Approved Date: October 02, 2018
The agency must provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services, as appropriate to all eligible individuals who apply. When funding is not sufficient to serve all eligible individuals the agency must implement an Order of Selection policy (OOS). An individual’s priority in the OOS will be determined at the time of eligibility based on the individual’s specific functional limitations of their disabling condition(s). Those in Priority Group One will be served first, those in Priority Group Two second and those in Priority Group Three served last.
Functional limitations are NOT based on future or projected job goals or environmental factors (lack of transportation, etc.). The distinction between a substantial impediment to employment for purposes of eligibility and a serious functional limitation for purposes of establishing priority for service is one of degree and scope. The degree and scope is serious if an individual can only perform a function, or can only learn to perform a function with a significant accommodation and/or substantial support.
Should a client be assigned to a closed priority group, the client will be given the opportunity to be placed on a waiting list until resources are available to remove clients from the waiting list to receive services. A client can subsequently be moved to a higher priority group if information becomes available indicating additional or more severe functional limitations.
Descriptions of Priority Categories:
Priority Group 1: Has a severe physical or mental impairment resulting in a rating of very low in two or more functional areas.
Priority Group 2: Has a severe physical or mental impairment that results in a very low rating in one functional area or receives SSDI or SSI based on a disability. Individuals who receive SSDI or SSI automatically qualify for priority group two and are assessed to determine whether they qualify for priority group one.
Priority Group 3: All eligible individuals. These individuals must have a low rating in at least one of the seven functional areas.
Procedure for Applicants
1. The VR Specialist meets with applicant to complete the initial meeting:
2. It is strongly recommended the VR Specialist use the Functional Capacity Checklist and Discovery Booklet to assist with the determination of eligibility and priority group assignment. This will help to ensure a determination can be made for the most appropriate priority group. If you complete the Discovery Booklet, offer the information to the client and maintain a copy or original in client’s case file.
3. Assessment services can only be used to determine eligibility and priority groups.
Assessment services may include:
Reminder: Benefits Orientation cannot be provided to individuals in a closed priority group (Does not apply to Pre-Ets). Individuals receiving Social Security Disability need to be provided information about Employment Networks in Nebraska and include a discussion regarding the Ticket to Work program. For more information, refer to the VRIS Ticket - to Work chapter.
4. Determine eligibility within 60 days from the date of application, unless exceptional and unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the VR Specialist preclude making the decision. If it appears the eligibility determination will exceed the 60-day timeframe, a QE2 Eligibility Extension is required. The applicant must be contacted and agree to the specific extension of time and this needs to be completed PRIOR to the 60-day timeframe actually expiring.
5. The VR Specialist is required to meet with the applicant to discuss eligibility and the assigned priority group decision. This discussion needs to take place prior to the actual approval of the QE2 Priority Group Determination being completed. All the information can be placed into QE2 without the actual approval being completed. This will give the applicant and VR Specialist the opportunity to review the information and have a discussion as to the why the eligibility and priority group assignment was made. As part of this discussion, the individual will have the opportunity to share any further information that may need to be considered.
6. Information and referral services are required to be provided whether or not the individual chooses to apply for VR services, priority group(s) are closed and/or the individual chooses not to be placed on the waiting list. Nebraska VR must provide information and referral to community resources and partners in the statewide workforce (e.g., American Job Center, Adult Education, Independent Living Centers, Employment Networks, counseling, college and career centers, etc.). This process takes place during the mandatory meeting to discuss eligibility and priority group assignment.
Below are the steps included in the information and referral process:
7. An Eligibility/Priority Group letter will be generated upon completion of the priority group determination approval in QE2. The Eligibility/Priority Group letter will be sent by the State Office to the client. An auto generated task note will be created indicating the letter has been sent. If the individual requires the Eligibility/Priority Group letter to be in Spanish, the VR Specialist needs to notify the state office immediately so the proper letter can be sent.
8. The VR Specialist will be provided a copy of the Eligibility/Priority Group letter generated from the State Office. This letter needs to be maintained in the casefile. It will have the date the letter was sent and will serve as notification of the next step in the process. The client in an open priority group can begin receiving services immediately. Those in a closed priority group can be placed on the waiting list. Applicants who have not already stated a preference for being placed on the waiting list will be contacted by the VR Specialist to determine their interest of being placed on the waiting list. If there is no response to the letter and attempted contacts from the VR staff, the case will be closed by the VR Specialist after 30 days.
9. If an individual's priority is needing to be upgraded while they are on the waiting list, the justification needs to be entered in a TASK note, as well as the QE2 Eligibility screen and followed by the OOS Priority Upgrading letter being sent to the client by the local VR Office.
Exceptions to Policy on OOS
Job retention is a priority of WIOA and Nebraska VR has established an exception to the Priority Groups for these cases. To be considered for this exception, the eligible individual needs to be in a situation where they would almost certainly lose their current job if not provided specific services or equipment in the very near future that would enable them to retain that employment.The VR Specialist will determine eligibility and assign a priority group based on the individual’s functional capacities. No matter what priority group the client is assigned to or if the priority group is open or closed, clients eligible for Job Retention will receive the specific services or equipment required to retain their employment.
Job Retention Services Checklist for clients in a closed priority category:
Upon receiving the notification of Not Approved, the VR Specialist will meet with the individual and discusses the eligibility determination, provide the required information and referral services and offer the opportunity to be placed on the waiting list. The waiting list letter will include the Client Assistance Program and this information should also be included in the discussion.
Procedure for Managing Waiting List
Pre-Employment Transition Services
The agency must provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals who apply. When funding is not sufficient to serve all eligible individuals the agency must implement an Order of Selection policy (OOS). An individual’s priority in the OOS will be determined at the time of eligibility based on the individual’s specific functional limitations of the disabling condition, not on projected job goals or limitations the individual might have in the future. Those in Priority Group One will be served first, those in Priority Group Two second and those in Priority Group Three served last. Should a client be assigned to a closed priority group, the client will be given the opportunity to be placed on a waiting list until resources are available to remove clients from the waiting list to receive services.
The Order of Selection shall NOT be based on any other factors, including:
Upon the implementation of the Order of Selection (OOS), Nebraska VR will continue to provide services to:
Information and Referral
Exceptions to Policy on OOS
Job retention is a priority of WIOA and Nebraska VR has established an exception to the Priority Groups.
See PROCESS section for specific requirements.
The VR Specialist will determine eligibility and assign a priority group based on the individual’s functional capacities. No matter what priority group the client is assigned to or if the priority group is open or closed, this client will receive specific services or equipment to determined necessary to maintain employment.
Pre-Employment Transition Services - See Process
|Functional Capacities Checklist|
|Guide for Approval of Eligibility and Priority Groups|
|Order of Selection Off Waiting List Letter|
|Pre-Employment Transition Services Eligibility/Priority Group Letter (New Students) Order of Selection|
|Order of Selection Retention Letter|
|Information and Referral (I & R) to Other Programs|
|Order of Selection Fact Sheet|
|Order of Selection Eligibility/Priority Group Letter|
|Order of Selection Upgrading Priority Group Letter|