1310.00 Supported Employment Policy and Procedure

(Rev. July 2012)

Table of Contents



Supported employment is competitive work in an integrated work setting in which individuals work in an environment consistent with their employment factors, i.e. strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice with ongoing support services. Supported employment is for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

The goal of supported employment is job placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the individuals employment factors. A key characteristic which distinguishes supported employment from other employment services is the provision of ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities to maintain employment. Ongoing support services are provided throughout the intensive and extended phases of supported employment.


Supported employment services are the ongoing support services and other appropriate services that are necessary to obtain and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in employment. The ACCES-VR phase of supported employment is referred to as intensive supported employment services.

Ongoing support services are defined as services that are needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in employment. Ongoing support services are to be provided as needed regardless of whether the individual is in the intensive or extended phase of supported employment.

Natural Supports are supports from supervisors and co-workers, such as mentoring, friendships, socializing at breaks and/or after work, providing feedback on job performance, or learning a new skill through the assistance of a supervisor or coworkers. These natural supports are particularly effective because they enhance the communication and social integration between the employee with a disability and his/her co-workers and supervisor. In addition, natural supports may be more permanent, consistently and readily available, thereby facilitating long-term jobretention. Friends and family members may also provide significant supports such as assistance with transportation and problem solving issues pertaining to work.

Extended services are those services that are needed to support and maintain the individual in supported employment. Extended services are provided after an individual has made the transition from intensive supported employment services provided by ACCES-VR to stabilization and may not be funded by VR program funds. Extended services are provided by a State agency, a nonprofit private organization, employer or any other appropriate resource. Funding for extended services is most often provided by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Office of Mental Health (OMH) or the NYSED Extended Services Funding.

The Role of the Rehabilitation Counselor

The vocational rehabilitation counselor has the primary role to determine the individual’s eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services, eligibility for supported employment, as well as planning and coordinating the supported employment services. In addition to determining who qualifies for supported employment, VR counselors are responsible for periodically reviewing the progress of the individual to determine if the services provided need action to assure the achievement of a quality employment outcome.

Requirements for Supported Employment Services

Supported employment is designed for individuals with the most significant disabilities:

  • For whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a most significant disability; and,
  • Who because of the nature and severity of their disability need intensive supported employment services from ACCES-VR and the provision of extended services to maintain employment.

Before referring the individual to supported employment, the VR counselor must determine the individual meets all of the following criteria:

  • is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services;
  • meets all of the criteria for an individual who has a most significant disability;
  • has been unable to work, or has worked only intermittently, in competitive employment;
  • has had a comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs which identifies supported employment as the appropriate rehabilitation objective for the individual; and,
  • requires ongoing supports in order to maintain employment.

NOTE: An individual may receive supported employment services during a trial work experience or extended evaluation, when appropriate, to determine eligibility.

Ongoing Support Services

Ongoing support services are identified based on a determination by the VR counselor of the individual's need as specified in an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). These services are provided by VR from the time supported employment services are initiated under an IPE until the transition to extended services. After VR funding ends, ongoing support services are thereafter provided by one or more extended services providers throughout the individual's term of employment in a particular job placement (or multiple placements if those placements are being provided under a program of transitional employment.)

Ongoing support services occur during both the intensive vocational rehabilitation services phase and the extended services phase and may consist of:

  1. necessary additional assessments at the work site;
  2. the provision of skilled job trainers (job coaches) who accompany the individual for intensive job skill training at the work site;
  3. job development and training;
  4. social skills training;
  5. regular observation or supervision of the individual;
  6. follow up services including regular contact with the employers, the individual, the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and/or other authorized persons in order to reinforce and stabilize the job placement;
  7. facilitation of natural supports at the work site; and,
  8. facilitation of any other services identified in the scope of vocational rehabilitation services at or away from the work site, such as transportation and personal assistance services.

Individualized Plan for Employment

Intensive supported employment services are the vocational rehabilitation services authorized under an IPE.

The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for an individual for whom an employment outcome in supported employment has been determined to be appropriate must:

  1. specify the supported employment services to be provided by the ACCES-VR Program;
  2. specify the expected extended services, which may include natural supports;
  3. identify the source of extended services or, to the extent that it is not possible to identify the source of extended services at the time the IPE is developed, include a description of the basis for concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that those sources will become available;
  4. provide for periodic monitoring to ensure that the individual is making satisfactory progress toward meeting the weekly work requirement established in the IPE by the time of transition to extended services;
  5. provide for the coordination of services provided under an IPE with services provided under other individualized plans established under other federal or state programs;
  6. to the extent that job skills training is provided, identify that the training will be provided on site; and,
  7. include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the individual’s employment factors.

Supported employment does allow the individual to work on a full-time or part-time basis in an integrated setting as long as it is consistent with the individual’s employment factors. The standards for an employment outcome for individuals in supported employment must meet the same criteria as all VR employment outcomes.

Note: The maximum number of hours based on the individual’s employment factors must be determined by the VR counselor and documented in the record of services.

Wage Requirement

Under supported employment, the individual must be compensated in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. In order for an individual to be closed as a competitive closure (closed with an employment outcome, status 26), the individual must be compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled. Supported Employment can result in a noncompetitive employment outcome when the individual is working toward the competitive employment wage but has not yet achieved that standard.

Unpaid work and summer employment do not qualify as supported employment. Seasonal employment is allowable only if it is typical of the local labor market.

Duration of Supported Employment Services

Supported employment services funded by ACCES-VR are limited to 18 months beginning on the first day the consumer works at the job site which is intended as the individual's permanent placement. It is a cumulative total for the life of the current case, unless, under special circumstances, the individual and the rehabilitation counselor involved jointly agree to extend the time in order to achieve the employment outcome identified in the IPE. If the individual requires more than 18 months of supported employment services, a waiver is required.

Requirements for Waiver of Ongoing Support Services

The purpose of ongoing support services is to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment. When the individual has been placed in the job, at a minimum, twice-monthly monitoring visits at the worksite of each individual in supported employment is required. At least one contact per month with the employer is also required.

If under specific circumstances, especially at the request of the individual, the VR counselor can waive the on-site visits but will instead provide for twice monthly off-site monitoring meetings. If the consumer contact is provided away from the work site, it must be documented in the record of service and still consist of at least two meetings with the individual. If the individual has not disclosed his or her disability to the employer, then employer contact is prohibited by law.


Stabilization occurs when the individual's work performance reaches a performance level acceptable to the employer, and the job coaching and related ongoing support services have diminished to the level necessary to maintain the individual in employment. At this point stabilization is agreed upon by the VR counselor, the supported employment provider/job coach and the consumer. When stabilization occurs, the worker is ready to transition from ACCES-VR-funded intensive supported employment services to the appropriate source of ongoing support services known as extended services. This transition must not occur until all aspects of the individual’s placement indicate that the employment situation is secure and consistent with the individual’s functional capabilities and employment factors. At this point the individual’s case should enter status 22.

Transition to Extended Services

The decision to transition from intensive supported employment services to extended services should be made jointly by the individual (i.e. the supported employee), the employer (unless the individual has elected not to disclose the disability to the employer), the VR counselor and the staff of the supported employment program. The transition to extended services must be approved by the VR counselor. The record of service should show that the individual’s placement has been satisfactory in all respects before a determination is made that stabilization has been achieved.

Models of Supported Employment

ACCES-VR considers individual placement in competitive employment with ongoing supports as the primary goal for supported employment. Individual placement focuses on locating community jobs for specific individuals. Supported employment models such as an individual placement model, enclaves, mobile work crews, and affirmative business models offer a wide range of experiences, and must be evaluated based on each individual’s employment experience. Regardless of which supported employment model is used, the work setting must meet the definition of an integrated setting, as defined in the Employment Outcome Policy. Supported employment for individuals with a most significant disability due to mental illness does allow the individual to hold a series of temporary job placements in competitive work in integrated settings with ongoing support services that includes continuing sequential job placements until job permanency is achieved. This strategy is known as transitional employment.

There is an expectation that ongoing support services will remain available for as long as necessary and required for the individual to maintain employment, and will be available to assist in obtaining new employment if necessary.


Rehabilitation Act:

  • Section 7; Section 102, Section 634, Section 635

Federal Regulations:

  • 34CFR Part 361

State Laws:

  • Chapter 515, Laws of 1992


  • 010.00 Employment Outcome Policy
  • 200.00 Referral and Applying for Services
  • 202.00 Eligibility of Services
  • 204.00 Assessment
  • 205.00 Significance of Disability
  • 206.00 Individualized Plan for Employment
  • 250.00 Order of Selection
  • 435.00 Post Employment Services
  • 1375.40 Work-Try-Out (WTO)/ On-The –Job Training (OJT) Policy


  • 010.00 Employment Outcome Procedures
  • 200.00 Referral and Application Procedures
  • 202.00P Eligibility of Services Procedures
  • 205.00 Significance of Disability Procedures
  • 250.00 Order of Selection Procedures
  • 435.00 Post Employment Procedures