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Order of Selection

Date: August 07, 2018

Owner: Angela Fujan

The agency must provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals who apply. When funding is not sufficient to serve all eligible individuals the agency must implement an Order of Selection policy (OOS).  An individual’s priority in the OOS will be determined at the time of eligibility based on the individual’s specific functional limitations of the disabling condition, not on projected job goals or limitations the individual might have in the future. Those in Priority Group One will be served first, those in Priority Group Two second and those in Priority Group Three served last. Should a client be assigned to a closed priority group, the client will be given the opportunity to be placed on a waiting list until resources are available to remove clients from the waiting list to receive services.

The Order of Selection shall NOT be based on any other factors, including:

  • Any duration of residency requirement, provided the individual is present in the State; 
  • Type of disability; 
  • Age, gender, race, color or national origin; 
  • Source of referral; 
  • Type of expected employment outcome; 
  • The need for specific services or anticipated cost of services required by an individual; or 
  • The income level of an individual or an individual’s family.

Implementation

Upon the implementation of the Order of Selection (OOS), Nebraska VR will continue to provide services to:

  • Those in an open priority group.
  • Current clients in a closed priority group who have an approved Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) prior to the implementation of the OOS.
  • Those eligible for Post-Employment services.
  • Job Retention: clients at immediate risk of losing his or her current job regardless, if in an open or closed priority group.

Information and Referral

  • Nebraska VR must continue to provide information and referral to community resources and partners in the statewide workforce and include a specific local contact information (name, phone number and address) with each referral.
  • VR is required to provide a copy of the documentation used to determine eligibility and priority groups to the community programs, as well as the individual and community partners. 

Exceptions to Policy on OOS

Job retention is a priority of WIOA and Nebraska VR has established an exception to the Priority Groups.

See PROCESS section for specific requirements.

The VR Specialist will determine eligibility and assign a priority group based on the individual’s functional capacities. No matter what priority group the client is assigned to or if the priority group is open or closed, this client will receive specific services or equipment to determined necessary to maintain employment.

Pre-Employment Transition Services - See Process 

 

 

OOS Process reminders
  • During initial meeting: review OOS with client, assess impairment, impediment, individual's needs and possible community resources.
  • Use Functional Capacity Checklist to determine Priority Groups.
  • Assessment services can only be used to determine eligibility and priority group classification.
  • VR Specialist is required to meet with the applicant to discuss eligibility and the assigned priority group decision. This discussion needs to take place prior to the actual approval of the QE2 Priority Group determination being completed to allow for individual's input.
  • Information and Referral services are required for all applicants.
Exception for Job Retention cases
The client must be:
  • Currently working and is at immediate risk of losing his/her current job.
  • In the need of specific services or equipment that would enable him/her to perform the essential job duties to maintain the job.
  • Able to develop an IPE and receive services immediately.
Note: This exemption does NOT apply to:
  • Losing job because the employer is going out of business, eliminating the job or for other business-related decisions. 
  • Underemployed or seeking to maximize their employment. 
  • Seeking to change employers.
  • Newly employed or eligible for Post Employment services.

Pre-Employment Transition Services - See Process

The agency must provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services, as appropriate to all eligible individuals who apply. When funding is not sufficient to serve all eligible individuals the agency must implement an Order of Selection policy (OOS). An individual’s priority in the OOS will be determined at the time of eligibility based on the individual’s specific functional limitations of their disabling condition(s). Those in Priority Group One will be served first, those in Priority Group Two second and those in Priority Group Three served last.

Functional limitations are NOT based on future or projected job goals or environmental factors (lack of transportation, etc.).  The distinction between a substantial impediment to employment for purposes of eligibility and a serious functional limitation for purposes of establishing priority for service is one of degree and scope. The degree and scope is serious if an individual can only perform a function, or can only learn to perform a function with a significant accommodation and/or substantial support.

Should a client be assigned to a closed priority group, the client will be given the opportunity to be placed on a waiting list until resources are available to remove clients from the waiting list to receive services.  A client can subsequently be moved to a higher priority group if information becomes available indicating additional or more severe functional limitations. 

Descriptions of Priority Categories:

  • Priority Group 1: Has a severe physical or mental impairment resulting in a rating of very low in two or more functional areas.

  • Priority Group 2: Has a severe physical or mental impairment that results in a very low rating in one functional area or receives SSDI or SSI based on a disability. Individuals who receive SSDI or SSI automatically qualify for priority group two and are assessed to determine whether they qualify for priority group one.

  • Priority Group 3: All eligible individuals. These individuals must have a low rating in at least one of the seven functional areas.

Procedure for Applicants

1. The VR Specialist meets with applicant to complete the initial meeting:

  • Provide the individual an overview of VR Services to include OOS, priority groups, waiting list, how eligibility and priority groups are determined and what that means for the client regarding services in each group.
  • The OOS Factsheet may be provided to applicants, parents, schools, agencies and/or organizations to assist with the understanding of the Order of Selection.
  • Address the individual’s work experiences and how the impairment has been an impediment to employment by assessing reasons for gaps in work history, jobs ending, and themes and/or repeated issues for getting, keeping or preparing for employment. 
  • Assess the individual's needs and identify appropriate community resources.

2. It is strongly recommended the VR Specialist use the Functional Capacity Checklist and Discovery Booklet to assist with the determination of eligibility and priority group assignment. This will help to ensure a determination can be made for the most appropriate priority groupIf you complete the Discovery Booklet, offer the information to the client and maintain a copy or original in client’s case file. 

3. Assessment services can only be used to determine eligibility and priority groups.

Assessment services may include:

  • Requesting medical documentation.
  • Requesting Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) to obtain the disability of record for eligibility verification.
  • Completion of the Discovery Booklet to assist with gathering information regarding how the disability has been an impediment to employment.
  • Participation in specific testing to assess severity of impediment/disability.
  • Participation in community Work Assessment (stamina, memory, speed, quality and quantity of work, etc.) if needed.
  • Support services required to participate in the assessment services (transportation, etc.)

Reminder:  Benefits Orientation cannot be provided to individuals in a closed priority group (Does not apply to Pre-Ets).  Individuals receiving Social Security Disability need to be provided information about Employment Networks in Nebraska and include a discussion regarding the Ticket to Work program. For more information, refer to the VRIS Ticket - to Work chapter.

4.   Determine eligibility within 60 days from the date of application, unless exceptional and unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the VR Specialist preclude making the decision. If it appears the eligibility determination will exceed the 60-day timeframe, a QE2 Eligibility Extension is required. The applicant must be contacted and agree to the specific extension of time and this needs to be completed PRIOR to the 60-day timeframe actually expiring.

5.   The VR Specialist is required to meet with the applicant to discuss eligibility and the assigned priority group decision. This discussion needs to take place prior to the actual approval of the QE2 Priority Group Determination being completed. All the information can be placed into QE2 without the actual approval being completed. This will give the applicant and VR Specialist the opportunity to review the information and have a discussion as to the why the eligibility and priority group assignment was made. As part of this discussion, the individual will have the opportunity to share any further information that may need to be considered. 

6.  Information and referral services are required to be provided whether or not the individual chooses to apply for VR services, priority group(s) are closed and/or the individual chooses not to be placed on the waiting list.  Nebraska VR must provide information and referral to community resources and partners in the statewide workforce (e.g., American Job Center, Adult Education, Independent Living Centers, Employment Networks, counseling, college and career centers, etc.). This process takes place during the mandatory meeting to discuss eligibility and priority group assignment.  

Below are the steps included in the information and referral process: 

  • Complete the Information and Referral to Other Programs form by including the specific local contact information (name, phone number and address) for each referral. Keep a copy of this form in the VR file. 
  • VR is required to provide a copy of the documentation used to determine eligibility and priority group to the community programs, as well as the individual. Make sure to discuss with the applicant if they are in agreement with their information being shared with the appropriate referral programs to expedite services. 
  • If the individual requires assistance in making connections with the community resources, VR is encouraged to assist with this process to ensure a successful transition. 

7.   An Eligibility/Priority Group letter will be generated upon completion of the priority group determination approval in QE2. The Eligibility/Priority Group letter will be sent by the State Office to the client. An auto generated task note will be created indicating the letter has been sent. If the individual requires the Eligibility/Priority Group letter to be in Spanish, the VR Specialist needs to notify the state office immediately so the proper letter can be sent.

8.   The VR Specialist will be provided a copy of the Eligibility/Priority Group letter generated from the State Office.  This letter needs to be maintained in the casefile. It will have the date the letter was sent and will serve as notification of the next step in the process. The client in an open priority group can begin receiving services immediately. Those in a closed priority group can be placed on the waiting list. Applicants who have not already stated a preference for being placed on the waiting list will be contacted by the VR Specialist to determine their interest of being placed on the waiting list. If there is no response to the letter and attempted contacts from the VR staff, the case will be closed by the VR Specialist after 30 days. 

9. If an individual's priority is needing to be upgraded while they are on the waiting list, the justification needs to be entered in a TASK note, as well as the QE2 Eligibility screen and followed by the OOS Priority Upgrading letter being sent to the client by the local VR Office.

Exceptions to Policy on OOS

Job retention is a priority of WIOA and Nebraska VR has established an exception to the Priority Groups for these cases. To be considered for this exception, the eligible individual needs to be in a situation where they would almost certainly lose their current job if not provided specific services or equipment in the very near future that would enable them to retain that employment.The VR Specialist will determine eligibility and assign a priority group based on the individual’s functional capacities. No matter what priority group the client is assigned to or if the priority group is open or closed, clients eligible for Job Retention will receive the specific services or equipment required to retain their employment.

Note: This exemption does NOT apply to:
  • Losing job because the employer is going out of business, eliminating the job or for other business-related decisions. 
  • Underemployed or seeking to maximize their employment. 
  • Seeking to change employers.
  • Newly employed or eligible for Post Employment services.

Job Retention Services Checklist for clients in a closed priority category:

  1. Employed and indicates they are in immediate danger of losing their job.
  2. Able to actively participate in services and develop an IPE immediately. 
  3. In the need of specific services or equipment that would enable him/her to perform the essential job duties to maintain the job.
  4. The client is not required to disclose thier disability to the employer.
  5. The employer must provide a copy of the individual's job description AND written documentation to include: 
    • Evidence of the difficulty performing the essential job functions.
    • What reasonable accommodations have been attempted to address difficulties preforming the essential job functions and the results.
    • Why the individual is at immediate risk of losing the job.
  6. The VR Specialist documents in a TASK note the justification for the specific services or equipment that is required in order for the client to maintain their current job, addresses the reasonable accommodations attempted or provided by the employer, exploration of comparable benefits and the client's ability to fund in whole or part the needed service.
  7. The VR Specialist will enter but not approve the Eligibility and Priority Determinations for Job Retention approval.
  8. Provide a copy of the medical documentation, employer letter and job description to the Program Director of Counseling, who in turn reviews the case to determine if it meets the criteria of job retention. Additional information may be requested in order to make this decision. The approver may consult with other members of the OOS Committee, as appropriate.  In the case the Program Director of Counseling is not available, the VR Director and VR Assistant Director will serve as back-up.
  9. Program Director of Counseling will notify the Office Director and Team Contact when the applicant is approved or not approved for job retention by email and will enter a task note of the determination.
  10. Upon receiving the notification of an approval, the VR Specialist will proceed with the Eligibility APPROVAL process for Job Retention.
  • The VR Specialist approves the Eligibility and Priority Determination for job retention.
  • The client will receive the appropriate Eligibility/Priority Group letter based on the specific determination. 
  • Upon qualifying for Job Retention Services, an IPE can be developed and approved.
  • Only the specific services the client needs to retain the job can be provided.
  • If the client requests other services, they can be placed on the waiting list and those services will be considered when they come off the waiting list.
  • If after the provision of job retention services, the client loses the job while their case is still open, they will go on the waiting list for services to obtain a new job.
  • After the provision of the job retention service and the minimum of 90 days follow along with the client indicating they are satisfied with the job retention services, a successful outcome can be taken. Taking a successful outcome will remove the client from the waiting list.

Upon receiving the notification of Not Approved, the VR Specialist will meet with the individual and discusses the eligibility determination, provide the required information and referral services and offer the opportunity to be placed on the waiting list. The waiting list letter will include the Client Assistance Program and this information should also be included in the discussion.

Procedure for Managing Waiting List

  1. A waiting list will be generated based on priority groups and individual’s date and time of application.
  2. State Office will determine when to open or close a priority group based upon the availability of resources.
  3. State Office will determine how many clients will be taken off the waiting list based on availability of resources, priority groups, and individual application date and time.
  4. A letter will be generated from the State Office informing the clients they have been removed from the waiting list. The letter will inform the clients they have 30 days to contact their local VR Specialist if interested in services.
  5. The local VR Specialist will be mailed a copy of the removal from the waiting list letter that was sent to the client to monitor the 30-day timeframe. This letter should be placed in the client's casefile. Upon receiving this notification, VR staff need to attempt contact with the client to see if they are still interested in VR services. Several forms of communication (phone, e-mail, letter, personal contacts) should be utilized by VR staff to contact the client.
  6. The VR Specialist will complete the IPE within 90 days from the date the removal from the Waiting List letter sent to the client.
  7. Clients who are determined to be in an open priority group at the time of the eligibility and priority group determination will be provided a seamless continuity of services and will complete the IPE with the VR Specialist within the 90 days from the date of eligibility.
  8. The case can be closed after 30 days have passed from the date of sending the letter informing the client they have been removed from the waiting list, if VR has not hear from the client. VR needs to follow proper case closure procedures by providing several attempted contacts prior to closing the case, as case closure will remove the client’s name from the waiting list. 

Pre-Employment Transition Services

  • Students who are considered “potentially eligible” for VR services will receive pre-employment transition services regardless of the OOS and are served when a signed Pre-Employment Transition Consent and Release is in place.
  • Students with disabilities who apply for VR services and who began receiving pre-employment transition services prior to applying for and being determined eligible will continue to have access to pre-employment transition services even if their priority group is closed.
  • Any student with a disability that has applied for VR services who is not yet participating in pre-employment transition services when the eligibility determination is made, and who is placed in a closed priority group will be served when funding is sufficient, by the date the application is signed by the client. VR will take steps to initiate pre-employment transition services during the VR application intake appointment, so that any student who qualifies may be able to receive pre-employment transition services while on the waiting list.
  • Any student with a disability who is determined eligible for VR services and placed in an open priority group can receive the full range of services offered though VR including pre-employment transition services and individualized VR services.
  • It is required all cases that are pre-employment transition services eligible have at least one pre-employment transition service added in the case record under the assessment tab (task note is not sufficient). This includes those who have a pre-employment transition services consent and release or a VR application and are pre-employment transition services eligible.
  • For cases that have an application and have services added in assessment, VR staff must assure these are pre-employment transition services rather than “adult” services (e.g., job exploration counseling vs. career planning). These services need to be added prior to Nebraska VR entering OOS.

 

 


Date
November 30, 2017 Show this Archived Version
November 30, 2017 Show this Archived Version
August 29, 2013 Show this Archived Version


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