Thursday, March 26th, 2020
Dear Providers of STEP/Pre-employment Transition Services,
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate an unprecedented national situation. Our goal remains to provide a safe service delivery system for our staff, our customers, and our providers. Customer engagement is important. At the Division level, we are working remotely to provide outreach and support to DRS customers. We are asking that our providers share our mission and guiding principles by doing the same.
We have been reaching out to other States to glean an understanding of remote practices being used in addition to considering how our current contractual payment structures could be modified to allow for remote work. The Rehabilitation Services Administration has not offered any leniency to States in the provision and payment of services provided through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment programs. As such, the DRS does not have the same flexibility that other state and federally funded programs may have in the Department of Human Services.
Your partnership with DRS in serving individuals with disabilities in Illinois is important. Without you, we could not reach nor serve the number of Illinoisans that we do each year. Over the last several days we have received many questions regarding the provision and payment of services. It is our hope that the Questions and Answers below provide you the guidance needed to continue your work. Please engage your DRS Project Officer should you have additional questions or need further clarification.
If a student is still working during the closure, can those hours be counted towards an outcome?
Yes, those hours can be counted.
If a student is participating in E-Learning, can services be billed?
Yes, Pre-employment Transition Services being provided in those lessons can be counted and billed.
How do we submit Match during the closure?
If the students are participating in E-Learning, then Match should continue to be submitted in the same manner.
Will DRS billing submission timelines be altered due to the school closures?
At this time, DRS is accepting billings as they are submitted.
Will unexpended or unearned dollars be transferred over to the FY21 year?
No, unexpended or unearned funding will not automatically be able to be transferred to a new fiscal year. Should a vendor exceed expected utilization in FY21, they should consult their project officer for a contract adjustment.
Will Transition Specialists still be able to bill for services during the school closure?
As long as the Transition Specialist continues to be paid by the school, an expenditure report should be submitted for payment.
It is our intent to engage you further during a special STEP Advisory Meeting on April 3 at 11:00 a.m. The following call-in information should be used 1-888-494-4032, access code 3380683783#. During this call we will attempt to answer any other questions you may have. You may also email questions now to Kristin.Wagner@Illinois.gov.
Again, thank you for joining us in service as we work to promote employment and independence for individuals with disabilities in Illinois.
With Warmest Regard,
Bureau Chief, Field Services