT

Competitive Integrated Employment

EFFECTIVE DATE

October 18, 2017

REVIEW DATE

As needed

EXPIRATION DATE

This policy will be reviewed annually and updated as needed.

PURPOSE

Provide definition of competitive integrated employment as required by the Rehabilitation Act.

AUTHORITY

34 CFR 361.5

POLICY

A successful employment outcome occurs when an individual has reached a vocational goal consistent with the Rehabilitation Act definition of a competitive integrated employment. The DBS counselor is responsible to evaluate whether a client has been successfully closed in a competitive integrated environment. To make this determination, the counselor will evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, whether the closure is consistent with the following criteria:

  1. Performed on a full-time or part-time basis (including self-employment) and for which an individual is compensated at a rate that:
    1. Is not less than the higher of the rate specified in section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1)) or the rate required under the applicable State or local minimum wage law for the place of employment;
    2. Is not less than the customary rate paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by other employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who are similarly situated in similar occupations by the same employer and who have similar training, experience, and skills;
    3. In the case of an individual who is self-employed, yields an income that is comparable to the income received by other individuals who are not individuals with disabilities and who are self-employed in similar occupations or on similar tasks and who have similar training, experience, and skills; and
    4. Is eligible for the level of benefits provided to other employees.
  2. Is at a location:
    1. Typically found in the community; and
    2. Where the employee with a disability interacts for the purpose of performing the duties of the position with other employees within the particular work unit and the entire work site, and, as appropriate to the work performed, other persons (e.g., customers and vendors), who are not individuals with disabilities (not including supervisory personnel or individuals who are providing services to such employee) to the same extent that employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who are in comparable positions interact with these persons; and
  3. Presents, as appropriate, opportunities for advancement that are similar to those for other employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who have similar positions.

At a minimum, DBS counselors must:

  1. Make appropriate referrals for all SSDI/SSI applicants/clients to appropriate benefits counseling so that the applicant/client can adequately understand the effects of wages on their benefits;
  2. Explain to the applicant/client that the purpose of the VR program is to assist with achieving an employment outcome in a competitive integrated setting;
  3. Provide the applicant/client with information concerning the availability of employment options;
  4. Inform the applicant/client that services under the VR program can be provided to eligible individuals in an extended employment setting, if necessary, only for the purposes of training or otherwise preparing for employment in an integrated setting; and
  5. Inform the applicant/client that, if they initially choose not to pursue an employment outcome as defined in the Rehabilitation Act, they can seek services from the VR agency at a later date if, at that time, they choose to pursue an employment outcome; and
  6. Make an appropriate referral to other programs and services that can benefit the individual seeking non-competitive integrated employment.

Signed by Robert L. Doyle, III, Director, on October 18, 2017.