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Initial Meeting

Categorized In: Case Services - Referral to Eligibility

Approved Date: August 19, 2019

Owner: Angela Fujan

When possible, prior to beginning the Initial Meeting, the specialist should consult with his/her Office Director if the referral had previously been terminated unsuccessfully. This discussion should include identifying 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/or the services that VR could reasonably offer to help resolve the issues. 

Individuals who participate in an Initial Meeting, shall be provided the opportunity to apply to the Nebraska VR Employment Program.

All individuals completing the VR Application are also required to complete a VR Information Release form. The case cannot proceed without both documents, as a signed release is needed to obtain medical information, coordinate services, contact employers, etc. In turn, the VR Release alone is not valid without the VR Application, as the release only pertains to VR applicants or recipients of VR Services.

If eligibility can be determined at the conclusion of the Initial Meeting, inform the individual of his/her eligibility at that time.  

If eligibility cannot be determined at the conclusion of the Initial Meeting, inform the individual as to why the eligibility decision cannot be determined and what additional information will be needed to make the decision.

To assure there has been clear communication between VR staff and the client during the Initial Meeting, either a Next Steps or a Summary of Initial Meeting form needs to be completed with a copy provided to the client

Refer individual to appropriate community resources:

  • 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 needs to assure a smooth referral process to community agencies and organizations by providing a copy of the documentation used to determine eligibility and priority groups to the individual and/or community programs to expedite services.  Ensure confidentiality procedures are followed. (See VRIS Records, Confidentiality and Information Release for further 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 transition. 

Applicants answering “yes” or “not sure” on the ABI pre-screening question on the application are to complete a Nebraska VR ABI Screen.

Review documentation for non-citizen's eligibility to work and lawful presence (See Application & Transfer to Employment Program for process)

While eligibility documentation is being gathered, the VR staff should proceed with the employment planning process to keep the client engaged in the process, unless the organization is under an Order of Selection and unable to provide planning services until the individual comes off the waiting list.

Previous unsuccessful closures: 

  • Explore the reasons for the previous unsuccessful terminations,
  • Identify and address the issues that contributed to the previous termination, actions one would expect the previous client to have taken to resolve the issues, and/or the services that VR could reasonably offer to help resolve the issues.
  • Were appropriate services and supports provided to the individual
  • If needed, consult with the Office Director. 

Initial Meeting:

  • Assess Barriers
    • Utilize Disability Handbook for disability specific topics
    • Assess readiness factors affecting the client
    • Discuss with the client the impact and importance of readiness factors on employment
  • Identify Potential Resolution Strategy
    • Discuss what resources the client has available to address readiness factors
    • Identify appropriate community resources to address readiness factors
    • Identify appropriate VR services to address readiness factors
    • Engage the client in identifying his/her suggestions for solution
    • Jointly agree on resources to be used
    • Determine if readiness factors can be resolved within VR process
    • Ask individual if he/she was offered a job today, could he/she start tomorrow
  • Review SSI/SSDI and ask individual about their Ticket to work status.
  • Review documentation for non-citizen's eligibility to work and lawful presence (See Application & Transfer to Employment Program for process)
  • Does individual have needed work documents? (2 forms of ID)
  • Refer to community resources.
    • Assist with coordination of services, as needed.
    • Ensure confidentiality procedures are also followed. (See VRIS Records, Confidentiality and Information Release for further information).
  • Expectations of VR
    • Assess expectation of VR and client
    • Discuss work history and expectations
    • Determine if VR can meet client’s expectation
  • VR Process and Services Explained
    • Explain to individual that VR
      • voluntary program
      • eligibility program
      • employment program for individuals and employers
      • services are individualized based on strengths, resources, priorities, concersn, abilities, capabilities, interests, and labor market information.
    • Discuss whether it is an appropriate time to complete a VR application
    • Summarize initial meeting with the applicant and provide a written summary (Next steps or Summary of Initial Meeting form)
    • Provide information and referral services and document in file

Are client’s situation and expectations in line with what VR can do?

If yes, proceed to application and VR release for services

  • Complete required application, and VR Release
  • If applicant answered “yes” or “not sure”, to the ABI pre-screening question on the application, complete the Nebraska VR ABI Screen with the applicant.
  • Complete documentation of Initial Meeting

Prior to beginning the Initial Meeting, the Specialist should:

Explore the reasons for the previous unsuccessful terminations and consult with the Office Director, as needed. Staff need to address, identifying the issues that contributed to the previous termination, actions one would expect the previous client to have taken to resolve the issues, and/or the services that VR could reasonably offer to help resolve the issues.

The VR Specialist should explore the reasons for previous unsuccessful termination(s):​​​​​​ 

  • Were appropriate services and supports provided to the individual
  • Determine what actions the individual has taken to resolve previous issues that resulted in a termination.
  • Explore work readiness factors
  • Review possible community resources available.
  • Explore what services VR could offer that might help resolve those issues and result in a successful employment for the individual.
  • 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 form with the local contact information and if needed, assist the individual in contacting the appropriate community resources. 
  • Provide the applicant a full consultation of the determination.
  • 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 to successfully engage in services and appropriate services are available.

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 his/her situation and desire to work.​​​​​​ Utilize the Initial Meeting Questions form for topics to address.

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

  1. Review VR Process and Services: 
    • Explain to the individual that VR:
      • Is a voluntary program
      • Is an eligibility program
      • Is an employment program for individuals and employers
      • Services are individualized based on his/her interests, abilities, and work experience.
  2. Discuss expectations and work history:
  • Review VR services requires a joint partnership from both parties (client and VR) to identify the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice, while assessing labor market information to develop a plan to obtain competitive-integrated employment.
  • Review how the VR team works and what the individual can expect from services.
  • Obtain a thorough work history with the goal of obtaining sufficient information and understanding to determine/assess Eligibility, Priority Group and identify any Employment Planning Readiness (EPR) Factors.
    • Review gaps in work history
    • Reasons for leaving jobs (disability or situational)
    • Discuss requirements of the jobs, were the work tasks consistent with the individual's disability? What happened & why?
    • Look for patterns in terminations, ability to maintain employment, etc. - disability related?
  • 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.
  • Addressing Employment Planning Readiness (EPR) Factors
    • Share with the individual any EPR Factors identified that may positively or negatively impact his/her ability to successfully participate in planning, services, and/or employment.
    • Discuss with the individual referral to an appropriate community resource(s) to address EPR Factors that may negatively impact his/her participation in planning, services and employment. See form Information and referral (I&R) to Other Programs http://webforms.vr.ne.gov/assets/vr_forms/322/original/I_Rotherprograms.pdf?1513688796
    • Identify with the individual EPR Factors to be addressed with services.
    • Review SSI/SSDI and ask individual about their Ticket to Work, if applicable.
    • Review and ensure proper documentation for non-citizen's eligibility to work and lawful presence (See Application & Transfer to Employment Program for process)
    • Does the individual have the proper work documents (2 forms of ID)?
    • If the individual self discloses any sexual offenses, first review the Sex Offender Policy and explore criminal history thoroughly.
    • Discuss whether it is an appropriate time to complete a VR application.
  1. Determine/Assess Eligibility:
    • Determine/assess the presence of an impairment(s). See VRIS Eligibility for further information on the process and specific impairments (hearing, sight, SSDI/SSI) and situations (Veterans and Workers Compensation).
    • Determine the presence of additional impairments not specifically reported, but implied: 
      • Difficulty with school - did they recieve accommodations or extra assistance?
      • Difficulty getting along with others - have they see a medical professional or received treatment?
      • History of DUI - have they seen a medical professional or received treatment?
      • 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? Are permanent restrictions identified? 
    • Determine/assess how the individual’s impairment(s) results in a substantial impediment to employment.
    • Determine/assess the individual can reach an employment outcome as a result of services. (Presumed)
  2. Determine/assess the individual requires VR services:
    • Requires vocational rehabilitation services means the person requires a planned and coordinated individualized program of specific vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in, or retain an employment outcome.
  3. Offer the opportunity to sign and complete the VR Application AND Information Release forms:                                                                                                                                           Both forms are required to be completed to apply for VR Services. See Application & Transfer to Employment Program Chapter http://webforms.vr.ne.gov/vr_forms/program_manual_chapters/376
    • Inform the individual the decision to apply is his/her decision.
    • Emphasize the commitment expected of the individual.
    • Refer individuals who decide not to apply to appropriate community resources and complete the Information and Referral to Other Programs.
    • Review with individual the backside of the application form (expectations, rights, CAP and mediation) .
    • Obtain applicant, and if appropriate authorized representative, dated signature(s).
    • Provide VR Representative dated signature.
    • Complete release of information form(s) with client.
      • Obtain applicant, and if appropriate authorized representative, dated signature(s).
      • Social Security clients have several releases and considerations. (See Eligibility - Social Security Recipients for further information)
      • If the individual self discloses any sexual offenses:
        • review policy regarding confidentiality.
        • Review the Release of Information form, specifically identifying the section pertaining to the Sex Offender Registry under “Consent to Release and Exchange Information” to assure the individual understands that VR will inform potential employers that he/she is on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry and/or convicted of any registrable offense under the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act prior to January 1, 1997, for the purpose of obtaining suitable employment.
        • Inform the individual their offense(s) creates significant limitations with respect to several career areas, and as a result, career planning and job placement goals may be impacted.
        • Inform individual a signed and completed VR Application and the VR Release of Information Form are required to be able to provide VR Services.
        • If the individual self discloses that he/she is not in compliance with the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act, Nebraska VR will not provide services to the individual until full compliance has occurred (Nebraska Sex Offender Registration and signature on VR Release). Review with Scott Summers by telephone (402-471-7828) or email (scott.summers@nebraska.gov).
        • Provide individual with a copy of all forms completed.
  4. Completing the Nebraska VR ABI Screen, if needed.
    • Complete the screen if the applicant answered “yes” or “not sure” to the ABI pre-screening question on the application. If the applicant answered “no”, no further action is needed.
    • Discuss results of the screen and challenges checklist 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.
    • Give the applicant a Nebraska Brain Injury Information, Referral and Resource Facilitation Services brochure (download from VRIS) and ask if they would like assistance in contacting the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska for information and referral services.
    • Email or fax the completed screen and challenges checklist to Keri Bennett, keri.bennett@nebraska.gov or (308) 865-5348. *For vocational planning purposes, it is recommended to refer eligible clients with challenges resulting from ABI for Vocational Evaluation (Perceptual Memory Task and VCWS 6 Independent Problem Solving) to assess the potential impact of their challenges on employment.
    • For guidance on neuropsychological assessment for ABI, conditions that warrant it, and neuropsychologist qualifications, refer to the Comprehensive and Brief Neuropsychological Evaluation Guides on VRIS under Resources. For additional help, contact Keri Bennett, Program Director for ABI.
  5. Summarize the Initial Meeting with the Individual:
    • Achieve agreement with the individual on what was discussed, decisions made and next steps.
    • Record the sexual offense(s) in the Summary of Initial Meeting Task note under the heading Legal Situation. Some offenses may not be readily identifiable as a sex offense. If there is any question about the nature of an offense, review it with Scott Summers by telephone (402-471-7828) or email scott.summers@nebraska.gov prior to taking an application.
    • Use 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.
  6. Refer individual to appropriate community resources:
    • 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 needs to assist with the information and referral process by providing community programs with 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. Consider introducing the vocational planning process:
    • Assess the appropriate next steps for vocational planning base on the individuals situation and needs.
    • Determine if the employment planning process Meet You Where You Are Model would be best introduced at the first meeting or at a subsequent meeting.
    • Discuss the opportunities to engage clients into the process as soon as possible through rapid engagement and the discovery phase of the Meet You Where You Are model.
    • Consider services and resources that have been identified to address each of the Employment Readiness Factors . If there are no services, providers or resources for a particular factor, developing an IPE and providing services may not be appropriate.
  8. Completing a Task Note for each Initial Meeting using the following section headings as appropriate to each session.
    • Why the individual came to VR
    • Presenting impairment
    • How the impairment causes vocational issues
    • General work history
    • General educational history
    • Family situation
    • Legal situation
    • Other agencies involved
    • Economic situation 
    • Impressions
    • Next steps

Approved Date
May 21, 2019 Show this Archived Version
October 02, 2018 Show this Archived Version


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