Chapter 2: Standards for Work-Oriented CRPs

2.1 Fees

(Revised 1/07, 12/14)

2-0005

The following definitions and policy are described only for purposes of services initiated on or before 12/15/2014. For services started, with or on behalf of consumers, on or before 12/15/2014 only, the following legacy definitions and policy will continue to be applicable through 2/1/2014. For services initiated on or after 12/16/2014, please follow the policies, procedures, definitions and fees established in 2.13

General Community Rehabilitation Program Fees

(Revised 12/08, 09/09, 01/10, 03/11, 12/14, 05/15)

Table 2-1 shows fees for all types of Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP).

Service Fee
Personal-Social Adjustment Training $17.50 per hour for up to 5 hours per calendar week

Job Placement

 

Job Placement Fees apply only when the consumer is placed in a job, achieving Benchmark A on or before December 15, 2014.

 

See Fee Chart in DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.3, Standards for Employment Services for fees on or after December 16, 2014.

Tier I
  • Benchmark A: Job Placement—1 day, $900
  • Benchmark B: Job Placement—45 days, $250
  • Benchmark C: Job Placement—90 days, $900
  • Professional Placement Premium—$500
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 1—$450
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 2—$450

Tier II

  • Benchmark A: Job Placement —1 day, $1,100
  • Benchmark B: Job Placement—45 days, $350
  • Benchmark C: Job Placement—90 days, $1,200
  • Professional Placement Premium—$500
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 1—$600
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 2—$600
Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) $685.25 for 20 to 40 hours of consumer participation
Work Adjustment Training $6.75 per hour for up to 25 hours per calendar week

Job Skills Trainer (Job Coach)

Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) Fees apply only when the consumer is placed in a job, achieving Benchmark A, on or before December 15, 2014.

See Fee Chart in DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.3, Standards for Employment Services for fees on or after December 16, 2014.

 

Negotiated up to $37.50 per hour, for a maximum of 200 hours, for either an individual or group
Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation $1,880 for a minimum of 8 days of testing
Vocational Assessment (1-8 days) $235 per day, with maximum of $1,880

Supported Employment Services

 

Supported Employment Services Fees apply only when the consumer is placed in a job, achieving Benchmark A, on or before December 15, 2014.

See Fee Chart in DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.3, Standards for Employment Services for fees on or after December 16, 2014.

Tier I
  • Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA), and the CCSA Review Meeting—$625
  • Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 (SESP Part1)—$125
  • Benchmark 2: Job Placement and SESP Part 2—$1,650
  • Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance—$1,100
  • Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance—$550
  • Benchmark 5: Job Stability—$550
  • Benchmark 6: VR Closure—$1,650
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 1—$825
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 2—$825

Tier II

  • Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA), and the CCSA Review Meeting—$625
  • Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 (SESP Part 1)—$125
  • Benchmark 2: Job Placement and SESP Part 2—$2,475
  • Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance—$1,650
  • Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance—$825
  • Benchmark 5: Job Stability—$825
  • Benchmark 6: VR Closure—$2,475
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 1—$1,237.50
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment 2—$1,237.50
Supported Self-Employment Services
  • Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA), and the CCSA Review Meeting—$625
  • Benchmark 1B: Supported Self-Employment Services Plan—$125
  • Benchmark 2: Business Concept Development and Feasibility Study—$875
  • Benchmark 3: Business Plan—$1,600
  • Benchmark 4: Business Start-Up—$1650
  • Benchmark 5: Business Maintenance—$825
  • Benchmark 6: Business Stability—$825
  • Benchmark 7: Employment Service Completion—$2475

Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium—$950

Work Experience Placement $750
Work Experience Monitoring $200
Vocational Adjustment Training for Work Readiness Services
Explore the You in Work - $342.50
Explore the You in Work Deaf Premium - $195.00
Soft Skills for Work Success - $513.75
Soft Skills for Work Success Deaf Premium - $292.50
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills - $685.00
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills Deaf Premium - $390.00
Entering the World of Work - $342.50
Entering the World of Work Deaf Premium - $195.00
Preparing for the Job Search - $685.00
Preparing for the Job Search Deaf Premium - $390.00
Disability Disclosure - $685.00
Money Smart - $1,027.50
Money Smart Deaf Premium - $585.00
Public Transportation Training 1 to 1 - Negotiated up to $37.50 per hour
Public Transportation Training Group for no more than 4 individuals in a group - Negotiated up to $19.00 per hour, per individual

Note: The Community Rehabilitation Program will not collect money from a DARS DRS consumer or the consumer's family for any service charge in excess of DARS DRS fees. If DARS DRS and another resource are paying for a service for a consumer, the total payment must not exceed the fee specified in the DARS DRS Standards for Providers.

2.2 Staff Qualifications

(Revised 03/07, 01/12, 03/12, 12/14)

Refer to Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.8 Service Provider Qualifications for information about staff qualifications and the use of the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form.

Vocational Evaluator

2-0020

Education

The Vocational Evaluator (VE) must have the following qualifications:

Vocational Evaluator Aide

2-0030

The Vocational Evaluator Aide must have one year of actual work experience in vocational areas directly related to vocational evaluation. Postsecondary education in a related field may be substituted for actual work experience. The aide must be able to follow instructions, establish rapport with rehabilitation consumers, and work under supervision. Aides are not authorized to sign reports. The CRP Director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form completed by the aide.

Personal-Social Adjustment (PSA) Trainer

2-0035

Job Functions

The PSA Trainer performs the following functions:

Education, Training, and/or Experience

The PSA Trainer must have the following qualifications:

Personal-Social Adjustment Aide

The Personal-Social Adjustment Aide must have one year of work experience in vocational areas directly related to Personal-Social Adjustment Training. Postsecondary education in a related field may be substituted for actual work experience. The aide must be able to follow instructions, establish rapport with rehabilitation consumers, and work under supervision. Aides are not authorized to sign reports. The CRP Director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form completed by the aide.

Work Adjustment (WA) Trainer

2-0045

Job Functions

The WA trainer performs the following functions:

Education, Training, and/or Experience

The Work Adjustment Trainer must possess the following:

The CRP Director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form completed by the trainer.

Work Adjustment Aide

The Work Adjustment Aide must have one year of work experience in vocational areas directly related to Work Adjustment Training. Postsecondary education in a related field may be substituted for actual work experience. The aide must be able to follow instructions, establish rapport with rehabilitation consumers, and work under supervision. Aides are not authorized to sign reports. The CRP Director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form completed by the aide.

Vocational Adjustment (VA) Trainer

2-0070

The VA Trainer must have the following:

The CRP Director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form completed by the trainer.

CRP Director

2-0010

(Added 03/11)

See Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.8 Staff for qualifications for directors of CRP services.

Job Placement Specialist

2-0071

(Revised 12/08, 02/11, 03/11, 05/11, 09/11, 03/12, 12/14)

For Job Placement, see DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.6, Standards for Employment Services.

Driver

2-0075

The CRP must ensure that any of its employees who transport consumers has the appropriate driver's license (class B or C), appropriate liability insurance, and a good driving record.

Job Coach

(Revised 03/11, 09/11, 12/14)

For Job Coach, see DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.8, Standards for Employment Services.

Driver Training Instructor

2-0090

The Driver Training Instructor must be licensed by the Texas Education Agency (based on the requirements of State Board of Education Rules and the Texas Driver and Traffic Safety Education Act).

Classroom

The classroom Driver Education Instructor must have:

Behind the Wheel

The behind-the-wheel Driver Education Instructor must have:

2.3 Vocational Evaluation

(Revised 01/12)

Vocational Evaluator

2-0140

The vocational evaluation must be conducted by the Vocational Evaluator. The final report (see 2-0195) submitted to the referring counselor must contain the original signature of the vocational evaluator who conducted the evaluation.

Referral Form

2-0145

DARS3480, Referral for Vocational Evaluation (or equivalent) indicates the reasons for referral and provides for specific questions concerning the consumer.

"No Show" Payment

2-0147

If a DARS DRS consumer is a "no show" for a scheduled appointment for a Vocational Evaluation or Vocational Assessment under DARS DRS sponsorship, the CRP may claim a service fee of 50% of the normal one-day fee (see Fee Schedule 2-0005). The CRP must notify the DARS DRS counselor within one working day of the consumer's failure to appear in order to claim the service fee. A "no show" is defined as an applicant or consumer who fails to appear for a scheduled appointment without giving prior notice of cancellation to the CRP.

After the first "no show", if the counselor, consumer, and provider all agree, a second appointment may be made. If the consumer does not show for the second appointment, payment may be made for the second "no show". No further payments for "no shows" may be made after the second.

Evaluation Process

2-0150

The evaluation process must include techniques to determine consumer employment assets and liabilities, potential for training, and overall work adjustment. Appropriate measures and devices must be used to determine the following:

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

2-0155

The CRP's staff-to-consumer ratio must not exceed 1 to 6. A competent aide (technician) under the supervision of the Vocational Evaluator may be used when consumers exceed 6 but not more than 12. The ratio of evaluator aides to the evaluator must not exceed 2 to 1.

Comprehensive Evaluation Time Frame

2-0165

The length of a comprehensive vocational evaluation must include a minimum of eight working days testing and work assignment.

Comprehensive Evaluation Requirements

2-0175

All comprehensive evaluations require situational assessments. A situational assessment is a real job task that exists in industry (whether or not it is for pay). It should demonstrate the consumer's ability to do the task successfully. The situational assessment could be on a production line, on a job site outside the CRP, or within the CRP using job samples with carefully documented industrial norms. The amount of time for the situational assessment is determined by the vocational evaluator. Elements of the evaluation include the following:

Vocational Assessment

2-0176

The vocational assessment must be done in fewer than two weeks, depending on counselor and consumer needs, and can range from one day to eight days. The number of days is negotiated between the evaluator and the referring counselor. A standard daily fee is paid for this service (see Fee Schedule 2-0005).

Elements of the evaluation include the following:

Final Report

2-0195

The final written report, which is the cumulative findings of a vocational evaluation, must be submitted no later than 10 working days after the evaluation ends. It must contain specific information in behavioral terms and must stress vocational implications of relevant factors outlined below:

  1. reason for referral, including response to specific questions asked by the referring counselor;
  2. consumer assets and capabilities;
  3. disability and limitations (or special considerations);
  4. physical capacities;
  5. result of medical examination(s) or related information obtained during evaluation, if appropriate;
  6. psychosocial traits;
  7. personal data;
  8. work history;
  9. counseling data, including confidential information;
  10. results of psychological tests;
  11. results of evaluator findings and observations;
  12. suitability for competitive or sheltered employment;
  13. job recommendations related to the current job market (use SOC codes) in the consumer's geographic area;
  14. specific training possibilities and capabilities;
  15. specific job modifications; and
  16. reasons for unemployability.

Formal Follow-up

2-0200

A formal follow-up procedure must be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the evaluation program.

2.4 Work Adjustment Training (WAT)

(Revised 03/09, 05/15)

Flexibility

2-0205

Work Adjustment Training (WAT) must be flexible so activities can be modified to meet consumer needs.

Work Adjustment (WA) Trainer

2-0210

The WAT must be conducted by the WA trainer, who must sign or initial the training records and activity sheet.

Individualized Adjustment Plan (in WAT)

2-0213

An Individualized Adjustment Plan (IAP), identifying behavioral changes that will be addressed in the course of the Work Adjustment Training (WAT) must be developed jointly by the WA trainer and the consumer within the first 10 days of training. Payment may be made for WAT during this initial period. The IAP must specify measurable goals and objectives, methods for changes, persons responsible, and target dates for completion of each goal and objective. (DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan, may be used or any other format that includes all the same information.)

The IAP is signed by the WA trainer, the consumer, and the DARS DRS counselor. Signature by each of these individuals documents understanding of and agreement with the goals and objectives established in the IAP. If the DARS DRS counselor is not available for personal signature when the IAP is developed, fax the IAP to the counselor and request the counselor's signature before initiating the services on the IAP.

IAP goals and objectives must be reviewed periodically by the trainer, the consumer, and the DARS DRS counselor and amended as appropriate.

Programs Hours Per Week Requirement

2-0215

When the CRP offers more than 25 hours per week, DARS DRS sponsorship is limited to 25 hours per week. It is recommended that the program be increased to 40 hours per week during the last one-fourth of the training period for the following purposes:

"Real" Work

2-0220

Work Adjustment Training must be conducted a minimum of 25 hours per week utilizing "real" work — that is, work that produces revenue for the CRP and compensation for the consumer.

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

2-0235

The CRP's staff-to-consumer ratio must not exceed 1 to 10 without an aide. An aide under the supervision of the work adjustment trainer may be used when consumers exceed 10 but not more than 15. The ratio of aides to the work adjustment trainer must not exceed two to one.

2.5 Personal-Social Adjustment Training (PSAT)

Flexibility

2-0240

Personal - Social Adjustment Training (PSAT) must be flexible so activities can be modified to meet the consumer's needs.

Personal-Social Adjustment (PSA) Trainer

2-0245

PSAT must be conducted by the PSA Trainer. The trainer must sign or initial the training record or activity sheet.

Individualized Adjustment Plan (in PSAT)

2-0247

An Individualized Adjustment Plan (IAP), identifying behavioral changes that are addressed in the course of PSAT must be developed jointly by the PSA Trainer and the consumer within the first 10 days of training. Payment may be made for PSAT during this initial period. The IAP must specify measurable goals and objectives, methods for change, persons responsible, and target dates for completion of each goal and objective. (DARS3484, Individualized Adjustment Plan, may be used or any other format that includes all the same information.)

The IAP is signed by the PSA Trainer, the consumer, and the DARS DRS Counselor. Signature by each of these individuals documents understanding of and agreement with the goals and objectives established in the IAP. If the DARS DRS Counselor is not available for personal signature when the IAP is developed, fax the IAP to the counselor and request the counselor's signature before initiating the services on the IAP.

IAP goals and objectives must be reviewed periodically by the trainer, the consumer, and the DARS DRS Counselor and amended as appropriate.

Course Description

2-0250

A PSAT course outline and lesson plan(s) must be developed. The lesson plans must include a description of specific resources used, such as guest speakers, books, films, field trips, etc.

Hours of Instruction

2-0255

If the CRP offers more than five hours per week, DARS DRS sponsorship is limited to five hours per week.

The instruction must assist the consumer in:

These five hours of training must be documented for each consumer receiving services.

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

2-0265

The CRP's staff-to-consumer ratio must not exceed 1 to 10. An aide under the Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer may be used when consumers exceed 10 but not more than 15. The ratio of aides to the Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer must not exceed 2 to 1.

2.6 Work Experience

(Revised 12/08, 05/15)

*Effective December 1, 2008, the DARS Division for Rehabilitation Services no longer purchases Job Quest Training.

Service Overview

The goal of work experience is to provide consumers with experience in a “real people doing real work” environment involving industries that are consistent with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. Work experience is an important resource to include in a consumer’s resume when he or she is ready to pursue competitive, integrated long-term employment or for students who may be exploring options and seeking skills for employment. DARS consumers will be placed at businesses or agencies within the community to complete short-term work experiences.

The purpose of the work experience is to help the consumer understand work culture, work expectations, and skills (soft and hard) associated with the vocational industry of the specific work experience. Consumers should have the opportunity to develop skills and competencies, build self-confidence, network with employees of the business/ or agency, and receive feedback on his or her performance related to meeting the expectation of the business or agency. The work experience site will mentor the consumers in developing essential job skills and give them insight into the nature of employment. As determined necessary and appropriate by the counselor, Work Experience Monitoring and Work Experience Training and Coaching can be purchased to supplement the training provided by the business.

State and local government agencies and non-profit organizations can generally use interns or volunteers without an obligation to pay them under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It is important, though, that the volunteers understand they are not to be paid for their time. Volunteer work done at non-profit, religious, charitable, and civic organizations has specifically been cleared by the Texas Workforce Commission. A Cconsumer can be paid while participating in a Work Experience Placement, but the placement must be temporary or short- term, with the purpose being to gain experience, not permanent long-term placement.

For information on Volunteering and the Federal Labor Law see this link:
http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp

For information on Internship and Federal Labor Act see this link:
http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf

DARS is unable to directly reimburse or pay any business for consumer wages.

Each Work Experience(s) may not be longer than 12 weeks. If it is necessary for a consumer to participate in a Work Experience for longer than 12 weeks to meet the consumer’s needs, area manager approval is required. Multiple Work Experiences are allowed if it theyis are necessary to meet the consumer’s goals.

Work Experience Roles and Responsibilities

Consumer’s Responsibility

The consumer’s responsibilities are as follows:

Work Experience Specialist Responsibility

The Work Experience Specialist’s responsibilities are as follows:

Work Experience Site’s Responsibility

The responsibilities of the supervisor and/or manager at the Work Experience Site are as follows:

Staff Qualifications:

The Work Experience Specialist must meet the qualifications of a Job Placement Specialist. Please link to staff qualifications in Job Placement.

The Work Experience Trainer/Coach must meet the qualification of a Job Skills Trainer (Job Coach). Please link to staff qualifications in Job Skills Trainer (Job Coach).

Procedure

-Process steps:

Each service within Work Experience can be purchased separately. In some cases, consumers may gain the Work Experience on their own, with assistance from a teacher, friends, family, or DARS staff members, while others need assistance in gaining the Work Experience Placement from a provider. Even though the Work Experience Placement has been secured, a consumer may need a provider to provide Work Experience Monitoring to assist with disability education and/or awareness, accommodations, communication, or other coordination to ensure the consumer benefits from the Work Experience.

Other consumers may need Work Experience Training and/or Coaching to assist with on-going training and supervision so that the consumer can meet the expectation of the Work Experience Site. The DARS1633, Work Experience—Referral, or the DARD1636, Work Experience Training/Coaching Referral, and DARS Service Authorization and/or Purchase Order (SA; formerly purchase order (PO)) will indicate what services are being purchased for each individual consumer.

Participation in the Work Experience should provide the consumer the opportunity to:

Service Definitions:

2.6.1 Work Experience Placement

The provider’s goal is to secure a work experience position that meets all criteria on the DARS1634, Work Experience Plan, for the DARS consumer. Once the Work Experience position is established, the Work Experience Specialist will complete a work experience analysis, make recommendations for accommodations or supports the consumer needs, and educate the work experience site employees regarding about any all disability related issues.

The Work Experience Specialist accompanies the consumer to the Work Experience Site on the first day(s) of the Work Experience to ensure that the consumer and Work Experience Site have the supports necessary to foster the consumer success. The goal is for the consumer to participate in the Work Experience in the least restrictive way, with the Work Experience site mentoring the consumer in developing essential hard and soft job skills and gaininginsight of into employment. The Work Experience Placement can be volunteer position, an internship position, or temporary, short-term paid work.

Outcomes for Payment:

The provider secures a Work Experience position that meets the criteria on the consumer’s DARS1634. While securing a Work Experience for the consumer, the provider will assist the consumer with:

  • research into identification of potential work experience;
  • paperwork (such as applications, questionnaires) required to gain Work Experience;
  • the steps needed to follow-up on potential Work Experience Opportunities;
  • “in-person” requirements (for example, interviews, classes, meetings) necessary to gain Work Experience; and
  • all required screenings, such as Criminal Background Checks or Health Checks.

The Provider will complete the Work Experience Skills, Tasks and Responsibilities section, Work Experience Conditions section, and Steps Taken to Secure Work Experience Sites on the DAR1634.

The following criteria must be achieved on the DARS1634:

  • at least three of the skills, tasks or responsibilities listed in the Work Experience Skills, Tasks and Responsibilities,
  • 100 percent non-negotiable Work Experience Conditions, and
  • 50 percent or more of the negotiable Work Experience Conditions.

Once the Work Experience has been gained, the Work Experience Specialist will provided initial assistance, training, or supports, as needed by the consumer, for the first week of the experience and document that assistance on the DARS1635, Work Experience Report. A minimum of one face-to-face meeting between the Work Experience Site Supervisor and the consumer is required. The initial assistance, training, or supports the Work Experience Specialist will provide includes:

  • assisting the business and its employees with disability related issues;
  • setting up accommodations at the Work Experience Site;
  • ensuring that accommodation(s) meet consumer's needs;
  • evaluating the effectiveness of accommodations at the Work Experience Site and making any adjustment to ensure the consumer's success; and
  • advocating for the consumer to ensure that he or she gains the skills, supports, and mentoring needed to foster a positive outcome at Work Experience Site and seeking additional supports from DARS as necessary. Refer to SFP for detailed fee schedule for other purchased services.

Refer to SFP for detailed fee schedule for other purchased services.

Work Experience Monitoring

The goal is for the provider to monitor and assist the consumer in maintaining the Work Experience position. The Work Experience Specialist will complete work experience observations, make recommendations for accommodations or supports the consumer needs, and educate the volunteer site employees regarding any disability related issues. The goal is for the consumer to participate in the Work Experience in the least restrictive way, with the Work Experience site mentoring the consumer in developing essential hard and soft job skills and gaining insight into employment.

Outcomes for Payment:

Once the Work Experience has been secured, the Work Experience Specialist provides assistance, training, or supports, as needed by the consumer, for each month that a Service Authorization and/or Purchase Order (formerly purchase order (PO)) is issued for Work Experience Monitoring.

All monitoring visits and contact and assistance, training, or supports provided by the Work Experience Specialist during the start date and end date of the monthly monitoring must be documented on the DARS1635.

A minimum of one face-to-face meeting with the consumer, Work Experience Site Supervisor, and consumer is required. The Work Experience Specialist provides weekly “check-ins” and contacts with the consumer, business site supervisor and/or consumer’s co-workers (face- to- face interactions, phone conversations, or email correspondence) to obtain information related to the consumer’s job performance and his or her barriers and needs.

Assistance, training, or support provided by the Work Experience Specialist includes but are not limited to the following:

  • Assisting the business and its employees on disability related issues;
  • Setting up accommodations at the Work Experience Site;
  • Ensuring that accommodation(s) meet consumer's needs;
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of accommodations at the Work Experience Site and making any adjustment to ensure the consumer's success;
  • Advocating with and/or for the consumer to ensure that he or she gains the skills; and
  • Correspondence to gain/gatherobtain information related to the consumer’s job performance and barriers/ and needs.

Refer to SFP for detailed fee schedule for other purchased services.

2.6.3 Work Experience Training/ and Coaching

Work Experience Training and Coaching services are provided to consumers who have gained in the Work Experience in a volunteer, internship or temporary-short-term paid work setting that meets the consumer’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) goal(s). Work Experience Training and Coaching services are purchased from Employment Services Providers when a consumer needs more training and support than the training and support provided by the Work Experience Site. Work Experience Training and Coaching can be purchased when the consumer, counselor, provider, parent, teacher, or friend secures Work Experience placement.

The Work Experience Site, the consumer, the DARS counselor, the Work Experience Specialist and/or Work Experience Trainer or Coach and should be involved in the training plan and in monitoring the consumer’s performance. All services are goal-focused, with the consumer’s goals and abilities documented on the DARSD1636, Work Experience Training/Coaching Referral and DARS1637, Work Experience Training/Coaching Report.

Training provided by Work Experience Trainer or Coach can include teaching skills, reinforcing skills, establishing and setting-up accommodations and/or compensatory techniques to increase the consumer’s independence and ability to meet the Work Experience site’s expectations.

The DARS Counselor completes the DARS1636, Work Experience Training/Coaching—Referral, identifying which goals from the menu of goals on the DARS1636 that the Work Experience Training/Coaching will address with the consumer, and then submits the DARS1636 to the provider.

DARS issues a Service Authorization and /or Purchase Order (formerly PO) for the number of approved hours of Work Experience Training/Coaching to the provider and sends the Service Authorization with the DARS1636. The DARS counselor negotiates a fee for Work Experience Training/Coaching. For fees chart, see Fees.

Outcomes for Payment:

The Work Experience Trainer/Coach will:

  • address the goals on the DARS1636, Work Experience Training/Coaching Referral, and will discuss with the counselor whether any additional goals or changes are necessary;
  • use structured intervention techniques that use the most effective, but least intrusive methods possible to help the consumer learn the essential soft and hard skills of the work experience and/or the skills necessary to arrange and use transportation to get to and from the work experience site;
  • work with the consumer, employer, and DARS staff members to establish support services, accommodations, compensatory techniques, and training necessary to remove barriers to ensure successful participation in the Work Experience by the consumer;
  • monitor the consumer’s performance to ensure improvement in the consumer’s performance; and
  • gradually reduce the time spent with the consumer at the Work Experience Site, as the consumer becomes better adjusted and more independent.

Using the DARS1637, Work Experience Training/Coaching Report, the Work Experience Trainer/Coach documents in descriptive terms the following:

  • Consumer Information Section
  • Goals Section:
    • goals related to services to be delivered by the Work Experience Trainer/Coach, and
    • consumer’s performance of skills necessary
  • Progress Note Section including the total hours of the Work Experience Training/Coaching documented on the report and any additional comments that may be necessary.

Each Progress Note entry must include:

  • date the service was provided (xx-xx-xx);
  • start time of session (x:xx a.m. or p.m.);
  • end time of session;
  • total time of the session using quarter hour .25 increments (Note: .25 = 15 minutes, .50 = 30 minutes, .75 = 45 minutes, and 1.0 = 60 minutes. Use 0 for non-billable notation);
  • record a narrative description of the services provided by Work Experience Trainer/Coach and consumer’s performance of skills related to the consumer’s goals and record the initials of the staff person providing the Work Experience Training/Coaching.

The Work Experience Training/Coaching provided and documented on the DARS1637 must be related to the goal(s) approved by the DARS counselor on the DARS1636, Work Experience Training/Coaching Referral and Service Authorization and/or Purchase Order (formerly PO). The provider must submit a complete and accurate DARS1637 with an invoice. Once the form and invoice have been approved, the invoice is paid. The provider is paid for all hours of Work Experience Training/Coaching documented on the DARS1637, when approved by the DARS counselor.

Refer to SFP for detailed fee schedule for other purchased services.

2.7 Job Placement

(Revised 12/08, 06/09, 03/11, 09/14, 12/14, 05/15)

The following definitions and policies apply only to Job Placements for which Benchmark A was achieved on or before December 15, 2014.

For Job Placement services where Benchmark A was achieved on or before December 15, 2014, Section 2.7 will continue to apply until the achievement of Benchmark C or through February 28, 2015.

If Benchmark A is achieved on or after December 16, 2014, the service must be purchased and performed following the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.6, Standards for Employment Services.

If services were planned under Section 2.7 but the Benchmark A was not achieved until on or after December 16, 2014, a new service authorization and/or purchase order must be issued and a new DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, must be created according to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.6, Standards for Employment Services.

Overview

2-0305

The Job Placement provider supplies the necessary assistance or training for the consumer to conduct the job search and/or be placed in competitive employment, and maintain the employment for 90 days. There are no minimum or maximum hours for this assistance, training, or support.

Description of Service and Outcome

As a result of the services rendered by the provider, the consumer is adequately prepared to seek employment and is placed in a job that is consistent with his or her

  • unique strengths, interests, abilities, and capabilities;
  • desired employment conditions, and
  • employment goal.

There is a reasonable expectation that the job is permanent rather than temporary.

The DRS counselor and the consumer discuss and determine the consumer's support and assistance needs, identify a Job Placement Services Provider, and complete the DARS3430, Job Placement Services—Referral.

DARS3430, Job Placement Services—Referral identifies the type and amount of assistance the DRS counselor anticipates a consumer may need to gain and maintain employment. This may include

  • helping or training the consumer to accurately complete job applications,
  • helping or training the consumer in developing a résumé,
  • reinforcing essential skills and teaching new skills necessary for conducting a successful job interview,
  • helping the consumer develop skills necessary to conduct a job search, and
  • providing support necessary for the consumer during the job-seeking process and the first 90 days of employment.

The DRS counselor sends a copy of the DARS3430, Job Placement Services—Referral, and other pertinent information, reports, and testing to the provider before the Job Placement Services planning meeting.

The Job Placement Services planning meeting with the consumer, counselor, and provider can be held in person or through phone conference, video relay, or any method that allows all parties to actively participate in the discussion. The purpose of the meeting is to

  • review and clarify the employment training needs identified in the referral;
  • identify skills, abilities, experiences, training, and/or education that may relate to the placement;
  • identify employment conditions that will need to be considered when helping the consumer find employment;
  • identify potential positions and/or employers related to the placement; and
  • verify the employment goal.

During the meeting, the DRS counselor completes the DARS3431, Job Placement Services—Plan, which will then serve as a "blueprint" of the requirements for the placement.

The DARS3431, Job Placement Services—Plan must be updated as needed based on follow-up meetings with the counselor, consumer, and provider, especially if the consumer identifies different or additional employment conditions or a new employment goal.

Each benchmark payment is made only once to a job placement services provider for the consumer, even if the consumer loses a job after the completion of a benchmark and continues to receive services with that same provider. If the consumer chooses a new job placement services provider, the new provider and the DARS counselor negotiate the benchmark at which the consumer begins.

See the Diagram of the Job Placement Services Benchmarks for Providers or read the text summary of the Diagram of the Job Placement Services Benchmarks for Providers.

DARS pays for job placement only if the consumer is placed in an organization or business that is not owned, operated, controlled, or governed by the Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providing the service. CRPs that are state agencies, state universities, or facilities that are a part of a state university system are exempt from this requirement.

Placement Tiers

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Because it is more challenging to find employment and support for some consumers than others, there are two payment schedules, based on the amount of assistance that the consumer requires. Some consumers learn through time how to customize the job search, applications, résumés, and interviews to particular jobs. Others require repeated assistance throughout the job search and require some additional supports to maintain the job.

The payment schedules are based on a combination of factors and are determined by the VR Counselor. The following represent some of the factors used in determining the most appropriate tier.

Tier I—Consumer Characteristics:

  • has transferable skills that link directly to other jobs;
  • needs initial assistance completing applications, but is able to generalize learning;
  • needs initial assistance learning how to tailor skills and abilities to jobs for which he or she is applying, but is able to generalize learning; and/or
  • must have access to a provider to problem-solve or address work or work-related issues if they arise.

Tier II—Consumer Characteristics:

  • has no work history or very limited work history;
  • has limited transferable skills;
  • requires repeated direct assistance in completing applications;
  • requires repeated direct assistance to tailor skills and abilities to jobs for which he or she is applying;
  • requires frequent and ongoing contact with the provider to address work or work-related issues (such as conflict resolution, motivation, social issues, co-worker issues, etc.);
  • has other life factors negatively impacting work prospects (such as family issues, living, economic, or Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) below 50.

Benchmark A: Job Placement—After First Day of Paid Employment

Service Description

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Assistance, training, or supports provided may include

  • writing résumés and proposals to assist in placement;
  • contacting employers from target lists and developing consumer jobs;
  • performing a job analysis;
  • reviewing job match information;
  • assisting the consumer with job applications, preemployment forms, practice interviews, and preemployment testing or physicals;
  • accompanying the consumer to interviews and company visits;
  • assisting the employer with the Work Opportunity Tax Credit; and
  • training the consumer to travel to and from the job.

Activities related to obtaining a placement can be taught to the consumer, completed with the consumer, or done for the consumer based on the consumer's abilities.

The placement obtained must meet the employment conditions and employment goal outlined on DARS3431, Job Placement Services—Plan to the consumer's satisfaction.

Documentation and Fees—Benchmark A

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The DRS counselor is authorized to pay the provider when the consumer

  • is placed in and begins employment in a job that is consistent with the employment goal and a majority of the employment conditions outlined and agreed to on the DARS3431, Job Placement Services—Plan,
  • is earning at least minimum wage,
  • has been employed a total of 1 day, and
  • is satisfied with his or her job.

(See Fee Schedule 2-0005)

With the invoice, include the DARS3432A, Job Placement Services—Support Summary, Benchmark A; After First Day of Paid Employment, completing the employment information and summary of services sections for Benchmark A. This form must be signed by the provider and consumer or consumer's legally authorized representative.

Before payment is made, the counselor or designated DRS staff member verifies with the consumer or employer that the details in the form are correct.

Benchmark B: Job Placement—After 45 Days of Paid Employment

Service Description

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Assistance, training, or supports may include

  • educating the employer and employees on disability-related issues,
  • setting up accommodations at the worksite,
  • ensuring that job accommodation(s) meet consumer's needs,
  • ensuring that documentation of accommodation needs are recorded in the consumer or employee's personnel file and accurately meet the needs of the consumer,
  • evaluating the effectiveness of accommodations at the worksite and making any adjustment to ensure the consumer's success,
  • advocating with and/or for the consumer to ensure that he or she maintains the hours, wage, and position hired for and is given the opportunity for advancement, and
  • recommending job coach services if needed to ensure that needs of the consumer and employer are met.

Providers should meet with the consumer on or off the worksite between initial placement and the 45-day benchmark to discuss and resolve any issues related to the job.

Documentation and Fees—Benchmark B

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The DRS counselor is authorized to pay the provider when the consumer

  • is placed in and maintains employment in a position that is consistent with the employment goal and a majority of the employment conditions outlined and agreed to on the DARS3431, Job Placement Services—Plan,
  • is earning at least minimum wage,
  • has been employed a total of 45 cumulative calendar days, and
  • is satisfied with his or her job.

(See Fee Schedule 2-0005)

Along with the invoice, include the DARS3432B, Job Placement Services—Support Summary, Benchmark B; After 45 Days of Paid Employment, completing the employment information and summary of services sections for Benchmark B. This form must be signed by the provider and consumer or consumer's legally authorized representative.

Before payment is made, the counselor or designated DRS staff member verifies with the consumer or employer that the details in the form are correct.

Note: Employment is considered "cumulative" so long as any gaps are not due to the consumer's disability. If a consumer loses a job before the 45 days benchmark and it is not due to the disability, the consumer's progression within the 45 days benchmark is "frozen" until he or she becomes employed again, at which time the progression towards completion of the benchmark begins again.

Any gap in employment greater than eight weeks results in a new employment period.

Benchmark C: Job Placement—After 90 Days of Paid Employment

Service Description

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Assistance, training, or supports may include

  • assisting the employer and its employees on disability related issues;
  • setting up accommodations at the worksite;
  • ensuring that job accommodation(s) meet consumer's needs;
  • evaluating the effectiveness of accommodations at the worksite and making any adjustment to ensure the consumer's success;
  • advocating with and/or for the consumer to ensure that he or she maintains the hours, wage, and position hired for and is given the opportunity for advancement; and
  • recommending job coach services if needed to ensure that needs of the consumer and employer are met.

Providers should meet with the consumer on or off the work site between the 45-day and 90-day benchmarks to discuss issues related to the job.

Documentation and Fees—Benchmark C

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The DRS counselor is authorized to pay the provider when the consumer

  • is placed in and maintains employment in a position that is consistent with the employment goal and a majority of the employment conditions outlined and agreed to on the DARS3431, Job Placement Services—Plan,
  • is earning at least minimum wage,
  • has been employed a total of 90 cumulative calendar days, and
  • is satisfied with his or her job.

(See Fee Schedule 2-0005)

With the invoice, include the DARS3432C, Job Placement Services—Support Summary, Benchmark C; After 90 Days of Paid Employment, completing the employment information and summary of services sections for Benchmark C.

Before payment is made, the counselor or designated DRS staff member verifies with the consumer or employer that the details in the form are correct.

Note: Employment is considered "cumulative" so long as any gaps are not due to the consumer's disability. If a consumer loses a job before the 90-day benchmark and it is not due to the disability, the consumer's progression within the 90-day benchmark is "frozen" until he or she becomes employed again, at which time the progression towards completion of the 90-day benchmark begins again.

Any gap in employment greater than eight weeks results in a new employment period.

Professional Placement Premium

Service Description

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A professional position is defined as a position that requires the completion of at least a bachelor's degree. This requirement must be stated in the employee's job description or job posting.

The decision to pursue a professional position is made at the time of the initial Job Placement Services planning meeting with the counselor, consumer, and provider and documented on the DARS3431, Job Placement Services—Plan for the provider to be eligible for the Professional Placement Premium.

Documentation and Fees—Professional Placement Premium

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The DRS counselor is authorized to pay the provider when the consumer is placed in a professional job that matches the employment goal, (one that requires at least a bachelor's degree) and has otherwise achieved the requirements for Benchmark C.

(See Fee Schedule 2-0005)

Along with the invoice for Benchmark C, complete the information required on the DARS3432C, Job Placement Services—Support Summary, Benchmark C; After 90 Days of Paid Employment, Professional Placement Premium Section. Include with the form a copy of the job posting or the job description documenting the educational requirement.

2.8 Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT)

Overview

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Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) is designed to increase an individual's interpersonal skills related to basic worker traits and attitudes necessary to participate in job search activities.

Description of Service or Outcome

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VAT can be provided one-on-one or in a group setting, as determined by the trainer.

Through training offered by the provider, the consumer receives an opportunity to acquire the personal and social adjustment skills necessary to participate in job search activities. The consumer outcomes are described below.

  • Transportation Training—consumer demonstrates ability to use appropriate transportation to access one or more specific locations.
  • Socially Appropriate Behavior Skills Training—consumer demonstrates appropriate behavior in selected settings on a routine basis.
  • Daily Living Skills—consumer demonstrates skills necessary to function independently (food preparation, homemaking, etc.).
  • Communication Skills—consumer communicates honestly and clearly; relates to authority figures, co-workers, and peers; demonstrates appropriate phone etiquette; and interacts and cooperates appropriately with groups.
  • Grooming—consumer demonstrates appropriate grooming skills and hygiene for work setting.
  • Problem Solving—consumer provides appropriate solutions to identified work-related barriers.
  • Goal Setting—consumer demonstrates understanding of realistic goals or objectives.
  • Time Management—consumer demonstrates effective time scheduling; understands the importance of punctuality and attendance; and meets deadlines, schedules, and appointments appropriately.
  • Self-Concept and Self-Motivational Skills Training—consumer demonstrates understanding of personal assets, skills, and abilities.
  • Banking and Financial or Money Management—consumer demonstrates an understanding of basic budgeting, banking services, and the responsible use of credit.
  • Work Traits and Work Ethics—consumer demonstrates an appropriate attendance or tardiness record, relates well with co-workers and supervisors, recognizes "quality" work, and competes appropriately.
  • Conflict Resolution—consumer demonstrates ability to cope with and appropriately resolve work-related conflicts.
  • Disability Awareness—consumer demonstrates ability to explain one's disability and offer solutions to disability-related problems in an employment setting.
  • Other—consumer performs as defined in the service authorization and/or purchase order comment line or in the referral form.

Documentation/Fees

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The DARS DRS counselor is authorized to pay the provider (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) upon receipt of an invoice and a signed narrative statement that includes the following:

  • the numbers of hours participated in VAT, and
  • the training has provided the consumer an opportunity to acquire the interpersonal skills necessary to participate in job search activities.

A DARS DRS staff member

  • verifies with the consumer that these services were provided, and
  • documents the DARS DRS casefile prior to payment.

2.9 Job Coaching

The following definitions and policies apply only to Job Coaching services provided before December 16, 2014.

For Job Coaching Standards provided on or after December 16, 2014, see DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.8.

Overview

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For the VR program, a job coach provides on-site job training for consumers needing

  • assistance in adjusting to employment,
  • instruction in learning the skills necessary to perform a job competently, and
  • training in the use of transportation services for applicants and consumers to access services and employment.

Description of Services

  • Train applicants and consumers to use public transportation services or other means of transportation to help applicants and consumers access services and employment.
  • Work side-by-side with a newly placed consumer at a job site.
  • Analyze the job, and break into manageable components.
  • Identify and solve problems before they become crises for the consumer, employer, or co-worker.
  • Teach effective job keeping skills to the consumer.
  • Use the least intrusive methods possible on the job.
  • Gradually reduce the time spent at the job site as the consumer becomes better adjusted and more independent.

Documentation/Fees

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The DARS DRS counselor negotiates a fee for job coaching. A job coach may work with multiple consumers at one negotiated group fee, as long as the quality of the service is not compromised (see Fee Schedule 2-0005).

A job coaching time log report signed by provider and consumer and an invoice must be submitted for payment. (DARS3458, Job Coach Service(s) Time Log is an example of a time log.)

The counselor or designated DARS DRS staff verifies with consumer the essential elements of the time log and documents in the DARS DRS case record. If, in the counselor's judgment, the consumer cannot reliably verify the provision of services, verification is made with the employer or another individual who can verify that services were provided.

2.10 Driver Education

Community Rehabilitation Program Certification

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The Driver Education curriculum used must be one of the following Texas Education Agency publications: "Driver Education Classroom and In-Car Instruction" or "Driver Education Simulation and In-Car Instruction."

Equipped Vehicles

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The Driver Training program must have a vehicle with appropriate specialized equipment, such as hand controls, etc., to properly meet consumer training needs.

2.11 Standards for Supported Employment Services

(Revised 1/07, 6/07, 10/08, 07/09, 03/11, 12/14, 05/15)

For Standards for Supported Employment Services, see DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.7, Standards for Employment Services.

Benchmark 1A, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA) started before December 16, 2014, must be performed per section 2.11 and the CCSA must be completed before February 28, 2015. If the CCSA was not started before December 16, 2014, the CRP must receive a new service authorization and/or purchase order for the Supported Employment Assessment (SEA).

Do not start any CCSAs after December 16, 2014. The service must be purchased and performed using the new Supported Employment Assessment (SEA).

Section 2.11 Standards for Supported Employment applies only to tier 1 or tier 2 benchmarks achieved on or before December 15, 2014. Supported Employment benchmarks 2–6 will transition to DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 8.7, Standards for Employment Services. For Supported Employment Benchmarks not achieved before December 15, 2014, the CRP must receive a new service authorization and/or purchase order for the appropriate Supported Employment benchmark service(s).

Supported Employment (SE) Services Overview

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Supported Employment (SE) enables consumers with the most significant disabilities to enter competitive employment by providing

  • individualized assistance finding an appropriate job match, and
  • ongoing supports within the work environment. 

Supported Employment services are for consumers who have not been able to find or maintain employment through traditional vocational rehabilitation approaches and training programs.

Consumers in Supported Employment need assistance to

  • compete in the open market,
  • meet potential employers, and
  • receive ongoing supports to maintain a job.

Often, these consumers have been

  • excluded from community services,
  • institutionalized, or
  • in segregated work programs such as sheltered workshops for long periods.

A Supported Employment Specialist seeks the best possible match between a consumer's skills, interests, abilities, and support needs and the employer's unmet business needs. The Supported Employment Specialist or Job Skills Trainer addresses any barriers to employment the consumer might have and may provide short-term support, while natural supports (such as peers or co-workers) are being arranged to meet the consumer's long-term needs. An employer who hires a consumer in Supported Employment should provide training for the consumer just as he or she would for other new employees, with help and support from the DARS counselor and the Supported Employment Specialist.

Supported Employment follows a "place then train" model, which is a two-part process:

  1. place a consumer with the most significant disabilities in a competitive job, and then
  2. provide training and support directly related to the job.

Unlike the traditional vocational rehabilitation model, which provides job readiness and other training activities to prepare a consumer for employment, this model is more appropriate for consumers with the most significant disabilities. Because the focus is on finding the best job match and providing training for that particular job, problems in transferring knowledge from an artificial training environment to a real job are eliminated.

Consumers determined by a DARS counselor to be eligible for Supported Employment services are those

  • who are eligible for VR services;
  • who have a most significant disability, and consequently, competitive employment has not occurred, or has been interrupted or intermittent;
  • who have not benefited from traditional vocational rehabilitation services;
  • for whom Supported Employment has been identified as the appropriate employment outcome by the consumer and the DARS counselor;
  • who require considerable assistance competing in the open job market;
  • who have had difficulty finding an appropriate job match;
  • who can maintain competitive employment with necessary supports in place; and
  • for whom another person, organization, or other resource agrees to provide the extended services after the VR-funded services end.

Supported Employment (SE) Definitions

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Benchmarks

Benchmarks are specific employment outcomes for which payments are made to the provider during the course of the Supported Employment process. 

These include

See the DARS Provider Diagram of Supported Employment for an illustration of the Supported Employment Outcome-Based System, or read a text summary of the DARS Provider Diagram of Supported Employment. For a diagram comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment, see the Diagram Comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks or read a text summary of the Diagram Comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks.

Competitive Employment

*Competitive employment is work in the competitive labor market

  • that is performed full-time (or the maximum number of hours possible) in an integrated work setting; and
  • for which a person is compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities.*

*Based on 34 CFR Section 363.6(c)(2)(i)

Discovery Process

Information about the consumer is collected through interviews and observations of the consumer's abilities in multiple settings on multiple occasions during the discovery process. Research indicates that the discovery process may take as many as 20 to 30 hours per consumer (The Job Developer's Handbook, Griffin, Hammis, Geary).

Extended Services and Supports

After a consumer's VR case has been closed, extended services and supports may be necessary to maintain the employment outcome. Extended services and supports

  • involve either on- or off-site monitoring (as requested by the consumer or legal representative) for as long as needed to ensure the consumer's job stability; and
  • are provided and funded by sources other than DARS, including the employer.

Extended services and supports are identified on the DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 (SESP Part 1) and updated as needed throughout the VR case.

Extended services and supports begin no later than Benchmark 5: Job Stability, continue beyond Benchmark 6: Service Closure, and are provided as long as the consumer needs them.

Examples of extended services and supports in SE provided by natural supports or service providers not funded by DARS include

  • consulting with the consumer's supervisor about problem areas or training needs such as
    • training the consumer in new skills or routines,
    • monitoring work performance, and
    • implementing supports or strategies to improve work performance;
  • identifying and getting help from natural supports on and off the worksite;
  • reporting earned income to the Social Security Administration;
  • mentoring;
  • accommodations;
  • transportation; and
  • providing any other needed services such as
    • medication management,
    • hygiene,
    • dress, and
    • social needs at worksite(s).

Integrated Work Setting

*An integrated work setting provides an environment where consumers with disabilities regularly interact with nondisabled employees and/or the general public.

*Based on 34 CFR Section 363.6(c)(2)(ii)

Most Significant Disability

A consumer has a most significant disability if he or she

  • is eligible for Supported Employment services,
  • needs extended services to maintain employment following successful DRS case closure, and
  • can maintain competitive employment with necessary supports.

Natural Supports

Natural supports are supports that exist naturally in the workplace and the community. Primary consumer supports should occur naturally, and professional supports (training or consultation) should be used only when the consumer needs additional support or accommodations.

The following are examples of using natural supports:

  • The supervisor or co-worker provides the supported employee with the same initial training as everyone else, with the Job Skills Trainer available to offer suggestions on accommodations and help any with additional training.
  • The supported employee rides to work with a co-worker instead of with the Job Skills Trainer.

Generally, there are five types of natural supports:

  • employer-provided or -facilitated,
  • transportation,
  • community,
  • personal and independent living, and
  • social integration.

Negotiable Employment Conditions

Negotiable employment conditions are preferences for working conditions and the things that a consumer would like the Supported Employment Specialist to consider when looking for suitable employment.

Nonnegotiable Employment Conditions

Nonnegotiable conditions are those conditions that a consumer has indicated must or must not be present in an employment placement. The Supported Employment Specialist must always consider these conditions when looking for an employment placement for the consumer. Nonnegotiable conditions may include

  • job duties the consumer is not willing to perform; or
  • workplace conditions that are unacceptable even with supports (for example, the consumer must use the bus for transportation but the bus does not run on Sunday, so a job requiring Sunday hours is not acceptable).

Person-Centered Planning

In person-centered planning, the person (consumer) owns and controls the planning process and its products. Person-centered planning brings together all the people who are important to the person including family, friends, neighbors, support workers, and other professionals to create a comprehensive portrait of the person and what he or she wants to do with his or her life. This team identifies the skills and abilities that can help the person achieve his or her goals for competitive employment, independent living, continuing education, and full inclusion in the community. The team also identifies areas in which the person may need assistance and support and decides how the team can meet those needs.

Quality Criteria

Quality criteria are points of reference used by DARS counselors when reviewing provider documentation and services rendered to determine whether certain conditions or outcomes have been achieved by the consumer or the provider and effectively documented on the appropriate DARS reporting forms. Quality criteria must be met before the DARS counselor may authorize payment to the provider.

Significant Disability

A significant disability is a severe physical or mental impairment that seriously limits one or more functional capacities such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills as they relate to achieving and/or maintaining competitive employment.

Supported Employment

Supported Employment is competitive employment in an integrated work setting, consistent with the consumer's

  • strengths,
  • resources,
  • priorities,
  • concerns,
  • abilities,
  • capabilities,
  • interests, and
  • informed choice.

Supported Employment services are appropriate for consumers with the most significant disabilities who meet all the following criteria:

  • have not worked, or have worked only intermittently, in competitive employment;
  • have been determined eligible for VR services based on a comprehensive assessment, including consideration of Supported Employment as an employment outcome;
  • need extended services to maintain employment following successful VR closure; and
  • can maintain competitive employment with necessary supports.

This definition includes transitional employment for people with the most significant disabilities caused by chronic mental illness.

Support Needs Tiers

Because the challenges in finding employment and support are unique to each consumer, there are two payment schedules, or tiers, based on the combination of factors collected from CCSA information and summarized in the SESP Part 1 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005).

Factors considered include the

  • amount and extent of negotiable and nonnegotiable conditions,
  • number of potential job tasks the consumer can perform,
  • availability of potential employers, and
  • anticipated level of support the consumer needs to reach employment stability.

The DARS counselor determines the consumer's tier with input from the SE provider.

Transitional Employment for Consumers with Chronic Mental Illness

*Transitional employment is a series of temporary job placements in competitive employment in integrated work settings for consumers needing support services on or off the worksite. In transitional employment, the Supported Employment services must include continuing job placements until a suitable employment outcome is achieved.*

*Based on 34 CFR Sections 363.6(c)(1)(ii) and 361.5(b)(56)

Staff Qualifications

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(Revised 09/11, 03/12)

In order to ensure that CRP providers in Texas are fully equipped to provide the highest quality services to Texans with disabilities, DARS has partnered with the University of North Texas (UNT) to develop a training and credentialing process for staff members of CRPs who provide employment-related services to DARS consumers.

CRP Directors

As of April 1, 2012, all CRP directors who supervise staff members who provide direct services to consumers in DARS Supported Employment Services must possess CRP Director Credentials from UNT. Directors supervising staff members providing services before that date cannot be "grandfathered," although UNT does offer a "test-out" option.

For additional information about the UNT credentialing process, see UNT's Texas CRP Provider Training page.

Supported Employment Specialist

As of April 1, 2012, Supported Employment Specialists (formally referred to as Employment Specialists) providing direct service to a DARS consumer must possess Supported Employment Specialist credentials from UNT, and DARS must purchase Supported Employment services only when such services are provided by staff members who have met this requirement. DARS may pay for the services of a noncredentialed Supported Employment Specialist after April 1, 2012, only when

  • that individual was providing supported employment services to a particular consumer before that date, and
  • the DARS counselor determines that it is in the best interest of the consumer to do so.

After April 1, 2012, DARS will pay for services provided by a noncredentialed provider, under the above circumstances, for not more than 90 days. The CRP Director must submit the DARS3490, Temporary Waiver of CRP Credentials to the DARS counselor to initiate the DARS approval process.

For additional information about the UNT credentialing process, see UNT's Texas CRP Provider Training page.

A Supported Employment Specialist must meet the education and experience qualifications in one of the following three options.

Option 1

The Supported Employment Specialist has

  • a bachelor's degree in rehabilitation, business, marketing, or a related human services field; and
  • one year of documented experience in a professional or personal setting routinely working with people with disabilities.

Option 2

The Supported Employment Specialist has

  • an associate's degree in rehabilitation, business, marketing, or a related human services field; and
  • two years of documented experience in a professional or personal setting routinely working with people with disabilities.

Option 3

The Supported Employment Specialist has

  • a high school diploma or GED, and
  • three years of documented experience in a professional or personal setting routinely working with people with disabilities.

Job Skills Trainer

As of April 1, 2012, DARS purchases Supported Employment Services only from CRPs whose Job Skills Trainers providing direct service to the DARS consumer possess Job Coach and Job Skills Trainer credentials from UNT. DARS may pay for the services of a noncredentialed Job Skills Trainer after April 1, 2012, only when

  • that individual was providing job skills training to a particular consumer before that date, and
  • the DARS counselor determines that it is in the best interest of the consumer to do so.

DARS will pay for services provided by a noncredentialed provider, under the above circumstances, for not more than 90 days after April 1, 2012. The CRP Director must submit the DARS3490, Temporary Waiver of CRP Credentials to the DARS counselor to initiate the DARS approval process.

For additional information about the UNT credentialing process, see UNT's Texas CRP Provider Training page.

Job Skills Trainers who provided services to DARS consumers before April 1, 2012, cannot be "grandfathered," although UNT does offer a "test-out" option.

A Job Skills Trainer must have

  • a high school diploma or GED, and
  • one year of experience of working with people who have disabilities.

Provider Standards of Service

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All provider staff members must

  • maintain effective and professional consumer and employer relations;
  • provide services as outlined in the Standards for Providers manual;
  • document consumer-related and employment-related information and services as outlined in the standards manual;
  • achieve the quality criteria for all services rendered; and
  • maintain effective verbal and written communications with the DARS staff, employers, and consumers.

DARS staff members are responsible for overseeing services provided to DARS consumers. If service standards are not being met, the DRS CRP regional specialist or the DBS regional program support specialist reviews staff concerns and may require that the provider develop an action plan to address them. Continued failure to meet standards could result in adverse action against the provider.

Supported Employment (SE) Process

(Revised 02/10, 05/15)

The following general rules apply to the Supported Employment process:

  • The SE provider must receive written authorization in the form of a service authorization and/or purchase order from the DARS counselor before providing the Supported Employment services.
  • DARS purchases supported employment services only from providers who have contracts with DARS to provide these services.
  • Job placement must be in an organization or a business that is not owned, operated, controlled, or governed by the community rehabilitation program (CRP) providing SE services.
  • The provider must submit required documentation of services provided along with an invoice. The DARS counselor verifies that services were delivered and completed, and reviews the documentation to ensure that all quality criteria have been addressed and achieved. The DARS counselor may return incomplete documentation to be completed before authorizing payment.
  • If, at any point in the process, the consumer loses the job, the consumer's progression within the benchmark is "frozen" until the consumer becomes reemployed. Benchmark progression continues when the consumer becomes employed in a new position, and a new SESP Part 2 is completed to reflect the new position.
  • If, at any point in the process, the consumer wants to change his or her targeted job tasks, negotiable employment conditions, or nonnegotiable employment conditions, a new SESP Part 1 must be completed in an additional SESP Part 1 meeting.
  • If the consumer loses his or her job and requires placement in a new job, the counselor, the consumer, and the SE provider meet to
    • discuss the reasons the consumer lost the job,
    • review the SESP Part 1 and create a new SESP Part 1 if needed, and
    • determine the plan for gaining another placement.
  • Any gap in employment greater than eight weeks results in a new employment period; therefore, the consumer must complete a minimum of 30 cumulative calendar days of employment in the new job before job stability can be established.
  • If the consumer changes jobs between Benchmarks 3 and 4, or loses a job during Benchmark 5, a minimum of 30 cumulative calendar days of employment in the new job is required before job stability can be established.
  • The consumer must be performing the job to the expectation of the employer, and extended services and supports identified on the DARS 1616 must be in place and working before the counselor can determine that the consumer is stable in the job.
  • Each benchmark payment is made only once to an SE provider for the consumer, even if the consumer loses a job after the completion of a benchmark and continues to receive services with that same SE provider. If the consumer chooses a new SE provider, the new SE provider and the DARS counselor negotiate the benchmark at which the consumer begins.
  • The Supported Employment Outcome-Based System is a comprehensive service package that may encompass a variety of services traditionally purchased separately. Therefore, the following vocational rehabilitation services cannot be purchased when a consumer is receiving Supported Employment services:
    • vocational assessment,
    • job readiness,
    • job development,
    • job placement,
    • on-the-job training,
    • vocational adjustment training,
    • work adjustment training,
    • personal social adjustment training, or
    • job coaching.

Benchmark 1: Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA) and Supported Employment Services Plan (SESP) Part 1

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Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA), and the CCSA Review Meeting

Discovery. If a consumer has an SE goal, discovery is conducted by the Supported Employment Specialist. If a supported self-employment (SSE) goal is identified during discovery, the consumer must be assigned to a Supported Self-Employment Specialist (SSES) before the completion of the Supported Self-Employment Services Plan, and will work with the SSES as long as there is an SSE goal. Benchmark 1A can be completed by a Supported Employment Specialist if the goal of SSE is not the goal directly related to the service authorization and/or purchase order.

While there is no set standard for how much time a provider spends with a consumer during discovery, research suggests that the process may take as many as 20 to 30 hours and should include observing the consumer's abilities, challenges, and resources, as well as collecting information from professional and nonprofessional supports in the consumer's life. Discovery includes exploring

  • options related to wages and employment outcomes (including self-employment outcomes);
  • the consumer's interests, capabilities, preferences, and ongoing support needs; and
  • the extended services and supports required at and away from the job site that will be necessary for employment success.

Discovery activities include

  • observing the consumer's work skills and behaviors at home and in the community and touring current or potential work environments with the consumer;
  • collecting personal and employer reference information;
  • assessing the consumer's learning style and needs for adaptive technology, accommodations, and on-site supports; and
  • assessing the consumer's strengths, challenges, and transferable skills from previous job placements.

Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA). The discovery process enables the provider to gather the information necessary to answer all the questions on the DARS1612, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA). The CCSA narrative report must describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of who the consumer is and what the consumer's employment goals are. DARS recommends that the person-centered planning process be used when collecting information for the CCSA.

The CCSA must focus on the consumer's

  • support needs that may be necessary for successful employment, including self-employment;
  • interests, skills, and functional abilities related to daily living, employment, and recreation; and
  • support needs that family, friends, and professionals provide to help the consumer maintain a quality life at home and in the community (for example, financial assistance, room and board, supervision for safety, and transportation).

The CCSA must be submitted to the DARS counselor at least one week before the CCSA review meeting. The DARS counselor reviews the CCSA in accordance with the quality criteria. If the quality criteria are not achieved, the CCSA is returned to the provider so the needed information can be added before the CCSA review meeting.

CCSA information and recommendations are used to develop the DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 or the DARS1800, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP).

CCSA Review Meeting

The CCSA review meeting, which includes the DARS counselor, consumer, and Supported Employment Specialist or Supported Self-Supported Employment Specialist, follows the completion of the discovery process and CCSA. This meeting may happen in conjunction with Benchmark 1B. The purpose of the meeting is to determine whether the best employment outcome for the consumer can be achieved through Supported Employment, or Supported Self-Employment—or if no employment outcome will be pursued—and to identify the next steps that must take place. The meeting also helps determine whether the DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 or DARS1800, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan must be completed.

Required Documentation. The CCSA (DARS1612, Career and Community Support Analysis) is required documentation and must

  • include supporting documentation to determine a support-needs tier in the planning meeting;
  • provide enough information to determine one or more appropriate job matches, or to support the consumer's pursuit of a self-employment outcome;
  • identify specific support needs and/or interventions;
  • demonstrate that interests, assets, and abilities in work and nonwork areas were explored, identified, and appropriately summarized to enable the Supported Employment Specialist to market the consumer to potential employers or to enable the pursuit of a self-employment outcome; and
  • be signed by the Supported Employment Specialist or SSES who actually completed the discovery with the consumer and completed the CCSA form.

See the quality criteria for the CCSA.

Outcome. Benchmark 1A is complete when the DARS1612, Career and Community Support Analysis has been completed by the Supported Employment Specialist or SSES and approved by the DARS counselor, and the CCSA Review meeting has been held and documented by the DARS counselor in the case management system noting the outcome of the meeting.

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 1A (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves

The CCSA review meeting must have been completed before payment of invoice.

Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan (SESP) Part 1

The SESP Part 1 (DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1) is completed after the CCSA and the CCSA review meeting. The DARS1613 must be completed during an SESP Part 1 meeting and signed by all parties at the conclusion of the meeting. SESP meetings are planning meetings with the consumer, counselor, provider, and other team members, if any. They should be held in person to allow all parties to actively participate in the discussion. The provider should not bring a completed DARS1613 to the meeting or complete the DARS1613 after the meeting.

The SESP Part 1 (DARS1613) is a tool that identifies interests, preferences, and skills that will help determine the long-term placement goal. It is team-developed with the consumer leading or assisted by team members, and both the DARS counselor and Supported Employment Specialist ensure that group discussions during the SESP Part 1 meeting include recommendations and strategies outlined in the CCSA. The SESP Part 1 meeting typically lasts one to two hours and is facilitated by the Supported Employment Specialist.

The SESP Part 1 identifies

  • the members of the SESP team,
  • the consumer's preferences and interests,
  • the consumer's assets and abilities,
  • negotiable and nonnegotiable employment conditions,
  • potential extended services and support needs of the consumer,
  • targeted job tasks the consumer can perform or potentially perform, and
  • potential employers.

Team Members

Members of the consumer's SESP team must include the

  • consumer;
  • consumer's representative, if any;
  • Supported Employment Specialist; and
  • DARS counselor.

The team may include other significant people the consumer wants to invite and who may support the consumer's successful employment or provide long-term extended services for the consumer. Members may include

  • teachers,
  • case managers,
  • neighbors,
  • counselors,
  • siblings,
  • friends,
  • business owners, and
  • church members.

The team maintains ongoing communication throughout the process to ensure that Supported Employment outcomes are achieved.

Team members can help

  • identify a possible placement,
  • provide short- and long-term supports (long-term extended services) to ensure employment success, and
  • motivate the consumer.

Preferences and Interests. Preferences and interests are specific types of work or activities the person would like to pursue and should be consistent with the CCSA.

Examples of preferences include

  • working in an office,
  • working with children,
  • teaching others, or
  • working with computers.

Preferences and interests can also be stated in negative terms (for example, "no fast food restaurant employment"). Not all preferences and interests are required to be in the final job placement; however, they should be prioritized during the SESP Part 1 meeting.

Assets and Abilities. Assets and abilities are the skills and traits the consumer offers a potential employer, which may include

  • personality traits,
  • interests,
  • skills, and
  • talents.

Assets and abilities information on the SESP must be consistent with the CCSA.

Employment Conditions. Employment conditions are characteristics of any job that are important to the consumer and relevant to support needs. Employment conditions include

  • environmental considerations (for example, indoors, outdoors, crowded);
  • learning and training considerations;
  • safety issues;
  • transportation;
  • work hours (number of hours, shift days);
  • physical considerations (for example, work tolerance or lifting limitations);
  • anticipated support needs (for example, medications, toileting, redirecting); and
  • social and communication considerations.

Employment conditions on the SESP must be consistent with information provided in the CCSA.

In the SESP Part 1, the consumer and the team members identify which employment conditions are negotiable and nonnegotiable. Employment conditions should be written in measureable terms so that each team member has a clear understanding of each employment condition to be addressed. The placement must meet all nonnegotiable employment conditions and the majority (50 percent or more) of the negotiable employment conditions.

Potential Extended Services and Support Needs of the Consumer. Extended services and supports (sometimes referred to as long-term supports or services) may involve either on-site or off-site monitoring or delivery of services necessary for the consumer to maintain employment after DARS case closure. The extended services and supports are provided for as long as the consumer needs them and as long as the consumer or legal representative requests them.

Extended services and supports identified must be consistent with the CCSA and are updated throughout the consumer's employment.

Some examples of extended services and supports include

  • job performance monitoring;
  • job skill training (short-term) for new job tasks added to job duties or to improve performance;
  • setting up compensatory strategies;
  • earned income reporting to the Social Security Administration;
  • services such as medication management, attendant care, and counseling;
  • business venture supports such as bookkeeping, marketing, and managing data or inventories; and
  • transportation.

Frequency of extended services and supports can be daily, weekly, monthly, or as identified.

Extended services and supports are rendered and funded by sources other than DARS. These sources may include Social Security Employment Networks; Social Security PASS, property essential to self-support (PESS), or IRWE; Medicaid Waiver; parents; family; friends; churches; and nonprofits.

Possible resources for extended services and supports must be identified as part of the SESP Part 1 and updated throughout the process. When all other resources to pay for extended services and supports have been exhausted, a provider may offer to provide the supports on a fee-for-service basis. Such supports may be funded through a PASS or IRWE or may be paid by the consumer or family. The cost of these supports must be disclosed to the consumer, and the consumer must agree to the cost as part of the SESP Part 1 process and be added to the consumer's IPE. The CRP provider must not attempt to collect any fees from the consumer or his or her family for services provided before DARS case closure.

Targeted Job Tasks

Targeted job tasks identified by the team are tasks the consumer can currently or potentially perform. Job task Information on the SESP must be consistent with the

  • CCSA,
  • employment conditions, and
  • consumer's preferences and interests. 

Job tasks are not the same as job titles. Job titles are names given to a group of duties (for example, administrative assistant), and job tasks describe specific activities (for example, filing, greeting customers, and stocking shelves). A vague description such as "kitchen helper" is not specific enough for a job task.

Potential Employers. Potential employers are specific employers or industries in the consumer's preferred or desired geographical boundaries where the identified job tasks might be performed. The list should be prioritized. If a member of the SESP Part 1 team has a potential job lead or contact, include this information.

Required Documentation. The DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 (SESP Part 1) is required and must include

  • preferences and interests;
  • assets and abilities;
  • employment conditions;
  • potential extended services and support needs;
  • targeted job tasks;
  • potential employers; and
  • signatures of the consumer (or the signature of the consumer's legal representative), the Supported Employment Specialist, and the DARS counselor.

See Quality Criteria for SESP Part 1.

The consumer's support needs tier is determined by the DARS counselor and documented.

Outcome. Benchmark 1B is complete when the DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 (SESP Part1) has been completed by the Supported Employment Specialist, signed by the appropriate parties, and approved by the DARS counselor.

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 1B is made upon receipt of

Benchmark 2: Job Placement and SESP Part 2

2-0580

Service Description

Job placement is complete when the consumer has begun work and completed at least one workday in a job consistent with job matches identified in the SESP Part 1.

The job does not have to be an exact match from the employer list or job task list. However, the job match must meet identified nonnegotiable conditions to be considered an acceptable job.

Activities related to obtaining job placement may include

  • writing résumés and proposals to assist in placement;
  • contacting employers from target lists and developing consumer jobs;
  • performing a job analysis;
  • reviewing job match information;
  • assisting the consumer with job applications, pre-employment forms, practice interviews, and pre-employment testing or physicals;
  • accompanying the consumer to interviews and company visits;
  • assisting the employer with the Work Opportunity Tax Credit;
  • developing the consumer's transportation plan;
  • training the consumer on how to travel to and from the job; and
  • evaluating the job placement to collect information needed to complete the SESP Part 2.

SESP Part 2

The SESP Part 2 (DARS1614, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 2) is a written report that acts as a "blueprint" of the placement and short- and long-term training and/or supports needs of the consumer. It includes the following job details:

  • employer's name,
  • employer's address,
  • employer's phone number,
  • date the consumer began paid employment,
  • job title or position,
  • number of hours worked per week,
  • weekly gross earnings,
  • supervisor's name,
  • supervisor's phone number,
  • essential work duties of the job and needed accommodations,
  • episodic work duties of the job and needed accommodations,
  • physical and environmental demands and needed accommodations,
  • analysis of work culture and training or support issues,
  • description of initial and ongoing training provided by the employer and needed accommodations, and
  • consumer's support plan.

Required Documentation

The SESP Part 2 (DARS1614, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 2) is required. Details in the report should describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of the job duties the consumer will be performing, the work culture and any short- or long-term accommodation and supports the consumer will need related to employment. The form must include the signatures of the consumer (or legally authorized representative) and the Supported Employment Specialist.

For more information, see Quality Criteria for SESP Part 2.

Outcome

Benchmark 2 is complete when the following has been completed by the provider and approved by the DARS counselor:

  • Benchmark 2 is complete when the SESP Part 2 (DARS1614, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 2) has been completed by the provider and approved by the DARS counselor. The SESP Part 2 documents that the consumer has begun working and completed one day in a job that
    • is in an integrated work setting,
    • is compensated at or above the minimum wage but not less than the customary wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities,
    • is consistent with SESP Part 1 by meeting
      • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
      • at least half (50 percent or more) of the negotiable employment conditions, and
      • at least one targeted job task.

Payment

Payment for Benchmark 2 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves

Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance

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Service Description

Intensive on- and off-job-site supports are provided to help the consumer adjust to the demands of the integrated work environment.  

Activities may include

  • orienting and training the consumer in work-related tasks at the job site;
  • training or consulting with employers, co-workers, or advocates to maximize natural supports;
  • transportation training;
  • meetings with managers and supervisors to gather input and plan training;
  • problem-resolution meetings with company personnel or support systems to ensure job retention; and
  • training in work-related tasks or behaviors to ensure job retention (for example, grooming or anger management).

Required Documentation

The DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary is required and should be written in positive, clear, descriptive English. Details in the report should describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of the consumer's support needs, abilities, and challenges related to the placement.

To be considered complete, the DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary must

  • verify that the consumer has been employed for four weeks (28 days) cumulatively;
  • verify that the consumer maintained employment consistent with the SESP Part 1 by meeting
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • at least half (50 percent or more) of the negotiable employment conditions, and
    • at least one targeted job task
  • verify that the provider interacted with the consumer on or away from the job site in accordance with the support plan defined in the SESP Part 2;
  • describe how specific support needs identified in the SESP Part 2 are being addressed; and
  • explain how emerging support needs are being met.

The form must include signatures of the consumer (or consumer‘s legally authorized representative) and the Supported Employment Specialist. For more information, see Quality Criteria for Four-Week Job Maintenance.

Outcome

Benchmark 3 is complete when the consumer has

  • maintained employment that is consistent with the SESP Part 1 and achieves
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • 50 percent or more of negotiable employment conditions,
    • at least one targeted job task,
    • integrated work, and
    • compensation at or above the minimum wage but not less than the customary wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities;
  • worked successfully for four weeks (28 days) cumulatively;
  • received the support services defined in the SESP Part 2; and
  • had new and emerging support needs addressed as needed.

If transitional employment for consumers with chronic mental illness is specified in the SESP Part 1, the benchmark is four weeks (28 days) cumulatively of employment, but not necessarily at the same job. Additionally the Supported Employment Specialist responds to any support-need changes identified by the consumer or the employer.

Payment

Payment for Benchmark 3 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made on receipt and approval of

Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance

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Service Description

On- and off-job-site supports are provided to help the consumer adjust to integrated work environment demands. Job support services may include

  • job skills training on the job site;
  • training or consulting with employers, co-workers, or advocates to maximize natural supports;
  • transportation training;
  • meetings with managers and supervisors to gather input and plan training;
  • problem-resolution meetings with company personnel or support systems to ensure job retention; and
  • training in work-related tasks or behaviors to ensure job retention (for example, grooming or anger management).

Required Documentation

The DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary is required and should be written in positive, clear, descriptive English. Details in the report should describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of the consumer's support needs, abilities, and challenges related to the placement.

To be considered complete, the DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary must

  • verify that the consumer has been employed for eight weeks (56 days) cumulatively;
  • verify that the consumer maintained employment consistent with the SESP Part 1 by meeting
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • at least half (50 percent or more) of the negotiable employment conditions, and
    • at least one targeted job task;
  • verify that the provider interacted with the consumer on or away from the job site in accordance with the support plan defined in the SESP Part 2;
  • describe how specific support needs identified in the SESP Part 2 are being addressed; and
  • explain how emerging support needs are being met as needed.

The form must include signatures of the consumer, the consumer's representative (if any), and the Supported Employment Specialist. For more information, see Quality Criteria for Eight-Week Job Maintenance.

Outcome

Benchmark 4 is complete when the consumer has

  • maintained employment that is consistent with the SESP Part 1 and achieves
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • 50 percent or more of negotiable employment conditions,
    • at least one targeted job task,
    • integrated work, and
    • compensation at or above the minimum wage but not less than the customary wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities;
  • worked successfully for eight weeks (56 days) cumulatively;
  • received the support services defined in the SESP Part 2; and
  • had new and emerging support needs addressed as needed.

If transitional employment for consumers with chronic mental illness is specified in the SESP Part 1, the benchmark is eight weeks (56 days) cumulatively of employment, but not necessarily at the same job. Additionally the Supported Employment Specialist responds to any support-need changes identified by the consumer or the employer.

Payment

Payment for Benchmark 4 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves

Benchmark 5: Job Stability

2-0610

Service Definition

The Supported Employment Specialist monitors the supports set up during Benchmarks 3 and 4 as outlined in the SESP Part 2 to ensure that the consumer can maintain successful long-term employment. The Supported Employment Specialist or Job Skills Trainer should have a minimum of two contacts per month with the consumer, employer, or person providing natural supports. The Supported Employment Specialist and Job Skills Trainer should not be providing any direct service to the consumer during the 60-day period between job stability and service closure. If at any time, the Supported Employment Specialist or Job Skills Trainer must provide direct services to the consumer, stability has not been achieved, and the 60-day period starts over.

Note: If the consumer changes jobs between Benchmarks 4 and 5, a minimum of 30 cumulative calendar days of employment in the new job is required before job stability can be established..

Required Documentation

The DARS1616, Job Stability or Service Closure Justification Summary, is required. Details should describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has a “clear picture” of the consumer's support needs, abilities, and challenges related to the placement.

To be considered complete, the DARS1616, Job Stability or Service Closure Justification Summary must verify that

  • the consumer maintained employment consistent with the SESP Part 1 that meets
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • 50 percent or more of the negotiable employment conditions, and
    • at least one targeted job task;
  • the consumer has worked a minimum of eight weeks (56 days) cumulatively (Note: the consumer may need more than eight weeks before he or she achieves Benchmark 5: Job Stability.);
  • if the consumer began a new job during Benchmark 3 or 4, or loses a job during Benchmark 5, he or she has worked 30 days in the new job before the case is considered stable for the achievement of Benchmark 5;
  • the consumer can perform expected job duties;
  • the supervisor reports satisfaction with consumer's job performance;
  • the consumer and the consumer's representative, if any, are satisfied with the job and work environment;
  • necessary modifications and accommodations have been made at the worksite;
  • the consumer has reliable transportation to and from work, and a backup transportation plan;
  • extended services and support needs are in place and are listed on the DARS1616; and
  • other SESP-specified supports are present and functional.

The form must be signed by the consumer (or legally authorized representative) and the Supported Employment Specialist. For more information, see Quality Criteria for Job Stability.

Outcome

Benchmark 5 is complete when

  • the consumer has worked a minimum of eight weeks (56 days) cumulatively; (Note: the consumer may need more than eight weeks before he or she achieves Benchmark 5: Job Stability. If the consumer has begun a new job during Benchmark 3 or 4, or is placed in a new job after achieving Benchmark 5, he or she must work 30 days in the new job before the case is considered stable.)
  • Supported Employment services have been provided;
  • the consumer has maintained employment that is consistent with the SESP Part 1 by achieving
    • employment in an integrated work setting,
    • compensation at or above the minimum wage but not less than the customary wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities,
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • 50 percent or more of the negotiable employment conditions, and
    • at least one targeted job task;
  • the consumer has available the necessary supports defined in the SESP Part 2 and/or on the DARS1616;
  • support needs have leveled off, and transition to extended services provided by or funded by sources other than DARS (for example, SE provider, family, MHMR, or other natural supports) is possible; and
  • the following people are satisfied:
    • the consumer,
    • the employer,
    • any representative,
    • the Supported Employment provider(s), and
    • the DARS counselor.

During the 60-day transition period between job stability and service closure, the DARS counselor may purchase only VR services that

  • are necessary to support the job placement and stability, and
  • the Supported Employment Specialist would not normally be expected to provide.

Examples of services that could be purchased include

  • replacement of prosthetic and orthotic devices,
  • maintenance of equipment, or
  • counseling and guidance to family members to support the consumer's job stability.

Payment

Payment for Benchmark 5 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves

Benchmark 6:  Service Closure

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Service Description

The Supported Employment Specialist has successfully placed the consumer in a job consistent with jobs and employment conditions identified in the SESP Part 1, and the consumer has worked at least 90 days. Supports have been established as outlined in the SESP Part 2 to ensure successful placement, and monitoring of supports is the only service that the Supported Employment Specialist has performed for at least 60 days.

Required Documentation

The DARS1616, Job Stability or Service Closure Justification Summary is required. Details in the report should describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of the consumer's support needs, abilities, and challenges related to the placement.

The DARS1616 must verify that the

  • consumer maintained employment that is consistent with the SESP Part 1 by achieving
    • employment in an integrated work setting,
    • compensation at or above the minimum wage but not less than the customary wage paid by the employer for similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities,
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • 50 percent or more of the negotiable employment conditions, and
    • at least one targeted job task;
  • consumer has maintained suitable Supported Employment for 60 days or longer after job stability was reached;
  • consumer has maintained the employment outcome for 90 days or longer;
  • consumer can perform the expected job duties;
  • supervisor reports satisfaction with the consumer's job performance;
  • consumer and the consumer's representative, if any, are satisfied with the job and work environment;
  • necessary modifications and accommodations have been made at the worksite;
  • consumer has reliable transportation to and from work, and a backup transportation plan;
  • extended services and supports are in place; and
  • other supports specified in the SESP Part 2 are present and functional.

The form must include signatures of the consumer (or legally authorized representative) and the Supported Employment Services Specialist. For more information, see Quality Criteria for Service Closure.

Outcome

Benchmark 6 is complete when

  • the consumer has achieved an employment outcome that is consistent with the consumer's
    • strengths,
    • resources,
    • priorities,
    • concerns,
    • abilities,
    • capabilities,
    • interests, and
    • informed choice;
  • the consumer has maintained employment that is consistent with the SESP Part 1 by achieving
    • all nonnegotiable employment conditions,
    • 50 percent or more of negotiable employment conditions, and
    • at least one targeted job task;
  • the consumer has maintained suitable Supported Employment for 60 days or longer after job stability was reached;
  • the consumer has maintained the employment outcome for 90 days or longer;
  • the consumer is being compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage paid by the employer for similar work performed by a person who does not have a disability;
  • there is evidence that the needed support systems including those in the SESP Part 2 and on the DARS1616 are in place and working; and
  • the consumer, consumer's representative, if any, and the DARS counselor
    • consider the employment outcome satisfactory,
    • are satisfied with the supports, and
    • agree that the consumer is performing well on the job.

Payment

Payment for Benchmark 6 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves

2.12 Supported Self-Employment Services

(Added 12/10, revised 11/11)

Supported Self-Employment (SSE) Overview

Self-employment

  • means the consumer solely owns, manages, and operates a business and is not considered an employee of another person, business, or organization;
  • exists when the service or product is actively marketed to other potential customers; and
  • includes home-based businesses and telecommuting businesses.

Self-employment allows for

  • choice and control,
  • the use of natural skills and talents,
  • expanded work opportunities,
  • accumulation of wealth, and
  • independence and creative freedom.

Supported self-employment (SSE) is competitive employment in which the consumer solely owns, manages, and operates a business and is not considered an employee of another person, business, or organization, and the supported self-employment business is consistent with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

SSE is similar to self-employment but incorporates many of the concepts of the Supported Employment Program, including the provision of ongoing supports throughout the VR case and transitioning to extended services and supports, not funded by DARS, after case closure. Supports may include long-term job coaching supports, ongoing case management, peer supports, natural supports, family supports, or ongoing paid professional services for the business.

SSE businesses are typically small and require a team approach to planning and support. A business team assists in exploration, feasibility determination, development of the business plan, and business launch and addresses the person's long-term support needs.

The SSE process combines person-centered planning strategies with the development of a business plan. The goal of the planning process is to develop an individualized, profitable, and sustainable microenterprise. This process focuses on the talents, interests, and assets of the consumer. For many consumers with disabilities, including consumers who need ongoing supports throughout their careers, SSE can be a viable option to meet their employment needs.

SSE services are provided by the supported self-employment specialist (SSES), who helps the consumer (the potential business owner) develop a plan by coordinating planning activities and facilitating the team planning process. The SSES also takes the lead in developing business ideas, conducting feasibility studies, and writing the business plan with the consumer.

DRS purchases SSE services only from Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) that have staff members who have been certified as Certified Business Technical Assistance Consultants (CBTAC) by The Center for Social Capital.

Consumers determined by a DARS counselor to be appropriate for Supported Self-Employment Services are consumers

  • who are eligible for VR services;
  • who have a most significant disability and will need extended services and supports to maintain the self-employment outcome once DARS closes the case;
  • for whom SSE has been identified as the appropriate employment outcome by the consumer and the DARS counselor;
  • who require considerable help to develop an individualized, profitable, and sustainable microenterprise;
  • who can maintain a self-employment outcome with necessary supports in place; and
  • for whom another person, organization, or other resource agrees to provide the extended services and supports after VR-funded services are complete.

Supported Self-Employment (SSE) Definitions

(Revised 03/11)

Note: The definitions for titles followed by an asterisk (*) are from "Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities," Cary Griffin and David Hammis, 2006.

Benchmarks

Benchmarks are defined outcomes for which payments are made to the provider during the course of the SSE process. These include

See the DARS Provider Diagram of the Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks or read a text summary of the DARS Provider Diagram of the Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks.

For a diagram comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment, see the Diagram Comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks or read a text summary of the Diagram Comparing Supported Employment and Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks.

Note: Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium is an outcome of payment that may be made to a provider after the achievement of Benchmark 7: Supported Self-Employment Service Completion if all criteria have been achieved.

Business Feasibility Study*

A business feasibility study assesses the likelihood that a business will succeed through the use of research tools such as surveys or statistical analyses. A consumer in the Supported Self-Employment Services program must complete the DARS1801, Concept Development and Feasibility Study Worksheet to determine the feasibility of his or her proposed business.

Business Plan

A business plan is a formal and detailed written description of a proposed business. The business plan helps the business owner to consider all the details of the venture and to plan accordingly. It also provides information to funding sources about the type of proposed business, how much funding is needed, why this amount is needed, how funding might be used, how the business will be run and marketed, and other details. (See the planning resources page from the Small Business Administration). A consumer in the Supported Self-Employment Services program must develop a business plan using the DARS1803-1, Business Plan Support Summary Report and the DARS1803-2, Business Plan forms.

Business Team*

A business team is a working collection of friends, colleagues, and experienced business people assembled to help the consumer formulate an enterprise idea, launch the business, and support the venture's growth. Typically, the business team includes four to eight people. DARS requires that at least two business team members be current or past business owners, excluding the self-employment specialist. The DARS counselor must be invited to all business team meetings.

Competitive Employment

*Competitive employment as used in the definition of supported employment is work

  • in the competitive labor market performed full-time or the maximum number of hours possible in an integrated work setting; and
  • for which a person is compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary or usual wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities.*

*Based on 34 CFR Section 363.6(a)(2)(i)

Discovery

Discovery is the process of collecting information about the consumer through interviews and observations of the consumer's abilities in multiple settings on multiple occasions. Research indicates that the discovery process may take as many as 20 to 30 hours per consumer (The Job Developer's Handbook, Griffin, Hammis, Geary).

Extended Services and Supports

(Revised 03/11)

Extended services and supports are ongoing support services necessary to support and maintain the employment outcome, including self-employment, following VR case closure that

Necessary extended services and supports are identified in the DARS1800, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and updated as needed throughout the VR case.

Extended services and supports begin at Benchmark 6: SSE Business Stability, continue beyond Benchmark 7: SSE Service Completion, and are provided as long as the consumer needs them.

Examples of extended services and supports in SSE provided by natural supports or service providers not funded by DARS include

Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE)*

Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE) is an SSI and SSDI work incentive that allows the Social Security Administration to deduct the cost of certain impairment-related items and services that the consumer needs in order to work from the consumer's gross earnings when Social Security Administration is determining a consumer's "countable earnings."

Integrated Work Setting

An integrated work setting under federal law is an environment in which people with disabilities regularly interact with nondisabled people and/or the general public.

Most Significant Disability

A consumer has a most significant disability if he or she

Natural Supports

Natural supports are supports that exist naturally in the workplace and the community. Primary consumer supports should occur naturally, with professional supports (training or consultation) being used only when the consumer needs additional support or accommodations.

Examples of natural supports include

Negotiable Employment Conditions

Negotiable employment conditions are conditions that a consumer would like the supported self-employment specialist to consider when helping the consumer establish a business. Negotiable conditions are preferences for working conditions.

Nonnegotiable Employment Conditions

Nonnegotiable employment conditions are conditions that a consumer has indicated must be, or not be, present in the work situation. The supported self-employment specialist must always consider these conditions when helping the consumer establish a business. Nonnegotiable conditions may include

Person-Centered Planning

In person-centered planning, the process and the products are owned and controlled by the person (consumer). The process creates a comprehensive portrait of who the person is and what the person wants to do with his or her life, and brings together all the people who are important to the person, including family, friends, neighbors, support workers, business professionals, and other professionals. This team then identifies the person's skills, preferences, and abilities that can help achieve the person's goals for supported self-employment, independent living, continuing education, and full inclusion in the community. The team also identifies areas in which the person may need assistance and support and decides how the team can meet those needs.

Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)*

The Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) is an SSI-only work incentive. A PASS allows a consumer to set aside income or resources other than SSI for a specified period so that the consumer may pursue a work goal. When the Social Security Administration calculates an SSI payment, it does not count the income set aside under a PASS. Money set aside under a PASS does not count toward the consumer's resource limit.

Staff Qualifications

For All Staff Members

All provider staff members must meet the following general standards of service provision:

DARS staff members are responsible for overseeing services provided to DARS consumers. If the above general standards are not being met, the CRP specialist reviews staff concerns and may require that the CRP provider develop an action plan to address them. Continued failure to meet these general standards could result in adverse action against the provider.

Supported Self-Employment Specialist

(Revised 09/11)

A Supported Self-Employment Specialist (SSES) must meet the qualifications of a Supported Employment Specialist and, in addition, be certified by The Center for Social Capital as a Certified Business Technical Assistance Consultant (CBTAC).

Job Skills Trainer

(Revised 09/11)

A Job Skills Trainer must meet the qualifications outlined for a Job Skills Trainer under 2.11 Standards for Supported Employment Services/Staff Qualifications. It is a best practice for the Job Skills Trainer to work under the direction of the Supported Self-Employment Specialist.

Supported Self-Employment Process

(Revised 03/11)

The following general rules apply to the supported self-employment (SSE) process:

Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA), and CCSA Review Meeting

Service Description for Benchmark 1A

Discovery. If a consumer has an SSE goal, discovery is conducted by the Supported Self-Employment Specialist. If a supported employment (SE) goal is identified during discovery, the consumer may work with either a Supported Self-Employment Specialist (SSES) or a Supported Employment Specialist (SES). If a consumer has an SSE goal, the consumer must be assigned to an SSES, and work with the SSES as long as there is an SSE goal. While there is no set standard for how much time a provider spends with a consumer during discovery, research suggests that providers should spend as many as 20 to 30 hours on the discovery process, observing the consumer' abilities, challenges, and resources, as well as collecting information from professional and nonprofessional supports in the consumer's life. The process includes exploring options related to wages, employment outcomes, and self-employment outcomes; including interests, capabilities, preferences, ongoing support needs, and extended services and supports required at and away from the job site that will be necessary for employment success.

Discovery activities include

Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA). The discovery process enables the provider to gather information necessary to answer all the questions on the DARS1612, Career and Community Support Analysis. Details in the CCSA narrative report must describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of who the consumer is and what the consumer's employment goals are. DARS recommends that the person-centered planning process be used when collecting information for the CCSA.

The CCSA must focus on the consumer's

The CCSA must be submitted to the DARS counselor at least one week before the CCSA review meeting. The DARS counselor reviews the CCSA in accordance with the quality criteria (under construction). If the quality criteria are not achieved, the CCSA is returned to the provider so the needed information can be added before the CCSA review meeting.

CCSA Review Meeting

The CCSA review meeting is a meeting with the DARS counselor, consumer, and SSES or Supported Employment Specialist following the completion of the discovery process and CCSA. The purpose is to determine whether the best plan of action for the consumer to gain employment is Supported Employment or Supported Self-Employment. The team members determine during the meeting whether the SESP Part 1 or the SSESP will be completed. If Supported Employment is the service chosen, see Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan (SESP)—Part 1; otherwise, continue with the SSE Benchmark 1B.

CCSA information and recommendations are used to develop the DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 or the DARS1800, SSESP.

Required Documentation. The CCSA (DARS1612, Career and Community Support Analysis) is required documentation and must

See the quality criteria for the CCSA.

Outcome. Benchmark 1A is complete when the DARS1612, Career and Community Support Analysis has been completed by the SSES or Supported Employment Specialist and approved by the DARS counselor. The CCSA review meeting must be facilitated and documented by the counselor.

Payment. The provider is paid for Benchmark 1A (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) after the DARS counselor

Service Description for Benchmark 1B

Benchmark 1B: Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP)

The SSESP is completed after the CCSA is completed.

The DARS1800, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) is a tool that is team-developed and -implemented during a meeting with the consumer leading or assisted by team members. The plan identifies interests, preferences, and skills related to setting the long-term employment goal. Both the DARS counselor and SSES ensure that group discussions include recommendations and strategies outlined in the CCSA. The SSESP meeting typically is one to two hours long and is facilitated by the SSES. The SSESP meeting must be held face-to-face to allow all parties to actively participate in the discussion. The provider should not bring a completed SSESP form to the meeting or complete the form after the conclusion of the meeting. The completed SSESP should be developed during the meeting and signed by all parties at the conclusion of the meeting.

The SSESP identifies

SSESP Team Members. Members of the consumer's SSESP team must include, at a minimum

The team may include other significant people who are invited by the consumer and who may potentially help achieve a successful employment outcome or be a provider of extended services and supports for the consumer after VR case closure. Significant persons may include

The SSESP team maintains ongoing communication throughout the process to ensure that SSE outcomes are achieved. SSESP team members may become members of the business team for the consumer.

The SSESP team members can help

Preferences and Interests. Preferences and interests are specific types of work or activities in which the consumer would like to engage.

Preferences and interests may include

Preferences and interests can also be stated in negative terms (for example, "no fast food restaurant employment"). Information must be consistent with the CCSA. Although not all the listed preferences and interests are required to be present in the final self-employment venture, they should be prioritized during the meeting.

Assets and Abilities. Assets and abilities are the skills and traits the consumer offers to a self-employment venture.

Assets and abilities may include

Employment Conditions. Employment conditions are characteristics of a job, including self-employment, that are important to the consumer and relevant to support needs.

Employment conditions may include

SSESP information must be consistent with information in the CCSA.

The SSESP identifies which employment conditions are "negotiable" and "nonnegotiable" as identified by the consumer and others. Employment conditions should be written in measureable terms so that each person has a clear understanding of the employment conditions that need to be addressed. The self-employment venture must meet all nonnegotiable employment conditions and the majority (50 percent or more) of identified negotiable employment conditions listed in the SSESP.

Potential Extended Services and Supports Needs of the Consumer. Extended services and supports (sometimes referred to as long-term supports or services) may involve either on-site or off-site monitoring or delivery of services necessary for the consumer to maintain self-employment after DARS case closure. The extended services and supports are provided for as long as the consumer needs them and as long as the consumer or legal representative requests them.

Extended services and supports identified must be consistent with the CCSA and are updated throughout the consumer's employment.

Some examples of extended services and supports include

Frequency of extended services and supports can be daily, weekly, monthly, or as identified.

Extended services and supports are rendered and funded by sources other than DARS. Sources may include Social Security Employment Networks; Social Security PASS, property essential to self-support (PESS), or IRWE; Medicaid Waiver; parents; family; friends; churches; and nonprofits.

Possible resources for extended services and supports must be identified as part of the SSESP and updated throughout the process. When all other resources to pay for extended services and supports have been exhausted, a provider may offer to provide the supports on a fee-for-service basis. Such supports may be funded through a PASS or IRWE, or may be paid by the consumer or family. The cost of these supports must be disclosed to the consumer, and the consumer must agree to that fee as part of the SSESP process. The CRP provider will not attempt to collect any fees from the consumer or his or her family for services provided before DARS case closure.

Potential Products or Services. Products and services identified by the team must take into account the consumer's skills, capabilities, and resources for extended services and supports related to establishing and maintaining a small business. The products or services should be consistent with the

Potential Business Ideas. A business idea is a brief description of a business that sells the products or services that the consumer wants to offer. It is a global statement of "the who, what, when, and where of the business." The description should be clear enough that the consumer and SSES can identify the key business idea(s) to be explored when completing the DARS1801, Concept Development and Feasibility Study.

Business ideas identified by the team must take into account the consumer's skills, capabilities, preferences, interests, and resources for extended services and supports related to establishing and maintaining a small business, as well as unmet needs in the community.

DARS does not sponsor businesses involving stocks, shares, or partners.

Potential Business Team Members. List friends, colleagues, and experienced business people for the consumer and SSES to contact to request participation in the consumer-led process to formulate an enterprise or small business idea, to assist in launching the business, and to support the venture's growth.

The members of the business team will help the consumer identify these business people through their personal contacts, Small Business Administration (SBA), Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Chamber of Commerce, and networking.

Required Documentation. DARS1800, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) is required and must include

Outcome. Benchmark 1B is complete when the DARS1800, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) has been completed by the SSES, signed by the appropriate parties, and approved by the DARS counselor.

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 1B (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made upon receipt of

Benchmark 2: Business Concept Development and Feasibility Study

Service Description. During Benchmark 2: Business Concept Development and Feasibility Study, the SSES helps the consumer collect data necessary for the DARS1801, Concept Development and Feasibility Study Worksheet to be completed. The SSES takes the lead in establishing the business team. At least two business team members who are experienced business owners are required (not including the SSES). The SSES ensures that all team members understand the purpose and commit to helping the consumer research, establish, and maintain a business within his or her community. Team members must exhibit commitment, solidarity, and innovation to support the consumer in this venture.

At least two business team meetings must be held during the completion of this benchmark.

Business Feasibility Study*. An assessment, through the use of research tools such as surveys or statistical analyses, regarding the likelihood of a business succeeding.

Required Documentation. DARS1802, Planning Meeting Record must be completed every time the business team meets to advise and assist the consumer with his or her business.

DARS1801, Concept Development and Feasibility Study Worksheet must be completed meeting the established quality criteria.

Outcome. Benchmark 2: Business Concept Development and Feasibility Study is complete when the following documentation has been completed by the SSES, reviewed by the regional program specialist or Central Office program specialist assigned to self-employment, and approved by the DARS counselor; the DARS counselor may have to gain area manager approval:

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 2 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made upon receipt of

Benchmark 3: Business Plan and Supporting Documentation

Service Description. A business plan precisely defines the business, identifies its goals, and serves as the business's résumé. The business plan includes a Business Executive Summary, Business Description, Products and Services, Market Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations and Legal Considerations, Extended Services and Supports, and Financials. The business plan helps the business owner allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make good business decisions. As it provides specific and organized information about the company and how the business will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan application. Additionally, it informs sales personnel, suppliers, and others about the business's operations and goals.

Note: The DARS1803-2, Business Plan is formatted to serve as both a business plan to be submitted to third parties and a report to the DARS counselor. For this reason, information about extended services and supports is also required.

At least two business team meetings must be held during the completion of this benchmark.

Assets*. What a business owns or is legally due, such as equipment and property, including all cash the business has currently.

Balance Sheet*. A key financial document in a business plan, it lists the current assets and liabilities of the business. The result of all assets minus all liabilities of the business should always equal zero.

Benefit Analysis. An analysis of a consumer's SSI and/or SSDI benefits that enables the consumer to understand the impact that a self-employment venture may have on his or her SSI and/or SSDI benefits; it also identifies any funding opportunities that may be available from SSA to support the consumer in a self-employment venture.

Break-Even Analysis*. A determination of how many sales must be made before the cost of the business is paid. The relationship can also be reported in terms of how long (in months) a business must operate before paying off its debts and thereby showing a profit.

Cash-Flow Analysis*. An analysis of cash needed for payroll, raw materials, and other business expenses compared with revenue received from customers.

Profit and Loss Statement and Projections*. Detailed monthly and yearly income projections for a business derived from

Stability and Closure Analysis. An analysis of the Profit and Loss Statement that determines when a consumer's business meets the "stability status" required for Benchmark 6: Supported Self-Employment Business Stability and the "Case Closure Status" to achieve Benchmark 7: Supported Self-Employment Service Completion.

Required Documentation. The following documentation is required:

Outcome. Benchmark 3: Business Plan and Supporting Documentation is complete when the following documentation has been completed by the SSES, reviewed by the regional program specialist or Central Office program specialist assigned to self-employment, and approved by the DARS counselor; the DARS counselor may have to gain area manager approval:

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 3 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made upon receipt of

Benchmark 4: Supported Self-Employment Business Start-Up

Service Description. The SSES provides necessary supports during the first two months (56 calendar days) from the day the business opens.

Intensive on- and off-job-site supports that lessen as the consumer's skills and extended services and supports resources are set up are provided to help the consumer adjust to the demands of running the business outlined in the business plan.

Activities may include, but are not limited to

At least two business team meetings must be held during the completion of this benchmark.

Required Documentation. The following documentation is required:

Outcome. Benchmark 4: Supported Self-Employment Business Start-Up is complete when

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 4 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made upon receipt of

Benchmark 5: Supported Self-Employment Business Maintenance

Service Description. The SSES provides necessary assistance and supports during the first four months (112 days) from the day the business opens.

On- and off-job-site supports are provided that help the consumer adjust to the demands of running the business. These supports are reduced as the consumer's skills and extended services and supports are established.

Activities may include, but are not limited to

At least two business team meetings must be held during the completion of this benchmark.

Required Documentation. The following documentation is required:

Outcome. Benchmark 5: Supported Self-Employment Business Maintenance is complete when

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 5 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made upon receipt of

Benchmark 6: Supported Self-Employment Business Stability

Service Description. The SSES has assisted the consumer throughout at least the first eight weeks (168 days, cumulatively) of business operations from the day the business opened. Necessary on- and off-job-site supports have been established, and the SSES no longer needs to provide those supports directly. The consumer has acquired the necessary skills to operate the business with appropriate supports. Extended services and supports are set up, are working as outlined in the business plan without any assistance from the SSES, and are working to address consumer supports that will be necessary to sustain the business once DARS has closed the case.

For the business to be considered stable,

At least two business team meetings must be held during the completion of this benchmark.

Required Documentation. The following documentation is required:

Outcome. Benchmark 6: Supported Self-Employment Business Stability is complete when the consumer has

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 6 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made upon receipt of

Benchmark 7: Supported Self-Employment Service Completion

Service Description. The SSES has helped the consumer establish and implement the business as outlined in the business plan. The consumer's business has been operating at least 90 cumulative calendar days from the date Benchmark 6: Supported Self-Employment Business Stability was achieved without direct intervention by the SSES. All interventions and services to address supports that will be necessary to sustain the business once DARS has closed the case have been set up and are operating. The business must have ending cash equal to or greater than three months of operating expenses for the business for 3 months within a twelve-month period after stability, and the consumer's wage must calculate to be equal to or greater than minimum wage for three months within a twelve-month period after stability. The months of operating cost and months of consumer's wage calculated to be equal to or greater than minimum wage do not have to be consecutive or achieved simultaneously.

At least two business team meetings must be held during the completion of this benchmark.

Required Documentation. The following documentation is required:

Outcome. Benchmark 7: Supported Self-Employment Service Completion is complete when

Payment. Payment for Benchmark 7 (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) is made upon receipt of

Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium

Service Description. The Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium requires the provider to work with the consumer or business owner, funders, family, and stakeholders to complete all necessary steps to establish one of the following to maintain business operations:

In order to qualify for the Capital/Equity Self-Employment Premium, the provider must document the intent to help the consumer gain the capital income in the

Documentation and Fees. The DRS counselor is authorized to pay the provider (see Fee Schedule 2-0005) when the consumer achieves Benchmark 7: Supported Self-Employment Service Completion and the SSES provides proof that an expected form of capital has been gained along with the DARS1806, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary.

*From "Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities," Cary Griffin and David Hammis, 2006.