12-152-1 Me. Code R. § 9

Current through 2021-46, November 24, 2021
Section 152-1-9 - VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES

Maine DVR will provide, as appropriate to the vocational rehabilitation needs of each eligible individual, and consistent with each individual's informed choice, any goods or services determined necessary for the individual to achieve an employment outcome and are documented in an IPE or are necessary as part of the comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs. Services that are of sufficient quality will be provided, as cost effectively as possible. Core services are defined as all services included in 9.1 to 9.14, but are not limited to:

1. An assessment for determining eligibility, priority for services, and for determining vocational rehabilitation needs;
2. Vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance and job related services, including job search and placement assistance, customized employment, job coaching, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services.
3. Referral and other services necessary to help applicants and eligible individuals secure needed services from other agencies, and to advise those individuals about the Client Assistance Program,
4. Physical and mental restoration services necessary to correct, or to substantially modify, a physical or mental condition of an individual that is stable or slowly progressive. In the purchase of medical goods or services, Maine DVR uses the prevailing Maine Medicaid Assistance fee schedule, except for certain diagnostic services.
5. Home modification services, which may include those adaptive devices and structural changes necessary for the eligible to function independently, in order to achieve a vocational goal. Funds for home modifications may not be applied to the purchase or construction of a new residence. The DVR expenditure limit is $10,000 for homes owned by an individual and/or family, or $5000 for a rental property. Exceptions to the financial limit for home modifications are allowable if individual client needs cannot be addressed within the specified financial limit.
6. Post-Secondary, Vocational and Occupational Training Services;
A. Degree-Granting programs: Post-secondary training is that training offered by accredited institutions which qualify for federal financial student aid; and, is provided only when necessary to achieve an employment outcome consistent with the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and informed choice.
(1) Financial Considerations
(a) Maine DVR's contribution will be based upon the degree granting institution's Financial Aid Office (FAO) needs analysis, and the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor's examination of actual costs and disability related expenses. DVR's contribution toward post-secondary training may not be provided unless maximum efforts have been made to secure assistance in whole, or in part, from the Federal Financial Student Aid Program and other sources. An individual must make and provide evidence of a reasonable effort to resolve grant awards and student loans in default prior to obligation of DVR funds. When an individual owes a refund on a previous grant award or has a student loan in default, has limited or no financial resources, has made a reasonable repayment effort, and still fails to reach an agreement with the lender/grantor, it may be reasonable to conclude that maximum effort has been made to secure grant assistance.
(b) Students are encouraged to make their own choice of educational institutions that have both the academic programs and disability related supports needed to help them reach the vocational goal in their IPE, whether they are public or private or in-state or out of state institutions. DVR will provide funding in a cost-effective manner ensuring sufficient quality to meet the student's needs. However, the maximum Maine DVR contribution will not exceed the current rate for tuition, fees, on-campus room and board, and related expenses at the Community College Program minus Pell Grant and expected student and family contribution for the first two (2) years or equivalent credit hours; except when the individual's disability related needs and/or vocational goal can be met only by a more costly available post-secondary vocational training opportunity. For students pursuing a Bachelor's degree the remaining course work will be funded up to the University of Maine current rate for tuition, fees, on-campus room and board, and related expenses minus grant assistance and expected family contribution.
(c) Maine DVR's contribution may not exceed the maximum DVR determined contribution of actual costs plus disability related expenses. Disability related expenses are defined as specific assistive technology, or other disability related goods and services that are required to accommodate the individual with disabilities while in attendance at, living on campus, and/or commuting to the post-secondary institution. The responsibility for reasonable accommodations for DVR clients attending postsecondary training is specified in the current Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System.
(d) DVR's contribution cannot replace the Family contribution, except if the individual in need of the service has been determined eligible for Social Security benefits under titles II or XVI (SSI/SSDI) of the Social Security Act. Recipients of SSI/SSDI are not subject to a financial means test.
(e) When appropriate, Maine DVR shall encourage individuals with disabilities to participate in the cost of attendance through the use of scholarships, college work study and/or student loans. However, individual DVR clients will not be required to apply for scholarships or accept student loan and/or college work study. If the student is awarded scholarships and/or accepts a student loan, DVR will consider actual costs and unmet need when determining DVR contributions towards the cost of post-secondary training.
(2) Academic Requirements
(a) Students must demonstrate academic progress (successfully completing a course load of at least six (6) credit hours per semester), maintain eligibility for Financial Aid, and continue to make progress toward meeting the employment outcome goal written in the IPE. Note: If an individual encounters unforeseen or disability related circumstances that interfere with meeting the minimum course load requirements, DVR may continue sponsorship of the student who takes one course during that semester, however, VR will not support a reduced course load beyond 2 consecutive semesters.
(b) If the individual is placed on academic probation, he/she has one grading period in which to attain good standing. Maine DVR sponsorship will terminate after that grading period unless the client achieves good standing.
(3) DVR will provide post-secondary education services beyond the baccalaureate level only when:
(a) The individual requires advanced training to enter employment within the agreed upon profession in the IPE which is consistent with the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, career interests, and informed choice, and;
(b) The individual is unable to function in an appropriate career position while simultaneously completing an advance degree due to limitations related to their disabilities, and;
(c) Funding levels for tuition and other direct school cost will be limited to levels equal to the University of Maine Graduate rates.
B. Certification and Occupational Training

This is skill and occupational-specific training offered by a qualified training program.

(1) DVR reserves the right to use programs that meet state or national certification requirements.
(2) The skills training must provide documentation of competency at the completion of the program.
(3) Certification and Occupational Training is provided only when necessary to achieve an employment outcome in an integrated setting consistent with the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, informed choice, and written in the IPE.
(4) All DVR sponsored participants must apply for Federal Financial Student Aid whenever it is available
(5) Requirements specified in 9.6.1 for disability related expenses, choice of institutions, part-time students and academic progress also apply in this section.
C. On-the-job training: This is training completed at the place of employment where the individual with a disability is trained to complete the specific functions of the job during a predefined time period. Specific costs are negotiated with the employer and may include job specific classroom training, wage reimbursement for a specific period of time, equipment and/or job related material purchase and other negotiated expenses directly related to the job.

On-the-job training requires a written agreement among the client, counselor, and employer, which states the hourly wage, responsibility for Workers' Compensation coverage, and any other conditions of employment. When an eligible individual is receiving on-the-job training, the conditions of training, certification and wage payment must comply with applicable State and Federal wage and hour laws.

7. Interpreter services and note-taking services for individuals who are deaf, including tactile interpreting for individuals who are deaf-blind; reader services, rehabilitation teaching services, note-taking services and orientation and mobility services for individuals who are blind; telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices.
8. Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, initial stocks and supplies necessary in order to enter an occupation. Maine DVR will not purchase land or buildings for individuals with disabilities. Maine DVR retains the right to reclaim occupational tools and equipment purchased by the agency in instances when the individual's IPE is not completed, the vocational goal is changed resulting in purchased tools and equipment not being needed and/or the case is closed "Not Rehabilitated"
9. Self-Employment: DVR will assist the person, as needed, in the development of a business plan and in the process of securing loans and other financial resources for the development of a business of which the individual will operate and own at least 51%. Hence, non-profit ventures are not considered self-employment and cannot be supported by this policy. Persons with a self-employment objective are expected to pursue resources to finance the start-up of their business. The DVR expenditure limit is $7,500 for self-sufficient business that will generate income for the individual at a sufficient level that the individual needs no supplemental income from any public source, such as SSI, SSDI, TANF, etc., and $2,500 for self-employment with income projected at a lesser level that will allow the continuance of public benefits. DVR will not expend funds to support hobbies, which are defined as activities carried on with no intent to make a profit. Exceptions to the financial limit for self-employment are allowable if necessary to achieve the individual's IPE employment goal.
A. Every VR client that intends to pursue self-employment is required to attend self- employment orientation, and complete a comprehensive business plan, utilizing technical assistance as needed and as defined in guidance.
B. The VR Counselor will base support of the plan based on the careful review of considerations of the VR approved business consultant's appraisal of viability and recommendations, which is a requirement for all self-sufficiency plans.
C. Costs incurred in training of the client or in the development and review of the business plan should not be included in the maximum expenditure limit. Before VR funds are expended on implementing the business plan, individuals will be expected to contribute to their self-employment venture in the form of cash, loans, grants, materials, or in-kind labor. The DVR Counselor and/or business consultant will assist individuals in exploring and applying for these additional resources.
D. For plans that are expected to provide self-sufficiency, consumers must have a good record of credit, or exhibit a pattern of managing existing debt.
E. Maine DVR retains the right to reclaim occupational tools and equipment purchased by the agency in instances when the individual's IPE is not completed, the vocational goal is changed resulting in purchased tools and equipment not being needed and/or the case is closed "Not Rehabilitated"
10. Time-limited ongoing support services for persons with the most significant disabilities who require job site training and a variety of ongoing support services to achieve a supported employment outcome in a competitive integrated setting..
A. Supported-employment is defined as follows:
(1) Competitive integrated employment, including customized employment, or employment in an integrated work setting in which an individual is working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment, consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment:
(a) has not traditionally occurred, or;
(b) has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of significant disability; and;
(c) because of the nature and severity of their disability, needs intensive supported-employment services and extended services after the transition from DVR support in order to perform the work.
(2) Short-term basis means that an individual can reasonably achieve competitive integrated employment within six (6) months of achieving a supported employment outcome, not to exceed twelve (12) months in limited circumstances based upon the needs of the individual and demonstrated progress towards competitive earnings.
B. DVR may provide extended services to a youth with a disability for a period not to exceed four (4) years or until that youth reaches Age 25. Extended services are defined as ongoing support services and other appropriate services that are needed to support an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment.
C. DVR may provide ongoing support services to individuals for up to twenty-four months, unless the IPE indicates that more than twenty-four months of services are necessary in order for the individual to achieve job stability prior to transition to extended services; or under special circumstances the eligible individual and the VR counselor jointly agree to extend the time to achieve the employment outcome identified in the IPE.
11. Post-Employment Services: An eligible individual who was determined rehabilitated may receive services necessary to assist that individual to maintain, regain or advance in employment, consistent with the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. Post-employment services require an amendment to the IPE. Post-employment services are available to meet rehabilitation needs that do not require a complex and comprehensive provision of services and thus, are limited in scope of two or less services and duration of six months or less. If more comprehensive services are required, and/or there is a new disabling condition and/or it has been longer than three-years since the case was closed successfully, then a new application for DVR services should be completed.
A. Support services will be provided only to support core services.
B. Services with the goal of advancement should be provided only if the disabling condition is a barrier to advancement. Services must be necessary to overcome disability related barriers to employment.
12. Rehabilitation technology services may be provided to meet the needs, and address the barriers confronted by individuals with disabilities necessary to achieve an employment outcome in areas which include education, rehabilitation, employment, transportation, independent living, and recreation.

Rehabilitation technology services may be provided at any time in the rehabilitation process, including the assessment for determining eligibility, vocational rehabilitation needs, trial work experiences, services provided under an IPE, annual reviews of ineligibility decisions, annual reviews of extended employment in rehabilitation facilities, and post-employment services. Rehabilitation technology services include vehicle modifications, telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices.

The recommended expenditure limit for vehicle modifications is $12,000. Exceptions to the financial limit for vehicle modifications are allowable if individual client needs cannot be addressed within the specified financial limit.

13. Transition services and Pre-Employment Transition Services
A. Transition services are a coordinated set of activities for youth with disabilities not older than Age 24 to achieve an employment outcome in a competitive integrated setting. These services promote the movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported-employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities must be based upon the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's preferences and interests, and include, as appropriate, instruction, community experience, the development of employment and other post-school adult objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. Transition services must promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the student's individualized plan for employment.

DVR will assist in transition planning and in the development of student's individualized education plan. For students eligible for services with an agreed upon vocational goal, DVR is expected to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment within 90 days of eligibility and, whenever possible before the student leaves the school setting. In providing transition services, DVR will facilitate the use of community-based services to the extent they are available and appropriate. Services will be provided in the most cost effective manner.

B. Pre-Employment Transition Services are available to eligible or potentially eligible students with a disability, who are between Age 14 (9th grade) and no older than Age 21, enrolled in a secondary, postsecondary, or other recognized education program. Potentially Eligible students are those who meet the definition of a student with a disability and who have not yet applied and been found eligible (or ineligible) for VR services. Pre-Employment Transition Services are meant to be delivered in coordination with schools and do not relieve the schools of any of their responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These services may be offered in group settings. Pre-Employment Transition Services include:
(1) Job exploration counseling;
(2) Work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, experiences outside of the traditional school setting, and/or internships;
(3) Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs;
(4) Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living;
(5) Instruction in self-advocacy.
14. Other goods and services determined necessary for the individual to achieve an employment outcome.
15. Support Services

Note: Support Services are only to be provided so the client can derive benefit from other core VR Services that are included the IPE or comprehensive assessment of rehabilitation needs.

A. Maintenance for additional expenses, such as food, shelter, and clothing that are in excess of usual expenses of the individual and that are necessitated by the individual's participation in a rehabilitation program. Before providing these services with VR funds, the VR Counselor (VRC) will determine the most cost effective option available and that all other resources have been utilized.
B. Transportation
(1) Transportation including travel, and related expenses that are necessary to enable an applicant or eligible individual to participate in a vocational rehabilitation service and achieve an employment outcome in the most cost effective means possible.
(2) Transportation services (that address ongoing transportation needs) will be provided in an Individualized Employment Plan only where there is an indication that there is an ability to sustain transportation after closure.
(3) Method of Reimbursement: Cost associated with transportation will be reimbursed based on actual costs necessary to participate in the VR planned services. When using personal automobiles this may include gas, and tolls, parking and other costs such as insurance and registration, which are mutually agreed upon and pre authorized by the VRC. Where transportation is financed by the VR, the agency will only pay at a rate and frequency as mutually agreed upon and preauthorized, and in accordance with the State of Maine Office of the Controller travel reimbursement policies.
(4) Repair: The VRC is authorized to consult with a certified mechanic for an overview and advise on the value of the car and the cost/benefit of repairing a vehicle. DVR will not pay for repairs that exceed the value of the vehicle. DVR will not pay for routine vehicle maintenance expenses. DVR may limit its payment for repairs based upon the percentage that the vehicle is used for travel necessary to participate in the VR planned services.
(5) Purchase of Vehicle: Maine DVR will not assist in the purchase of a vehicle unless it is the most cost effective option available and all other resources have been utilized. Any vehicle purchased with DVR assistance will have a current State of Maine inspection sticker. DVR may limit the amount of its assistance in the purchase of a vehicle in accordance with DVR's procedural directives.
C. Services to an applicant's/client's family members when those services are necessary to the vocational rehabilitation of the eligible individual;
D. Personal assistance services necessary to achieve an employment outcome provided while an individual with a disability is receiving DVR services.

12-152 C.M.R. ch. 1, § 9