As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 8: Standards for Employment Services

(Revised 12/14, 05/15, 09/15)

8.1 Overview

For services started on or after December 16, 2014, please follow the policies, procedures, definitions, and fees given below.

Employment Assistance is one of the primary services that Vocational Rehabilitation purchases from Employment Service Providers (EPS). It includes the planning and service provisions that each consumer needs to be successfully employed. Employment Assistance has two basic components: a qualified applicant and a business with a job opportunity. Employment assistance from the consumer's point of view includes being involved in planning and receiving services to prepare him or her for work, helping him or her to find work, and assisting him or her in keeping a job or finding a new one. The goal is to help the consumer become a qualified applicant for his or her chosen career. Success depends on matching the qualifications of an applicant with the requirements of the business.

*The vocational rehabilitation program helps eligible people with disabilities enter employment. An employment outcome for the VR program consists of entering or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market. The employment must be consistent with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.*

*Based on 34 CFR Sec. 361.5(b)(16)

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

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

If a consumer has a Consumer Representative or a court appointed guardian with assigned power to make decisions on behalf of the consumer, that representative or guardian will be included in the decision related to employment.

With respect to wage employment, Employment Service Providers (ESP) can provide the following:

The provider must have a service authorization and/or purchase order authorizing service provisions before providing any services to a consumer. The provider must follow all specifications in the following documents before DARS is authorized to pay an invoice:

8.2 Key Terms

Benefits Planning is the process of reviewing a consumer's social security and other benefits to determine the impact of employment and to develop strategies to ensure that the consumer gains resources to address lost benefits or understands necessary reporting requirements to keep benefits.

Benchmark(s) are specific employment outcomes for which payments are made to the provider during the course of the Job Placement or Supported Employment process.

Bundled Employment Services are services that DARS buys as a package and are often included in benchmark-based services. Examples are Bundled Job Placement and Supported Employment.

Business Relation Specialists are DARS employees who help with business development to enhance employment options for DARS consumers.

Circle of Support is a group of people that helps a consumer accomplish objectives. The group functions as a "community" for that person who cannot achieve those objectives on his or her own. A circle of support is a strategy used in person-centered planning.

Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) refers to a program that provides directly, or facilitates the provision of, one or more vocational rehabilitation services to people whom DARS serves. It includes, but is not limited to such services as medical services, counseling, rehabilitation technology, evaluation and testing, and employment.*
* Based on CFR 361.5 Applicable definitions.

Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) is an individual or agency with which DARS contracts to provide consumer services for payment.

Compensatory Techniques are strategies used to help people perform tasks in an alternative manner or by using adaptive aids so that they can be more independent. Compensatory techniques also help people learn new tasks.

Competitive Integrated Employment* is work in the competitive labor market that is performed full-time (or for the maximum number of hours possible) in an integrated work setting. A person is compensated at or above the minimum wage for competitive integrated employment, 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)

Cover Letter is a letter sent with a résumé to provide additional information on the applicant's skills and experience.

Credential is proof that a third party has evaluated an individual's professional knowledge, skills, competency, and ethics to determine whether he or she has the competency required to perform specific tasks and functions. Credentials are required for providers of certain employment services to DARS consumers.

Cumulative Calendar Days of Employment refers to the total count of days beginning with the first day a consumer worked on a job and counting each subsequent day whether the consumer worked or not. The count continues until the day that the consumer is no longer working for the employer.

Customized Employment is an approach of hiring, retaining, and assisting with the return to work process that ties the strengths, conditions, and interests of a job candidate or employee to the business needs of an employer. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

Employment Assistance Services include the planning and providing of services that prepare consumers for work and help them to find suitable employment and keep their jobs.

Employment Conditions are consumer requirements or preferences for working conditions.

Employment Data Sheet is a way of organizing all the information that will be required to fully complete an application form and résumé. The Employment Data Sheet is one way of ensuring that spelling is correct and information is accurate. Personal Data Sheets include such information as name, addresses, phone numbers, identification numbers, education history, work history, volunteer history, and references.

Employment Outcome *means, with respect to the individual, entering or retaining full time, or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market, supported employment, or any other type of employment in an integrated setting. This includes self-employment, telecommuting, or business ownership that is consistent with an individual's strengths, resources, priorities, consumers, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.*
*CFR 361.5(B)(15)

Employment Service Provider (ESP) An ESP is a provider that has a Standards for Providers Manual contract to provide work-oriented services to DARS consumers.

Extended Services and Supports may be necessary to maintain the employment outcome after a consumer's VR case has been closed. 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, and may include the employer. Both natural supports and paid supports, including Long Term Supports and Services provided by other state and federal programs, can be used to facilitate Extended Services.

Long Term Supports and Services (LTSS) are Extended Services and Supports available through the Department of Aging and Disability Services(DADS) or the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The counselor should get a copy of the individual service plan from the LTSS case manager or service coordinator. The service "Supported Employment," detailing the amount of units authorized and the name of the provider, should be on the plan when LTSS are used to provide any of the Extended Services a consumer may need to maintain employment prior to the counselor closing the case.

Fading is a technique used in job training, in which prompting to perform a task is gradually withdrawn until the need for the prompting decreases and is no longer needed.

Hard Skills are related to professional knowledge, tools, or techniques that allow a person to perform the essential functions of a job.

Informational Interview is a meeting in which job seekers get advice about their careers, the industry, and the corporate culture of a potential future workplace. The business also learns about the job seekers and judges their professional potential and fit with the corporate culture, thereby gaining exposure to candidates for future hires. Informational interviews allow individuals to gain employment leads and expand their professional network. These interviews provide a non-threatening form for discussion as each person learns about the other.

Integrated work settings* provide an environment where consumers with disabilities interact regularly with nondisabled employees and/or with the general public.*
*Based on 34 CFR Section 363.6(c)(2)(ii)

Interview Training includes instruction in the interview process used by businesses to select the most suitable candidates for their positions. Interview training includes learning how to research a business prior to the interview; formulation of interview questions to be asked by the potential employee to ask the business interviewer(s); prepared responses to standard interview questions asked by businesses; instruction in attire, makeup, and hairstyles acceptable for interview; and training in non-verbal communication. Mock interviews may be used as a training technique.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities to enhance their employability and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. For more information, go to the JAN website, https://askjan.org/.

Job Analysis A job analysis breaks a position into its parts and identifies the inherent requirements. It demonstrates what the candidate can do, where support is needed, and provides solutions for any part of a job that a candidate is unable to perform, such as reallocating tasks to and from other employees

Job Application Completion is the process of completing applications for employment that are used by companies to hire employees. Job application can be completed in a paper format or by completing a form online at a company's website or at a hiring kiosk in a store or business. Application completion may include answering pre-employment screening questionnaires.

Job Carving, sometimes referred to as Job Creation, is a way to develop a job or certain job duties from one or more job descriptions or from unmet needs of an employer. This technique is often used in Supported Employment.

Job Development is the act of developing a job that meets the needs of the consumer and of the business hiring the consumer.

Job Placement Specialist is the Employment Service Provider's employee who provides Job Placement Services to DARS consumers. The Job Placement Specialist must maintain the University of North Texas (UNT) Job Placement Credential.

Job Ready is when the consumer has all the necessary training and tools needed with supports in place to begin seeking employment in his or her chosen career. This is different for each consumer, because each consumer has different skills, abilities, interests, and career goals.

Job Searching is the process of using traditional and non-traditional methods to find jobs that meet an individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice as outlined in a consumer's Placement Plan. Such methods include use of job search engines, job banks, job boards, employer job postings, LinkedIn, social networking, and attendance at job fairs to facilitate the job search. The provider or counselor can contact the potential employer on behalf of the consumer.

Job Sharing is a flexible work option in which two or more people share the responsibilities and tasks of a single position based on their respective strengths, skills, and interests while meeting workplace needs. This technique is often used in Supported Employment.

Job Skills Trainers or Job Coaches are people who specialize in helping people with disabilities to learn and accurately carry out job duties. Job Skills Trainers and Job Coaches provide one-on-one training tailored to meet the needs of the employee and to meet the employer's expectations. Job Skills Trainers and Job Coaches must maintain the UNT Job Placement Credential.

Job Site Analysis is a detailed look at a specific job. It identifies the tasks performed and the skills, abilities, and personal characteristics needed to perform the job.

Living Wage, also called Livable Wage is defined by the wage and/or minimum income that can meet the basic needs to maintain a safe, decent standard of living within the community. The particular amount that must be earned per hour to meet these needs varies depending on location. The living wage differs from the minimum wage. Gertner, Jon (January 15, 2006). "What is a livable wage?" The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2012.

Most Significant Disability is a term used to describe a consumer who

Natural Supports describes supports provided to an employee from supervisors and co-workers, such as mentoring, friendship, socializing at breaks or after work, providing feedback on job performance, or learning a new skill together. Friends, family, or volunteers to help the consumer keep his or her job can also provide natural supports outside of the worksite. Examples of supports provided away from the worksite could include transportation, reporting of earned income to social security, feedback on attire and hygiene, or medication management. When natural support resources are not available, paid supports not funded by DARS can be used to ensure a consumer maintains long-term employment.

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

Non-Bundled Job Placement Services are services like résumé and interview training purchased for the consumer outside of a benchmark-based service or Bundled Service such as Basic Job Placement, Enhanced Job Placement, or Supported Employment.

Non-Negotiable Employment Conditions are conditions that a consumer and counselor have indicated must or must not be present in an employment placement. The placement provider must always assure these conditions are met when looking for an employment placement for the consumer. Examples of non-negotiable conditions include, but are not limited to:

Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a national source of occupational information. The O*NET database has information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. O*NET is an interactive application for exploring and searching occupations. It is developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. For more information, go to http://www.onetonline.org/.

On-the-job training means training by an employer that is provided to a consumer while engaged in productive, paid work in a job that provides the knowledge or skills essential to the full and adequate performance of the job. The service is limited in duration based on the job requirements and training needs of the consumer. In Texas, DARS or the Texas Workforce Commission can provide reimbursement to the employer for the extraordinary costs of providing the training and additional supervision related to the training.

Person Centered Planning Process 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 integrated 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.

Placement Plan identifies the job tasks, employment conditions, and consumer-support needs agreed on by the consumer, counselor and CRP employee. The Placement Plan is used as the "blueprint" in Basic Job Placement, Enhanced Job Placement, and Supported Employment to ensure that the employment gained for the consumer meets the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

Position Negotiation is the process of reaching an agreement on what essential job responsibilities will be performed or those that will not be performed for the business by the person being hired.

Pre-employment Testing can include aptitude, skills, literacy, personality, medical, and drug tests as well as background checks to verify work history and credentials.

Preparing for the First Day on the Job is a service provided to consumers to help ready them to start their new job. This can include help in setting up transportation, choosing clothing, and planning for the morning of the first day at work. This direction can be provided by the counselor, other VR staff, or a provider.

Professional References are recommendations for employment from such persons as managers, colleagues, clients, business contacts, and others who can attest to your skills, qualifications, and abilities.

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

Rehabilitation Policy Manual (RPM) contains all policies and procedures governing the provision of services through the Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Résumé is a written compilation of education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments that is used to apply for some jobs. Several types of résumés are used: chronological, functional, combination, or targeted. Not all jobs require a résumé.

Salary Negotiation is the process of reaching an agreement on what a business will pay the consumer-employee for the skills, knowledge, and experience he or she offers to the business.

Significant Disability is a term used to describe a consumer who

Soft Skills are behavioral competencies, also known as interpersonal skills or "people skills." Soft skills are the skills, traits, work habits, and attitudes that all workers across all occupations need in order to obtain, maintain, and progress in employment.

Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC) is used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 840 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, detailed occupations are combined to form 23 major groups, 97 minor groups, and 461 broad occupations. Detailed occupations in the SOC with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training are grouped together.

Standards for Providers Manual (SFP) provides standards that ensure accountability and quality of services to DRS consumers.

Suitable Employment is employment that meets the consumer's needs outlined in his or her Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) and/or the Placement Plan for Job Placement or Supported Employment services including non-negotiable employment conditions and negotiable conditions. The consumer has the physical and mental skills, training, experience, and/or requirements necessary to hold the position at the business. The employer meets all reasonable health and safety standards for the industry and the employer compensates the employee with a competitive wage.

Supported Employment is offered to consumers with the most significant disabilities to enable them to enter competitive integrated employment by

Consumers in Supported Employment need assistance to

Often, these consumers have been

Supported Employment Assessment (SEA) is completed by the Supported Employment Specialist using person-centered techniques to conduct discovery interviews and interviews with individuals within the consumer's circle of supports, as well as observations of the consumer in multiple settings to determine the consumer's specific needs for employment. The assessment includes informational interviews with potential employers, work-skills observations and the identification of potential Extended Services necessary for the consumer to maintain long-term employment.

Supported Employment Specialist is the CRP employee who completes the Supported Employment Assessment, identifies jobs the consumer can perform in the community, and coordinates the consumer's attainment of the job and job skills training to ensure that the consumer learns the job and uses long-term supports to maintain long-term employment success. The Supported Employment Specialist must maintain the UNT Supported Employment Credential.

Targeted Job Tasks or Skills are those tasks or skills identified as part of the assessment and planning process of job placement, enhanced job placement and supported employment that the consumer has the ability and interest to perform.

Temporary Waiver for UNT Credential is an option to temporarily set aside the contractual requirement for UNT credentials when it is in the best interest of the consumer or when there are no CRP employees available with the required UNT credential who can provide the needed employment service. Each waiver must be approved according to the current policy.

Thank You Letters are letters that the consumer sends after a job interview to the people who interviewed him or her. Thank you letters express appreciation for being considered for the job, emphasize interest in the position, and offer an opportunity to provide additional information about the applicant's qualifications.

Transferable Skills are the skills and knowledge acquired through personal experience such as schooling, jobs, classes, hobbies, or life experiences.

Transitional Employment for Consumers with Chronic Mental Illness 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)

Wage Employment or wage earners are people who are in employment situations that are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These are salaried or hourly workers who are paid by the hour. For more information, go to http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/. The FLSA establishes a minimum wage at the federal level that all states must abide by, among other provisions. People who are self-employed or who are issued a 1099 from the IRS, instead of a W2, are not wage earners.

Worksite accommodations are environmental changes, assistive technology devices, techniques, or work process changes that improve the ability of a person with a disability to perform in his or her work environment and/or complete his or her work.

Work Observations refers to when the Supported Employment Specialist observes the consumer in work environments performing work-related tasks in order to determine the consumer's strengths and challenges as well as interests related to work.

8.3 Fees

(Revised 05/15, 08/15, 07/16)

The table below shows fees for Employment Assistance Services.

Service Fee
Basic Job Placement
  • Benchmark A: Job Placement - 5 days, $900.00
  • Benchmark B: Job Placement - 45 days, $450.00
  • Benchmark C: Job Placement - 90 days, $900.00
  • Professional Placement Premium - $500.00
  • Wage Premium - $500.00
  • Criminal Background Premium - $500.00
  • Deaf Service Premium - $1,065.00
  • Autism Premium - $450.00
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment - $450
Enhanced Job Placement
  • Benchmark A: Job Placement - 5 days, $1200.00
  • Benchmark B: Job Placement - 45 days, $600.00
  • Benchmark C: Job Placement - 90 days, $1,200.00
  • Professional Placement Premium - $500.00
  • Wage Premium - $500.00
  • Criminal Background Premium - $500.00
  • Deaf Service Premium - $1,420.00
  • Autism Premium - $600.00
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment - $450
Supported Employment Services
  • Benchmark 1A: Supported Employment Assessment (SEA)-$975.00
  • Benchmark 1A: Supported Employment Assessment (SEA) prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment has been completed-$525.00
  • Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan-Part 1 (SESP–1)-$150.00
  • Benchmark 2: Job Placement and SESP Part 2 (SESP–2)-$1,500.00
  • Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance-$1,500.00
  • Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance-$750.00
  • Benchmark 5: Job Stability-$750.00
  • Benchmark 6: VR Closure-$3,000.00
  • Professional Placement Premium-$500.00
  • Criminal Background Premium-$500.00
  • Wage Premium-$500.00
  • Deaf Service Premium at completion Benchmark 1B-$533
  • Deaf Service Premium at completion of Benchmark 6-$3,550.00
  • Autism Premium at completion Benchmark 1B-$225.00
  • Autism Premium at completion Benchmark 1B prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment has been completed-$135.00
  • Autism Premium at completion Benchmark 6-$1500.00
  • EN Employment Advancement Payment-$1,237.50

Job Skills Training (Job Coach)

  • Individual Job Skills Training (Job Coaching)-Negotiated up to $37.50 per hour, for a maximum of 200 hours
  • Individual Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) for the Deaf-Negotiated up to $55.25 per hour of training, for a maximum of 200 hours
  • Individual Job Skills Training and Job Coaching for Autism-Negotiated up to $45.00 per hour of training, for a maximum of 200 hours
  • Group Job Skills Training (Job Coaching)-Negotiated up to $19.00 per hour, per individual, for no more than 4 individuals in a group, for a maximum of 200 hours per individual in the group
  • Group Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) for the Deaf-Negotiated up to $27.50 per hour, for no more than 4 individuals in a group, for a maximum of 200 hours per individual in the group
  • Group Job Skills Training and Job Coaching for Autism-Negotiated up to $22.50 per hour, for no more than 4 individuals in a group, for a maximum of 200 hours per individual in the group

Note: The maximum total of hours of Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) is 200. This total includes both Individual and Group Job Skills Training (Job Coaching).

Non-Bundled Employment Services
  • Job Application Training and Completion-$150.00
  • Job Application Training and Completion Deaf Service Premium---$71.00
  • Employment Data Sheet and Résumé Completion for Consumer-$225.00
  • Employment Data Sheet and Résumé Completion for Consumer Deaf Service Premium-$106.50
  • Employment Data Sheet and  Résumé Consumer Instruction with Employment Data Sheet or Résumé submitted-$225.00
  • Deaf Service Premium-$106.50
  • Interview Training-$300.00
  • Interview Training Deaf Service Premium-$142.00

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

8.4 Employment Premium Services

(Revised 05/15, 08/15)

Service Overview:

A DARS counselor may purchase the optional services(s) described below for a consumer. The consumer must meet the requirements to be eligible for the Employment Premium Service and the provider must receive a service authorization and/or purchase order that authorizes the Employment Premium Service. An Employment Premium Service payment is paid only once and is paid when the consumer achieves the required criteria. For Bundled Services, such as Bundled Job Placement and Supported Employment, all benchmarks must have been completed before payment of any invoice for an Employment Premium Service. Form(s) and invoice(s) will be returned to the provider if incomplete. DARS will provide notification of issues related to the incomplete form(s) and/or invoice. The employment services provider must resubmit forms and invoice correcting issues to gain payment of the invoice.

Service Description and Scope:

Criminal Background Premium--For a consumer's case to be eligible for Criminal Background Premium, DARS must have documentation of criminal history in the consumer case file, such as a name-based Criminal Background Check (CBC), conditions of probation or parole, or fingerprint record that indicates the consumer has:

An employment services provider is eligible for the Criminal Background Premium when the consumer gains employment that meets all the criteria outlined in the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report or DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan including the Criminal Background Premium. The Criminal Background Premium. The Criminal Background Premium must also be authorized by a service authorization and/or purchase order. The premium payment is made only once, at the conclusion of the achievement of the Wage Employment Service. For fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

Outcomes Required for Payment

DARS is authorized to pay the provider when an accurate and complete invoice and DARS1833 is submitted confirming that the consumer has otherwise achieved the requirements for Basic or Enhanced Job Placement Service Benchmark C or Benchmark 6 in Supported Employment Services.

Deaf Service Premium-An Employment Service Provider is eligible for Deaf Services Premium when a consumer uses manual sign language to communicate and the Job Placement Specialist or Supported Employment Specialist providing services to consumers is proficient with sign-language skills. The Job Placement Specialist or Supported Employment Specialist must prove proficiency in sign language by evidence of either holding a Board of Interpreters for the Deaf (BEI) certification, a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certification, or a SLPI rating of intermediate plus. Employment Services Provider is eligible for DEAF Service Premium when the consumer gains employment that meets all the criteria outlined in the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, or DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan, including the Deaf Services Premium. The Deaf Services Premium must also be authorized by a service authorization and/or purchase order. The premium payment is made only once, at the conclusion of the achievement of the Wage Employment Service. For fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

Outcomes Required for Payment

DARS is authorized to pay the provider when an accurate and complete invoice and DARS1833 or DARS1613 is submitted confirming that the consumer

Proof (copy of certification) that the Job Placement Specialist or Supported Employment Specialist maintains a Board of Interpreters for the Deaf (BEI) certification, or a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certification, or a SLPI rating of intermediate plus, must be provided with invoice.

Wage Premium-When a consumer has employment that meets all the criteria outlined in the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report or DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan, and the consumer earns a gross wage of $16 per hour for more than 20 hours per week, the employment services provider is eligible for the Wage Premium when indicated on the DARS1833 or DARS 1613 and the Wage Premium is authorized by a service authorization and/or purchase order. Proof of the consumer's earnings and average hours worked per week must be submitted, such as an itemized pay stub, with the invoice. The premium payment is made only once at the conclusion of the achievement of the Employment Service.

Outcomes Required for Payment

DARS is authorized to pay the provider when an accurate and complete invoice and DARS1833 or DARS1613 is submitted confirming that the consumer:

  1. meets all the criteria outlined in the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, or DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan;
  2. has a job that earns $16 per hour for more than 20 hours per week with a copy of an itemized pay stub submitted for proof; and
  3. has otherwise achieved the requirements for Basic or Enhanced Job Placement Service Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

Autism Service Premium-An employment services provider is eligible for the Autism Services Premium when:

The autism specialization is obtained by completing the:

An employment services provider must be credentialed through the University of North Texas (UNT). For additional information about the credentialing process, see UNT's Texas CRP Provider Training page.

Once the autism specialization is obtained, the credentialed provider may:

Exception: Board certified behavior analysts are exempt from completing the autism specialization courses. They must submit their name to the University of North Texas (UNT) for verification of their credential. After UNT verifies their credential, UNT will send the analyst the link to complete the "Environmental Work Assessment (EWA) Course." The following levels are exempt from completing the autism specialization courses:

The employment services provider is eligible for the Autism Service Premium when the consumer gains employment that meets all the criteria outlined in the DARS1833, Job Placement Services Placement Plan and Benchmark Status Report, or in the DARS1613, Supported Employment Service Plan. The Autism Services Premium must also be authorized by a service authorization and/or purchase order. The premium payment is made only once, at the conclusion of the achievement of the Employment Service. For the fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

Professional Placement Premium-When a consumer has employment in a job that meets all the criteria outlined in the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, or DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan, and the position 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 Professional Placement Premium must be indicated on the DARS1833 and the Professional Placement Premium must be authorized by a service authorization and/or purchase order. The premium payment is made only once at the conclusion of the achievement of the Wage Employment Service. For the fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

8.5 Non-Bundled Job Placement Services

(Revised 05/15)

Non-Bundled Job Placement Services are purchased from contracted providers when the consumer needs more assistance than the counselor or DARS staff can provide related to a specific skill(s) or task(s) that needs to be completed for the consumer to gain employment. These services are not bought with Bundled Employment Services such as Basic Job Placement, Enhanced Job Placement, or Supported Employment services.

Infrequently, Bundled Employment Services-Basic Job Placement, Enhanced Job Placement, or Supported Employment-need to be purchased for a consumer after the purchase of Non-Bundled Job Placement Service(s). In these cases, a reduction of payment for the Non-Bundled Job Placement Service(s) will be applied to the fee of the Bundled Employment Service.

Each Non-Bundled Job Placement Service should be purchased only once for a consumer. Infrequently, a Non-Bundled Job Placement Services may need to be purchased more than once to ensure the consumer gains the training and support necessary to be successful. When this is necessary, a DARS 3472, Contract Service Modification, must be completed, reviewed by the area manager and approved by the Regional Director per DRS Rehabilitation Policy Manual 17.4.8 Exceptions to Contracts, before the service is re-purchased. The DARS3472 must be submitted with the invoice and kept in the DARS and CRP's consumer file.

Non-Bundled Job Placement Services can be purchased with On the Job Training, Apprenticeship, and Job Skills Training and Job Coaching when determined appropriate by the DARS counselor.

Service Description and Scope

The Service Provider

The assistance, training, or support provided by Job Placement Specialist must be documented on the DARS1871, Non-Bundled Job Placement Services--Summary Report, in clear descriptive terms.

Non-Bundled Job Placement Services include:

Procedure

Process steps:

Once the forms and invoice have been approved, the invoice is paid.

8.5.1 Job Application Training and Completion

The Job Placement Specialist supplies initial instruction, assistance, monitoring, and any resources and tools necessary to assist the consumer in completion of job applications and pre-employment screenings questionnaires and/or testing.

Training must include

The Job Placement Specialist completes the DARS1871, Non-Bundled Job Placement Services--Summary Report. The report must include a clear, descriptive summary of the assistance, training, and supports provided by Job Placement Specialist and must document a clear descriptive summary of the consumer's skills at the conclusion of the training.

8.5.2 Employment Data Sheet and Résumé with instruction

Résumé Completion for Consumer

When the consumer is able to demonstrate skills necessary to complete the Employment Data Sheet and Résumé,

8.5.2.1 Employment Data Sheet and Résumé completed for the consumer

When a consumer needs the Employment Data Sheet and résumé completed by the Job Placement Specialist,

8.5.3 Interview Training

The Job Placement Specialist supplies initial instruction, assistance, monitoring, and any resources and tools necessary to assist the consumer in gaining the skills necessary to interview effectively with businesses that relate to the consumer's employment goal(s).

Training must include:

The Job Placement Specialist completes the DARS1871, Non-Bundled Job Placement Services--Summary Report. The report must include a clear, descriptive summary of the assistance, training, and supports provided by Job Placement Specialist and must document in a clear, descriptive summary the consumer's skills at the conclusion of the training.

If Deaf Employment Premium Service was authorized, the invoice will be paid after the DARS1871, Non-Bundled Job Placement Services--Summary Report, is approved. For information on outcomes to verify before payment of Deaf Employment Premium Service, go to 8.4 Employment Premium Payments for additional information.

Purchasing Fees: For fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

Staff Qualification: Open this link to find the Job Placement Specialist qualifications.

Provider Guidance Tools: None

8.6 Bundled Job Placement Services

(Revised 05/15)

Service Overview

Job Placement Services are purchased from job placement service providers when the consumer is going to need more assistance with placement than the DARS staff can provide. The job placement specialist helps the consumer to find employment in the competitive labor market in an integrated work setting that meets the consumer's employment goal(s) and employment conditions and uses the consumer's unique strengths, interests, abilities, and capabilities outlined on the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report.

*There is a reasonable expectation that the job is permanent rather than temporary and is full-time (or the most hours possible) in an integrated work setting. The consumer 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)

Each benchmark should be paid only once to a job placement services provider per consumer, even if the consumer loses a job after the completion of a benchmark. If more than one job placement service provider is assigned to work with a consumer, again, only one benchmark can be paid per consumer per benchmark. Infrequently, a Job Placement Benchmark may need to be purchased more than once to ensure the consumer gains the training and support necessary to be successful. For instances in which this is necessary, a DARS3472, Contracted Service Modification, must be completed, reviewed by the area manager and approved by the regional director per DRS Rehabilitation Policy Manual 17.4.8 policy before the service is re-purchased. The DARS3472 must be submitted with the invoice and kept in both the DARS and CRP's consumer file.

A consumer's employment is considered "cumulative" so long as any gaps are not due to the consumer's disability. Examples of job loss due to disability include, but are not limited to: hospitalization and/or medical condition management (seizures). If a consumer loses a job before the 90-day benchmark and the job loss is not due to the disability, the consumer's progression within the 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 without the provider being paid for any of the benchmarks that have already been paid.

The job placement specialist will verify a consumer's employment through an employer or consumer contact and will document the verification on the appropriate form when invoicing DARS. DARS will verify the dates of employment. If DARS verification indicates the job placement provider documented inaccurate information, repayment of funds may be required.

The final employment verification must document that the consumer has been employed a total of 90 days without a break in employment greater than eight weeks. If the employer has classified the employee as an employee during any orientation period, that time is included in the 90 days of employment cumulative calendar day count.

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.

This service can be purchased with Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) when determined appropriate by the DARS counselor. Job Placement Services cannot be purchase in conjunction with On the Job Training services.

Procedure

Process steps:

The counselor completes the DARS1831, Bundled Job Placement Services-Referral, and submits to the provider. The referral form includes any documentation that will prepare the job placement specialist to better work with the consumer (for example, medical or psychological reports, case notes, vocational testing or employment data collected by DARS). The referral also establishes the date and time for the Job Placement Planning Meeting.

The counselor, consumer, job placement specialist, and any other individuals the consumer or counselor invites meet to conduct the Job Placement Planning Meeting. The counselor, consumer and job placement specialist are required to participate in the meeting. The meeting can be held in person or through phone conference, video relay, or any method that allows all parties to actively participate in the discussion. Note that original signatures must be gained from all parties in attendance at the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to:

The DARS counselor is responsible for electronically completing the "Plan Sections" of the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report. The Employment Plan will then serve as a "blueprint" of the requirements for the placement.

After the form is signed by all parties at the conclusion of the meeting, the DARS counselor provides both a signed copy and an electronic copy of the form to the job placement specialist.

A service authorization and/or purchase order is issued to the provider for both Benchmark A and Benchmark B.

For Basic Job Placement:

The job placement specialist provides initial instruction, assistance to learn skills, monitoring to ensure the consumer is demonstrating the skills, and any resources and tools necessary to assist or train the consumer in the completion of the following:

* Defined in the Employment Services Key Terms of this chapter.

For Enhanced Job Placement:

The job placement specialist provides hands-on instruction, extensive -comprehensive on-going assistance, any needed resources or tools, and, when necessary, the job placement specialist will complete task(s) for the consumer related to the following:

* Defined in the Employment Services Key Terms of this chapter.

Staff Qualifications:

The required qualifications for a job placement specialist are:

The CRP director must approve the DARS3455, Employment Services Provider Application - Staff Information form completed by the job placement specialist.

DARS may pay for the services of a non-credentialed job placement specialist only when the Temporary Waiver of CRP Credential Standards is followed. For more information, refer to Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.8 Staff, Temporary Waiver of Employment Services Credentials for requirements.

For additional information about the UNT credentialing process, see Texas CRP Provider Training | Workplace Inclusion & Sustainable Employment.

Provider Guidance Tools:

8.6.1 Bundled Basic Job Placement

Bundled Basic Job Placement Services

The Job Service Description and Scope:

The Job Placement provider supplies the following for the consumer so that he or she attains employment that matches the criteria outlined in the consumer's DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, as follows:

Consumer must gain and maintain competitive integrated employment for 90 cumulative calendar days. There are no minimum or maximum hours of assistance, training, or support as long as the Job Placement Specialist provides initial instruction, assistance to reinforce learned skills, monitoring to ensure the consumer is demonstrating the skills, and any resources and tools necessary to assist or train the consumer in the completion of the following:

*Defined in the Employment Service Key Terms of this chapter.

The training, assistance, or support provided by Job Placement Specialist must be documented on the DARS1835, Job Placement Services-Support Summary, in clear, descriptive terms.

Once a consumer is placed, it is expected that the Job Placement Specialist will monitor the consumer's performance as appropriate for the consumer's individual's needs. The Job Placement Specialist should evaluate and identify any issues or concerns related to the placement notifying DARS if additional services may be necessary to support the consumer's success.

Outcomes Required for payment of each Benchmark:

Benchmark A: Job Placement-After completion of the 5th Day of Paid Employment

It is expected that the Job Placement Specialist assess the consumer's abilities related to each of the following and provide initial instruction, guidance, monitoring and any resources/tools necessary for the consumer to successfully complete all of the following:

* Defined in the Employment Key Terms of this chapter.

Using the DARS1835 Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, the Job Placement Specialist documents in descriptive terms the information in the Service Delivery Information at Placement-5th day section of the form:

* Defined in the Employment Key Terms of this chapter.

DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, must also indicate the consumer's

The DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, must indicate the consumer achieved the following as identified in the plan on the form:

The DARS1890, Employment Data Sheet Application and Résumé Builder or equivalent document such as a complete, accurate résumé or Texas State Application, must be submitted.

Benchmark B: Job Placement-After completion of the 45th Day of Paid Employment

DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary must also indicate

The DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report must indicate the consumer has achieved and maintains the following as identified in the plan on the form:

Benchmark C: Job Placement-After completion of the 90th Day of Paid Employment DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, must also indicate

The DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, must indicate the consumer has achieved and maintains the following as identified in the plan on the form:

If the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, indicates that the provider is eligible for any Employment Premium Service payments such as Professional Placement, Criminal Background, or Deaf Services go to 8.4 Employment Premium Services for additional information to identify if outcomes have been achieved.

Purchasing/Fee: For fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

8.6.2 Enhanced Job Placement

Enhanced Job Placement Services

Service Description/Scope:

The Job Placement Specialist supplies the following for the consumer so that he or she attains employment that matches the criteria outlined in the consumer's DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report. The Service Description/Scope is as follows:

Consumers will need extensive and comprehensive on-going training and supports to compete in the labor market, but will not need Extended Services and supports to maintain employment.

Consumer must gain and maintain competitive integrated employment for 90 cumulative calendar days. A Job Placement Specialist must train, assist, or complete tasks on behalf of the consumer; however, there are no minimum or maximum hours of service that the Job Placement Specialist must provide in the completion of all of the following:

* Defined in the Employment Key Terms of this chapter.

The training, assistance, or support provided by Job Placement Specialist must be documented on the DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, in clear, descriptive terms.

Once a consumer is placed, it is expected that the Job Placement Specialist will monitor the consumer's performance as appropriate for the consumer's individual's needs. The Job Placement Specialist should evaluate and identify any issues or concerns related to the placement, notifying DARS if additional services may be necessary to support the consumer's success.

Outcomes Required for payment of each Benchmark:

Benchmark A: Job Placement-After completion of the 5th Day of Paid Employment

It is expected that the Job Placement Specialist will assess the consumer's abilities related to each of the following and provide significant hands-on initial instruction; tools and resources necessary to complete task(s); extensive and comprehensive on-going training, including individualized assistance, to learn skills and/or to use resources and tools; and/or task completion on behalf of the consumer to successfully complete all of the following:

* Defined in the Key Terms of the Employment Services Chapter.

Using the DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, the Job Placement Specialist documents in descriptive terms the information in the Service Delivery Information At Placement-5th day section of the form. The information should include the following:

* Defined in the Employment Key Terms of this chapter.

DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, must also indicate

The DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, must indicate that the consumer achieved the following as identified in the plan on the form:

The DARS1890, Employment Data Sheet Application and Résumé Builder, or equivalent document such as a complete, accurate résumé or Texas State Application, must be submitted.

Benchmark B: Job Placement-After completion of the 45th Day of Paid Employment

The DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, must also indicate

The DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, must indicate the consumer has  achieved and maintains the following as identified in the plan on the form:

Benchmark C: Job Placement-After completion of the 90th Day of Paid Employment DARS1835, Bundled Job Placement Services-Support Summary, must also indicate

The DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, must indicate the consumer has achieved and maintains the following as identified in the plan on the form:

If the DARS1833, Bundled Job Placement Service Plan and Benchmark Status Report, indicates that the provider is eligible for any Employment Premium Service payments such as Professional Placement, Criminal Background, or Deaf Services, go to 8.4 Employment Premium Services for additional information to identify whether outcomes have been achieved.

Purchasing and Fees: For fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

8.7 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching)

(Revised 05/15)

Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) services are provided to consumers who have gained employment in the competitive labor market in an integrated work setting that meets the consumer's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) goal(s) and uses the consumer's unique strengths, interests, abilities, and capabilities.

Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) services are purchased from employment services providers when a consumer needs more training and support than the training and support provided by the employer. The business hiring the consumer is expected to provide the same training to the consumer just as the business would for other employees who are not disabled. Training provided by job skills trainers (job coaches) can include teaching skills, reinforcing skills, and establishing and setting-up accommodations and/or compensatory techniques to increase the consumer's independence and ability to meet the employer's expectations. The business, the consumer, the job skills trainer (job coach) and the DARS counselor should be involved in the training plan and in monitoring the consumer's performance.

DARS pays for Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) 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.

Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) can be purchased with Counselor Directed Placement, Basic Job Placement, and Enhanced Job Placement. It cannot be purchased with On the Job Training, Supported Employment, or Supported Self-Employment services.

Service Description/Scope:

Training provided by job skills trainers (job coaches) will teach skills, reinforce skills, and establish accommodations and/or compensatory techniques to increase the consumer's independence and ability to meet the employer's expectations and production standards. All services shall be goal-focused with the consumer's goals and abilities documented on the DARS3312, Job Skills Training/Job Coaching Progress Report. Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) is limited to a total of 200 hours per consumer. Infrequently, Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) is needed for more than 200 hours to ensure that the consumer gains the training and support necessary to be successful. For instances in which this is necessary, a DARS3472 must be completed, reviewed by the area manager and approved by the regional director per DRS Rehabilitation Policy Manual 17.4.8 policy before the service is re-purchased. The DARS3472 must be submitted with the invoice and kept in both the DARS and CRP's consumer file.

The job skill trainer (job coach) will:

Procedure:

Process Steps:

The process of job skills training (job coaching) are as follows:

Outcomes Required for Payment of Job Skills Training (Job Coaching)

Using the DARS3312 Job Skills Training/Job Coaching Progress Report, the job skills trainer (job coach) documents in descriptive terms the following:

Record for each entry:

The Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) provided must be related to the goal(s) approved by the DARS counselor.

The provider is paid for all hours of Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) documented on the DARS3312, Job Skills Training/Job Coaching Progress Report, when approved by the DARS counselor.

Purchasing Fees: For the fees chart, see 8.3 Fees.

Job Skills Training (Job Coaching) Staff Qualifications:

The required qualifications for a job skills trainer (job coach) are as follows:

The CRP Director must approve the DARS3455, Employment Services Provider Application - Staff Information form completed by the job skills trainer (job coach).

DARS may pay for the services of a non-credentialed job skills trainer (job coach) only when the Temporary Waiver of CRP Credential Standards is followed. See Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.8 Staff, Temporary Waiver of Employment Services Credentials for requirements.

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

Provider Guidance Tools: Example of completed DARS3312, Job Skills Training/Job Coaching Progress Report

8.8 Supported Employment Overview

(Revised 05/15, 07/17)

Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) Supported Employment is a comprehensive service package for both blind and visually impaired and for general vocational rehabilitation customers. It includes a variety of services formerly purchased separately.

VRS Supported Employment enables customers with the most significant disabilities to enter competitive integrated employment by:

The VRS Supported Employment Outcome-Based System (SE) places and then trains customers in order to support them in obtaining and maintaining long-term competitive integrated employment.

By matching the customer to a job and then providing ongoing supports and training, the customer develops job readiness skills while on the job. An employer who hires a VRS customer should provide training for the customer just as it does for other new employees, with help and support from the vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselor and the supported employment specialist.

8.8.1 Customized Employment Approach

Customized employment is used to develop the best job match for the customer through the use of flexible strategies to meet the needs of both the individual and the unmet business needs of the employer. It addresses the unique skills, interests, abilities, capabilities, and support needs of an individual with a significant disability. Many times these jobs must be created or carried out by means of flexible strategies to ensure a good job match.

8.8.2 Role of the Supported Employment Specialist and/or Job Skills Trainer

The supported employment specialist:

8.8.3 Ongoing Support Services

Supported Employment Services must include such ongoing support services as:

Ongoing Support Services must be provided at least twice each month to monitor the customer at the work site and as necessary off-site to ensure the customer maintains successful competitive integrated employment. Under certain circumstances, especially at the request of the customer and with approval from the counselor, the twice-monthly monitoring meetings with the customer may be held off-site. If off-site monitoring is determined to be appropriate, at least one contact with the employer each month is required.

8.8.4 Extended Services

The VR counselor coordinates the provision of Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Department of State Health Services, and Managed Care Organization funding for long-term support services. These state agencies may provide Extended Services for a customer at completion of Benchmark 5: Job Stability, through such programs as Community Living Assistance and Support Services, Home and Community-Based Service, and Texas Home Living waivers. VRS providers coordinate with and train all Extended Service providers before a case achieves Job Stability.

8.8.5 Benchmarks Required for Payment

VRS Supported Employment includes the following benchmarks and components required for payment to providers:

8.8.6 Eligibility for Supported Employment Services

A VR counselor authorizes the purchase of Supported Employment if the customer:

8.8.7 Duration of Supported Employment Services

VRS Supported Employment services should not be longer than 24 months. Services may be extended if the customer needs additional time to reach job stability. The VR counselor and the customer must agree to extend services and document the extension in the customer's Individual Plan of Employment. A DARS3472, Contract Service Modification Request, must be completed and submitted for approval if the VRS Supported Employment Services are longer than 24 months. If VRS grants an extension, the provider receives a copy of the approved DARS3472, and VRS issues a new service authorization and sends it to the provider.

8.8.8 Other Services Not Purchased with Supported Employment

The following vocational rehabilitation services cannot be purchased while a customer is receiving Supported Employment services from an Employment Services provider:

8.8.9 Referral for Supported Employment Services

The VR counselor completes the DARS1610, Supported Employment Service and Supported Self-Employment–Referral, and submits it to the provider. The VR counselor is responsible for overseeing the Supported Employment services provided to VRS customers.

The Supported Employment provider must receive a:

8.8.10 Documentation Requirements

Forms

All of the VRS forms for these services must be:

If a section of the form is marked as not applicable (N/A), the section must include an explanation of why the section so marked.

The following forms must be completed before job placement:

Signatures on Forms

All signatures must be original, handwritten, and dated; electronic signatures are not accepted.

Before signing a form, the provider reviews the applicable Standards for Providers to ensure the report is complete and accurate before submission. If VRS verification indicates the provider documented inaccurate information, repayment of funds may be required.

Invoices

The following are required when a provider submits an invoice:

Use the date on which the benchmark is achieved as the date of service on the invoice (for example, the date of the SEA meeting, the date that SESP–1 was completed, the date of the fifth, 28th, and 56th day of paid employment, the job stability date, and the 90th day after the job stability date.) The billing documentation may not be submitted until the day after achieving the service benchmark.

A Supported Employment specialist verifies a customer's dates of employment through employer or customer contact and documents the verification on the appropriate form for the invoice.

If the customer loses his or her job, the customer's progress within the benchmark is stopped until:

If an invoice is incomplete or inaccurate, or if supporting documentation is incomplete or inaccurate, VRS sends the provider a DARS3460, Vendor Invoice Additional Data Request, and payment is not made until the provider submits corrections to VRS.

Each benchmark is authorized only one time per customer unless VRS determines it is in the customer's best interest to authorize the benchmark more than once. Any change to the benchmarks must be approved using the DARS3472, Contract Service Modification Request.

Premiums

The following premiums are payable at Benchmark 1B:

The following premium services are paid after achievement of Benchmark 6:

Other Changes That Might Occur

If the customer does not work for seven or more days because of illness, injury, vacation, or short-term disability before the completion of Benchmark 5, the customer's progress within the benchmark is stopped until the customer returns to work and works the required hours outlined in the SESP–1 for at least one day in a seven-day work week.

If the customer wants to change his or her targeted job tasks, negotiable employment conditions, or nonnegotiable employment conditions, a SESP–1 meeting must be held to update the DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan 1 (SESP–1) Plan and Benchmark Report.

If the customer obtains a new position with the current employer or begins a new job with another employer, the customer must complete a minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment in the new job before Benchmark 5: Job Stability, is established or re-established;

8.8.11 Provider Staff Qualifications

Before any services are provided to customers, the Employment Service provider director must approve the DARS3455, Provider Staff Information, completed by each staff, such as trainer and aides, and submit the approved form to the provider's assigned TWC contract manager and assigned VRS regional program specialist. The DARS3455 must state the staff's qualifications and provide evidence of meeting all qualifications, such as transcripts, diplomas, reference letters, credentials, and licenses.

Staff qualification for each service is described below. If a qualification requires a University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE) Texas Credential, see Texas Credential Training for more information.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Provider's staff that provides services to customers who are deaf and who will be paid a premium for their specialized skills must document proficiency in sign language skills by holding a Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification, a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certification, or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) rating of "intermediate plus." For more information on the SLPI, go to SLPI ASL.

Autism

Provider's staff that provides services to customers who meet the qualifications for the Autism Premium and have an up to date University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE) Autism Specialization Endorsement will be paid a premium if the VR counselor has identified a need for specialized skills related to Autism.

Non-Credentialed Staff

A non-credentialed provider staff may provide services to a VRS customer only when the Temporary Waiver of Employment Services Credential Standards is followed. For more information, refer to Chapter 1: Basic Services, 1.13 Staff Documentation, Temporary Waiver of Director and Employment Services Credential.

Supported Employment Specialist

The required qualifications for a Supported Employment specialist are:

Job Skills Trainer

The required qualifications for a job skills trainer and/or job coach can be found in 8.7 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching), Staff Qualifications.

Additional staff qualifications are required for Supported Employment specialists or job skills trainers who work with individuals that use sign language or individuals that qualify for the Autism Service Premiums. Refer to 8.4 Employment Premium Services for more information.

8.8.12 Benchmarks for Supported Employment

8.8.12.1 Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Supported Employment Assessment, and the SEA Review Meeting

Service Description

The completion of the SEA, using the Discovery Process, and the SEA review meeting are required for Benchmark 1A.

The provider achieves Benchmark 1A when the provider:

The SEA and the SEA review meeting may be authorized only one time per customer.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist begins the process for achieving Benchmark 1A by completing the Discovery Process.

The Discovery Process helps the provider to collect the information needed to answer the questions on the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA). The Supported Employment Assessment report must describe the customer and the customer's employment goals clearly.

VRS recommends the person-centered planning process be used when collecting information for the SEA.

The Discovery Process completed by the Supported Employment specialist includes:

Best practice indicates the Discovery Process should take between 20 to 30 hours for each customer.

Completing the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA)

When completing the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA), the Supported Employment specialist will incorporate information about:

The DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment, must include the following information:

The DARS1612 also captures the following information:

Use of Environmental Work Assessment

If an Environment Work Assessment (EWA) is purchased for a customer, the SEA must be prorated. In these cases, the Informational Interview or Work Skills Observations section of the SEA are not completed; information from the EWA will be used in place of this section in the SEA.

Deadline for Submission of the SEA

The SEA is submitted to the VR counselor at least one week before the SEA review meeting. If the SEA does not meet the standards stated above, the SEA is returned to the provider so the information can be added before the meeting.

Holding an SEA Review Meeting

The SEA review meeting is held after the Discovery Process and the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment, has been completed. The SEA review meeting is held to determine whether an employment outcome for the customer can be achieved through Supported Employment or if no employment outcome will be pursued, and to identify the next steps. The meeting may be held by teleconference.

The SEA review meeting must include the:

The SEA meeting must:

The SESP–1 meeting to develop the Supported Employment Service Plan can be held immediately following the SEA review meeting as long as the customer and, as appropriate, the customer's representative are present.

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 1A is made:

A fully complete, accurate, signed, and dated DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment, is required before the provider can be paid for achieving Benchmark 1A.

On the DARS1612, the Supported Employment specialist must clearly identify:

The DARS1612 must be completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures. VRS may contact the customer and/or the customer's Circle of Supports to verify the information on the form is correct.

The DARS1612 must be signed by the Supported Employment specialist that completed the Discovery Process with the customer and documented the information on the form.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

8.8.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan 1

Service Description

SEA information and recommendations are used to develop the DARS1613A, SESP–1 Demographics; DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report; and DARS1613C, SESP–1 Extended Supports.

The SESP–1 is used to identify:

Process and Procedure

Benchmark 1B is met by attending the SESP–1 meeting and completing, printing, and signing the DARS1613A, and initialing the DARS1613B and DARS1613C at the SESP–1 meeting.

The VR counselor, Supported Employment specialist, customer, customer's Circle of Support, and identified Extended Support providers meet to complete the DARS1613A, DARS1613B, and DARS1613C.

The DARS1613A, Supported Employment Service Plan 1, Demographics identifies the members of the SESP team and the

The DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan 1, Plan and Benchmark Report identifies

The DARS1613C, Supported Employment Service Plan 1, Extended Supports identifies the Extended Services and support needs of the customer.

The VR counselor or designated VRS staff assists with completing the DARS1613A, DARS1613B, and DARS1613C during the meeting to ensure all information is captured correctly. The provider must not bring a completed DARS1613A, B, and C to the meeting or complete the DARS1613A, B, and C after the meeting. The customer leads the meeting with assistance from the team. To complete the SESP–1, all attendees sign the DARS1613A and initial the DARS1613B and DARS1613C at the end of the meeting, indicating their agreement with the plan.

The forms must be:

Signatures and initials are gathered at the end of the meeting for submission of benchmark paperwork. When necessary, an updated DARS1613B is completed before the achievement of any benchmark.

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 1B is made after the SESP–1 meeting and after the VR counselor receives and approves a complete, accurate, signed, initialed, and dated DARS1613A, SESP–1 Demographics, DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report, and DARS1613C, SESP–1 Extended Supports, and an invoice.

The provider must submit the DARS1613A, B, and C, Supported Employment Services Plan–1 to VRS, preferably at the conclusion of the SESP–1 meeting, with:

The DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report indicates whether the provider is eligible for Employment Premium Services payments as determined by the VR counselor. If the provider is eligible for Employment Premium Service payments—such as the Autism Premium or Deaf Services Premium—the VR counselor refers to 8.8.11 Provider Staff Qualifications for additional information to identify whether the outcomes have been achieved.

The Autism and Deaf Service Premium, as approved and agreed to by the VR counselor, apply to the SEA and SESP–1 and are paid after the achievement of Benchmark 1B. These premiums also may be paid after the achievement of Benchmark 6.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

8.8.12.3 Benchmark 2: Job Placement and Supported Employment Service Plan 2

Service Description

Benchmark 2 is achieved when the customer:

The job in which the customer is placed must be in an organization or a business that is not owned, operated, controlled, or governed by the provider of Supported Employment services. Exception: State agencies, state universities, or facilities that are a part of a state university system that are also Employment Services Providers (ESP) are exempt from this requirement.

To achieve Benchmark 2, the Supported Employment specialist must have at least two contacts with the customer and one contact with the employer to monitor the employer's satisfaction with the customer's performance during the benchmark and must:

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist must collect all information needed to complete an accurate SESP–2 through interviews and observations with the customer and the employer, supervisor, and co-workers.

To achieve Benchmark 2, the Supported Employment specialist submits the DARS1613B and DARS1613C, which are used as the guide for providing services.

Job Placement

To receive payment for Benchmark 2, the Supported Employment specialist must assist the customer in activities related to the job placement, such as:

The Supported Employment specialist is not solely responsible for finding the job the customer accepts. The customer's Circle of Support can offer job leads as well.

Documentation

Services provided must be documented on DARS1613B and DARS1613C; hours worked on the DARS1613D, Supported Employment Services, Hours Worked Time Log; and DARS1614A and DARS1614B must be completed and submitted.

The DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, must include the following:

The information included in the DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, documentation must be individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, the customer's representative (if any), or the employer to verify that the SESP–1 and the SESP–2 information is accurate.

The DARS1613B and DARS1613C, SESP–1, must be updated through a new SESP–1 meeting (see the policy in 8.8.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan 1) before the count of days of employment can begin. If the VR counselor and customer or the customer's representative choose not to make changes to the original SESP–1 and the customer does not achieve 100 percent of the nonnegotiable conditions, at least 50 percent of the negotiable conditions, and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B SESP–1, VRS will not accept the job placement.

When a customer accepts a new position with their current employer or begins a new job with another employer, the Supported Employment specialist must submit an updated DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, to reflect the new position.

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 2 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete, accurate, signed, and dated DARS1614B, Supported Employment Services Plan–2 Job Analysis and Training Plan that has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures.

The DARS1614A and DARS1614B, SESP–2, verifies and documents that the customer:

Additionally, the DARS1614A and DARS1614B document:

Using the customer's current approved DARS1613B, DARS1613C, and DARS1613D SESP–1, the Supported Employment specialist records the customer's progress at the fifth day worked at employment related to the achievement of the following sections of the form:

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

8.8.12.4 Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance, when the customer:

To complete Benchmark 3, the Supported Employment specialist must have a minimum of two contacts with the customer and one contact with the employer to monitor the employer's satisfaction with the customer's performance during the benchmark and must:

When necessary, the DARS1613B, SESP–1, must be updated with changes to employment or job skills through a new SESP–1 meeting (see 8.8.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Service Plan 1 before the count of days of the benchmark may occur.

Process and Procedure

To achieve Benchmark 3, the Supported Employment specialist completes the DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary report that states:

Measures that help the customer to adjust to the demands of the competitive integrated work environment include:

Outcomes Required for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 3 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must maintain employment for 28 cumulative days without a break of seven days (or more) that is consistent the requirements documented in the DARS1613B, SESP–1 Plan and Benchmark Report: 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions and at least 50 percent negotiable employment conditions were met and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B SESP–1 are met.

The Supported Employment specialist must have at least two contacts per month with the customer. See 8.8.2 Role of the Supported Employment Specialist and/or Job Skills Trainer for more information.

The Supported Employment specialist monitors, arranges, and/or provides:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete, accurate, and dated DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary has been completed on a computer, and includes handwritten signatures.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations, including:

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at the 28th cumulative day of employment on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, DARS1613C, and DARS1613D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1. The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D:

The information documented in DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1615 must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, customer's representative, or employer to verify the information on the DARS1613 and DARS1615 is accurate.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

8.8.12.5 Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance, when the customer:

To complete Benchmark 4, the Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer must have at least two contacts with the customer and one contact with the employer to monitor the employer's satisfaction with the customer's performance during the benchmark and must:

When necessary, the DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan 1 (SESP–1) Plan and Benchmark Report must be updated with changes to employment or job skills through a new SESP–1 meeting (see the policy in 8.8.12.2 Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Service Plan 1 before the count of days of the benchmark can occur.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist and job skills trainer may provide the following services to help the customer maintain competitive integrated work environment:

Outcomes Requirements for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 4 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must maintain employment for a minimum of 56 cumulative days of employment, without a break of seven days (or more), that is consistent with the requirements documented in the DARS1613B SESP–1: 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions, at least 50 percent of negotiable employment conditions, and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B SESP–1 are met.

The Supported Employment specialist must have at least two contacts per month with the customer. See 8.8.2 Role of the Supported Employment Specialist and/or Job Skills Trainer for more information.

The Supported Employment specialist monitors, arranges, and/or provides:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete accurate, signed, and dated DARS1615, Supported Employment Support Summary that has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations. The form includes information about:

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at the 56th cumulative day of employment on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, C, and D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1 (SESP–1). The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D SESP–1:

The information in the DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1615 must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, customer's representative, or employer to verify that the DARS1613 and DARS1615 information is accurate.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

8.8.12.6 Benchmark 5: Job Stability

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 5 when the customer:

The Extended Services (long-term supports) identified on the DARS1613C must be in place before the VR counselor can determine whether the customer is stable in the job.

If the customer obtains a new position or new job, or requires additional supports from the Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer, a minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment must elapse before job stability is re-established.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer must:

The VR counselor makes the final decision in determining the job stability status. A case is considered "job stable" once the job stability date is established through a Job Stability meeting.

If the customer does not work for seven or more days after the achievement of Benchmark 5: Job Stability, a new job stability date must be established through a job stability meeting.

Outcomes Requirements for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 5 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must maintain employment for a minimum of 56 cumulative days, without a break of seven days (or more) that meets the requirements in the DARS1613B, SESP–1. Additionally, 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions, at least 50 percent negotiable employment conditions, and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B, SESP–1 must be met.

The Supported Employment specialist must:

Neither the Supported Employment specialist nor the job skills trainer may provide the long-term support needs, training needs, and/or accommodations unless funding from a source other than VRS is secured.

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete, accurate, signed, and dated DARS1616A, Supported Employment Job Stability Justification Summary has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations.

The form must include:

A minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment is required if the customer gets a new position or a new job before the customer eligible to be determined "job stable."

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at the 56th cumulative day of employment on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, C, and D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1 (SESP–1). The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D SESP–1:

The information documented in the DARS1613B and C and the DARS1616A, Supported Employment Job Stability Justification Summary must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, the customer's representative, or the employer to verify the DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1616A information is accurate.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule.

8.8.12.7 Benchmark 6: Service Closure

Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 6 when the customer:

After the stability date has been set, the Supported Employment specialist and the job skills trainer cannot provide direct services, such as training the employer or Extended Service providers, for or on behalf of the customer.

At Benchmark 5: Job Stability, the Extended Service providers, employer, and other supports must be in place and be providing the intended supports as defined in the DARS1613C, SESP–1; DARS1614B, SESP–2; and the DARS1616A, Supported Employment Job Stability Justification Summary must be submitted.

Process and Procedure

The Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer must:

The VR counselor makes the final determination as to whether the customer maintained the required 90 cumulative days of job stability from the most recently established job stability date, which is necessary to achieve Benchmark 6: Service Closure.

If the customer does not work as a result of illness, injury, vacation, or short-term disability for seven days (or more) after the achievement of Benchmark 5: Job Stability, a new job stability date is established through a job stability meeting before a new 90-cumulative-day count for the achievement of Benchmark 6: Service Closure.

If it becomes necessary to provide direct services to the customer; to train or consult with the Extended Service provider, employer, or "natural support", or to address issues related to the customer's performance or employment situation or transportation issue, the current job stability period ends.

If the customer is hired for a new position or new job, or requires additional supports from the Supported Employment specialist or job skills trainer, a minimum of 30 cumulative days of employment must occur before job stability is re-established before a new 90-day count towards the achievement of Benchmark 6: Service Closure.

If a customer's employment lasts more than 26 weeks, the DARS1613D is used to record the additional hours worked until Benchmark 6: Service Closure is achieved.

Outcomes and Criteria for Payment

Payment for Benchmark 6 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, and signed:

The customer must be job stable for a 90-cumulative-day period of employment, without break of seven days (or more) in employment consistent with the DARS1613B, SESP–1 requirements of 100 percent of nonnegotiable employment conditions and at least 50 percent of negotiable employment conditions and at least one job task listed on the DARS1613B, SESP–1.

The Supported Employment specialist must:

The Supported Employment specialist submits a fully complete accurate, signed, and dated DARS1616B, Supported Employment Service Closure Summary that has been completed on a computer and includes handwritten signatures. The customer must be employed on the date the customer signs the DARS1616B.

The completed form describes the customer's job placement, training supports, and accommodations.

The form must include:

If the customer obtains a new position, changes employers, or has significant challenges in the job, a new Job Stability meeting is held to establish the customer is job stable and to set a new 90-day count for achievement of Benchmark 6.

The Supported Employment specialist must have a minimum of two contacts per month with the customer, employer, Extended Service provider, and/or person providing natural supports to monitor the Extended Service provider and Natural supports outlined in the DARS1613C, SESP–1, to ensure that the customer can maintain a successful long-term competitive integrated employment outcome.

The Supported Employment specialist records the customer's status at 90 cumulative days after the final job stability date on the DARS1616A and on the customer's most recently approved DARS1613B, C, and D, Supported Employment Services Plan–1.

The following areas are updated on the DARS1613B, C, and D, SESP–1:

The information documented on the DARS1613B and C and on the DARS1616B must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, customer's representative, or employer to verify that the DARS1613B, C, and D and the DARS1616B information is accurate.

If the DARS1613B indicates the provider is eligible for any Employment Premium Service and VRS staff has verified that the required outcomes have been achieved, payment will be made at the achievement of Benchmark 6.

Fees

For information about fees, refer to 8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule, below.

8.8.12.8 Supported Employment Fee Schedule

Supported Employment

Unit Rate

Comment

Benchmark 1A: Supported Employment Assessment (SEA)

$975.00

Not paid until after the VR counselor and Supported Employment specialist have met to discuss result and recommendation of SEA.

Benchmark 1A: SEA is prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment has been completed.

$525.00

Used when an EWA completed before the SEA.

Benchmark 1B: SESP Part 1

$150.00

Benchmark paid only once, even if multiple SESP meetings occur.

Benchmark 2: Job Placement and SESP Part 2

$1,500.00

Customer must work five days before achievement of Benchmark.

Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance

$1,500.00

Customer must work 28 cumulative calendar days from the first day of paid employment.

Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance

$750.00

Customer must work 56 cumulative days from the first day of paid employment

Benchmark 5: Job Stability

$750.00

Stability meeting must take place with the VR counselor to establish the stability date before payment of Benchmark.

Time between achievement of Benchmark 4 and Benchmark 5 is not defined.

Customer can have more than one stability date.

Benchmark 6: VR Closure

$3,000.00

Customer must have maintained employment 90 days from the Stability date with no support or assistance from the Supported Employment provider.

Needed supports must be provided by Extended Service providers.

Supported Employment Premiums

Premium Type Premium Amount

Professional Placement Premium

$500.00

Criminal Background Premium

$500.00

Wage Premium

$500.00

Deaf Service Premium at completion of Benchmark 1b

$533.00

Deaf Service Premium at completion of Benchmark 6

$3,550.00

Autism Premium at completion Benchmark 1B

$225.00

Autism Premium at completion of Benchmark 1B is prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment is completed

$135.00

8.9 Supported Self-Employment Services

Supported Self-Employment (SSE) Overview

Self-employment

Self-employment allows for

Supported self-employment (SSE) is competitive integrated 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

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 Integrated Employment

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

*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 under 8.8 Supported Employment Overview 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 8.7 Job Skills Training (Job Coaching). 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) after the DARS counselor

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

Service Description for Benchmark 1B

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 measurable 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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 Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees) 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.

8.10 Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Ticket to Work Partnership Plus-EN Employment Advancement Payments

Overview

Under the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Program, DARS and Employment Networks (ENs) (as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA)) partner to provide a seamless system of service delivery that supports a consumer who receives either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in his or her efforts toward achieving and maintaining self-supporting employment. DARS provides vocational rehabilitation services, including job placement or supported employment, if appropriate, and, after VR case closure, an EN provides ongoing job supports and services to ensure that the consumer maintains and has opportunities to advance in employment.

In order for an EN to partner with DARS under the Ticket to Work Partnership Plus option, the consumer's Ticket cannot be assigned to an EN while VR services are being provided.

DARS offers incentive payments called EN Employment Advancement Payments to DARS Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providers under the following circumstances:

Note: DARS EN Employment Advancement Payments are not available to the CRP-EN when the consumer decides to assign his or her Ticket to an EN other than the CRP-EN. In keeping with informed choice, DARS will provide the consumer with a list of all available ENs at VR case closure.

If a CRP-EN is the holder of the consumer's Ticket assignment, the Ticket must be unassigned from CRP-EN and placed in use with DARS before the CRP-EN can partner with DARS and be eligible for EN Employment Advancement payments.

Definitions

CRP-EN
A provider of job placement and/or supported employment services under contract with DARS in accordance with these standards, who is also under contract with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an Employment Network.
EN Employment Advancement Payments
Payments to those DARS CRPs who are also under contract with the SSA as an Employment Network and who partner with DARS in an effort to ensure that VR consumers participating in the SSA's Ticket to Work Program receive job retention services and other types of services that advance employment or increase earnings after the consumer's VR case is closed.
Employment Networks (ENs)
Public or private entities that enter into an agreement with the Social Security Administration to provide employment, vocational, or other support services and help Ticket holders (consumers) obtain and maintain employment.
MAXIMUS
A private organization that contracts with the SSA to help manage the Ticket to Work Program.
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
A level of consumer work activity and earnings defined by the SSA that includes the following concepts:
  • Substantial Work;
  • Doing significant physical or mental activities, or a combination of both (full- or part-time);
  • Gainful Work; and
  • Work performed for pay or profit.

SGA is increased every January 1. Go to http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/sga.html to view the current amount.

105 percent of SGA
Amount calculated by identifying the SGA from the link above and then multiplying that amount by 1.05.
Tier Level (1 or 2)
A payment level assigned by a DARS counselor to a consumer receiving job placement or supported employment services and that is used as a basis for determining the amount of an EN Employment Advancement Payment.
Ticket
A paper document that is SSA's agreement to pay an EN the agreed upon payments under the Ticket to Work Program.

EN Employment Advancement Payments

DARS offers a total of two EN Employment Advancement Payments to CRP-ENs who provide ongoing support services or job retention services that advance employment or increase earnings after a consumer's VR case is closed. Services provided by the CRP-EN must help the consumer meet the following outcomes:

EN Employment Advancement Payment 1

Service Description

The CRP-EN provides services necessary for the consumer to retain and advance in employment to the point that the consumer can achieve one month of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds SGA for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 12 months after VR case closure. For SE only, the CRP must be identified on the DARS1616, Job Stability or Service Closure Justification Summary, as one of the primary providers helping the consumer achieve an identified long-term support need outlined in the DARS1616.

The CRP-EN must notify the VR counselor in writing at least 30 days before the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve the required income level, so that appropriate service authorization and/or purchase orders may be issued.

Required Documentation

The DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment is required. The form must be signed by the Job Placement or Supported Employment provider. Written documentation (such as a Ticket Assignment confirmation letter from MAXIMUS or a signed copy of the Individualized Work Plan (IWP) developed with the Employment Network (EN) and completed and signed by the consumer and CRP-EN within 30 days of the invoice) must also be provided as proof that the consumer's Ticket is currently assigned to the CRP-EN.

One of the following must be attached to DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment, to provide evidence of consumer gross earnings:

Outcome

The first EN Employment Advancement outcome is achieved when

Payment

The first EN Employment Advancement Payment can be made no more than 12 months after VR case closure.

Payment (see 8.3 Fees) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves

EN Employment Advancement Payment 2

Service Description

The CRP-EN provides services necessary for the consumer to retain and advance in employment to the point that the consumer can achieve 8 of 12 consecutive months of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds 105 percent of SGA for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 18 months after the first EN Employment Advancement Payment.

The CRP-EN must notify the VR counselor, in writing, at least 30 days before the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve the required income level, so that appropriate service authorization and/or purchase orders may be issued.

Required Documentation

The DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment is required. The form must be signed by the JP or SE provider. Written documentation (such as a Ticket Assignment confirmation letter from MAXIMUS) must also be provided as proof that the consumer's Ticket is currently assigned to the CRP-EN.

One of the following must be attached to the DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment to provide evidence of consumer gross earnings for 8 of 12 consecutive months:

Outcome

The second EN Employment Advancement outcome is achieved when

Payment

The second EN Employment Advancement payment can be made no more than 18 months after the first payment.

Payment for the second EN Employment Advancement (see 8.3 Fees) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves