1 Welcome 1
2 What Schools Need to Know About Vocational Rehabilitation A Nationwide System of Vocational Support for People with Disabilities Karen Steffan, LADSE
3 Today s Objectives Provide you with an understanding of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program Assist you in learning about the range of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Assist you in learning about the benefits from Vocational Rehabilitation services Discuss simple strategies to help make the process work for you Understanding the STEP Program 3
4 Autism and Work in America Dr. Scott Standifer, Disability Policy & Studies, U of Missouri There are 10,500 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors nationwide helping people with disabilities get jobs 4
5 The US Department of Education: Rehabilitation Services states that... Persons with Disabilities Have the Right to: Live independently Enjoy self-determination Make choices Contribute to society Pursue meaningful careers, and Enjoy a full life in America, economically, politically, socially, culturally and educationally 5
6 Understanding the Over 200,000 people achieve employment each year with the assistance of VR Services Vocational Rehabilitation System 6
7 The Purpose of Vocational Rehabilitation Simply said, the purpose of VR is to: Give you information to make good choices about jobs and careers Help you find and keep a job so that you can be independent Through employment, give you an opportunity to enjoy yourself, participate in your interests areas throughout your life and be part of your community 7
8 WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM YOUR VR COUNSELOR Oregon VR Courteous and respectful treatment Honest answers about your eligibility or other actions that affect you Prompt appointments when you request them Prompt services Regular contacts Information to help you to make informed decisions about your vocational goal, the services you will receive, and who can provide the services An interpreter for your appointments if - Your counselor does not speak your native language, or - You are hearing impaired and your counselor is not trained in sign language 8
9 Your Responsibilities in the VR Process It is to your advantage to present a good image when you are going through the vocational rehabilitation process. Just as you can expect certain things from your counselor, your counselor may expect you to act a certain way. You will get more out of the vocational rehabilitation process if the people you are working with really understand your needs and believe that you are really making an effort. 9
10 Helpful Hints Rhode Island VR HELPFUL HINTS In order to show that you are making an effort, follow through on ALL of the suggestions that you and your counselor discuss Be on time for all appointments, whether they are with VR staff, for evaluations or assessments, or with possible employers. If you cannot make an appointment, call before the appointment to say that you are not going and set up a new appointment time Be well-informed, and be sure to understand the purpose of your meetings or appointments 10
11 Ask questions whenever you have any, and be honest about your needs with your counselor and others. Be sure you have all the information that you need in order to make decisions about your vocational rehabilitation program Be sure that you and your counselor agree on EXACTLY what your next step is If you fear that you might misunderstand something important, do not hesitate to ask questions, or if you feel you need to bring someone else with you, do so Actively develop your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) with your counselor. You should be in regular contact with your counselor and never go longer than the timeline you have agreed on 11
12 The VR Process 5. SUCCESSFUL CLOSURE 4. EMPLOYMENT 3. PLAN 1. APPLICATION 2. ELIGIBILITY 12
13 1. APPLICATION STATUS You meet with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor General information about the program is given the potential customer. If you want to be part of this process, you fill out an application. 13
14 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on the Application Status You can make the appointment by calling the office, or ing the office Bring any existing testing information, work information, school and/or medical records that they asked you to bring Prior to the appointment, call or send the counselor information on what supports you need in order to get the most out of this meeting, i.e. your personal need for support.
15 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on the Application Status What supports do you need, or are helpful, when you are in a meeting? Examples: An agenda of items to be discussed? with timeframes? A break schedule? Having information about the program, before the meeting, so you have time to think about questions? Environmental concerns? Again, let the VR counselor know what you need before you attend the meeting to make the meeting more successful for you.
16 ISBE Non Public School Conference ELIGIBILITY STATUS Information is gathered and processed to determine eligibility A person is eligible if : they have a physical or mental impairment which results in a substantial impediment to employment AND They require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, obtain or retain employment Your state may be under an order of selection
17 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on the Eligibility Status There is a requirement for meeting the disability criteria and the severity of disability criteria that impedes the ability to work If you are receiving Social Security you are already determined eligible for VR services The counselor may send you for an assessment(s) to help them make a determination on your eligibility for services
18 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on the Eligibility Status This is the time when you need to be honest and be able to express how you are affected by your disability. You need to speak about how your disability stops you from being successful in: your ability to get around, daily communication, interpersonal skills, attention to tasks and other work behaviors, gross and fine motor ability, daily living skills, work tolerance and/or self direction. The counselor has to determine that the disability has a severe impact on your ability to work in order for you to be eligible for services.
19 ISBE Non Public School Conference PLAN STATUS Once eligibility is determined the customer and the counselor meet to develop a written IPE Individual Plan for Employment The plan includes: the vocational goal and objective, counseling and guidance activities, specific services to be provided, benchmarks to measure progress, your rights and responsibilities.
20 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on PLAN STATUS From the time that you are determined eligible, to the time you are employed, there are many services that can be available for you to help you reach your goal You will be expected to be in contact with your counselor, on a schedule that you both agree to Some VR services are free and others require financial participation based on your income
21 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on PLAN STATUS Review your VR information before you meet, so you can have time to develop questions about services. These are services that you may discuss with your counselor to help you meet your work goal: VR guidance and counseling Further education and/or training needed to reach your employment goal Limited medical or psychological therapy Supports such as assistive tech, transportation, job development, job coaching, advocacy, and for job retention services
22 Tips on PLAN STATUS Oregon VR You should work closely with your counselor so that you can set an appropriate vocational goal Your counselor should help you to explore alternatives You should justify your requests for certain services by explaining your needs Do not sign your IPE until you are comfortable with what it says Be sure that the IPE includes everything you need to meet the vocational goal you developed You should retain a copy of your IPE 22
23 VR and Post Secondary Training Funding Post Secondary Training can include college and/or Vocational Training programs Before the VR can consider paying for college or vocational program costs there are a number of factors to be considered The need for the identified training to reach the employment goal The ability of the customer to maintain passing grades in all coursework leading to completion The financial criteria has been met (formula) The school/program is viable (and in-state) The customer has made application to FAFSA The customer is in good standing with following the requirements leading to this point 23
24 ISBE Non Public School Conference EMPLOYMENT STATUS Employment is the GOAL! One of the best comments to hear is You got the JOB! Reaching your goal of being hired is the first step in the employment status. You and your counselor will finalize the plan of service before you start your new job Services such as advocacy, guidance and counseling, coaching and your responsibilities for contacting your VR counselor will be discussed
25 Tips on EMPLOYMENT STATUS ISBE Non Public School Conference If you need on-the-job supports such as job coaching or modifications, you and your counselor would have selected the Service Provider that will be working with you It is important that you and the coach have shared information on your support needs and outline how to fade out those supports over time, as you gain independence on the job
26 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on EMPLOYMENT STATUS The more information that you share about yourself with your coach or trainer, the more likely it is that you will have the supports you need to be successful on the job. You can outline information that covers... I do best when... I learn best when... I struggle with... Successful supports I have use d in the past are... I would like feedback when (daily, when a task is complete, at the end of the day, immediately, etc. )
27 Supported Employment VR Missouri Supported Employment is defined as competitive employment in an integrated setting or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive employment. Supported Employment should be consistent with an individual s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, interests and informed choice. Ongoing support services are provided for workers with the most significant disabilities. 27
28 Supported Employment VR Missouri If an individual is eligible, VR could provide up to nine months of community-based job training if other funding sources are available to provide long-term, follow-along, on-the-job support services that the individual needs to remain employed Supported Employment services may be available for individuals with the most significant disabilities requiring special on-the-job supervision Individuals served by his program need ongoing intervention on or off the job in order to maintain employment 28
29 ISBE Non Public School Conference SUCCESSFUL CLOSURE You are on you way. The Vocational Rehabilitation system determines successful job placement after 90 days on the job. You and your counselor will review your success at 90 days and determine that you have reached success and your case will move into a Closed Rehabilitated status There are post employment services that may be available to you should you need them in the future.
30 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on SUCCESSFUL CLOSURE During the time of getting your job and the 90th day, you and your VR counselor will discuss post employment services The VR counselor makes all support services determinations & decisions Some customers may need more long term services such as through Supported Employment, in this program the job coach would work with the customer for up to 9 months
31 ISBE Non Public School Conference Tips on SUCCESSFUL CLOSURE Post Employment Services If your vocational rehabilitation case has been closed successfully rehabilitated, you can receive post employment services to help to with your employment. Post employment is very goal specific and short-term in nature. If you require a number of services over an extensive period of time or you have lost your employment, your VR Counselor may suggest that you re-apply for VR Services.
32 Unsuccessful Closure Your case can also be closed in situations where you have been determined ineligible you have requested your case file closed for lack of cooperation on your part for or other reasons When your case is closed, you will be notified of case closure You will be provided information as to why your case is being closed You will be given information on the Client Assistance Program and an opportunity to discuss the case closure with the VR Counselor You can reapply for services at a later date 32
33 The Appeals Process You have the right to appeal ANY decision about your case at ANY time during the VR process. EXAMPLES OF ISSUES THAT CAN BE APPEALED You may appeal a decision concerning: Your eligibility for services Your Order of Selection category Level of maintenance Assistive technology that you need The type of training program selected The availability of post-employment services; or The closing of your case 33
34 The Appeal Process If you can t come to an agreement with your counselor, you have 30 days from decision to file an appeal If you appeal a decision to stop services, the services continue until the next level of decision is made Informal procedures include mediation and supervisor conference 34
35 The Appeal Process The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is a federally funded advocacy program that can provide information and, if necessary, representation for a formal appeals process The Client Assistance Program (CAP) helps people with disabilities who have questions or problems with Vocational Rehabilitation services, the Home Services Program, Centers for Independent Living, as well as community rehabilitation programs and workshops 35
36 The Appeal Process Each state has a Client Assistance Program and your VR counselor and/or VR office receptionist will have the contact information for you Regardless of the option selected, the entire process will not exceed 60 days unless you or your representative, if appropriate, and the State agency agree on a time extension 36
37 Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) are available in each state! But, each state operates their own VR system and they are not connected to each other. If you move to another state, you need to establish a case file in the new state where you will be living. 37