Categorized In: Case Services - General Client Services Policies
Approved Date: November 17, 2023
Owner: Angela Fujan
PURPOSE: To provide a summary of information to consider before the purchase of goods/services are made for a client. See Chapters referenced for additional details and information.
Informed Choice: Vocational Rehabilitation staff are responsible for assisting persons with disabilities in making informed choices about their services, service providers, procurement methods, reason for any “sole source” determinations while ensuring consistency with Nebraska VR's policy and procedures. Informed Choice is a flexible, ever moving process, empowering an individual to consider a range of options towards self-determination. In the end, both the individual and the specialist hold responsibility for the decisions made and for the outcome of those decisions.
Accountability: VR has a responsibility to ensure state and federal funds used for case services are spent appropriately. Specialists must inform clients of the policies surrounding the use of cash advances and provider authorizations for purchases of goods and services and the clients of the consequences of misusing funds. Clients must be held accountable for using the cash advance and/or provider authorizations to purchase what is authorized and agreed upon in their rehabilitation plan.
Comparable Services and Existing Benefits:
Rule 72 - 003.01. Program services and funds may supplement, but not supplant, those services and benefits available to a recipient and his or her family from any outside agency or entity. If comparable services and benefits are currently available and ready for immediate use, they must be used to meet, in whole or part, the cost of program services.
Rule 72 – 003.02. If any public entity other is obligated under Federal or State law to provide or pay for any services considered to be vocational rehabilitation services, than VR funds cannot be used to provide or pay for such services.
Rule 72 - 003.03. Applicants for and recipients of services must apply for and accept any existing comparable services or benefits to meet, in whole or part, the costs of required and necessary services. Comparable services and benefits are provided or paid for, in whole or in part, by other Federal, State, or local public agencies, by health insurance, or by employee benefits.
Rule 72 - 003.04. The requirement to determine the availability of comparable services and benefit does not apply if this would interrupt or delay –
Client Contribution: Individuals will not be asked to participate in the cost of any service necessary for determining their eligibility for the program or assessment for determination of vocational rehabilitation needs.
1. Prior to purchase the VR Specialist is responsible to:
2. Determine the cost of a service, good or support in one of two ways:
Fee: A rate or amount established in a written agreement or fee schedule
Cost: Actual cost of the services, goods or supports based on a cost estimate or a predetermined fixed amount for certain designated services and supports.
Cost Estimates. Cost estimates are required for services, goods and supports that are not subject to an established fee or specified amount in Rule 72. A cost estimate is the proposed cost of a service, good, or support obtained by comparison shopping, use of governmental or educational price lists, internet, phone, or other method by which the cost can be determined. Cost estimates may be for similar, but slightly differing, goods or services, as long as all bids meet the client's needs.
Cost estimates are required if:
3. Purchase in one of three ways. Appendix B of Rule 72 defines which method(s) can be used for which services, goods, and supports.
Cash Advance. An amount based on a cost estimate, issued to the recipient in advance of the purchase of services, goods and supports.
VR staff are responsible to:
Reimbursement. Payment to a recipient for pre-authorized services, goods or supports upon the rendering of recipient’s paid or credited receipts or printed online confirmation copy.
VR staff are responsible to:
Program Purchase. Payment directly to the provider for a pre-authorized amount for purchase of services, goods, or supports upon completion of the service or receipt of the goods.
VR staff must:
Complete the authorization in QE2 prior to the goods or services being provided; the authorization must identify:
If an authorization is not completed in QE2 prior to the good or service being provided (start date of authorization is prior to the day the authorization is completed), approval is required by the Office Director/Program Director:
A. Complete the authorization in QE2;
B. Enter the "Reason service started prior to today" text box; include the name of the specialist who requested the authorization and the reason the authorizaiton is being completed after the start date of the good/service; reason indicating failure to plan ahead and authorize will be an audit exception.
C. Authorization will be submitted to the Authorization Approval screen and an auto generated email sent to the Office Director/Program Director notifying them an approval is needed;
D. Office Director/Program Director will enter the justification for Approving or Denying the authorization;
E. Upon approval/denial of the authoriation, an auto generated email will notify staff who created the authorization;
F. A task note will be auto generated with the reason and the approval/denial of the Office Director/Program Director.
Add Encumber. Payment against an authorization can exceed the amount authorized for the following: