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Service Animals: When and How VR Assist with the Cost of the Training of Employment Related Tasks

Categorized In: Case Services - Planned Services

Approved Date: October 02, 2018

Owner: Angela Fujan

• A service animal that will provide an individual with safety, alerting, protection, emotional support, or independence may not necessarily be the same as a service animal that performs a task for the individual that enables the individual to perform one or more essential functions of a job or participate in education or training.

• Nebraska VR participation will be limited to the cost of training when the service animal, the individual and the trainer are training only on the specific task the service animal will perform that will enable the individual to participate in education, training or perform essential functions of a job.

• Assistance may also include support services such as transportation, room and board to access the joint training.

• The service category for the training would be Miscellaneous Training – Assistive Technology Use.

• The support category would be Lodging and Per Diem for room and board and Travel for transportation.

• Preference will be given to comparable goods and services that can be procured from Nebraska service providers and business. Use of out‑of‑state vendors is limited to situations in which an out‑of‑state vendor is geographically closer to the recipient, the good or service is not available in‑state, or the total cost to the program for the good or service is substantially less considering the actual cost of the good or service and the related costs associated with procuring the goods or participating in the service.

• Answers critical case questions

• Refers to ATP to explore solutions

• Conducts ATP assessment

• Determines if service animal is required for employment

• Consults with Program Directors of Community Services and Counseling

  1. Answers Critical Case Questions

• What are the disability and functional limitation(s) that are preventing or will prevent the individual from performing the essential functions of a job or from participating in education and/or training?

• What are the specific tasks the service animal will need to perform to assist the individual on the job or to participate in services?

• How has the individual been completing these tasks?

• Will the settings in which the individual is or will be working and/or participating in training allow the presence of a service animal?

  1. Refer to ATP to explore solutions

  2. Conduct ATP assessment

• Technology specialist will coordinate with the specialist and the client for an initial assessment date. May include an onsite visit in the home and/or employment site. May involve other key individuals, such as employer, family members, teacher, etc.

• Review the critical case questions.

• Determine if there are assistive technology devices or solutions that could be demonstrated or loaned.

• Follow up with client to gather feedback regarding devices or solutions that were tried.

• Submit written report to VR specialist with recommendations. Recommendations may include quotes, and/or potential funding resources.

• Purchase assistive technology recommended or continue gathering information if there is no assistive technology recommendation.

  1. Determine service animal required for employment

  2. Consult with Program Directors of Community Services and Counseling

• Requests any missing information be gathered. • Determines sufficient information has been gathered and the Specialist may proceed with a decision.

A service animal means any dog that is individually trained by a recognized professional service animal organization or trainer to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The task or work to be performed must be directly related to the individual's disability.

The service animal organizations do not cover the total costs of the service animal; remind clients of the Alternative Finance Program through Easter Seals and the Hotline for Disability Services to search for comparable benefits. Refer the client to a Benefits Specialist to explore possible work incentive if the individual is an SSDI/SSI recipient.

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