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Initial Meeting

Categorized In: Case Services - Referral to Eligibility

Approved Date: March 01, 2024

Owner: Angela Fujan

NOTE: VR employees with any verified disability must contact their supervisor or the Program Director of Evaluation & Community Integration to discuss possibly applying for services through Nebraska VR regarding disability-related equipment/any accommodations required to maintain employment. The Program Director must refer the staff member to their supervisor to request an Ergonomic Assessment or begin the Interactive Accommodation Process. See Ergonomic Assessments/Worksite Accommodations Chapter.

Previously Terminated Cases:

As applicable, consult with the Office Director to assist with identifying issues that contributed to the previous termination.

Initial Meeting:

  • Ensure VR Orientation has been provided. 
  • Refer individual to appropriate community resources, whether they apply to VR or not. Document in casefile.
  • Individuals who participate in an Initial Meeting, shall be provided the opportunity to apply to the Nebraska VR Employment Program.

Required VR forms: Offer the client a copy of all forms used during the Initial Meeting. 

  • VR Application
  • VR Release 
  • Summary of Initial Meeting or Next Action

Prior to beginning the Initial Meeting: Explore the reasons for the previous case terminations and consult with the Office Director, as needed. Staff need to identify the issues that contributed to the previous termination, actions one would expect the previous client to have taken to resolve the issues, work readiness factors and the services that VR could reasonably offer to help resolve the issues. Address the reasons for previous unsuccessful termination(s):​​​​​​ 

  • Determine what actions the individual has taken to resolve previous issues that resulted in the case closure.
  • Explore work readiness factors.
  • Review possible community resources available.
  • Were appropriate services previously provided to the individual?
  • Explore what services VR could offer that might help resolve the barriers to employment.
  • Document the discussion and conclusions in a Task Note.
  • Do not proceed if it appears the individual is not ready to successfully engage in services or appropriate services are not available.
  • Complete Information and Referral (I & R) to Other Programs. Include the local contact information and if needed, assist the individual in contacting the appropriate community resources. 
  • Provide the applicant a full consultation of all decisions and/or determinations.
  • Should the applicant disagree and wants to appeal the decision of the availability of services and/or work readiness factors, the VR Application should be taken and follow:
  • Proceed if it appears the individual is ready and able to successfully engage in services.

Conduct the Initial Meeting:

To provide quality services, requires an understanding of the individual’s situation. This is accomplished by using open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, and summary statements to gain specific vocational information and the individual's confirmation that you understand their situation and desire to work.​​​​​​ Utilize Initial Meeting Questions attached below.

The Initial Meeting may occur in one or more counseling sessions and should accomplish the following by the end of the discussion:

  1. Ensure VR Orientation (via Orientation video and/or conversation) has been provided:
    • Address Nebraska VR is an employment program for individuals and employers.
    • Services are individualized based on the individual's situation and employment needs.
    • Address any questions the individual may have.
  2. Discuss expectations:
    • Address Nebraska VR is an eligibility and voluntary program that requires a joint partnership from both parties (individual and VR).
    • Emphasize the commitment expected.
    • Review how the VR team works and what the individual can expect from services.
  3. Address the following topics:
    • Why the individual came to VR: Self or other referred?
      • The individual must intend to achieve an employment outcome to apply for VR Services.
    • Presenting impairment: Utilize Disability Handbook for impairment specific questions. 
      • Assess vocationally relevant impairment(s) based on how the individual’s impairment(s) results in a substantial impediment to employment.
      • Ask follow-up questions to determine if the condition is permanent, by addressing the history of the condition and how it has impacted the individual. Are they still recovering or in treatment? Have permanent restrictions been identified? 
      • Address additional impairments not specifically reported, but implied: 
        • Difficulty with school - Did they receive accommodations or extra assistance?
        • Difficulty getting along with others - Have they seen a medical professional or received treatment?
        • History of DUI - have they seen a medical professional or received treatment?
    • Impediment to employment: Assess how the individual’s impairment(s) results in a substantial impediment to employment. Investigate how the impairment hinders the individual from securing, retaining, advancing in, or regaining employment consistent with their abilities and capabilities. 
      • Ascertain what the individual has recently done to look for work as a means of assessing the individual’s commitment to and skills in seeking employment. If offered a job today, could they start work tomorrow? If no, why not?
      • Assess Job Readiness Factors. Utilize Job Readiness Factors & Initial Meeting - A Guide for staff, attached below.
      • Share with the individual any factors identified that may positively or negatively impact their ability to successfully participate in planning, services, and/or employment.
      • Engage the client in identifying suggestions for solutions and potential VR services to address barriers to employment. 
    • Work history: Gather information with the goal of identifying how the impairment has been a substantial impediment to employment to assist with identifying functional capacities, priority group assignment, potential job readiness factors and strengths.
      • Discuss gaps in work history to determine possible impediments to employment.
      • Discuss requirements of the jobs. What tasks were difficult and why? Were the work tasks consistent with the individual's disability?
      • Look for patterns in securing, retaining, advancing in, or regaining employment. What happened & why? Identify if the reasons are disability related or based on other factors, as this will help to determine disability related functional limitations or work readiness issues that will need to be addressed during career planning.
    • Education: Assess reasons for not completing, having difficulty, and successes to identify potential employment barriers, functional capacities, and strengths.
    • Family situation: Assess emotional and financial support.
    • Legal history: Are there convictions that may affect employment options?
    • Economic situation:
      • Does the individual have their basic needs (food, housing, utilities, etc.) met?
      • Other agencies: Discuss what resources the client has available to address job readiness factors and consider needed referrals. 
      • For SSI/SSDI recipients, ask the individual about their Ticket to Work status. See Program Manual Chapter: Ticket to Work for further information.  
    • Next steps: Determine how to keep the individual actively involved in the VR Process and consider introducing career planning: 
      • Proceed with the career planning process unless the organization is under an Order of Selection and unable to provide planning services until the individual comes off the waiting list. See Program Manual Chapter: Career Planning and Order of Selection chapters for further information. 
      • Assess the appropriate next steps for vocational planning based on the individual's situation and needs.
        • Utilize the Initial Meeting to Next Steps Guide for you for assistance.
        • Consider services and resources that have been identified to address each of the Job Readiness Factors. 
        • For individuals with challenges resulting from possible ABI, discuss the noted challenges and determine if referral for vocational evaluation and/or assistive technology evaluation are appropriate. Include a copy of the completed interview form with referral. If available, the Perceptual Memory Task and VCWS 6 Independent Problem Solving are recommended vocational assessments for individuals with ABI.
  4. Complete Information and Referral to Other Programs information. ​​​​Form linked below.
    • Identify appropriate community resources.
    • Document information and referral service provided in QE2. 
    • Identify the local contact information (name, phone number and address) for each referral.
    • Keep a copy of the completed Information and Referral to Other Programs form in the VR file or complete a through task note to include each identified referral and their specific contact information. 
    • ​​​If the individual requires assistance in making connections with the community resources, VR is encouraged to assist with this process to ensure a successful contact.
  5. Summarize the Initial Meeting with the Individual:
    • Achieve agreement with the individual on what was discussed, decisions made and next steps.
    • Complete either the Initial Meeting Summary or a Next Steps Form. 
    • Provide the client with a copy of all documents used during the Initial Meeting.
    • Utilize the Initial Meeting to Next Steps Guide for possible next steps (linked below).
  6. Work documents: Both citizen and noncitizens are required to have original work documents verified in QE2 Basic Info Screen - Work Verification section, prior to the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) approval or to participate in a Work Based Learning Experience (WBLE), On-the-Job Evaluation (OJE), or Trail Work Experience (TWE). Both Citizens and non-citizens must have their work documents verified by VR, but it is optional to upload the documents to QE2See Program Manual Chaper Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for further information on this process.
  7. Offer the opportunity to apply for vocational rehabilitation services.
    • Discuss whether it is an appropriate time to complete a VR application.
    • Let the individual know the decision to apply for VR services is their choice.
    • complete required forms and ensure proper signatures are obtained. See Program Manual Chapter: Signature Requirements on VR Documents
      • VR Application:  Explain the information being requested on the Application form to the individual. Ensure the applicant and authorized representative, as applicable, understands the information. Review with individual Terms and Conditions of the application form (expectations, rights, CAP, and mediation). All individuals completing the VR Application are also required to complete a VR Release form. A case cannot proceed without both documents.  as a signed. See Program Manual Chapter: Application to the Employment Program Chapter for specific questions regarding this form.
      • VR Release: Discuss why the form is required and what information is shared. The VR Release form is needed to obtain medical information, coordinate services, contact employers, etc. The VR Release alone is not valid without the VR Application, as the release only pertains to VR applicants or recipients of VR Services.  
      • Summary of Initial Meeting or Next ActionAchieve agreement with the individual on what was discussed, decisions made and next steps. Complete either form to provide a written summary of the meeting and next steps.  
      • Other releases and forms, as applicable:
        • SSDI or SSI recipient based on their disability: (See Eligibility - Social Security Recipients for further information)
        • ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) pre-screening question
          • If the applicant answered “no”, no further action is needed.
          • If the applicant answered “yes” or “not sure” to the ABI pre-screening question on the application, screen the applicant for their lifetime history of possible ABI incidents using the Nebraska VR ABI Interview Form. Document their answers on the form for input in QE2 later or enter their answers directly in QE2.
            • Discuss results of the interview with the applicant, determining functional impact of any noted injury(s), illness(s) or event(s).
            • Obtain a signed release to request existing records that may confirm the noted injury(s), illness(s) or event(s) and resulting physical or cognitive impairments.
            • Download and give the applicant an age and region specific brochure listing ABI resources from the Brain Injury Advisory Council's website at: https://braininjury.nebraska.gov/brain-injury-registry-brochures-2021 and ask if they would like assistance in connecting to services and supports in their community. 
            • For guidance on additional assessment of cognitive impairment resulting from ABI, refer to the Nebraska VR Guide - Tools for Assessing Cognitive Function on VRIS under Guides & Resources, Job Planning Resource Guide. For additional help, contact the Program Director for ABI. 
  8. Document team services provided (Orientation, Information and Referral) and complete QE2 narrative with the following topics in #3 above.

Approved Date
November 17, 2023 Show this Archived Version
October 20, 2023 Show this Archived Version
March 17, 2023 Show this Archived Version
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