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Program Manual

7.0 - Scope of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (CFR 361.48) 

7.1 - Services Based On Economic Need

  1. Maintenance for additional costs incurred in excess of normal living expenses while participating in an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs or while receiving services under an IPE may be considered. (Policy 8.7)
  2. The only vocational rehabilitation service that is based on economic need is maintenance for clients who do not receive SSI/SSDI. All other services are provided regardless of economic need.
  3. For those clients applying for maintenance service, with the exception of client’s receiving SSI/SSDI, a DBS-007 found in the S Drive/FORMS/Client Services Forms   Economic Need application must be completed.

A Needs Assessment for Financial Assistance must be completed for all clients requesting maintenance and updated yearly as the maintenance continues.  This form is designed to aid counselor and client in determining the amount of maintenance necessary. Eligibility for maintenance must be made within 60 days of client’s request.

NOTE: College students refer to the College Handbook located in the S Drive/VR Program Folder

NOTE: Economic eligibility is determined based upon the family unit considering the financial responsibility of family members for each other.  Upon reaching age of 18, when parents claim the participant as a dependent on their income taxes, the participant is considered to be a part of that family unit for the purposes of determining economic eligibility.

7.2 - Services to SSI/SSDI Recipients 

All services must be provided WITHOUT regard to financial need   for individuals who have been determined eligible for Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), (these clients are eligible for maintenance regardless of any other income they may have coming into the household). If applying for maintenance services SSI/SSDI recipients will need to complete the Needs Assessment for Financial Assistance in order to determine the amount of maintenance they may receive.

7.3 - Economic Need Exceptions

The District Administrator must approve all financial exceptions for individuals whose monthly income falls above the Total Available Income as calculated on form DBS-007 and outlined in the table below:

The following criterion must be used when making an exception:

Number in Household Annual Income
1 $917
2 $1,451
3 $1,828
4 $2,206
5 $2,583
6 $2,961
7 $3,338
8 $3,716
  1. The individual's expenditures for subsistence items (food, shelter, and clothing) must exceed 70% of the applicable gross monthly income.
  2. The financial status of the family unit results in the participant being ineligible and it is clearly demonstrated that the family unit will not or cannot provide financial support.

7.4 - Services Available Without Regard to Economic Need

The following services should be provided without regard to economic need; however, comparable benefits should be explored and documented (Policy 6.11)

  1. Assessment for determining eligibility.
  2. Assessments for determining Vocational Rehabilitation needs, such as, rehabilitation technology, Orientation and Mobility, Adaptive Daily Living (ADL) skills, Low Vision Evaluation, Vocational Evaluation, etc.
  3. Counseling and Guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice.
  4. Referral and other services necessary to help applicants and eligible individuals secure needed services from other agencies if such services are not available in the Vocational Rehabilitation program.
  5. Vocational and other training services, including personal and vocational adjustment training, Post Secondary school training such as universities, colleges, or technical institutes may not be paid for unless maximum efforts have been made and documented in AWARE by DBS and the client to secure grant assistance in whole or in part from other sources.
  6. Books, tools (talking calculators, watches, tape recorders and other training materials).
  7. Transportation in connection with the rendering of any vocational rehabilitation service.
  8. Technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans, and otherwise provide resources, to the extent such resources are authorized to be provided through the Workforce Investment System, to eligible individuals who are pursuing self-employment or telecommuting or establishing a small business operation as an employment outcome.
  9. Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, initial stocks and supplies.
  10. Interpreter services for individuals who are deaf and tactile interpreting services for individuals who are deaf-blind per (Policy 6.15).
  11. Reader services, rehabilitation teaching services, and orientation and mobility services, including adequate training in the use of public transportation vehicles and systems (Policies on Technology).
  12. Rehabilitation technology devices and services including rehabilitation engineering, and assistive technology, computer systems, various assistive technology services, telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices (Policies on Technology. Equipment over $600 require Form 108).
  13. Job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up and follow-along services, relocation, etc. 
  14. Supported Employment services.
  15. Personal assistance services provided while the client is receiving other VR services.
  16. Post-employment services necessary to assist a client to retain, regain, or advance in employment.
  17. Transition services for students that facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the IPE.
  18. Corrective surgery or short term therapeutic treatment necessary to correct or substantially modify a physical or mental condition that constitutes a substantial impediment to employment, but is of such a nature that such correction or modification may reasonably be expected to eliminate or reduce the impediment to employment within a reasonable length of time. (Policy 6.11)
    1. Necessary hospitalization in connection with surgery or treatment.
    2. Prosthetic and orthotic devices.
    3. Eyeglasses and visual services as prescribed by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws and who are selected by the individual (See DBS-016 and Policy 8.17 for glasses).
    4. Diagnosis and the short term treatment for mental and emotional disorders by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws.

    NOTE: Special services such as transplantation, dialysis and supplies necessary for clients with end-stage renal disease, requires approval by the Bureau Chief of Client Services.

  19. A variety of additional services may be based on individual client needs, such as short term services to a client’s family members which may include child care and/or counseling can be provided to enable a client to achieve an employment outcome but must be staffed with Supervisor/District Administrator.

7.5 - Assessment Services for Determining Eligibility

Vocational rehabilitation services should be provided to assess a client’s eligibility for services only if:

  1. Existing data does not describe the current functioning of the client or
  2. Existing data is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate to make an eligibility determination.

When appropriate, the provision of rehabilitation technology services and work site assessments should be provided to a client to assess and develop the capacities of the client to perform in a work environment.

7.6 - Assessment for Determining Vocational Rehabilitation Needs

To the extent possible, the employment outcome and the nature and scope of services must be determined based on the data used for the assessment of eligibility.  If additional data is necessary for determining vocational rehabilitation needs, an assessment should be conducted in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with the client’s informed choice. 

Such an assessment must be limited to information that is necessary to identify the client’s rehabilitation needs and may include, but is not limited to, the following vocational rehabilitation services:

  1. Medical, psychological, and vocational assessments.
  2. Personality, career interests, vocational aptitudes, and intellectual potential.
  3. Work attitudes, work tolerance, social and behavioral assessments.
  4. A rehabilitation technology assessment provided by a skilled instructor to determine the client’s level of expertise and training needs.

7.7 - Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and Guidance

Vocational Rehabilitation counseling and guidance for individuals is a core service and must be on all vocational rehabilitation plans and provided and documented throughout the rehabilitation process.  The goal of Vocational Rehabilitation counseling and guidance is to assist the individual in obtaining, maintaining, regaining, or advancing in employment. Counseling and guidance should promote independence; enhance self-esteem, and assist individuals in making informed choices regarding their rehabilitation program.  Counseling and guidance includes information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice such as (i.e. career counseling and employability skills).

7.8 - Referral Services

All individuals should be provided with referrals and other services designed to assist them in securing needed services from other agencies and programs funded by other state and federal programs as well as local community organizations. 

7.9 - Diagnosis and short term treatment of physical and mental impairments

Diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments (definitions) should be provided to the extent necessary for an individual to achieve maximum vocational potential for obtaining an employment outcome (Policy 8.5). Emphasis should be placed on sight restoration services or short term medical intervention to prevent further loss of vision.   Experimental eye, physical, or mental restoration services cannot be sponsored by DBS.  (For Psychological referrals use Form 258)

7.9.1 - Intercurrent Illness

Short term treatment of an illness, which occurs during the course of an Individualized Plan for Employment and prevents participation in the program, may be sponsored for an eligible client. An IPE amendment must be developed to include services for intercurrent illness treatment. Minor physical ailments that do not interfere with participation in an Individualized Plan for Employment cannot be considered intercurrent illnesses, and other comparable services and benefits or individual resources should sponsor treatment.  (i.e. toothache or hives). Prior to developing an amended IPE for an intercurrent illness, client’s case must be staffed with Supervisor or District Administrator.

NOTE: The Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is exempt from seeking comparable services and benefits for the provision of emergency medical services while an individual is in training at the Center.

7.9.2 - Dental Services

An individual may be provided dental services if the dental condition is a substantial impediment to employment and meets one or all of the following criteria:

  1. Causes cosmetic problems severe enough to prevent an individual from obtaining a job which involves serving the public or will cause loss of the job unless the condition is corrected.
  2. Results in toxic poisons which cause physical symptoms in other parts of the body or aggravates an already existing disability.
  3. Is an acute dental condition that interferes with employment and/or the provision of other services.

7.9.3 - Provision of Services during Pregnancy

There is no established policy that precludes continuing services under an IPE during pregnancy. Medical services related to pregnancy should be provided through comparable benefits and services or individual resources. If it is determined that a pregnant individual cannot or does not wish to pursue her employment outcome after delivery, services will be discontinued. 

7.9.4 - Eye Surgery

When an eye condition presents an impediment to employment, DBS may sponsor surgery or other medical treatment when such surgery is needed to reach an employment outcome. The IPE must include all appropriate eye medical services needed, such as physicians fees, hospital, anesthesia and lab fees, etc.  (All community resources/comparable benefits must be exhausted and documented in AWARE (ex Lions, Knights Templar) prior to any DBS involvement.

NOTE: All surgeries sponsored by DBS must be approved by DBS eye medical consultant (DBS 005 Medical Recommendations Form).

NOTE: Eye medical reports being reviewed for DBS sponsorship of surgery and/or treatment after eligibility determination should be current and documented in AWARE. New reports that are received during treatment or after surgery must be entered in AWARE.

7.10 - Vocational and Other Training

DBS provides vocational and other training services necessary for the client to meet his/her employment outcome as outlined on the IPE. Progress reports from the training provider are required throughout the training period and must be entered in AWARE (Example: semester grade reports, Community Rehabilitation Program monthly training reports, etc.).

All training facilities used must be in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 1004 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

7.10.1 - Post-Secondary Training

Post-secondary training may be sponsored by DBS if the individual requires such training to obtain his/her employment outcome.  (See College Handbook S Drive/VR Program Folder)  

  1. DBS will only finance Florida state tuition costs as a Florida resident.  The individual will be responsible for all fees in excess of the cost of the in-state fees.
  2. DBS will support individuals in attending private, out-of-state universities, field trips, or out-of-country experiences when the degree program can be justified in terms of the individual’s employment outcome, and it is a unique circumstance.  These can be approved after discussing with the Bureau Chief of Client Services. (Policy 2.9)
  3. DBS will only sponsor individuals at institutions that are fully accredited.

Given the rehabilitation needs of the individual, the District Administrator may staff the case with the Bureau Chief for exceptions to 1 & 2. 

No training or training services in an institution of higher education may be sponsored by DBS unless maximum efforts have been made and documented by the Rehabilitation Specialist and the individual to secure grant assistance in whole or in part from other sources.

NOTE: Additional information will be found in the College Handbook, the Specialist must review this handbook prior to developing the IPE.

7.10.2 - On-the-Job Training

On-the-job-training (OJT) is the placement of a client with an employer who agrees to train and hire that client for entry into a competitive, integrated work setting. All labor regulations apply for the client participating in an OJT, e.g. Social Security, income tax, worker's compensation, and unemployment insurance. 

The employer is responsible for paying the client for the OJT; however, DBS may pay the employer a percentage of the employee’s salary plus the cost of benefits that are customarily offered by the employer.  The percentage the Division of Blind Services pays in salary and benefits should be negotiated with the employer and will be reduced on a monthly basis until the employer is fully responsible.

In addition to the IPE, the OJT agreement between the employer, DBS, and the client must be developed specifying the objectives, wage, (client to be paid no less than minimum wage) hours, type of training that will be provided, evaluation criteria, and time frames not to exceed 90 days. The agreement to use can be found in the S drive/FROMS/Client Services Forms/OJT Agreement and Training Report 2013 or in the S Drive/VR Program Folder/OJT Agreement and Training Report 2013. 

NOTE: Clients are to remain in service status in AWARE until OJT employer is fully responsible for client’s salary and benefits.

7.10.3 - Work Experience

Work experience training may be provided for a client to learn employability skills, transferable job skills, as well as allow the Specialist to observe client and determine equipment and other employability needs in his/her vocational field.  Work experience training should occur on an actual work site, and the IPE must clearly indicate the type of training and specific skills to be acquired.  Work experiences are based on client needs to be designed by the client and Specialist.   

Documentation of visits by the Rehabilitation Specialist and training reports from the employer are to be included in the individual’s record of service.  The Rehabilitation Specialist must ensure that the client is provided with adequate instruction, assistive devices and on-going support, etc. in order to achieve the desired work experience outcome. The use of trained job-coaches can be utilized to assist in learning job related tasks and skills.  The services of the job coach should be reduced as the client demonstrates and performs the required job tasks.

Work experience is considered to be training and stipends are to be paid at the rate of $6 per hour to cover costs incurred by the client to assist with expenses such as clothing, etc. Additional transportation expenses can be paid if necessary. In case of an injury on the work experience site, medical expenses may be paid as an intercurrent illness (Section 7.10.1) by DBS.

7.10.4 - Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The DBS Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a residential facility located in Daytona Beach, provides rehabilitation instruction for blindness and low vision skills (ADL’s, O&M, and Assistive Technology etc.) as well as vocational training opportunities including:

  1. Business Enterprise Management Training
  2. Access/Computer Technology
  3. Independent Living Skills Program

The mission of the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is to empower individuals with varying degrees of vision loss to achieve independence. 

To refer a client to any of the Center’s programs, e-mail the referral memo. (Contact the center to determine who is receiving these referrals) The referral should include the client’s name, program being referred too, any past rehabilitation training, any medical problems the center should be aware of and any psychological history or current treatment.  For all programs the following is needed:

Referral Memo

The following reports in AWARE: 

  1. Client application
  2. Education History
  3. Eye Exam
  4. IPE (Individualized Plan for Employment)

A client’s IPE should include the following:

  1. Transportation – required regardless of program
  2. Medical – consider using 98999 to cover any medical     issues that may come up that insurance, if client has it will not cover
  3. Training Maintenance – Code 061000 for $150 per month for all clients  

NOTE: Regardless of income all clients that attend the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Daytona for training purposes will receive maintenance of one hundred dollars ($150.00)/month, which will assist in covering the cost of that individual’s social activities in the community.

All referrals to the Rehab Center should be generated in the client’s AWARE case file (Case Tracking, CRP Referral sub-function) and notification made via email.  For more detailed information on services provided at the Rehab Center go to the S Drive/Rehab Center folder. 

7.10.5 - Other Division Training Programs

Division of Blind Services partners and contracts with many Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPS)/providers   throughout the state to provide a multitude of services such as; adjustment to blindness, prevocational and vocational training, as well as O&M, ADL, assistive technology etc. Transition services (beginning at age 14) are provided year round with a strong emphasis on socialization, as well as a variety of prevocational and vocational skill sets. Many CRPs offer extensive summer activities as well as work experiences.  The types of services provided by each local CRP are based on the capabilities of and contract with each facility.  The District Administrator or designee should be contacted for more detailed information.

The Florida Lions Conklin Center for Multi-handicapped Blind in Daytona Beach is a residential facility that provides a variety of services to blind individuals who have one or more additional impairments.  The Center accepts referrals from all over the state. Services include evaluation, vocational training, job placement, and Supported Employment. Conklin Center staff may provide an evaluation in the home of the individual and/or an extensive two-week evaluation at the Center. Clients may be invited back to participate in extended training opportunities. Additional training may be offered depending upon an individual’s needs.

7.10.6 - Business, Vocational, and Technical Schools

Clients requiring training from a business, vocational or technical school should be provided with information to assist them in selecting a facility that offers a curriculum that will lead to a successful employment outcome. Division of Blind Services will only sponsor accredited schools and pay tuition at the rate of a public institution in the local area.  Exceptions may be made by the District Administrator in consultation with the Bureau Chief of Client Services if training at a private school has been justified in terms of the client’s employment outcome, and it is clearly in the best interest of the client to attend a private facility.

As with college and university training, maximum efforts must be made by the Rehabilitation Specialist and the client to secure grant assistance in whole or in part from other sources prior to Division of Blind Services sponsorship.

7.11 - Books, Tools, and Other Training Materials

Books, tools, and other training materials (watches, writing guides, low and high tech items, etc.) may be purchased for clients participating in post-secondary training, work experience training, vocational training to include CRP services, On-The-Job training, and for initial placement.  

Books and training materials should be provided in an accessible format of the client’s choice.  The Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services staff can assist Rehabilitation Specialists or individuals in finding the most efficient method in obtaining accessible materials.

7.12 - Maintenance 

Maintenance as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations Section 361.5

(35) Maintenance means monetary support provided to an individual for expenses, such as food, shelter, and clothing, that are in excess of the normal expenses of the individual and that are necessitated by the individual's participation in an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs or the individual's receipt of vocational rehabilitation services under an individualized plan for employment.

(Authority: Sections 12(c) and 103(a) (7) of the Act; 29 U.S.C. 709(c) and 723(a) (7))

(i) Examples: The following are examples of expenses that would meet the definition of maintenance. The examples are illustrative, do not address all possible circumstances, and are not intended to substitute for individual counselor judgment.

Example 1: The cost of a uniform or other suitable clothing that is required for an individual's job placement or job-seeking activities.

Example 2: The cost of short-term shelter that is required in order for an individual to participate in assessment activities or vocational training at a site that is not within commuting distance of an individual's home.

Example 3: The initial one-time costs, such as a security   deposit or charges for the initiation of utilities that are required in order for an individual to relocate for a job placement.

Example 4: The costs of an individual's participation in enrichment activities related to that individual's training program.

Maintenance forms for all Maintenance Requests use form DBS-117

NOTE: Maintenance must be reevaluated every 6 months as client’s needs may change.

7.12.1 - Maintenance for Rehabilitation Center attendees (see 7.10.4)

7.12.2 - Maintenance for College Students

See College Handbook, S Drive/VR Program Folder 

7.13 - Transportation

Transportation services refers to travel and related expenses (not to exceed state regulated per diem allowances) in connection with transporting clients or applicants and their attendants or escorts for the purpose of participating in Vocational Rehabilitation services.

Transportation may also include relocation and moving expenses when a client has been offered and accepted a job that will require relocation outside his or her home area. Documentation from the employer verifying employment must be placed in AWARE. (Policy 6.13).

Transportation costs and necessary food and lodging during travel may be paid to an escort or attendant. A fee or salary should not be paid if the escort or attendant is normally available to the applicant or individual.

7.14 - Services to Family Members

For purposes of providing VR services, “family member” means an individual who either:

  1. Is an immediate relative, spouse, caregiver or guardian of an applicant or eligible individual or
  2. Who has a substantial interest in the well-being of that individual and
  3. For whom receipt of services is necessary to enable the applicant or eligible individual to achieve an employment outcome.

NOTE: Examples would be child care and short term counseling.

All services to family members must be prior approved by the District Administrator.

7.15 - Interpreter Services for Individuals Who Are Deaf or Deaf-Blind

Based on CFR 361.53(c) (2) If comparable services or benefits exist under any other program and are available to the individual at the time needed to ensure the progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome in the individuals IPE, the designated state unit must use those comparable services or benefits to meet, in whole or in part, the cost of the vocational rehabilitation services. Therefore the first resource for interpreter services must be sought through DVR (for those client’s that are deaf/blind and will be served by both agencies, see the Cooperative Agreement located in the S Drive/Cooperative Agreement folder), and other community agencies/providers, such as CRP’s, doctors, training sites, etc.  In the event there are no other resources with in the community, DBS can pay for interpreter services to ensure the progress of the individual toward achieving his/her employment outcome. (Division Policy 6.15)  Interpreter services should be provided if such services are necessary for the client to participate in an assessment or receive vocational rehabilitation services.  An individual’s IPE should address the need for interpreter services in order to achieve an employment outcome.  

7.16 - Reader Services 

Reader services should be available to clients who require this to achieve an employment outcome.  Readers cannot be family members, caregivers, etc.  Clients should be informed about the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services and other organizations that may provide accessible materials.

DBS will provide the current minimum wage as payment for reader service that is not technical in nature. Hourly wages can be negotiated with the District Administrator or designee for reading that requires expert knowledge (e.g. reading foreign language, highly technical or scientific text). Readers must be advised that earnings will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service and that they are responsible for paying income and Social Security taxes.

*** See College Handbook, for Reader Services as it relates to college students.

7.17 - Tutor Services 

Tutor services should be available to clients who are participating in a training program and require these services to achieve an employment outcome.  However, students must explore all other resources prior to requesting tutor services. Tutors are individuals who are knowledgeable in the subject area and have the skill to teach the specified subject.  A legitimate need for each subject for which these services are requested must be demonstrated (for college / university students, see   College Handbook).

NOTE: Reader and Tutor Services must be prior authorized.

7.18 - Rehabilitation Teaching Services

Rehabilitation teaching services should be discussed with each client with regards to instruction in the use of low vision aids and devices as well as daily living skills, grooming and personal management, adjustment to vision loss, coping and adjustment to vision loss, etc., that are specifically designed to increase an individual’s independence at home, work and in the community. An individual may require such services in order to achieve and/or maintain an employment outcome. Local community rehabilitation programs and the Division of Blind Services Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired provide these services.

7.19 - Orientation and Mobility Services

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) services may include, but are not limited to, instruction in the use of sighted guide, cane skills, principles of indoor and outdoor orientation to the environment, street crossings, use of public transportation vehicles and systems, and traveling in unfamiliar environments.  O&M services should be provided to a client in order to achieve an employment outcome, and to increase and/or maintain independence in the community.  Orientation and Mobility services should be discussed and assessed with all clients and must be provided by a certified orientation and mobility instructor. This should be done by a local community rehabilitation program, the Division of Blind Services Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired or on very rare occasions through private vendors if there is no CRP in the area and client is unable to attend the Division’s Rehabilitation Center. (Staff these situations with the District Administrator prior to authorizing services under private vendors)

DBS does not provide clients with dog guides or training with dogs, however, clients may be assisted with the resources to obtain a dog guide. The Division of Blind Services can provide orientation and mobility assistance to a client who has acquired a dog guide if emergency assistance in the home environment is necessary or if the client experiences problems with the dog guide in an unfamiliar environment. It may be necessary to refer clients back to the guide dog school for further training if problems persist.

7.20 - Job Search and Placement Assistance/Job Retention Services

(Referral to Customer Services Representative use form 259 S Drive/FORMS/Client Services Forms)                    

7.20.1 - Job Search and Placement Assistance

Customer Service Specialists are expected to take the lead in this area with counselors providing additional support.  Job search and placement assistance should be provided to eligible clients for the purposes of obtaining, maintaining, or regaining employment outcome as well as career advancement consistent with an individual’s informed choice.  Such services may include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Resume development and application completion
  2. Training in interview skills
  3. Job development and marketing
  4. Assistance with interviews and appointments
  5. Job analysis and modification of tasks
  6. Job follow-up and job follow-along

NOTE: Thorough documentation must be placed in AWARE to support and detail all activities.

A client’s Individualized Plan for Employment must indicate the responsibilities agreed upon by the Rehabilitation Specialist, the Customer Service Specialist and the client with regard to job search and placement.

Once a client obtains employment follow-up services should be provided to insure job stability and access to the work environment.  Such services may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Rehabilitation Technology
  2. Orientation and Mobility
  3. Job Coaching
  4. Supported Employment Services (see definition)
  5. Personal Assistance Services
  6. Transportation Service

7.20.2 - Job Retention Services

Job retention services may be provided to a client who is experiencing disability-related difficulties in maintaining employment. These services may be provided to an eligible client during the implementation of his/her Individualized Plan for Employment or as post-employment services.

Work related difficulties might include inability to access the work environment, absenteeism, tardiness, or poor co-worker relationships. Retention services to address the client’s needs may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Rehabilitation Technology
  2. Supported Employment Services
  3. Job Coaching
  4. Counseling and Guidance
  5. Personal Assistance  

7.20.3 - Small Business and Self-Employment

The counselor should consider the need for psychological, assistive technology and functional capacity evaluations in order to assess the individual’s ability to operate a business.  Technical assistance and other consultation services may be provided to conduct market analyses and develop business plans to clients who have identified an employment outcome of self-employment or small business development.  (Division Policy 2.10)

Rehabilitation Specialists should refer to the Division of Blind Services Self-Employment Policy for specific guidelines regarding the development and implementation of an IPE with the employment outcome of self-employment or small business development.    (See Self-Employment check list located on the S Drive).  Once a client completes a Self-Employment Plan, the Specialist, Supervisor and District Administrator will review the self-employment plan prior to sending it to state office for final review and approval. 

7.21 - Supported Employment Services

Supported Employment Services are (see definition) (CFR 34 363.6) services needed to support and maintain a client with a most significant disability in entering and/or maintaining integrated, competitive employment.  These clients have multiple disabilities which must be documented in AWARE. Some examples include; deaf / blind clients developmentally disabled blind clients and physically disabled blind clients.

Supported Employment services must be based on a determination of the needs of an eligible client as specified in an Individualized Plan for Employment.  Supported Employment services means on-going support services provided by the designated State for a period not to exceed 18 months, unless under special circumstances a longer period to achieve job stabilization has been jointly agreed to by the individual and the rehabilitation counselor and established in the individualized written rehabilitation program, before an individual with the most severe disabilities makes the transition to extended services.

The outcome of Supported Employment Services is supported employment in a competitive integrated setting.  Supported Employment outcomes are intended for clients:

  1. For whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or
  2. For whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of severe disabilities and
  3. Who, because of the nature and severity of their disabilities, need intensive Supported Employment services or extended services in order to perform such work.

A client is eligible to receive Supported Employment services if the following criteria are met:

  1. The client is eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services.
  2. The client is determined to be an individual with   multiple disabilities and is considered to be most severely disabled.
  3. Supported Employment has been identified as the appropriate rehabilitation objective for the individual on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs including an evaluation of rehabilitation, career, and job needs.

On-going support services (see definition) must be provided to clients in Supported Employment, and extended services (see definition) must be arranged prior to a successful outcome determination.  The provider of extended services must be identified either on the client’s Individualized Plan for Employment or Employment Outcome Summary.  Extended services should be provided by a private nonprofit organization, employer, or other appropriate resource, but must be provided from funds other than those received under Title VI part B.

On-going support services and extended services supplied by the provider may consist of, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. An additional comprehensive assessment
  2. The provision of skilled job trainers who accompany the individual for intensive job skill training at the work site.
  3. Job Development
  4. Placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, interests, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of individuals with the most severe disabilities.
  5. Social skills training
  6. Regular observation or supervision of the individual.
  7. Follow-up services such as regular contact with the employers, the clients, parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the clients, and other suitable professional and informed advisors, in order to reinforce and stabilize the job placement during the time-limited VR funded training.
  8. Facilitation of natural supports at the work site

The Florida Lions Conklin Center for the Multi-handicapped Blind provides Supported Employment services and assessment services on a statewide basis.   DBS provides several local CRPs with funds to provide local Supported Employment services.  Title I funds through other agencies be used to pay for Supported Employment services that have not traditionally provided services to individuals with visual impairments but have shown successful Supported Employment outcomes with other individuals who are most significantly disabled.

NOTE: As per CFR 353.55, An individual with the most severe disabilities who is receiving supported employment services is considered to be SUCCESSFULLY REHABILITATED if the individual maintains a supported employment placement for 60 days after making the transition to extended services.  As soon as the counselor is notified the client has been moved to extended evaluation counselor can begin their 90 day count to closure.

7.22 - Personal Assistance Services

Personal assistance services (see definition) include a range of services designed to assist a client to perform daily living activities on or off the job that the client would typically perform without assistance if he/she did not have a disability.  The services must be designed to increase the client’s independence and ability to perform everyday activities on or off the job. Personal assistance services must be necessary to the achievement of an employment outcome and may be provided only while the individual is receiving other vocational rehabilitation services.

The degree to which a client requires on-going personal assistance services must be evaluated prior to his/her completion of an Individualized Plan for Employment, and assistance should be provided in securing those services through other resources such as Med waiver and Centers for Independent Living and Developmental Services and DVR. DBS will not directly contract with a vendor for these services, nor will DBS locate, interview and hire a Personal Assistant.

7.23 - Post-Employment Services (Policy 2.20)

Post-employment Services (see definition) should be provided, as needed, for all successfully rehabilitated clients whose cases have been closed for less than one year including those who have been trained and placed through Supported Employment.

In order for a client to be eligible for Post-employment services:

  1. He/she must have previously been closed as successfully rehabilitated.
  2. Services must be necessary to assist the person in maintaining, regaining, or advancing in employment.
  3. Minimal short term services (3-4 months as per policy) are needed to maintain (e.g., purchasing equipment to keep a client employed or providing orientation and mobility for a change in job site).

7.24 - Occupational Licenses, Tools, Equipment, Initial Stocks, and Supplies

Tools, equipment, initial stocks, and supplies may be purchased for an eligible client when they are necessary to achieve an employment outcome.  Fees for obtaining an occupational license may be sponsored for a client if the license is required for employment in his/her chosen field.  Prior to purchasing an occupational license, contact should be made with the local tax collecting authority to investigate possible exemptions that may apply to blind or visually impaired individuals.

7.25 - Rehabilitation Technology Devices and Services

Rehabilitation technology (see definition) services include rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology devices and training. Rehabilitation technology should be provided with the goal of obtaining, maintaining, regaining, or advancing in employment. (See Technology Policies for additional information).

For complex technological situations, DBS will refer to the appropriate contract provider for assistance and use the referral form provided by the provider.  

When purchasing rehabilitation technology goods and services it is required that division policy is followed as written.

7.26 - Provision of Equipment and Computer Software Upgrades

To ensure appropriate disbursement of equipment and software upgrades the following must apply:
(Client Equipment and Inventory form DBS 108)

  1. The client’s employment and vocational training outcome is proven to be affected by the need for equipment and computer software upgrades.
  2. The computer should be chosen from the recommended quotes provided by the Division of Blind Services Rehabilitation Engineer after consultation with the consumer. 

NOTE: If any variations are necessary, they must be approved by the DBS Rehab Engineer.  If a client requests a computer package that differs from the recommended packages, the client is responsible for repair and support expenses incurred.  The Rehabilitation Specialist should document everything related to this decision and purchase in AWARE.

7.27 - Transition Services

Transition Services (see definition) should be offered to students turning 14 during the state contract year. (A student may be 13 at time of referral but as long as they will turn 14 during the contract year they may participate in the Transition Program offered through CRP contracts).  Eligibility determination for transition services is identical to the Vocational Rehabilitation program standards for eligibility. Criteria include eye medical reports, specialist’s observations, information provided by the client or the client’s family, client’s IEP from the school and information from other agencies as necessary (see Section 2.6). The Rehabilitation Specialist for the Children’s Program will assist by completing a Transition Referral Summary Form and meeting with the Transition Specialist upon referral of the student to the Transition Program. The two Rehabilitation Specialists will meet to discuss and determine if the client is appropriate for Transition services.  If the client is determined to be appropriate for Transition services the case should be closed in the Children’s Program and referred to Vocational Rehabilitation.

The Division has entered into contractual agreements with CRP’s throughout the state to assist with providing needed year round Transition services.  Referrals to these programs should be made promptly upon eligibility determination.

NOTE:  A review of eligibility for the Transition Program must be made no later than age 16 by the Children’s Specialist unless the student and his/her parent, guardian, or representative do not wish to apply for Vocational Rehabilitation services. This should be documented in AWARE by the Children’s Specialist.

Development and implementation of an Individualized Plan for Employment must occur with the full involvement of the eligible client and his/her parent or guardian, and in accordance with Vocational Rehabilitation Individualized Plan for Employment development procedures (see Section 4.0).  The Individualized Plan for Employment should be designed to facilitate transition from school to work, independent living, and/or post-secondary education. 

Individualized Plan for Employment development should be done in conjunction with the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or Individual Transition Plan (ITP) processes if the client is receiving special education services in the public school system.  Emphasis should be placed on providing pre-vocational activities and career exploration that will lead to an appropriate employment goal based on the client’s informed choice. Services may include job shadowing, interest/skills inventories, attending career fairs, learning to write a disability statement , development of job seeking skills, a vocational evaluation and work experiences as well as Adaptive Daily Living Skills, Orientation and Mobility, Advocacy, training and more.

It is the responsibility of the Division of Blind Services to coordinate with contracted community rehabilitation providers to plan and provide the services needed to meet the expected outcomes that lead to an employment goal in conjunction with services available to the client in the school system.  Upon exiting the school system, a client will continue to receive vocational rehabilitation services that are necessary and have been planned to achieve an employment outcome.

7.28 - Ticket to Work

If a Ticket is presented, the Ticket Assignment Request form (SSA-1365 found in the S: Drive VR Program Folder) is to be completed and faxed to Maximus at 1-703-683-3289.  This form is available on the S Drive under Vocational Rehabilitation Program Forms and Information.  The original form and ticket are to be placed in the client file. The client’s name and social security number are to be e-mailed to the state office representative for record keeping.

Ticket assignment forms should not be completed until the client is in plan development.  Forms are to be completed and faxed to Maximus within two weeks of the signing of the IPE.

Those who have questions about the ticket program should contact Maximus at 1-866-9687842 or visit the Maximus website at www.yourtickettowork.com.