Categorized In: Case Services - Referral to Eligibility
Categorized In: Case Services - Assessment Services/Planning
Approved Date: December 20, 2022
Owner: Kristi Berst
Federal and State Rehabilitation laws require an individual intends to achieve an employment outcome and meet all the following criteria to be eligible for VR services:
Trial Work Experience is a worksite-based assessment used to determine eligibility, continued eligibility, or desire to pursue competitive integrated employment that may occur at any time in the VR process.
After application to Nebraska VR, Trial Work Experiences (TWE) may be used in three ways:
1) Prior to any determination that an individual with a disability is unable to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome because of the severity of that person's disability or that the individual is ineligible for vocational rehabilitation services, staff must conduct an exploration of the individual’s abilities, capabilities, and capacity to perform in realistic work situations;
2) To determine eligibility for individuals with significant disabilities if observation and review of available records is not sufficient or current; or
3) When an individual is undecided about pursuing competitive integrated employment, TWE may provide a limited time opportunity to explore if the person can and wants to pursue competitive integrated employment (either before or after eligibility determination). If the person has never worked before, information may not be available to make an informed decision.
Trial Work Experiences must be provided in competitive integrated employment settings to the maximum extent possible, consistent with the informed choice and rehabilitation needs of the individual.
*If an extended (non-integrated) setting is selected, the VR Specialist must tell the individual and document the following:
(a) the individual can work for a limited period of time in a non-integrated setting with supports in place to see if they can and want to pursue competitive integrated employment;
* Examples of non-integrated settings may include an enclave work crew an I/DD service provider has with a local business or a business specifically developed for employing only people with disabilities.
(b) Explain to the individual that the VR program is designed to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve employment outcomes; and
(c) Provide information regarding availability of employment options and VR services to assist the individual to achieve an employment outcome under the VR program
Important Requirements of a TWE
An individual may choose to be paid for a TWE amounting to federal minimum wage plus FICA with no benefits paid according to the Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule. Income from a TWE is not exempt from income tax; hence, they will be issued a W-2 by the employer of record in January. FICA/Medicare deductions are taken and matched by the employer of record. For SSDI/SSI beneficiaries, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers any earned income where FICA/Medicare deductions are withheld as wages.
NOTE: Each of the benefits programs administered by Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and each Housing Authority has eligibility requirements—some are income based, while others include additional non-income-based criteria. It is important to inform the client that income earned in an OJE could affect individual / family benefits. Such benefits include, but are not limited to: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Energy Assistance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and Housing Assistance. The individual/family will need to report income to DHHS, and any other entities providing benefits, such as the local Housing Authority. The program that administers the benefit will determine whether the OJE income can be excluded based on the agency’s eligibility criteria.
DHHS will request that an employer complete the Earned Income Verification Request, Form MC #00580296. When VR (NDE) is the employer of record for paid TWE activities, the VR staff will be required to complete the form.
Liability coverage for this arrangement is covered by the State of Nebraska's Workers’ Compensation policy. To report an injury/accident requiring medical attention or to report an injury/accident with no medical attention, staff need to contact NDE HR at 402.471.5026 to obtain the necessary forms/process on behalf of the client. Follow-up by completing and submitting the attached Incident/Accident/Injury Report for Clients & Applicants form.
Through informed choice, an individual may prefer not to be paid. The VR Specialist is not to make this decision independently. Situations concerning potential impact on Social Security or other benefits may discourage an individual from wanting to be paid, as may reporting income for a position that is not expected to be long term.
Liability coverage for this arrangement is covered by the State of Nebraska's blanket accident policy. Call 1-800-346-7692 and hit #1 for Claims. Policy Holder: State of Nebraska Policy Number: SRG 0009141321-B. If a workplace injury has occurred, follow-up by completing and submitting the attached Incident/Accident/Injury Report for Clients & Applicants form.
Trial Work Experience Justification
1. After initial meeting, disability verification documentation is received (school records, medical, psychological, work history, summary of observations, and BPQY, etc.), if ability to benefit from competitive integrated employment (eligibility) remains unclear or if the person is unsure whether to pursue competitive integrated employment, team discussion must occur outlining the next steps towards this decision.The individual is required to receive full consultation of the intent of the TWE and resulting outcomes based participation.
To the extent existing data does not describe the current functioning of the individual or is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate to make an eligibility determination, an assessment of additional data resulting from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, including trial work experiences, assistive technology devices and services, personal assistance services, and any other support services that are necessary to determine whether an individual is eligible.
2. For the best possible community match and most appropriate supports to be arranged, VR Specialist may need to schedule an interest and daily living activity with the applicant/client unless related information is readily available and current (within the last two years). After conversation with the individual and if information from school and medical records, work history, and summary of observations is not readily available or current, you may proceed with any of the following:
3. All efforts will be made to match the applicant’s vocational interests, employment availability within the community of residence, abilities, and capacity to perform in a realistic work setting to the TWE in a competitive integrated setting. In rare circumstances when a competitive integrated setting cannot be arranged to accommodate the specific needs of the applicant, a non-integrated setting may be considered. *The VR Specialist must tell the individual and document that the person can work for a limited period of time in a non-integrated setting with VR support to see if they can and want to pursue Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE).
4. VR staff will locate a business willing and able to provide a trial work experience and ensure the capacity to accommodate all necessary supports, including initial job or task analysis, to allow full participation. Complete Request for Certificate of Self-Insurance for Paid TWE if business contact requests written documentation of workers' compensation coverage. Complete Volunteer/Non-Paid Accident Coverage Letter if employer requests written documentation of liability coverage for Non-Paid TWE. Negotiate essential details of the TWE (start and end dates, evaluation schedule, knowledge, skills, abilities and/or behaviors to be assessed, goals of TWE, and the agreed upon level of follow-up).
5. Click +Assessment Service from the Case Home screen. Add Eligibility as the service and Trial Work Experience as the support and enter the vendor information.
Add any other Assessment Supports necessary to support the TWE.
For Non-Paid situations, select the +Comparable Service button, add Eligibility as the QE2 Category, then Trial Work Experience as the service.
6. Complete all required forms and obtain signatures from applicant/client, authorized representative, and VR representative. Provide copies to appropriate individuals as specifically indicated on each document and upload signed forms to QE2 Assessment, Trial Work Experience.
For Paid TWE, complete the following and:
7. Enter a QE2 task note at the start of a Trial Work Experience, articulating a clear purpose and expected outcome. Refer to Trial Work Experience Agreement sections to organize structure of the task note.
a) Define general on and off-site objectives for the applicant/client specific to:
b) Indicate rationale and objectives have been discussed with the applicant/client, authorized representative, job coach, and business contact.
8. Process Timesheet.
9. Process Completion or Termination of TWE.
There are generally three possible outcomes of Trial Work:
Able to benefit from Nebraska VR Services
The individual successfully participates in the Trial Work Experience(s) and is determined eligible or services resume
Unable to benefit from Nebraska VR Services
Unsuccessful termination of Trial Work Experience
Applicant chooses not to pursue Competitive Integrated Employment
Non-participation in an offered Trial Work Experience or completed TWE where employability skills are documented
|(TWE) Trial Work Experience Agreement
|Volunteer/Non-Paid Accident Coverage
|Section 511: Refusal to Participate - English
|Exit Status Decision Tree
|Information and Referral (I & R) to Other Programs
|Incident/Accident/Injury Report for Clients & Applicants
|Request for Certificate of Self-Insurance
|Section 511 Decision Tree for Staff Only
|Direct Deposit Enrollment
|Focus Card Enrollment Form
|On-Line Access to Pay Stub
|W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
|W-4N Employee’s Nebraska Withholding Allowance Certificate
|I-9 Form & Information
|Job Readiness Factors & Initial Meeting - A Guide for Staff
|Functional Capacities Checklist