010.00P Employment Outcome Procedure
(Revised August 2018)
See corresponding policy: 010.00 Employment Outcome Policy
Note: Vocational Rehabilitation procedures provide internal guidance for ACCES-VR staff only and create no procedural or substantive rights for any individual or group.
Table of Contents
- Intention to Achieve an Employment Outcome
- Criteria for Exit
- Criteria for Achieving an Employment Outcome – Supported Employment
- Criteria for Exit – Supported Employment
- Closure of Post-Employment Services
- Data Folder
- Primary Indicators of Performance – Post Exit Data Collection
These procedures, prepared in conjunction with the Employment Outcome Policy 010.00, describe the actions required to carry out the policy requirements effectively. The procedures:
- contain definitions of key terms, especially those contained in the Rehabilitation Act as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and Federal Regulations;
- describe the process for determining when an individual has achieved an employment outcome;
- provide documentation requirements for the record of services; and
- list data folder requirements.
During the application process, individuals must be informed that ACCES-VR services are only provided if they intend to achieve an employment outcome. Once the individual is informed, the completion of the ACCES-VR application process for vocational rehabilitation services is sufficient evidence of the individual’s intent to achieve an employment outcome.
- Responsibilities of Eligible Individuals
Once the vocational rehabilitation process begins, it is reasonable to expect that individuals will stay engaged and fulfill their responsibilities as active participants by:
- completing assessments as required for determining eligibility and plan development;
- developing and signing an Individualized Plan for Employment;
- participating in job seeking efforts; and
- communicating with ACCES-VR staff throughout the process.
Determining Competitive Integrated Employment
For ACCES-VR eligible individuals to satisfy the definition of “competitive integrated employment,” the employment must satisfy the requirement for all three components:
- Competitive earnings
- Is not less than the rate required under the Federal, State or local minimum wage law for the place of employment;
- Is not less than the customary rate paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by other employees who are not individuals with most significant disabilities and who are similarly situated in similar occupations by the same employer and who have similar training, experience, and skills; and
- In the case of an individual who is self-employed, yields an income that is comparable to the income received by other individuals who are not individuals with disabilities and who are self-employed in similar occupations or on similar tasks and who have similar training, experience, and skills; and
- eligible for the level of benefits provided to other employees; and
- Is at a location
- Typically found in the community; and
- Where the employee with a disability interacts for the purpose of performing the duties of the position with other employees within the particular work unit and the entire work site, and, as appropriate to the work performed, other persons (e.g., customers and vendors), who are not individuals with disabilities (not including supervisory personnel or individuals who are providing services to such employee) to the same extent that employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who are in comparable positions interact with these persons; and
3. Opportunities for advancement.
- Presents, as appropriate, opportunities for advancement that are similar to those for other employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who have similar positions.
As noted in the regulatory definition of an integrated setting, employment settings that are “typically found in the community,” are those in the competitive labor market. Settings established by community rehabilitation programs specifically to employ individuals with disabilities (e.g., sheltered workshops) do not constitute integrated settings because these settings are not typically found in the competitive labor market. Factors that would generally result in a business being considered “not typically found in the community,” include positions through the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act contracts or State purchase programs; allowances under the Fair Labor Standards Act for compensatory subminimum wages; and compliance with a mandated direct labor-hour ratio of persons with disabilities.
However, there may be instances where positions, though supported through service contracts, are typically found in the community and where others without disabilities are performing similar work, thus the employment can be held as occurring in integrated locations. In these instances, it is the responsibility of the Community Rehabilitation Provider to document whether a particular employment position is in an integrated setting, and the ACCES-VR counselor’s responsibility to attest or certify that the information is correct by considering the following:
- The business has the same job titles, duties, descriptions and promotional opportunities for employees with and without disabilities; and the business has the recruitment, hiring, and training policies to designed to maintain a diversified workforce comprised of individuals with and without disabilities;
- The work of the employee is performed independently and/or with a typical level of supervision based upon the industry;
- Employees with disabilities interact with individuals who do not have disabilities (co-workers, customers and the general public);
- Co-workers include employees who do not have disabilities. Staff providing support are not co-workers;
- Employees with disabilities are not isolated or restricted to one room or area within the business;
- The work performance and/or proficiencies of the employee(s) are held to industry standards and based on the same expectations as non-disabled employee(s), including opportunities for growth within that company; and
- The work is driven by the need of the employer and would be necessary regardless of a service contract.
Not all factors are applicable to every work situation. Therefore, it is not required that every condition be met, but rather that there is sufficient specification met to support a judgement that a setting is integrated.
Federal regulations and ACCES-VR Policy no longer allow vocational rehabilitation services to be provided to individuals interested in pursuing employment outcomes that yield wages below the competitive employment wage standards.
- The following employment outcomes yield no earned income; and are no longer valid closures types:
- Homemaker; and
- Unpaid Family Worker, in which the individual is employed in a family owned or operated business, including family farms, but does not receive wages, salary or other monetary compensation.
ACCES-VR may only continue services to individuals with uncompensated employment goals (e.g., homemaker and unpaid family workers) on their approved individualized plans for employment prior to August 15, 2016 until June 30, 2017.
- The following employment outcome yields earned income though wages may be less than the competitive wage standard; it is considered a valid competitive Status 26 closure.
ACCES-VR recognizes that individuals with disabilities, as well as individuals without disabilities pursuing self-employment may experience difficulty generating sufficient income that will enable them to achieve earnings equal to or exceeding the applicable minimum wage rate, especially in the preliminary stages of the business operations. Thus, self-employed individuals with a disability in the start-up phase of a business venture who are making less than the applicable minimum wage do meet the definition of competitive integrated employment.
Within CaMS, the data folder closure tab contains the work status at closure field. A selection must be made from the drop-down list before a case can be successfully closed in status 26. Free text is not allowed, as the drop down contains all of the federally allowable work statuses. This drop-down list includes the following work statuses:
- Employment in a competitive integrated setting. This can be either full or part-time employment. This is work performed for wages, salary, commissions, tips or piece-rates at, or above the minimum wage. It does not include self-employed individuals.
- Supported employment in competitive integrated employment. This is full-time or part-time employment, with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities.
- Self-employment is work for profit or fees including operating one's own business, farm, shop or office.
- Uncompensated employment refers to uncompensated employment outcomes for Homemakers and Unpaid Family Worker only, during the transition period which ended June 30, 2017.
- Extended employment, formerly referred to as "sheltered" employment, is work in a non-integrated setting for a public or private nonprofit agency or organization that provides compensation according to section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Extended employment is not an employment outcome as defined by the Rehabilitation Act or Federal Regulations.
- ACCES-VR cannot close an individual's case as rehabilitated, Status 26, if they are employed in a non-integrated setting.
- Individuals may still receive services, such as vocational evaluation, trial work and work adjustment services at rehabilitation facilities that also offer extended employment. However, it is strongly recommended that staff exhaust all opportunities to provide these experiences in integrated community environments before seeking services in non-integrated settings. If it is determined that an extensive amount of time working in extended employment may be necessary before an individual can achieve placement in an integrated setting, then the individual’s case should be closed. It can be reopened when the individual is ready for an integrated placement.
An employment outcome is considered achieved and the case should be closed in status 26 when the employment outcome is:
- Consistent with an individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, career interests, and informed choice (the individual's employment factors);
- Consistent with the employment goal as described on the individual's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). In cases where the employment goal changes from that as described on the IPE, the individual must be involved in developing, agreeing to and signing a change to the IPE reflecting the new goal; and
- The result of services provided to the individual, as described on the original IPE and any amended IPEs.
- At the time a case is closed in status 26, the individual must have been employed for a length of time adequate to ensure the stability of the employment outcome (a minimum of 90 days).
- If an individual has changed jobs during the 90-day period, the combined period of actual employment in both jobs may count towards the 90 days if the break in employment does not exceed 30 days and the individual was performing well on each job. The combined period of actual employment in each job may count towards the 90 days when the individual remains in the same job, that is, the employment goal remains the same but the employer or employment site changes.
- The counselor and/or provider will continue to work with the individual during the period of unemployment to resolve any issues that caused the break in employment. The second placement must be sustained for at least 30 days before case closure. This is the minimum and the case should remain open for as long as it takes to ensure that the placement will be sustained. The period of unemployment does not count towards the 90 days. If the break in employment is greater than 30 days, the calculation of the 90-day minimum employment period must be restarted.
- The individual may be employed on a full or part time basis, so long as the employment is in a competitive integrated setting. There is no minimum number of hours required for a status 26 closure, so long as the individual is afforded the opportunity for involvement in the decision to close the case in status 26.
The service record of an individual with a most significant disability, including a youth with a most significant disability, who is employed in competitive integrated employment or who is employed in an integrated setting working on short-term basis to achieve competitive integrated employment will be considered to have achieved an employment outcome, including customized employment, in supported employment when
- The individual has completed supported employment services, which may be received for up to 24 months, or longer if the ACCES-VR counselor and the individual have determined that such services are needed to support and maintain the individual in supported employment.
- The individual has transitioned to extended services funded by either ACCES-VR or another provider.
- The individual has maintained employment and achieved stability in the work setting for a minimum of 90 days after transitioning to extended services; and
- The employment is individualized and customized consistent with the strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual.
Youth with the most significant disabilities receiving ACCES-VR Extended Services for Youth (CSC 582X) and/or individuals working toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis must remain open in status 22 and on the District Office caseload. The VR Counselor will authorize 582X after receiving the 574X – 45 Day Retention Report.
- Review the 574X Report and determine/confirm that the youth (under age 25) will need to have ACCES-VR as the funding source for extended services.
- Authorize 582X with a start date after the projected 575X – 90 Day Retention is likely to be achieved.
- Identify the end date as the end of the contract year, unless you anticipate that the youth will turn age 25 prior to that date. If necessary, adjust the end date accordingly.
Through a Central Office query process, Data Unit personnel will identify youth receiving 582X who have been working a minimum of 90 days to accurately report those outcomes on the RSA-911 report.
The tickler system within CaMS will alert staff when a youth receiving 582X has met the criteria for exit, and prompt them to close the case in status 26. Individuals working on a short-term basis will need to be monitored by their counselor and closed when the individual achieves competitive-integrated employment (no more than 12 months).
District Offices will determine how to best handle the additional caseload of new youth extended and individuals working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment.
Separate requirements are specified for different scenarios, depending on whether individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with the most significant disabilities achieve competitive integrated employment or work toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis and whether they are receiving extended services and/or any other VR services from ACCES-VR or from other service providers.
For an individual (including a youth) with a most significant disability who has achieved an employment outcome in supported employment in a competitive integrated setting, the service record is closed at the time the individual:
- Achieves the employment outcome;
- Satisfies the requirements for case closure; and
- Is not receiving extended services or any other vocational rehabilitation service provided by ACCES-VR.
For an individual (including a youth) with a most significant disability who is working toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis and/or is receiving extended services from funds other than ACCES-VR, the service record is closed when the individual:
- Achieves competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period;
- Satisfies the requirements for case closure; and
- Is no longer receiving vocational rehabilitation services provided by ACCES-VR.
Note: If an individual does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period, the service record will be closed unsuccessfully, in status 28.
For a youth with a most significant disability who is receiving extended services provided by ACCES-VR, the service record will be closed when the youth:
- Achieves an employment outcome in supported employment in competitive integrated employment without entering the short-term basis period.
- Is no longer eligible to receive extended services provided by ACCES-VR because -
- The individual no longer meets the age requirements established in the definition of a youth with a disability.
- Has received extended services for a period of four years.
- Has transitioned to extended services provided with funds other than ACCES-VR, i.e. OMH or OPWDD.
- Satisfies the requirements for case closure.
- Is no longer receiving any other vocational rehabilitation service from the VR agency provided with VR program funds.
For a youth with a most significant disability who is working toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis, the service record will be closed when the individual:
- Achieves competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period.
- Is no longer eligible to receive extended services provided by ACCES-VR because –
- The individual no longer meets the ages requirements established in the definition of a youth with a disability.
- Has received extended services for a period of four years.
- Has transitioned to extended services provided with funds other than ACCES-VR, i.e. OMH or OPWDD.
- Satisfies the requirements for case closure.
- Is no longer receiving any other vocational rehabilitations services provided by ACCES-VR.
Note: If a youth does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis, the service record will be closed unsuccessfully in status 28.
Youth with a most significant disability achieve an employment outcome in supported employment in competitive integrated employment without entering the short-term basis period when:
- The individual satisfies the requirements for case closure,
- No longer meets the age requirements for a youth with a disability;
- Has received extended services for a period of four years;
- Transitioned to another extended services provider prior to meeting the age or time restrictions;
- Satisfies the requirements for case closure as indicated the Employment Outcome criteria section of this procedure; and is
- No longer receiving any other vocational rehabilitation services.
- Status 34 - PES completed - suitable employment maintained.
- Status 36 - PES discontinued - new case opened.
- Status 38 - PES discontinued - suitable employment not maintained and new case not opened.
For a status 26 closure, the record of services needs to include the following points.
- Individual has been employed for a minimum of 90 days; or for supported employment for a minimum of 90 days after transition to extended services;
- Individual is approaching the 90-day mark in employment, efforts have been made to contact the individual directly to inquire as to the success that the individual is having on the job and to seek the involvement of the individual in the decision to close the case;
- Employment has been verified. Placement reports received from providers are adequate to verify that the individual has achieved an employment outcome, but the record of services must document the counselor's effort to seek the individual's involvement in the decision to close the case;
- Wages have been verified. This is needed to determine if the employment outcome is competitive. Wages can be verified by any credible source, such as the eligible individual, a provider, family member or employer. Pay stubs, while preferred as verification, are not required;
- Employment outcome is consistent with the employment goal, as agreed to by the individual, and a signed IPE is in the record of services. If the employment outcome is different from the employment goal on the Original IPE or the most recent IPE Change agreed to by the individual, an IPE Change must be prepared, and a signature requested from the individual. The first two digits of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code at closure must match and the final four digits of the SOC code on the IPE cannot end in zeros.
- Employment outcome is consistent with the individual's employment factors, that is, the individual’s unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, career interests and informed choice; and
- Individual was afforded the opportunity to participate in the decision to close the case.
For a status 26 closure, the record of services needs to reflect that vocational rehabilitation services were provided that resulted in the employment outcome.
At the time that the case is to be closed a letter must be sent to the individual:
- advising the individual of the closure decision and the right to further discuss the decision with ACCES-VR;
- informing the individual as to whether Post Employment Services are to be provided;
- providing the individual with information regarding the availability of the Client Assistance Program and the ACCES-VR appeal process; and
- advising the individual of the availability of benefits advisement, if there are potential benefits issues, i.e. SSA overpayment, related to earnings from work.
- The Status 26 Closure Summary Case Note summarizes the critical information that needs to be documented in the record of services. If not clearly documented elsewhere, i.e. in previous case notes, correspondence or progress reports, this case note must contain job placement information, including:
- The job title;
- The employer name and address;
- A statement describing the job duties;
- The date employment started, including an explanation of any interruptions in continuous employment since the start date;
- Weekly hours and salary;
- Any medical benefits;
- How the individual obtained the job;
- How the individual was involved in the decision to close the case; and
- How the closure information was verified.
- While a summary of the services provided to the individual is not required for this case note, it is considered a best practice to establish that the employment outcome was the result of the vocational rehabilitation services.
- The individual is to be notified of closure with the Notification to Participant of Status 26 Closure Letter (C026LTR).
In cases where the individual has received vocational rehabilitation services but has chosen to work in a non-integrated and/or non-competitive setting or is too significantly disabled to work in an integrated setting, ACCES-VR is required to carry out the following actions and document that these steps have been carried out:
- Explain to participants that the purpose of the vocational rehabilitation program is to assist individuals to achieve competitive integrated employment.
- Inform the individual that services from ACCES-VR can be provided in an extended employment setting if necessary for training or preparing for employment in an integrated setting. Participants may continue to receive training or other services in non-integrated settings as long as the goal is integrated employment.
- Inform the individual that, if he or she initially chooses not to pursue an employment outcome, he or she can seek services from ACCES-VR at a later date if, at that time, he or she chooses to pursue an employment outcome.
- Refer the individual to the Social Security Administration or the Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach programs to obtain information about the ability of individuals with disabilities to work while receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration.
- Provide the individual with information regarding the availability of employment options and vocational rehabilitation services, to assist the individual to achieve an appropriate employment outcome.
- Refer the individual to Federal or State programs, including programs carried out by other components of the statewide workforce development system, best suited to address the specific employment needs of an individual with a disability.
- Provide the individual who is being referred a notice of the referral; information identifying a specific point of contact within the agency to which the individual is being referred; and information and advice regarding the most suitable services to assist the individual to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.
Individuals who received services and were placed in non-integrated or sheltered setting for a public or private nonprofit agency that provides subminimum wages the correct exit description is Extended Employment. Individuals seeking uncompensated employment, i.e. homemaker or unpaid family worker the correct exit description is Transferred to Another Agency. The individual is to be notified of closure with the Notification to Participant of Status 28 Closure Letter (C028LTR).
- The following information in the data folder closure tab is required data for a status 26 closure:
- Employment Outcome Type
- Primary Occupation at Employment Outcome
- Start Date of Employment in Primary Occupation
- Work Status at Closure
- Hourly Wage
- Hours Worked in a Week
- Monthly Public Support
- SOC Code
- Medical Insurance Coverage
- Placement Agency Type
- Employer Name
- Employer City
- Employer State; and SIC
- A special effort should be made at the time of closure to make certain that the Public Support Tab in the Data Folder is completed, even if the individual did not receive any public support at application, during services or at closure. The "zero fill" feature that CaMS has on this screen will make quick work of filling in the fields. When the individual has not received public support, the zeros will confirm that. If the individual has received public support, once the zeros are entered, the CaMS user can then go to just those types of public support that were received by the individual and enter the dollar amounts.
- A special effort should also be made in making certain that the data folder contains any Available Special Programs that need to be associated with the case. These special programs (formerly described as program codes) are contained on the Case Assignment Tab. They have important usages in seeking reimbursements from other agencies. The special program feature also flags cases that are associated with particular types of services that ACCES-VR needs to carefully track to evaluate the successful delivery of those services.
For the three employment related performance indicators (employment rate in the second and fourth quarters after exit and median earnings in the second quarter after exit), status in unsubsidized employment and quarterly earnings may be determined by direct Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage match, Federal employment records, military employment records, or supplemental wage information. Participants who are in the military or in a Registered Apprenticeship program are also considered as employed, and their quarterly earnings are calculated, for the purpose of these indicators.
Supplemental wage information must be collected in those circumstances where quarterly wage records are not available or may not apply (e.g. for participants who are self-employed, or for participants who decline to provide a social security number (SSN)).
The timing for collecting supplemental wage information may vary based on whether the agency knows or expects that UI wage data will not be available for a participant following the exit from a program. The need for supplemental wage information for some individuals may not become apparent until no match is found in direct UI wage records, or in federal or military employment records, which become available on a time-lagged basis.
When we know that UI wage data will not be available for individuals (such as those participants who did not provide an SSN, or for participants not covered by UI wage data, such as those who received entrepreneurial or self-employment training), staff do not need to wait two quarters after the close of the second and fourth full quarters after exit to formally document that UI wage data are not available and begin collection of supplemental wage information. The optimal time to collect supplemental wage information is as soon as possible following the close of the second and fourth full quarters after exit. In general, staff must remind participants, before program exit, that they or their employers may be contacted to obtain confirmation of employment status and earnings, and to explain the expected timeframe for those follow-up contacts. While this reminder is applicable to all participants, it is especially important for those participants for whom UI wage data are not available.
Supplemental Wage Information Methods and Procedures
Acceptable forms of supplemental wage information, include, but are not limited to, the following:
Tax documents, payroll records, and employer records such as:
- Copies of quarterly tax payment forms to the Internal Revenue Service, such as a Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return);
- Copies of pay stubs (minimum of two pay stubs); or
- Signed letter or other information from employer on company letterhead attesting to an individual’s employment status and earnings.
Other supplemental wage records:
- Follow-up survey (self-reported) from program participants;
- Income earned from commission in sales or other similar positions;
- Detailed case notes verified by employer and signed by the counselor, if appropriate to the program;
- Automated database systems or data matching with other partners with whom data sharing agreements exist;
- One-Stop operating systems’ administrative records, such as current records of eligibility for programs with income-based eligibility (e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)); or
- Self-employment worksheets signed and attested to by program participants.
Note: Earnings (or net profit) can be calculated by subtracting total expenses from gross receipts. Not all self-employed individuals receive a salary, but the funds that represent income over expenses that are available to be invested back into the business are considered earnings.