Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Manual

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

DIVISION OF REHABILITATION SERVICES

COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAM PROCEDURES MANUAL

MISSION

DHS's Division of Rehabilitation Services is the state's lead agency serving individuals with disabilities. DRS works in partnership with people with disabilities and their families to assist them in making informed choices to achieve full community participation through employment, education, and independent living opportunities.

VISION

Improving the independence of our customers is the only reason for existing. We realize that the skills and the abilities of our front-line staff are the keys to our success. Embracing, listening to, and collaborating with our community partners will sustain our success.

DRS will be a customer -driven organization, with all major decisions based on the needs of our customers. Our staff will be informed and valued, pursuing lifelong learning and striving to improve their professional skills. We will create an environment where customers and staff work in partnership, where customers enjoy working with staff, and where staff looks forward to coming to work. Finally, we envision an agency where customers feel confident that their goals will be reached.

VALUES

  • We value DHS - DRS as a workplace that promotes supports, recognizes, and invests in the importance of having a culturally diverse staff with the skills and knowledge to respectfully provide services to all our customers in a qualitative manner.
  • We value equal participation in society by people with disabilities.
  • We value situations in which the individual with a disability receives needed services.
  • We value an environment that provides comprehensive accessibility to individuals.
  • We value being responsive to the needs and concerns of our customers.
  • We value the right of all customers to choose the services that enable them to work and live independently in their communities.
  • We value community integration and the customer's right to live in the least restrictive environment.
  • We value lifelong learning for our staff and are committed to providing the necessary training to improve their professional skills.
  • We value staff who are creative, well trained, efficient, and knowledgeable about disabilities and developing careers for customers, and the use of assistive technology.

INTRODUCTION TO THE MANUAL

This policy and procedures manual was developed by DHS - DRS with input from the Community Rehabilitation Partners through the Facility Advisory Committee. It will be periodically reviewed and updated and is subject to change in response to policy/rule changes in order to better serve our shared customers.

The procedure manual can be found online at http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=25214.

Manual Updated: April 2017

TABLE OF CONTENTS (CRP MANUAL)

DEFINITIONS

PROGRAM STANDARDS

MILESTONE

IPS MILESTONE

SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT/EXTENDED SERVICES

CRP RESPONSIBILITIES

DRS RESPONSIBILITIES

BILLING

OUTCOMES

AMENDMENTS AND MODIFICATIONS


DEFINITIONS

Case Closure -- VR Rehabilitation Counselor (RC) must inform CRP at time of case closure in writing using the Notification of Services noting the cancellation date. There must be an active Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and Notification of Services (NOS) in place in order to close the case successfully.

Client Assistance Program (CAP) - DRS and CRP's that provide services to individuals with disabilities shall advise said individuals (or parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individual) of the availability and purpose of the Client Assistance Program (CAP), including information on means of seeking assistance under said program. CAP may be reached at 1-800-641-3929.

CAP helps people with disabilities receive quality services by advocating for their interests and helping them identify resources, understand procedures, resolve problems, and protect their rights in the rehabilitation process, employment and home services. CRP's should inform customers of a preferred mode of communication. CAP's website is http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=29978

Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP)- within the context of this procedure manual, a CRP provides vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, to enable those individuals to maximize opportunities for employment including:

  1. Assessments and evaluation of job readiness specialized training, career development services, trial work, and pre-employment skills.
  2. Employment preferences, job seeking skills, job placement and retention services.
  3. Psycho-social rehabilitation; and
  4. Supported Employment services and extended services.

Competitive Employment Outcome- means work that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis (including self-employment) and for which the customer is compensated with the customary wage and level of benefits, but not less than minimum wage and;

  1. is not less that customary rate paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by other employees who are not individuals with disabilities in similar occupations
  2. In the case of an individual who is self-employed, yields an income that is comparable to the income received by other individuals who are not individuals with disabilities and who are self-employed in similar tasks
  3. Is eligible for level of benefits provided to other employees
  4. Is in a location in the community where the individual with a disability interacts with individuals who are not individuals with disabilities
  5. Presents, as appropriate opportunities for advancement that are similar to those for other employees who are not individuals with disabilities with similar positions.
  6. Customized Employment- means competitive integrated employment, for an individual with a significant disability that is based on an individual determination of their unique strengths, needs, interests, abilities, and meets the needs of the employer.

Customer -means a person who has requested, been referred for, is receiving, or has received any DHS-DRS services, including a student at a DHS-DRS school. Any individual who has been referred to DHS - DRS or is receiving any DHS - DRS services as outlined on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

DRS Rehabilitation Counselor - designated staff that maintains an assigned caseload and operates and administers the State vocational rehabilitation services program in accordance with the provisions of the State plan, the Rehabilitation Act, and regulations established by the U.S. Department of Education.

DRS Rehabilitation Services Supervisor or Designee - the individual designated to coordinate the day-to-day functions between a specific CRP and their local DHS - DRS office.

DRS Project Officer - DRS staff member who is designated as the official contact person with the CRP.

Employment Outcome- means full or part-time employment in competitive integrated employment or supported employment.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) - A plan developed between the DRS counselor and the customer that identifies a vocational goal and services to be provided.

Individual Plan for Placement (IPP) - This is known by many different names depending on the CRP. A plan developed between the CRP and the customer in order to identify a vocational goal, that is consistent with the DRS vocational goal, and to identify services that will be provided to the customer.

Referral - consists minimally of an individual's name, address, reported disability, counselor name, counselor district number, customers' DRS case number, age, sex, date of referral, reason for referral and must be in writing. There must be a Release of Information if the customer is under 18 or has a legal guardian. The referral will be furnished on the most current DRS form. The DRS referral should be specific regarding what services are being requested (i.e. supported employment, job placement services, job retention services etc.). DRS and the provider will respond to referrals from each other within thirty (30) calendar days evidenced by DRS and CRP documentation which can be received by email, fax, or phone consultation. The provider response will include the potential for acceptance of the customer into program services, the projected date of admission, and other appropriate information.

The basis of any referral must be the determination of eligibility. Per the Federal Regulations (34 CFR 361.5), a customer must meet the following DRS eligibility requirements to be accepted into any DRS' program:

Customer should meet all of the following:

  1. Have a physical or mental impairment that constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment;
  2. Require vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain competitive integrated employment consistent with the customer's goals; and
  3. Will benefit from VR services in terms of employment outcome.

Extended Services - means on- going support services and other appropriate services that are needed to support youth with the most significant disabilities in Supported Employment for a period of time not to exceed four years or until such time as a youth reaches the age of 25 and no longer meets the definition.

Staffings - will be held at minimum every eight (8) weeks and will include the customer, DRS staff, CRP staff, and others designated by the customer. The staffing should be held in person. If, on occasion this is not possible, staffing can be conducted telephonically or electronically. The CRP is responsible for writing and faxing the staffing report to the DRS counselor after obtaining the customer's signature. The DRS counselor then signs the report and faxes it back to the CRP. Documentation of the staffing, including signatures of those who were in attendance will be kept in the DRS and CRP file.

Documentation of the staffing will be entered into WebCM by DRS staff. This will include: persons in attendance, customer progress, CRP involvement, and what services will be continued. If additional services are needed by the customer, the DRS Counselor must approve prior to services being provided. The purpose of the staffing is to determine customer progress toward vocational goals and to determine if services are to continue with the CRP.

Supported Employment -Competitive integrated employment, including customized employment; or employment in an integrated work setting in which an individual with a most significant disability, including a youth with a most significant disability, is working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment. Employment that is individualized and customized, consistent with the individual's unique strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice, including with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Support Reduction Schedule -Supported employment is designed to provide needed supports to individuals with most significant disabilities to enable them to achieve competitive integrated employment. It is important for providers to follow a plan for gradual reduction of supports to evaluate the individual's capacity for independent functioning on the job and to help the individual adjust to a lower level of support. A formal support reduction schedule is not a contract requirement but the concept of gradually reducing support should inform provider decision making throughout the supported employment process.

Student with a Disability: an individual with a disability in secondary, postsecondary, or other recognized education program:

  • Who is not younger than the earliest age for the provision of transition services under section 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(VIII) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(VIII0
  • If the State involved elects to use a lower minimum age for receipt of pre-employment
  • Transition services under this Act, is not younger than that minimum age
  • Is not older than 21 years of age or if the State law provides for a higher maximum age for receipt of services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is not older than that maximum age
  • Is eligible for, and receiving special education or related services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act or:
  • Is a student who is an individual with a disability, for purposes of section 504 of the Federal Register.

Transition-means coordinated set activities for students or youth with disabilities, and outreach to and engagement of parents or, as appropriate, the representative of students or youth with disabilities.

Students can be served by both the school and a community rehabilitation provider during their final year per counselor's approval. Students must be removed from school STEP Work Verification Sheet before they can be reported on the CRP Group Billing but should remain on STEP Flow Chart. Students can be referred for VR services through DHS-DRS prior to being referred to a CRP per DRS counselor approval. An IPE is required prior to CRP services being initiated. In order for a CRP to claim a successful placement closure on a student graduate, the closure must be 90 days post-graduation.

Youth with a Disability - means a youth with a disability that is not younger than 14 years of age and not older than 24 years of age.

PROGRAM STANDARDS

Accreditation - per DHS - DRS Rules found at 89 IL Adm. Code 530.5, any CRP doing business with DHS - DRS must meet and maintain national accreditation standards through the likes of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation facilities (CARF), the National Accreditation Council (NAC), the Joint Commission (TJC), The Council on Accreditation (COA) or The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) for all programs and services identified in the CRP's contract. All CRPs with outcomes/ successful placements identified in their contracts/ agreements must have accredited placement programs by July 2018.

The CRP must submit a copy of the most recent national accreditation survey report to the DHS - DRS Project Officer within 30 days of receipt.

A new CRP is one from which DHS - DRS have not previously purchased services. Such CRP's must become nationally accredited within a three year period of the first year that the purchased amount of services by DHS - DRS exceeds $20,000 annually. For those CRPs that are exempt from accreditation, they will be required to go through a Rule 530 Survey at least once every three years. This survey will be conducted by a Project Officer assigned by the Community Resources Manager.

Fiscal and Administrative Standards - the CRP will keep the following for a minimum of five years in addition to the current fiscal year:

  1. Signed copies of all forms and billings, including C-13 Invoice Vouchers and Group Billing sheets;
  2. Signed records of individual service hours;
  3. Records of payments made to customers for lunch, transportation, and/or maintenance with prior authorization by DHS - DRS. Such records must include a signed case receipt or canceled check for each payment; and
  4. All such records which are required by the executed contract or agreement reference herein.

Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) - A plan developed between the DRS counselor and the customer that identifies a vocational goal and services to be provided (signed by both customer and counselor). The IPE is to be shared with the CRP within 10 working days of the CRP's acceptance of the case.

To provide direction to the CRP, the IPE should reflect:

  1. Customer's vocational goal (should be consistent with the customer's goal as stated on their IPE);
  2. The customer's needs and preferences pertaining to vocational goals; hours of work per week should be identified;
  3. The date when services are to begin and what those services are to be;
  4. Provision of long-term services (i.e. natural supports, Social Security work incentives, private pay, etc.).
  5. Customer Responsibility(s).

Individual Plan for Placement (IPP) - This is known by many different names depending on the CRP. A plan developed between the CRP and the customer in order to identify a vocational goal, that is consistent with the DRS vocational goal, and to identify services that will be provided to the customer. The IPP should be customer-centered and show evidence of the customer's participation in its development. The IPP will govern services provided to the customer by the CRP. The IPP will be shared with the DHS - DRS counselor within 10 working days of its development. The customer's vocational goal as stated on the IPP should match that which is stated on the customer's IPE. Any changes to the IPP should be approved by the DRS counselor.

Plan amendments are to be developed by the customer, counselor, and provider staff  prior to implementation of the changes and provided to the customer and counselor  within five working days after the start of services.

The customer's IPP should contain the following:

  1. Vocational goal (should be consistent with the customer's goal as stated in their IPE);
  2. Need for full or part-time employment;
  3. Earnings and hours preferred by or obtainable by the customer;
  4. Benefits;
  5. Shift preference;
  6. Placement goals and objectives - includes what the customer, CRP, and DHS - DRS counselor roles will be in the process and time frames;
  7. Job development activities;
  8. Job retention activities;
  9. Customer follow-up services;
  10. Appropriate signatures;
  11. Closure/cancellation date

In order for the CRP to provide and bill for services from DRS, the CRP must have a Notification of Services (NOS) and an active Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) from the DRS counselor. A Release of Information must be present if the customer is under the age of 18 or has a legal guardian. All sections of the Notification for Services must be filled out including:

  • Provider information;
  • DHS - DRS Project Officer Information;
  • Contract Number;
  • Contract Category;
  • DRS counselor information;
  • Customer name;
  • Case number;
  • Case Status;
  • Projected Service Dates;
  • Cancellation date, when appropriate;
  • Local DRS Office;
  • Counselor Name and District Number;
  • Approved services marked;
  • Signature of the Counselor.

JOB RETENTION CASES

A Job Retention case is one in which the customer is employed at the time of referral. The customer is in need of support in order to maintain this employment. A Job Retention Case Summary will be written by the counselor and approved by the RSS. These cases are not eligible for Milestones.

TELECOMMUNICATION AND INTERPRETER COMPLIANCE

All agreements which utilize sign language interpreter(s) except schools serving K-12 must adhere to the interpreters for the Deaf Licensure Act of 2007 (225 ILCS443). The Licenses held by interpreters indicate in which environments they are able to interpret. For specifics, please email: DHS.DRSSDHH@illinois.gov  

Licenses are issued by the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission. A listing of licensed interpreters can be found at: www.idhhc.state.il.us/interprter.htm .

The CRP is expected to secure an appropriately licensed interpreter for meetings with CRP staff and for job interviews arranged for DRS customers. DRS will reimburse the CRP for the interpreter expenses at the established DRS interpreter rates. CRP must send the DRS staff an invoice for the interpreting services. A copy of the interpreter's billing sheet must be submitted to the local office within 10 business days after the date the service is provided. Failure to submit this documentation within that time frame may or may not result in a decision not to reimburse the CRP for interpreter services provided.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS AND CODES

DRS continues it's emphasis on providing more community-based programming which will lead to more integrated community employment. DRS may purchase any of the following services for persons with most significant and very significant disabilities from Community Rehabilitation Programs.

Below, DRS services description codes are listed in parentheses next to the service type

EVALUATION

The traditional use of vocational evaluation may not be appropriate for all individuals and, as such, the value of standard vocational evaluation and/or situational assessment should be assessed and determined by the DHS - DRS Counselor on a case by case basis.

The goal of an evaluation should be to provide for a comfortable transition and an optimal fit with the program and the community environment. When appropriate for the individual's needs, a community employment assessment may be provided.

  1. Functional Vocational Assessment (03150) - assists the individual with a limited survey of his/her vocational interests and abilities based on local curriculum and DRS Counselor request.
  2. Vocational Evaluation (03100) & Psycho-Social Evaluation (03325) - assists the customer with either an assessment of his/her ability to function in a single area (i.e. clerical) or a broad-based assessment of individual interests and abilities utilizing a variety of tests, work samples, and situational assessments. The goal of the vocational assessment is to assist the customer in developing vocational goals by identifying rehabilitation challenges and strategies to address them, and by making recommendations about job categories, specific jobs, and ways to obtain the skills necessary to achieve employment. A psycho-social evaluation may also include intensive counseling and case management in support of clinical services to assist the customer.
  3. Community-Based Work Assessment [can include OJE](03600) - assists the customer through observation in a community work setting, by assessing his/her work skills, work habits and attitudes, social and personal characteristics, vocational interests, employment preferences, family support, and other needs as determined by the rehabilitation team. The customer will be paid either minimum or commensurate wage based on the prevailing wages paid by the employer, and/or CRP, and/or DRS.

Following the evaluation, if the customer is determined to be able to benefit from job placement services, the same CRP cannot then earn the $6772 for the milestones as assessment is part of the services provided within a milestone payment.

If the customer is referred to the same CRP, they will need to cancel the voucher for the evaluation before being able to bill for milestones.

If the customer is determined not able to benefit from services, then the CRP may accept the payment for the evaluation.

COMMUNITY BASED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

The following services which lead to community integrated employment can only be authorized by the DHS - DRS Counselor, upon his/her approval of the customer's placement plan.

  1. Competitive Employment Services -It is competitive integrated employment in the community which pays the employee minimum wage or a wage commensurate with the prevailing wage in the locality and applicable fringe benefits. The individual must be stable on the job and have worked a minimum of 90 calendar days prior to awarding a successful outcome. Services provided generally include the following:
    1. Assessment - assists the individual through observation of job readiness, transferable skills, social and personal characteristics, vocational interests, employment preferences, and retention and coping skills and develops a job match profile.
    2. Job Coaching- Support provided to an individual to maintain competitive, integrated employment. This may be one-on-one training, observations, or by other methods deemed necessary to achieve satisfactory work output or to maintain or retain employment.
    3. Job Development and Placement - Uses job match techniques and assists the individual in identifying specific jobs that are available and accessible in the community. Job readiness, job seeking and retention skills training can be used to develop necessary skills to enable the individual to secure the job and to develop an understanding of how to keep the job.
    4. Job Stability - is provided to the customer if he or she needs training, monitoring, or job coaching for specific tasks associated with the job. Services may also involve working with the employer, co-workers, and family members to enhance the customer's job stability. These services are expected to decrease in frequency and eventually be discontinued as the individual's performance on the job is stabilized.
    5. Job Training - Trainees become acquainted with the daily routine of work and develop specific vocational skills, including the use of basic occupational tools and equipment. Training is provided for the purpose of employment in a specific occupation.
    6. Career Development Services (CD) - supports an individual in developing a clear vision regarding the individual's preferred employment outcome, establishes the steps needed to achieve this outcome, and supports the individual in directly connecting with appropriate identified community-based employment opportunities
  2. Verification - Successful outcomes are determined by the DHS - DRS counselor and are based on the customer's achievement of the vocational goal as identified on the IPE.
    1. Successful outcomes will be reported monthly by providers and submitted to the appropriate DHS - DRS Supervisor and counselor for verification.
    2. Providers will claim only one outcome per customer no more than once every 12 months.
    3. Under the following circumstances, the provider will not receive full credit:
      • No reported activity such as intake, documented counseling sessions, job development, job counseling, job placement and support or staffing's. All written services should be documented by provider to DRS.
      • No documented communication made by provider to DRS.
      • DRS Counselor has documentation demonstrating DRS Counselor has provided more placement services than the provider.
      • No current IPE and Notification of Services (NOS)

NOTE: When a customer receives employment services under a milestone contract, he/she can be moved to a time-limited SEP contract but cannot be counted as a milestone outcome. When the customer receiving Supported Employment services transitions to a long-term program or natural supports, no outcome will be awarded to the CRP involved. Customer cannot be moved from time-limited SEP into a Milestone contract within the same case.

Milestone performance contracts include job coaching as a service. Job coaching cannot be paid for as an additional service to any customer served under a milestone performance contract.

NOTE: No provider may claim payment for a competitive employment outcome when the provider is the employer of the DRS customer without the prior written approval from DRS. The counselor will discuss this with the RSS, who will then discuss it with the ABC. The ABC will then provide the information to the Community Resources Manager for final approval.

DRS will evaluate the nature of the job placement and determine whether it meets the criteria for "competitive integrated employment" as defined in the federal Work Innovation and Opportunity Act and is consistent with the guidelines provided in Rehabilitation Services Administration Technical Assistance Circular TAC-06-01.

IPS - Job Stability Program (30 days - 03331) (60 days - 03332) - The Job Stability Program (JSP) is designed for individuals with a serious mental illness who have achieved employment after receiving services from an agency that has a contract with DRS to provide Individual Placement and Support Services (IPS).

  1. Considerations and pre-planning - The customer must have completed at least 90 days of employment and met all criteria for case closure. JSP may only be used with providers who have an IPS job placement contract with DRS for the current fiscal year.
    1. Procedures - The customer's case must be closed as a successful competitive employment outcome. A Closure Notification (IL 488-0717) must be signed by the counselor and sent to the customer.
    2. Justification for Post-Employment - The counselor must write a WebCM case note that includes a justification explaining why the customer needs additional support to maintain employment.
  2. Movement to Post Employment Status - The counselor must put the customer's case into post-employment status by initiating a new IPE in WebCM. If not already in place, the IPS case indicator must be added to the case in WebCM.
    1. Contents of the Post Employment IPE - The post-employment IPE must include information and referral as well as counseling and guidance services, listing DRS as the provider. The plan must include the primary service "Job Stability Program" and list the IPS agency as the provider.
  3. Notification of Services Form - The counselor must send a Notification of Services (IL 488-2226) to the IPS provider agency.
    1. JSP Milestone Structure - The Job Stability Program is structured to include two milestones. The first milestone occurs when the customer achieves 30 days of job stability after the original case closure. The second milestone occurs when the customer achieves 60 days of job stability after the original case closure.
  4. Documentation of Job Stability - For each milestone, the IPS provider must submit to the counselor a report confirming the customer's continued employment. The report must list the place of employment and the type of job the customer is working, as well as the average hours worked during the reporting period and the wages paid.
  5. Authorizing for JSP Milestone Payments - The rate for each of the JSP milestones is set at $700 for a total of $1,400. Payments are made through the case authorization system in the DRS office. The authorization for the 30 day milestone payment must use the service description code 03331. The authorization for the 60 day milestone payment must use the service description code 03332. Calculation of days of job stability must be made from the date of the post-employment IPE.
  6. Closure from Post-Employment - The Job Stability Program ends when one of the following events occurs: the customer completes 60 days of continued employment; or the customer loses his or her job. In either situation the counselor must close the customer's case from post-employment. Closure from post-employment requires that the closure must be discussed with the customer. A Closure Notification (IL 488-0717) must be completed and signed by the counselor and forwarded to the customer. A copy of the Closure Notification and NOS cancellation must be sent to the IPS provider to document the termination of JSP services.

Supported Employment Program [SEP] (07300) - Competitive integrated employment, including customized employment; or employment in an integrated work setting in which an individual with a most significant disability, including a youth with a most significant disability, is working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment. Employment that is individualized and customized, consistent with the individual's unique strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice, including with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities. While DRS has provided supported employment services for many years with considerable success, policy and procedural changes are required in order to assure compliance with state and federal supported employment regulations. These changes include: provision of time-limited services in a different model; a support reduction; and insuring that all customers are paid at least the minimum wage for their work while receiving supported employment services. Supported Employment can last up to 24 months, but according to both RSA and DRS, the majority of the cases are closed successfully before the 24 month time period.

Consequently, the following requirements are established for VR services, effective immediately:

  1. VR customers receiving supported employment services may not be placed into any job that pays less than the minimum wage. (see definitions below)
  2. Any IPE including supported employment must be written for a period no longer than twelve months.
  3. All SEP services are suggested to have a support reduction schedule in place in order to allow the customer to achieve competitive, integrated employment with natural supports
  4. nly individuals determined to have a most significant disability may receive supported employment services. (see definitions below)
  5. Individuals with a substantial employment history may not receive supported employment services (see definitions below)
  6. Supported employment services may be provided to a customer for no more than 24 months, unless there are special circumstances which require additional time to achieve an employment outcome. The counselor must write a case note describing the special circumstances and the office supervisor must enter a case note approving the extension of services. (see definitions below).

Definitions Relating to Supported Employment in DRS Administrative Rules (89 Illinois Administrative Code Section 521)

"Supported Employment" means competitive employment in an integrated setting with ongoing support services for customers with the most significant disabilities:

Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with the most significant disabilities, for whom -

  • Competitive integrated employment has not historically occurred; or intermittent; and
  • Intensive supported employment services and extended services are needed in order to perform the work involved, because of the nature and severity of their disability. (Section 7(38) of the Act and 361.5( c)(53 and 363.1 (b))

A State may provide supported employment services to any individual who -

  • Has been determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services;
  • Is an individual with a most significant disability; and
  • Has had supported employment identified as the appropriate employment outcome based on a comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs and an evaluation of rehabilitation, career and job needs. (Section 605 of the Act and 363.3)

"Supported Employment Services" means ongoing services needed to support and maintain an individual with the most significant disability in supported employment. These services are based upon the customers need for support.

"Time-limited Services", in the context of supported employment services, means services that are provided for a period of no more than 24 months in accordance with a support reduction schedule and based upon the customers need for support. Under special circumstances this time period may be extended with the agreement of the customer, the counselor, Supervisor, and the Assistant Bureau Chief when an extension is needed to achieve the employment outcome.

Below is the new model for the Employment Support Package (ESP) for the Supported Employment Program:

Training, Development and Placement (TDP)

Phase 1 Assessment and Plan: Evaluation of the individual's abilities and capabilities for employment; develop a plan to provide training, job development and placement services leading to employment. Provide an evaluation and a plan for the customer in order to bill for services.

Phase 2 Job Development and Placement: Provision of training and supports necessary to achieve employment; identification of prospective employers; contacting business to arrange placement. A progress report detailing what services were provided to customer must be submitted in order to bill for this service.

Supported Employment

Phase 3 Hire in competitive job: Hiring of the individual by an employer in an ordinary or customized position. After day 5 of employment, this may be billed.

Phase 4: First Staffing with continued employment (8 weeks after employment): Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support. The staffing report at minimum must include the following information: Employer, hours worked, wage, progress on the job, and what supports were provided to the customer.

Phase 5 Second staffing with continued employment (8 weeks following 1st Staffing): Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Phase 6 Third staffing with continued employment (8 weeks following 2nd staffing) : Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Phase 7 Fourth staffing with continued employment (8 weeks following 3rd staffing) : Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Phase 8 Fifth staffing with continued employment (8 weeks following 4th staffing): Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Continued Support Option (CSO)

It is understood that some individuals will require continued support from DRS after completion of the eight phases in the new model. The individuals will be able to benefit from the Continued Support Option or CSO. Services provided under the CSO are paid from the office allocation using a voucher rather than from the contract system. The rationale for this method is that the amount of time required for any individual participating in the CSO is unknown and variable from person to person. An SEP provider will submit a bill to the DRS field office each month the individual maintains employment and continues to require ongoing support services.

CSO services are paid based on the hours of ongoing support services provided to the individual during the preceding month. The number of hours cannot be greater than the number of hours the customer worked during the month. The SEP provider must provide documentation of the hours of work and the hours of support provided to the customer. This amount will be a new rate, not what was previously paid for Job Coaching hours.

Under federal regulations supported employment is limited to 24 months of support except in special circumstances. CSO services are therefore limited to 15 months, which is equal to the 24 month limit minus the 9 months covered by Phases 3 through 8 of the new SEP model. An extension must be justified by the VR counselor and approved by the office supervisor based on a description of the exceptional circumstances relating to the customer.

The rate for CSO will be $30.00 (rural) and $32.50 (metro).

Short-Term Basis

In the definition of supported employment, short-term basis is described as follows: For purposes of supported employment, an individual with a most significant disability, who supported employment in an integrated setting does not satisfy the criteria of a competitive integrated employment, as defined in 34 CFR 361.5( c)(9), is considered to be working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment so long as the individual can reasonably anticipate achieving competitive integrated employment -

  1. Within six months of achieving a supported employment outcome; or,
  2. In limited circumstances, within a period not to exceed 12 months from the achievement of the supported employment outcome, if a longer period is necessary based on the needs of the individual, and the individual has demonstrated progress toward competitive earnings based on information contained in the service record. (Section 7*38) of the ACT and 363.1 ( c))

The six-month short-term basis period, and the additional six months that may be available in limited circumstances, begins after an individual has completed up to 24 months of supported employment services (unless a longer period of time is necessary based upon the individual's needs) and the individual has achieved a supported employment outcome, meaning that the individual is stable in the supported employment placement for a minimum period of 90 days following the transition to extended services. At this point, the individual has achieved a supported employment outcome in accordance with the criteria set forth in 363.54.

Section 604(b)(2) of the ACT, as amended by WIOA, mandates that the VR agency make available extended services for youth with the most significant disabilities for a period not to exceed four years.

The ACT defines "youth with a disability" in section 7(42) as an individual with a disability who is not younger than 14 years of age, and not older than 24 years of age.

This new requirement is implemented in the definition of "extended services" in 361.5©(19)(v) and is an authorized service in 363.4(a)(2) for a period of time not to exceed 4 years or until such time that a youth reaches the age of 25 and no longer meets the definition of a youth with a disability under 34 CFR 361.5(c)(58), whichever occurs first.

Although the VR agency must discontinue funding extended services once a youth reaches age 25, it should explore the availability of funding from other sources.

A State may use Supported Employment program or VR funds to provide extended services only to youth with the most significant disabilities; it may not use either source of funding to provide extended services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are not youth. (Sections 604(b)(1) of the ACT and 363.4(b)). This will not be included in the Supported Employment Contracts, but will be handled out of the local office funds.

Case Documentation for Time-Limited SEP -

  1. Referral
  2. IPE and Amendment(s)
  3. IPP and Amendment(s)
  4. Staffing reports - should occur at least every eight weeks
  5. Monthly activity contact sheets, including summary results of the planned objectives
  6. Provisions for support reduction to natural supports

Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Responsibilities

Fiscal and Administrative Standards

The CRP will keep the following for a minimum of 6 years (current year plus 5):

  1. Signed copies of all forms and billings, including Notification of Services, Invoice Vouchers and Group Billing sheets and SEP Monthly Reports;
  2. Signed records of services provided to customer;
  3. Provider will submit, for cases selected by DRS, records that are sufficient to document the wages and earnings of the individuals achieving an employment outcome. Wage records include copies of a pay check, pay check stub, pay warrant, bank record confirming direct deposit, information from third party online resources such as The Work Number or other record approved by DRS. Wage records will be submitted to the local DRS office, the project officer and DRS Quality Assurance no later than 30 days after the request by DRS;
  4. Records of payments made to individuals for transportation and/or maintenance when authorized by DHS - DRS. Such records must include a signed cash receipt or canceled check for each payment; and
  5. All such records which are required by the executed contract or agreement referenced herein.

Program Accessibility

DHS - DRS require compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). All programs offered by the CRP must be accessible to all individuals with disabilities, and the provider must be in compliance with applicable requirements of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm), the Illinois Accessibility Code (http://222/illinois.gov/cdb/business/codes/pages/IllinoisAccessibilityCode.aspx), and the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (http://dhs.illinois.gov/iitaa).

Referral

The provider referral will be furnished on the most current provider form. If the customer is under 18 or has a legal guardian, a Release of Information (ROI) must accompany the referral. DRS and the provider will respond to referrals from the other in writing within thirty calendar days. The DRS response will include whether the customer has been accepted into DRS program. If DRS does not respond within the thirty days, the CRP should contact the office supervisor with concerns. If not satisfied at that point, the CRP should contact the CRP Advisor within fifteen days. The purpose of any referral is to determine eligibility.

Safety

The provider must maintain an active safety program to assure that all buildings and programs operated by the provider are safe to all individuals. Safety policies and procedures must be in compliance with the National Standards (I. Physical Facilities, Health and Safety) or 89 IL Admin Code 530.140. Community-based sites must also meet the individual's environmental and safety needs.

Staffings

Staffings will be held at least every eight (8) weeks, they can be held more frequently, and will include the customer, DRS staff, CRP staff, and others designated by the customer. For Extended Supported Employment Program cases the staffing will be held at least every 6 months. The staffing can be held in person, telephonically, or electronically. The CRP is responsible for faxing the staffing report to the DRS counselor after obtaining the customer's signature. The DRS counselor then signs the report and faxes it back to the CRP. Documentation of the staffing, including signatures of those who were in attendance, case notes, and documentation of SEP hours will be kept in the CRP's file.

Case Closure

CRP must notify DRS of intent to close case in person telephonically, electronically, or in writing. Reason for closure should be identified.

  • Achieved competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period established pursuant to Section 34 CFR 363.1(C); and
  • Satisfied the requirements for case closure in Section 34 CRF 361.56; and
  • Is no longer receiving vocational rehabilitation services provided by the VR agency with funds under 34 CFR part 361. If an individual does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period, the service record will be closed
  • The individual no longer meets age requirements established in the definition of a youth with a disability; or
  • Has received extended services for a period of four years; or
  • Has transitioned to extended services provided with funds other than those allotted under the VR or Supported Employment programs prior to meeting the age or time restrictions; and
  • Satisfies the requirements for case closure in 34 CFR 361.56.
  • Is no longer receiving any other vocational rehabilitation service from the VR agency provided with VR program funds. If a youth does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period, the service record will be closed.

DHS - DRS RESPONSIBILITIES

DHS - DRS Rehabilitation Counselor -

  1. Attend staffing in person, by phone or electronically, and visit customers on the work site.
  2. Develop IPE and NOS, and complete the ROI and send to the CRP. Review group billing for assigned customers and verify approval of services before submission to the supervisor or designee. 
  3. Review assigned cases on billing against current Notification of Services form.
  4. Update WebCM case notes and employment placement screen. Document staffing's, progress notes sent by CRP, customer contacts, and other services provided.
  5. Update and maintain IPE and NOS in order to provide and authorize for services
  6. Case note all services approved on billings.
  7. Initial customer on Group Billing for approval.
  8. Notify CRP if services are denied for billing.

DHS-DRS Rehabilitation Services Supervisor or Designee - designated to coordinate day-to-day functions between a specific provider and DHS - DRS.

  1. Provide input in agreement and program development.
  2. Distribute group billings and SEP Reports. 
  3. Disseminate the group billing throughout their office for appropriate staff to review CRP billing against current Notification of Services. 
  4. Notify CRP if services are denied for billing.
  5. Review and sign group billing and submit to Project Officer by 15th of month.

DHS - DRS Project Officer -

  1. Develop contracts with input from the local DHS - DRS office;
  2. Monitor program performance on a monthly basis and provide feedback to the provider on at least a quarterly basis; 
  3. Perform on-site reviews of all contracted CRPs no less than once every three years; 
  4. Conduct Rule 530 certification surveys of programs that are not nationally accredited;
  5. Provide technical assistance to DRS and CRP staff; 
  6. Review billings by checking in WebCM for all required information.
  7. Inform DRS office of questions or changes on billings.
  8. Process CRP billing within 5 working days of receipt and forward to DHS - DRS Contract and/or Fiscal Unit(s).
  9. Send copy of payment request to CRP.

BILLINGS

Billing Procedures for Milestone and SEP Contracts -

  1. The Group Billing for Milestone customers will include a roster of customers being served, a 15, 45 and 90 day billing for each DRS office served. If there are no billings for any of these, CRP will write NONE and include these with the billings. For SEP billing, a roster of customers being served and a group billing for each of the phases per DRS office will be sent. Again, if there are no customers being billed, a bill with NONE will be sent to the local DRS office in order to prevent billing issues.
  2. The billings will be sent by the provider to the DHS - DRS Rehabilitation Services Supervisor or designee by the fifth working day of the month; a copy will be sent to the DHS - DRS Project Officer, who will then submit the Group Billing to Central Support after verification by DHS - DRS Rehabilitation Services Supervisor/Counselor. 
  3. The DHS - DRS Rehabilitation Services Supervisor or designee will submit the verified group billings to the Project Officer and CRP within 10 days upon receiving group billings from CRP.

Completion of the Group Billings -

Services and service description codes will be obtained from the referring counselor and will mirror the services identified in the IPE/IPP.

Complete the following items in full:

  1. Month/Year of service
  2. Vendor FEIN/SSN
  3. Vendor name, address, city, state and zip code
  4. Contract Number
  5. Program
  6. Rate - per milestone, outcome or service
  7. DRS Office
  8. Customer Name - alphabetically, first and last names (no initials)
  9. Customer Number
  10. Customer last 4 digits of Social Security Number
  11. Status - use the number associated with the status
  12. Counselor District
  13. Service From/Service To-only within month being billed.
  14. Type Service
  15. Service Description - Mirrors NOS (Notification of Services)
  16. Units - SEP-TL and some Menu services equal number of hours-all others equal 1
  17. Amount Billed - will auto-calculate Rate times Units, this will be a locked field
  18. Counselors Initials - Shows verification of customer approval
  19. Totals - will auto-calculate
  20. Vendor signature
  21. DRS Supervisor Signature
  22. DRS Project Officer signature

Billable Units

For Time-Limited Supported Employment the 8 phases are listed below:

Training, Development and Placement (TDP)

Phase 1 Assessment and Plan: Evaluation of the individual's abilities and capabilities for employment; develop a plan to provide training, job development and placement services leading to employment.

Phase 2 Job Development and Placement: Provision of training and supports necessary to achieve employment; identification of prospective employers; contacting business to arrange placement.

Supported Employment

Phase 3 Hire in competitive job: Hiring of the individual by an employer in an ordinary or customized position.

Phase 4 First staffing with continued employment: Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Phase 5 Second staffing with continued employment: Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Phase 6 Third staffing with continued employment: Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Phase 7 Fourth staffing with continued employment: Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

Phase 8 Fifth staffing with continued employment: Staffing report that the individual has maintained employment with appropriate support.

OUTCOMES

Successful Outcome Criteria - To achieve a successful outcome, each of the following criteria must be met as determined by the DHS - DRS customer and counselor:

  1. The customer has an active IPE, NOS and CRP IPP from which competitive integrated employment services were provided; Staffing's were held every 8 weeks;
  2. The customer has received at least one substantial service other than assessment that has been instrumental in job placement and/or job retention and has been listed on either a group billing sheet or an individual service/invoice voucher (C-13); 
  3. The customer has attained a successful employment outcome as determined by the rehabilitation team for a minimum 90 days for which stabilization has occurred and has maintained such for no less than 90 calendar days. Successful employment is indicated when all of the following are present:
    1. The customer and employer are both satisfied as evidenced by the customer's continued employment and as expressed by the customer at the time of customer participation, as documented in the final staffing; 
    2. The customer is maintaining adequate interpersonal relationships and acceptable behavior in the job environment as evidenced by the customer's continued employment and as expressed by the customer at the time of customer participation, as documented in the final staffing;
    3. The employment outcome is consistent with the customer's own unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities. If the occupation is different than the customer's long term vocational goal, the customer must approve the difference with documentation in the customer's DRS case file regarding this difference and an IPE/IPP amendment written;
    4. The customer possesses acceptable skills to perform or continue the work satisfactorily as evidenced by the customer's continued employment;
    5. The employment is full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive integrated employment (based on the goal established in the customer's IPE) and the customer received a wage commensurate with that paid to others for similar work as determined by wage information obtained by the counselor, i.e. Employment Security, U.S. Department of Labor, under legal requirements in the Illinois Minimum Wage Law respectively; and
    6. The employment and working conditions will not aggravate the customer's disability and the customer's disability in the job situation will not jeopardize their health and safety or others based on the information in the case file and the counselor's knowledge of the job description and requirements.
  4. VR services were provided which were necessary and consistent with the customer's goals and objectives in accordance with the IPE/IPP; and

RECOGNIZED OUTCOMES

Competitive Integrated Employment (Milestone and IPS Milestone) -means work that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis (including self-employment) and for which the customer is compensated with the customary wage and level of benefits, but not less than minimum wage, is eligible for the level of benefits offered to other employees, is in an integrated area where the employee interacts with individuals that do not have a disability, and there is an opportunity for advancement.

Customized Employment- means competitive integrated employment, for an individual with a significant disability that is based on an individual determination of their unique strengths, needs, interests, abilities, and meets the needs of the employer.

Supported Employment Program- Requirements for an Employment outcome in Supported Employment) - Requirements that must be satisfied for an employment outcome are set forth in 363.54 of the implementing regulations:

  • First, the individual must have completed supported employment services, which may be received for up to 24 months, or longer if the counselor and the individual have determined that such services are needed to support and maintain the individual in supported employment. Any other vocational rehabilitation services listed on the IPE provided to individuals who are working on a short-term basis toward the achievement of competitive integrated employment in supported employment need not be completed prior to satisfying the achievement of an employment outcome;
  • Second, the individual has transitioned to extended services provided either by the VR agency for a youth with the most significant disability, or another provider, consistent with the provisions of Section 34 CFR 363.4(a)(2) and 363.22;
  • Third, the individual has maintained employment and achieved stability in the work setting for a minimum of 90 days after transitioning to extended services, and ;
  • Finally, the employment must be individualized and customized consistent with the strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual.

Closure of the Supported Employment Service Record - The service record of an individual who has achieved an employment outcome in supported employment will be closed in accordance with Section 34 CFR 363.55. Separate requirements are specified for different scenarios, depending on whether individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with the most significant disabilities, achieve competitive integrated employment or work toward the competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis and whether they are receiving extended services and any other VR services from the VR agency or from other service providers.

  • Achieves competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period established pursuant to Section 34 CFR 363.1(C); and
  • Satisfies the requirements for case closure in Section 34 CRF 361.56; and
  • Is no longer receiving vocational rehabilitation services provided by the VR agency with funds under 34 CFR 361. If an individual does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period, the service record will be closed
  • The individual no longer meets age requirements established in the definition of a youth with a disability; or
  • Has received extended service es for a period of four years; or
  • Has transitioned to extended services provided with funds other than those allotted under the VR or Supported Employment programs prior to meeting the age or time restrictions; and
  • Satisfies the requirements for case closure in 34 CFR 361.56.
  • Is no longer receiving any other vocational rehabilitation service from the VR agency provided with VR program funds. If a youth does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period, the service record will be closed.

Transition of Students and Youth with Disabilities from School to Postsecondary Education and Employment - when the student/customer has achieved competitive integrated employment in the community at minimum wage or a wage commensurate to the prevailing wage in the locality and with applicable fringe benefits and the following conditions have been met:

  1. The CRP assisted the student/customer prior to graduation, with the IPP and IPE clearly delineating the transition; after DHS-DRS Counselor approval;
  2. The student/customer required transition support services to maintain competitive integrated employment for a minimum of 90 days post school exit.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION - When a DHS - DRS counselor does not agree with the outcome submitted by the CRP, and the CRP wishes to appeal, the following procedure will apply:

  1. The CRP may appeal in writing to the counselor's supervisor within ten working days of the notice of denial;
  2. A copy of the appeal must be sent to the Project Officer; 
  3. The DHS - DRS supervisor will review the appeal and submit a written response to the CRP within 10 working days. A copy of this response will be submitted to the counselor and Project Officer; 
  4. If the CRP does not agree with the decision rendered by the supervisor, or the supervisor does not respond within 10 working days, the CRP must send a written request for further review to the Administrator of Community Resources, DHS - DRS Central Office within 10 working days of receipt of the supervisor's decision. Copies of the request must be sent to the DHS - DRS Supervisor and Project Officer by the CRP;
  5. The Administrator of Community Resources will be the final level of the appeal, will review the issue, and render a written decision within ten working days. Copies of the final decision will be sent to the Provider, Rehabilitation Services Supervisor, and the Project Officer.

AMENDMENTS AND MODIFICATIONS:

An agreement change may be initiated by either DHS - DRS or the provider, but can only occur with an amendment or modification that has been authorized by the Transition Advisor.

For agreement changes involving only an increase or reduction in match, a modification must be completed when match will be increased or reduced by at least $2,000 or 10%, whichever is greater. As a general rule, any amendment that increases DHS - DRS funds should result in increased student outcomes or services.

AMENDMENTAmendments are required to increase or decrease contract amounts, add line items or change the scope or deliverables of a contract. Amendments are effective on the date of the DHS - DRS Director's letter of approval or signed amendment from the DHS Secretary. For SEP contracts, an amendment is required to change the number served within phases.

All amendments MUST be approved prior to April 1.

MODIFICATION/AUTHORITY If the changes in existing budget line item amounts total less than 10% of DHS funding amount, a modification may be completed.

Changes MUST be within the limits of the modification authority and requested prior to June 1.

PROVIDERS NOTE:

All amendments MUST be approved prior to April 1.

Modifications MUST be requested prior to June 1 of the agreement period.