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Program Manual

4.0 - Development of the Individualized Plan for Employment CFR 361.45

4.1 - Procedural Requirements (Division Policy 2.14)

An Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) must be designed to achieve an employment outcome that is consistent with the individual’s strengths, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, career interests, resources and informed choice. The development of an IPE must occur within 60 calendar days of the Certification of Eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Services. All IPE’s must be reviewed and updated annually. In developing an individual’s IPE, the Rehabilitation Specialist must ensure that:

  1. It is developed, agreed to, and signed by the individual (if 18 or older and is legally responsible for themselves) or, as appropriate, his/her parent or representative.
  2. It is signed and approved by the Rehabilitation Specialist or approved by a Rehabilitation Supervisor if the Specialist does not have independent status.
  3. The individual or, as appropriate, his/her representative is advised in writing or other appropriate mode of communication of the individuals options for developing an IPE (Guidelines located in S Drive, VR Folder).
  4. The Individual Education Plan (IEP) is taken into consideration if the individual is a student with a disability who is receiving special education services.
  5. The IPE is reviewed with the individual or, as appropriate, his/her representative as often as necessary, but at least once each year to assess progress toward meeting the employment outcome (a review schedule must be developed and included on each IPE).
  6. If there are substantive changes in the employment outcome, VR services or service providers the IPE must be amended, as necessary, by the individual or, as appropriate his/her representative, in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Specialist (to the extent determined to be appropriate by the individual). 
  7. A copy of the IPE and its amendments are promptly provided to the individual or, as appropriate, his/her representative in the primary language and/or mode of communication as requested by the individual or his/her representative.
  8. Client is offered his/her Rights at this time and the Rights Verification form is completed and signed and attached to the plan and filed in Section 2 of the paper file.

NOTE: Services on an IPE (initial and all amendments) cannot be initiated until the IPE has been agreed to and signed by the client and Rehabilitation Specialist and approved by the Supervisor or District Administrator if the Rehabilitation Specialist does not have independent status.

4.2 - Options for Development of an IPE

An eligible individual or, as appropriate, his/her representative must be provided in writing of the options for the development of an IPE. These options include:

  1. Assistance from a DBS Rehabilitation Specialist in developing all or part of the IPE (See IPE Guidelines, S Drive VR Program file).
  2. Assistance from an entity other than DBS (example:  Disability Rights Florida) based on the individual’s informed choice in developing all or part of the IPE.
  3. Independent development of all or part of the IPE by the individual.

Each eligible individual who selects options 2 or 3 must be provided the DBS Guidelines for Development of an Individualized Plan for Employment packet in the language and appropriate mode of communication of the individual’s choice.  This information packet includes the following:

  1. A description of the full range of services that must be included in an IPE.
  2. An explanation of agency guidelines for services that are based on economic need.
  3. A description of the full range of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
  4. An explanation of the individual’s responsibility to apply for and seek comparable services and benefits.
  5. Required forms for the development of an IPE and information on the availability of assistance in completing the forms.
  6. A description of the rights and remedies of the clients in the VR program including the availability of the Disability Rights Florida and how to contact the program.

If an individual chooses to develop all or part of the IPE with assistance from another entity or independently, the IPE must be submitted in writing to the Rehabilitation Specialist in order to be considered for approval.

Regardless of the development method chosen by the individual, the IPE must be:

  1. Agreed to and signed by the individual or, as appropriate, his/her representative.
  2. Approved and signed by the Rehabilitation Specialist or Supervisor if the Specialist does not have independent status.

4.3 - Preparation of IPE without a Comprehensive Assessment (see definition under Vocational Evaluation/Assessment)

To the extent possible, the employment outcome and the nature and scope of services to be included in the IPE must be determined based on the data used for the assessment of eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services.

4.4 - Preparation of IPE Based on a Comprehensive Assessment

If additional data is necessary to prepare the IPE, a comprehensive assessment of the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and needs, including the possible need for Supported Employment services may be conducted.  Such an assessment should be conducted in the most integrated setting possible consistent with the individual’s informed choice.  A comprehensive assessment must be limited to information that is necessary to identify the rehabilitation needs of the individual and to develop the IPE that may include (Division Policy 2.17):

  1. An analysis of pertinent medical, psychological, vocational, educational, cultural, social, recreational, and environmental factors, and related functional limitations, that affect the employment and rehabilitation needs of the individual.
  2. An analysis of the individual’s personality, career interests, interpersonal skills, intelligence,   functional capacities, educational achievements, work experience, vocational aptitudes, personal and social adjustments, and employment opportunities.
  3. An appraisal of the individual’s work behavior and services needed to acquire occupational skills and to develop work attitudes, work habits, work tolerance, for successful job performance.
  4. An assessment, through provision of rehabilitation technology services, of the individual’s capacities to perform in a work environment, including in an integrated setting, to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with the individual’s informed choice.

In preparing an assessment for purposes of developing an IPE, existing information must be used to the maximum extent possible, including information that is:

  1. Available from other programs and providers, particularly information used by education officials and the Social Security Administration.
  2. Provided by the individual and the individual’s family.
  3. Obtained under the assessment for determining the individual’s eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs.

4.5 - Informed Choice (Division Policy 2.2) CFR 34 361.52

An Individualized Plan for Employment should be developed and implemented in a manner that affords an eligible client the opportunity to exercise informed choice.  Informed choice should be exercised by the client in selecting:

  1. An employment outcome.
  2. The specific Vocational Rehabilitation services to be provided under the plan.
  3. The entities that will provide the Vocational Rehabilitation services.
  4. The employment setting and the settings in which the services will be provided.
  5. The methods used to procure services.

It is the responsibility of the Rehabilitation Specialist to ensure that an eligible individual is provided or assisted in obtaining information necessary for an individual to make an informed choice about the specific Vocational Rehabilitation services, including providers of those services, that are needed to achieve his/her employment outcome. This information must include, at a minimum, information relating to the:

  1. Cost, accessibility, and duration of potential services.
  2. Qualifications of potential service providers.
  3. Types of services offered by the potential providers.
  4. Degree to which the services are provided in an integrated setting.

4.5.1 - Methods or Sources for Facilitating Informed Choice

The following methods or sources may be utilized when assisting an individual in obtaining information necessary to make an informed choice regarding services or service providers:

  1. State or regional lists of services and service providers.
  2. Referrals to other consumers, local consumer groups, or disability advisory councils qualified to discuss the services or service providers.
  3. Relevant accreditation, certification, or other information relating to the qualification of service providers.