Benchmarks

Benchmarks are specific employment outcomes for which payments are made to the provider during the course of the SE process. 

These include

  • Benchmark 1A: Supported Employment Assessment (SEA);
  • Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan (SESP) Part 1;
  • Benchmark 2: Job Placement and SESP Part 2;
  • Benchmark 3: Four-Week Job Maintenance;
  • Benchmark 4: Eight-Week Job Maintenance;
  • Benchmark 5: Job Stability; and
  • Benchmark 6: Service Closure.

 

Competitive Integrated Employment

Competitive integrated employment is work in the competitive labor market

  • that is performed full-time (or the maximum number of hours possible) in an integrated work setting; and
  • for which the person is compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary or usual wage paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by people who do not have disabilities.

 

Discovery Process

The discovery process entails collecting information about the consumer through interviews and observations of his or her abilities in multiple settings on multiple occasions. Research indicates that the discovery process may take as many as 20 to 30 hours per consumer (The Job Developer's Handbook, Griffin, Hammis, Geary).

 

Extended Services and Supports

Extended Services and supports may be needed to maintain the employment outcome after a consumer's VR case has been closed. Extended Services and supports involve either on-or off-site monitoring (as requested by the consumer or legal representative) for as long as needed to ensure the consumer's job stability. These services are provided and funded by sources other than DARS and may include the employer. Both natural supports and paid supports, including Long-Term Supports and Services provided by other state and federal programs, can be used to facilitate Extended Services.

Long-Term Supports and Services (LTSS) are Extended Services and supports available through the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) or Texas Deoartment of State Health Services (DSHS). The counselor should get a copy of the individual service plan from the LTSS case manager or service coordinator. The service "Supported Employment," detailing the provider and the amount of units authorized, should be included on the plan when LTSS are used to provide any of the Extended Services and supports a consumer may need to maintain employment before the counselor closes the case. For assistance in coordinating with DADS, contact the program specialist for benefits and DADS.

 

Integrated Work Setting

An integrated work setting provides an environment where consumers with disabilities regularly interact with nondisabled employees and/or the general public.

 

Most Significant Disability

Most Significant Disability is a term used to describe a consumer who

  • can be expected to require multiple VR services for an extended period of time; and
  • has a severe physical or mental impairment that seriously limits three or more functional capacities such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills as they relate to achieving and/or maintaining competitive integrated employment.

 

Natural Supports

Natural supports are supports that exist naturally in a workplace and the community.

These are supports provided to an employee from supervisors and co-workers, such as mentoring, friendship, socializing at breaks or after work, providing feedback on job performance, or learning a new skill together. Friends, family, or volunteers who support the consumer's success with maintaining employment can also provide natural supports outside of the worksite. Examples of supports provided away from the worksite could include providing transportation, reporting of earned income to the Social Security Administration (SSA), providing feedback on attire and hygiene, or assisting with medication management. When natural support resources are not available, paid supports not funded by DARS can be used to ensure that a consumer maintains long-term employment.

 

Negotiable Employment Conditions

Negotiable Employment Conditions are preferences for working conditions and the things that a consumer would like the placement provider to consider when looking for suitable employment.

 

Non-negotiable Employment Conditions

Non-negotiable Employment Conditions are those conditions that a consumer and counselor have indicated must or must not be present in an employment placement. The placement provider must always assure these conditions are met when looking for an employment placement for the consumer.

Examples of non-negotiable conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • The job needs to be on a particular bus route.
  • The consumer must earn a certain dollar amount per hour.
  • The consumer must work at least 15 but no more than 20 hours per week.
  • The job must not require duties the consumer is unwilling to perform.
  • The worksite must allow for an onsite job coach.

 

Person-Centered Planning

In person-centered planning, the process and the products are owned and controlled by the person (consumer). The process creates a comprehensive portrait of who the person is and what the person wants to do with his or her life. It brings together all the people who are important to the person, including family members, friends, neighbors, support workers, and other professionals. This team identifies the skills and abilities that can help the person achieve his or her goals for competitive integrated employment, independent living, continuing education, and full inclusion in the community. The team also identifies areas in which the person may need assistance and support and decides how it can best meet those needs.

 

Quality Criteria

Quality Criteria are points of reference used by DARS counselors and VR staff when they review provider documentation and services rendered to determine whether certain conditions and outcomes were achieved by the consumer and/or the provider. Quality Criteria, which must be effectively documented on the appropriate DARS reporting forms, must be met before the DARS counselor may authorize payment to the provider.

 

Significant Disability

Significant Disability is a term used to describe a consumer who

  • can be expected to require multiple VR services for an extended period of time; and
  • has a severe physical or mental impairment that seriously limits one or more functional capacities such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills as they relate to achieving and/or maintaining competitive integrated employment.

 

Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Employment Network

For providers who are also employment networks as defined by the SSA, see 5.13 SSA/VR Ticket to Work Partnership Plus—EN Employment Advancement Payments.

 

Supported Employment

Supported Employment (SE) is competitive employment in an integrated work setting, consistent with the consumer's

  • strengths,
  • resources,
  • priorities,
  • concerns,
  • abilities,
  • capabilities,
  • interests, and
  • informed choice.

SE services are appropriate for the consumer with the most significant disabilities who meets all the following criteria:

  • The consumer has not worked or has worked only intermittently, in competitive integrated employment.
  • The consumer has been determined eligible for VR services based on a comprehensive assessment, including consideration of SE as an employment outcome.
  • The consumer needs Extended Services to maintain employment following successful VR closure.
  • The consumer can maintain competitive integrated employment with necessary supports.

This definition includes transitional employment for people with the most significant disabilities caused by chronic mental illness.

 

Transitional Employment for Consumers with Chronic Mental Illness

Transitional employment is a series of temporary job placements in competitive integrated employment in integrated work settings for consumers who need support services on or off the worksite. In transitional employment, the SE services must include continuing job placements until a suitable employment outcome is achieved.