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Program Manual

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION DEFINITIONS

(Also see CFR 34 361.5)

Applicant:

An individual is considered to be an applicant for vocational rehabilitation services when he/she:  

  • Completes and signs an agency application form or has otherwise requested services.
  • Provided information necessary to initiate an assessment to determine eligibility.
  • Is available to complete the assessment process.

Appropriate Modes of Communication:

Specialized aids and supports that enable an individual with a disability to comprehend and respond to information that is being communicated. Appropriate modes of communication include, but are not limited to, the use of interpreters, open and closed captioned videos, specialized telecommunications services and audio recordings, Brailed and large print materials, materials in electronic formats, augmentative communication devices, graphic presentations, and simple language materials.

Assistive Technology:

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of an individual with a disability .

Assistive Technology Services:

Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device, including:

  • The evaluation of the needs of an individual with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the individual in his or her training or work environment.
  • Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition by an individual with a disability of an assistive technology device.
  • Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices.
  • Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs.
  • Training or technical assistance for an individual with a disability or, if appropriate, the family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individual.
  • Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services), employers, or others who provide services, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities. 

Bilateral Visual Impairment:

Vision loss in both eyes to such a degree that even with best correction it creates significant visual limitation(s) in a person’s ability to function on the job, in school, etc.

Community Rehabilitation Program:

For the purposes of this definition the word program means an agency, organization or institutions or unit of an agency, organization or institutions that provides directly or facilitates the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, as well as other services to enable those individual to maximize their opportunities for employment.    

  • Assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs.
  • Orientation and mobility services for individuals who are blind or severely visually impaired.
  • Job development, placement, and retention services.
  • Evaluation or treatment of specific disabilities.
  • Rehabilitation Technology.
  • Supported Employment services and extended services.
  • Extended Employment.
  • Testing, fitting, or training in the use of prosthetic and orthotic devices.
  • Medical, psychiatric, psychological and social services including positive behavior management.
  • Speech, language and hearing therapy.
  • Physical and occupation therapy.
  • Recreational therapy.
  • Services to family members, if necessary, to enable the applicant or eligible individual to achieve and employment outcome.
  • Personal assistance services.

Comparable Services and Benefits:

Comparable services and benefits mean services and benefits that are:

  • Provided or paid for, in whole or in part, by other Federal, State, or local public or private agencies by health insurance or by employee benefits.
  • Available to the individual at the time needed to achieve an employment outcome or initiate the vocational rehabilitation services in the individual’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
  • Commensurate to the services that the individual would otherwise receive from the vocational rehabilitation agency.

Competitive Employment:

Work in the regular labor market that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis in an integrated setting; and

For which an individual is compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled.

Diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments:

Diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments includes:

  • Corrective surgery or 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 such impediment to employment within a reasonable length of time.
  • Necessary hospitalization in connection with surgery or treatment.
  • Prosthetic and orthotic devices.
  • Eyeglasses and visual services as prescribed by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws. 
  • Special services (including transplantation and dialysis), artificial kidneys, and supplies necessary for the treatment of individuals with end-stage renal disease; and
  • Diagnosis and treatment for mental and emotional disorders by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws.

Disability Rights Florida:

A program that assists individuals who have concerns, difficulties or wish to appeal decisions made regarding their program.  CAP is funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.  They also advise people with disabilities of the services and benefits available to them under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Employment Outcome:

An individual, entering or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market to the greatest extent practicable; Supported Employment or any other type of employment that is consistent with an individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

Extended Employment:

Work in a non-integrated or sheltered setting for a public or private nonprofit agency or organization that provides compensation in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and any needed support services to an individual with a disability to enable the individual to continue to train or otherwise prepare for competitive employment, unless the individual, through informed choice, chooses to remain in extended employment.

Extended Services:

(CFR 34 363.6 (B) (iv)

As used in the definition of “Supported Employment,” are ongoing support services and other appropriate services that are needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in Supported Employment that is provided by a State agency, a private nonprofit organization, employer, or any other appropriate resource, from funds other than funds received under this part, 34 CFR part 363, 34 CFR part 376, or 34 CFR part 380, after an individual with a most significant disability has made the transition from support provided by the designated State unit.

Extended Evaluation for Individuals with Significant Disabilities:

Is the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under limited circumstances if an individual cannot take advantage of trial work experiences.

Extreme Medical Risk:

A probability of substantially increasing functional impairment or death if medical services, including mental health services, are not provided expeditiously.

IDEA:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997. It is designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities by ensuring that everyone receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE), regardless of ability. Furthermore, IDEA strives not only to grant equal access to students with disabilities, but also to provide additional special education services and procedural safeguards.

Special education services are individualized to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities and are provided in the least restrictive environment. Special education may include individual or small group instruction, curriculum or teaching modifications, assistive technology, transition services and other specialized services such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. These services are provided in accordance with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is specifically tailored to the unique needs of each student.

Individual Who Is Legally Blind:

A person who has a bilateral eye condition resulting in central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses or a field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter or visual field subtends an angular distance of no greater than 20 degrees.

Individual with a Disability:

Except in CFR 361.5(b) (29), Is an individual—

  • Who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  • Whose impairment constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment; and
  • Who can benefit in terms of an employment outcome from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.

Individual with a Significant Disability:

(CFR 361.5 (30)

Has a bilateral visual impairment or a combination of visual, physical, or mental impairments that constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment and seriously limits one functional capacity (such as mobility, communications, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and

Whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require at least two vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time (a minimum of six months, but not greater than twelve months).

Individual with a Most Significant Disability:

CFR 361.5 (31)

Has a bilateral visual impairment or a combination of visual, physical, or mental impairments that constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment and seriously limits two or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communications, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and

Whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require at least four vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time (twelve months or more).

Individual’s Representative:

Any representative chosen by an applicant or eligible individual, including a parent, guardian, other family member, or advocate, unless a representative has been appointed by a court to represent the individual, in which case the court-appointed representative is the individual's representative.

Integrated Setting:

With respect to the provision of services, means a setting typically found in the community in which applicants or eligible individuals interact with non-disabled individuals other than non-disabled individuals who are providing services to those applicants or eligible individuals.

With respect to an employment outcome, means a setting typically found in the community in which applicants or eligible individuals interact with non-disabled individuals, other than non-disabled individuals who are providing services to those applicants or eligible individuals, to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with other persons.

Maintenance:

As define by the CFR Section 361.5

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))

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.

One Stop Service:

Centers providing a variety of services including those related to employment at no cost, to businesses and job seekers. Services are publicly funded and remain driven by the needs of the local business community.

Ongoing Support Services:

As used in the definition of Supported Employment;

Services that are:

  • Needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in Supported Employment.
  • Identified based on a determination of the individual’s needs as specified in an Individualized Plan for Employment; and
  • Furnished by the Division of Blind Services from the time of job placement until transition to extended services. 

Must include an assessment of employment stability and provision of specific services or the coordination of services at or away from the work site that are needed to maintain stability based on:

  • At a minimum, twice-monthly monitoring at the work site of each individual in Supported Employment; or
  • Special circumstances, especially at the request of the individual, in which the Individualized Plan for Employment provides for off-site monitoring, twice monthly meetings with the individual.

Must consist of:

  • Any particularized assessment supplementary to the comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs described in this part.
  • The provision of skilled job trainers who accompany the individual for intensive job skill training at the work site.
  • Job development and placement.
  • Social skills training.
  • Regular observation or supervision of the individual.
  • Follow-up services including regular contact with the employers, the individual, the family members, the guardians, advocates or authorized representative of the individual, and other suitable professional and informed advisors, in order to reinforce and stabilize the job placement.
  • Facilitation of natural supports at the work site.
  • Any other service identified in the scope of vocational rehabilitation services for individuals; or
  • Any service similar to the foregoing services.

Personal Assistance Services:

A range of services provided by one or more persons designed to assist an individual with a disability to perform daily living activities on or off the job that the individual would typically perform without assistance if the individual did not have a disability . The services must be designed to increase the individual's control in life and ability to perform everyday activities on or off the job. The 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. 

Physical or Mental Impairment:

Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or

Any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

Post-employment Services:

One or more of the services identified in Sec. 361.48 (o) that are provided subsequent to the achievement of an employment outcome and that are necessary for an individual to maintain, regain, or advance in employment, consistent with the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

Note: Post-employment services can be provided within 1 year of successful closure and are intended to ensure that the employment outcome remains consistent with the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and interests. These services are available to meet rehabilitation needs that do not require a complex and comprehensive provision of services and, thus, should be limited in scope and duration. If more comprehensive services are required, then a new rehabilitation effort should be considered.   Post-employment services are to be provided under an (amended) Individualized Plan for Employment; thus, a re-determination of eligibility is not required.

The provision of post-employment services is subject to the same requirements as the provision of any other vocational rehabilitation service. Post-employment services are available to assist an individual to maintain employment. These services are to be short term and not complex, such as O&M to a new site as employer has relocated, an additional piece of equipment, etc.

Referral:

To direct to a source or other agency for information or services.

Rehabilitation Engineering:

The systematic application of engineering sciences to design, develop, adapt, test, evaluate, apply, and distribute technological solutions to problems confronted by individuals with disabilities in functional areas, such as mobility, communications, hearing, vision, and cognition, and in activities associated with employment, independent living, education, and integration into the community.

Rehabilitation Technology:

The systematic application of technologies, engineering methodologies, or scientific principles to meet the needs of, and address the barriers confronted by individuals with disabilities in areas that include education, rehabilitation, employment, transportation, independent living, and recreation. The term includes rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology devices, and assistive technology services.

Substantial Impediment to Employment:

A physical or mental impairment (in light of attendant medical, psychological, vocational, educational, and other related factors) hinders an individual from preparing for, entering into, engaging in, or retaining employment consistent with the individual's abilities and capabilities.

Supported Employment:

Competitive employment in an integrated setting with ongoing support services for individuals with the most severe disabilities.

For whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a severe disability; and

Who, because of the nature and severity of their disabilities, need intensive supported employment services from the designated State unit and extended services after transition in order to perform this work; or

Transitional employment for individuals with the most severe disabilities.  Supported employment services are ongoing support services and other appropriate services needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment that are provided by the designated State unit.

For a period of time not to exceed 18 months, unless under special circumstances the eligible individual and the rehabilitation counselor or coordinator jointly agree to extend the time needed to place the individual in extended services in order to achieve the rehabilitation objectives identified in the Individualized Plan for Employment;  and

Following transition, as post-employment services that are unavailable from an extended service provider and that are necessary to maintain or regain the job placement or advance in employment.

Transition Services:

A coordinated set of activities for a student designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including Supported Employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities must be based upon the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's preferences and interests, and must include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. Transition services must promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the student's IPE.

Transitional Employment:

As used in the definition of “supported employment,” are a series of temporary job placements in competitive work in integrated settings with ongoing support services for individuals with the most severe disabilities. In transitional employment, the provision of ongoing support services must include continuing sequential job placements until job permanency is achieved.

Trial Work Experience:

An exploration of a client’s abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in realistic work situations to determine whether or not there is clear and convincing evidence that the client is capable of benefiting from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome. Trial work experiences include   on-the- job training, and other experiences using realistic work settings. An IPE must be developed to provide these services.

Vocational Evaluation/Assessment Definitions

Vocational Assessment:

Process of assessing a person’s vocational interests, liabilities and assets and provide occupation information to assist in choosing appropriate training and occupational direction.  The process should take one day or less and usually involves a specific referral question of ability. Instruments used include informational interview, file review, interest inventory, academic testing and aptitude testing such as computer evaluation or combinations thereof.  Report is included.

Comprehensive Vocational Assessment:

A process conducted by a vocational evaluator referred by the District Offices in the client’s local area.  The assessment process usually covers a period of time, usually 2 to 4 days, involving a multidisciplinary approach with the purpose of identifying individual characteristics, education, training and placement needs, serving as part of the basis for planning an individual’s educational program, and which provides the individual with insight into vocational potential.  Vocational Instruments include intellectual potential, psychological, interest inventories, personality, learning style, academic testing, aptitude, work samples and combinations of each depending on individualized requirements.  Report is included.

Situational Assessment or Simulated Job Station Evaluation:

The systematic observation process for evaluating work-related behaviors in a controlled or semi-controlled work environment.  Although any type of task or situation may be used, real work is most often used in order to add relevance. The element distinguishing situational assessment from other types of assessment is the capability of systematically varying demands in order to evaluate work-related behaviors. Behaviors to be evaluated include social skills, quantity of work, work tolerance, following directions, interaction with coworkers, promptness, appearance, use of materials, and any other observations that would affect the ability to work in competitive employment. Time period of the evaluation can be from 2 to 5 days. A variety of work stations should be utilized if possible.  A report is included from the evaluator and from the employer if a real work site is utilized.

Community Based Assessment:

An evaluation technique in which the individual performs actual job duties in a real work situation.  Performance is supervised and evaluated by the employer in combination with evaluation staff.  Evaluation criteria are provided by the evaluation unit based on the referral information from the District Counselor.  There is a predetermined beginning and ending date up to 3 work weeks.  It is not necessarily intended to result in employment but this is not restricted.  The time period can be from 1 to3 weeks and include all aspects of actual work experience.  Along with the actual work, interest inventories, aptitude and other assessments are used to help determine vocational direction.  The individual is not paid but expenses can be provided.  A report is provided by the evaluation unit and with supporting data from the employer.