ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
ED

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About RSA



1. What programs exist to help people with disabilities become employed?

While several programs exist to assist individuals with disabilities to become employed, the primary one overseen by the Department of Education is the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. Under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), States receive Federal grants to operate a comprehensive VR program. These funds are awarded to designated State VR agencies within each State. This State-operated program is designed to assess, plan, develop, and provide VR services to eligible individuals with disabilities, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, informed choice, and economic self-sufficiency. By providing services, the VR program enables individuals with disabilities to prepare for and engage in employment. The VR program is an integral part of a statewide workforce development system.

 



2. Who is eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation program?

According to section 102(a) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, to be eligible for VR services, an individual must be an "individual with a disability" under section 7(20)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment which constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment for the individual; and
  • Requires VR services to prepare for, secure, retain, advance in, or regain employment.
The VR agency must presume that an individual who meets these eligibility criteria can benefit from VR services to achieve an employment outcome.
Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are presumed to be eligible for VR services leading to employment, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that they are too significantly disabled to benefit from VR services.

 



3. If I am eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation program, do I automatically receive services?

Not all individuals who are eligible will receive VR services. The Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, requires the VR program to serve individuals with the most significant disabilities first when there are not enough resources to serve everyone who is eligible for VR services. This means that individuals with the most significant disabilities are given a priority over those with less significant disabilities. This process is called an "order of selection."

 



4. How do I apply for services?

To apply for services, an individual may submit a written application. An individual will be considered to have "submitted an application" when he/she "requests" VR services and provides sufficient information for the VR agency to determine eligibility. A VR agency must determine within 60 days of application unless the VR counselor and individual agree to an extension.

 



5. What services can the Vocational Rehabilitation program provide?

According to Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, VR services are those services that an eligible individual may need in order to achieve his/her employment outcome. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • an assessment for determining eligibility and VR needs;
  • vocational counseling, guidance, and referral services;
  • physical and mental restoration services;
  • vocational and other training, including personal and vocational adjustment services, books, tools, and other training materials;
  • maintenance for additional costs incurred while the individual is receiving certain VR services;
  • transportation related to other VR services;
  • interpreter services for individuals who are deaf;
  • reader services for individuals who are blind;
  • transition services for students and youth with disabilities that facilitate the transition from school to postsecondary life, such as achievement of an employment outcome in competitive integrated employment or pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities;
  • personal assistance services (including training in managing, supervising, and directing personal assistance services) while an individual is receiving VR services;
  • rehabilitation technology services and devices;
  • customized employment;
  • supported employment services;
  • job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services; and
  • specific post-employment services necessary to assist an individual with a disability to, retain, regain, or advance in employment.

 



6. Are there grants or scholarships available for people with disabilities who want to go to college?

Policies for providing financial assistance to persons with disabilities who are attending postsecondary education vary among State VR agencies, depending in part on the resources available to the State VR agency. In many cases, even the most generous of financial assistance provided by VR agencies will not cover all of a student’s expected expenses, leaving a need for additional family contributions or loans. Students with disabilities should apply for Federal financial assistance from the same financial aid programs available to all students. To learn more about financial assistance available for students, go to: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/

 



7. How do I contact the Vocational Rehabilitation agency in my state?

The URL https://rsa.ed.gov/people.cfm?tab=2 provides a list of State VR agencies nationwide. Contact the one in your State for more information.

 



8. What can I do if I am not satisfied with my experience with the Vocational Rehabilitation program?

Although RSA administers the VR program in each State, our authority to intervene in individual cases is limited. One of our primary roles is to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to exercise their rights to due process when they believe their rights have been violated.

Section 102(c) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, establishes an appeals process for individuals who are dissatisfied with the services that the VR program is or is not providing. The Rehabilitation Act gives individuals the right to pursue mediation as a means of resolving the complaint against the agency. The Rehabilitation Act also establishes a formal hearing process and a judicial review process for individuals. You may use any or all of these methods of appeal in order to resolve your concerns.

The Rehabilitation Act also establishes the Client Assistance Program (CAP) to assist individuals in resolving disputes with the VR agency. CAP has the authority to advocate on an individual’s behalf to resolve a dispute between the individual and the VR agency. You can contact the CAP in your State directly for further advice and assistance regarding your rights to appeal.

 



9. I am a student looking for financial assistance to help me become a rehabilitation professional. Do you have a scholarship program that can help me?

Yes. RSA funds universities to provide scholarships to students interested in working as rehabilitation professionals in support of the public rehabilitation program. To find out how the program works, how to apply, and which universities participate, visit the scholarship section of the RSA Training Program website

 



10. How do I learn more about RSA?

RSA’s mission is to provide leadership and resources to assist State and other agencies in providing VR and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence, and integration into the community and the competitive labor market. The most up to date information on all RSA programs and initiatives can be found on our What’s New page. Stay in touch with RSA by signing up for email updates. We offer emails on a variety of topics.

 


Last Modified: 06/20/2017

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/09/2018

Frequently Asked Questions About WIOA



FAQs jointly developed by the Departments of Education and Labor

See also these FAQs developed by RSA



 


This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/09/2018

Integrated Location Criteria of the Definition of “Competitive Integrated Employment” FAQs

January 18, 2017



1. What are the criteria that an employment setting must satisfy to be considered an integrated location?

With respect to an employment outcome for purposes of the VR program, under 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(9)(ii) and 361.5(c)(32)(ii), an employment setting must meet two criteria to be considered an integrated location and satisfy the definition of “competitive integrated employment.” The employment setting must be:

  • Typically found in the community; and
  • Where the employee with a disability interacts, for the purpose of performing the duties of the position, with other employees within the particular work unit and the entire work site, and, as appropriate to the work performed, other persons (e.g., customers and vendors) who are not individuals with disabilities (not including supervisory personnel or individuals who are providing services to such employee) to the same extent that employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who are in comparable positions interact with these persons.
 



2. Is the regulatory definition of “competitive integrated employment,” with respect to the integrated location criteria, consistent with the statutory definition?

Yes, the regulatory definition of the term “competitive integrated employment” is consistent with the statutory definition. The definition of this term in section 7(5) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, for the most part incorporates the prior regulatory definition of “integrated setting.” This latter term and its definition have existed in the VR program regulations since at least 1997 (62 FR 6308, 6337 (February 11, 1997)). Therefore, the substance of the definitions of “competitive integrated employment” in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(9)(ii) and “integrated setting” in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(32)(ii), for purposes of the VR program, with respect to the integrated nature of the employment location is familiar to VR agencies and does not diverge from prior regulations, long-standing Department policy, VR agency practice, and the heightened emphasis on competitive integrated employment throughout the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA.

Further, there is no indication in the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, or the limited legislative history, that Congress intended to alter the scope of the integrated setting criteria of the definition of “competitive integrated employment.” Therefore, the definition of “competitive integrated employment” in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(9)(ii), while not verbatim, is nonetheless consistent with the definition of the term at section 7(5) of the Rehabilitation Act, prior regulations, and long-standing Department policy.

 



3. Do the integrated location criteria in the definition of “competitive integrated employment” restrict the informed choice of individuals with disabilities?

No. Two of the core purposes of WIOA are to ensure that: (1) individuals who face barriers to employment, such as individuals with disabilities, receive the services and supports they need to acquire the skills necessary to obtain competitive integrated employment; and (2) employers receive the training, technical assistance, and other services they need to understand and tap into the full potential of individuals with disabilities in the workforce, for example through supported employment or customized employment (see section 100(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act). Through these efforts, individuals with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, have more employment opportunities. However, if an individual chooses to pursue employment in a non-integrated setting, he or she may still do so with assistance from other programs, as has been true since October 1, 2001, when the Department limited the definition of “employment outcome,” for purposes of the VR program, to jobs in integrated settings (see 66 FR 7249, 7252 (January 22, 2001)). In addition, section 102(b)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA, and 34 CFR §361.46(a)(1) require that each individualized plan for employment contain an employment goal consistent with the general goal of competitive integrated employment (see also 34 CFR §361.45(b)(2)). Thus, individuals have the opportunity to exercise informed choice in the selection of employment goals that satisfy the definition of “employment outcome” and “competitive integrated employment,” consistent with section 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR §361.52 (Informed choice).

The overarching objective is to enable all individuals with disabilities participating in the VR program to pursue competitive integrated employment, and still exercise informed choice as to the kind of employment they want to pursue. Under 34 CFR §361.37(b), VR agencies must refer individuals with disabilities to appropriate programs and service providers best suited to address the specific rehabilitation, independent living, and employment needs of an individual with a disability who makes an informed choice not to pursue an employment outcome under the VR program (i.e., competitive integrated employment or supported employment), as defined in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(15). Prior to making the referrals, VR agencies must: (1) explain to the individuals that the purpose of the VR program is to assist individuals to achieve an employment outcome as defined in §361.5(c)(15); (2) provide the individuals with information concerning the availability of employment options, and of VR services, to assist the individuals to achieve an appropriate employment outcome; (3) inform the individuals that services under the VR program can be provided to eligible individuals in an extended employment setting if necessary for purposes of training or otherwise preparing for employment in an integrated setting; (4) inform the individuals that, if they initially choose not to pursue an employment outcome as defined in §361.5(c)(15), they can seek services from the VR agency at a later date if, at that time, they choose to pursue an employment outcome; and (5) refer the individuals, as appropriate, to the Social Security Administration in order to obtain information concerning the ability of individuals with disabilities to work while receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration (34 CFR §361.37(b)(1) through (5)).

Non-integrated employment remains a viable, interim option for purposes of preparing participants in the VR program for employment in integrated settings, and continues to be a long-term employment option through sources other than the VR program for those individuals who prefer to work in these employment settings. For these reasons, providers of non-integrated employment have served, and will continue to serve, as a source of employment for individuals with significant disabilities. The definition of “competitive integrated employment reflects the heightened emphasis throughout the Act, as amended by WIOA, that individuals with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, can achieve employment in the community and economic self-sufficiency if provided appropriate services and supports. Because VR agencies have been unable to assist individuals with disabilities to obtain sheltered employment through the VR program since October 2001, the vast majority of individuals have accessed sheltered employment through other sources or on their own initiative. Therefore, §361.5(c)(9) will not affect the availability of sheltered employment for individuals who choose this form of employment, or for whom it is a legitimate and necessary option.

 



4. Who is responsible for determining whether an employment setting is in an integrated location and satisfies the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?

VR agencies - not OSERS - must determine on a case-by-case basis in light of the facts presented whether an employment setting meets both criteria for an integrated location. VR agencies have the ability to visit employment sites and gather the facts necessary for these determinations. Therefore, the VR agency is responsible for determining whether the jobs performed by individuals with disabilities employed by community rehabilitation programs satisfy the definition of “competitive integrated employment” when individuals seek the VR agency’s assistance in obtaining these positions. If the VR agency, after applying the criteria to the facts related to the particular job, determines that a position is in non-integrated employment, under 34 CFR §361.37(b), it must refer the individual interested in the position to other programs, including community rehabilitation programs, for assistance in obtaining his or her chosen employment goal. In considering whether a position is in non-integrated employment, VR agencies should consider the guidance provided in the preamble to the 2016 final regulations (81 FR at 55641-55645) as summarized in pertinent part in these FAQs.

 



5. What is meant by “typically found in the community,” as used in the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?

Employment settings that are “typically found in the community” are those in the competitive labor market (81 FR at 55642). Settings established by community rehabilitation programs specifically for the purpose of employing individuals with disabilities (e.g., sheltered workshops) do not constitute integrated settings because these settings are not typically found in the competitive labor market--the first of two criteria that must be satisfied if a VR agency is to determine that a work setting is an integrated location under 34 CFR §361.5(c)(9).

The Department has long considered several factors that generally would result in a business being considered “not typically found in the community,” which include: (1) the funding of positions through Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act contracts or State purchase programs; (2) allowances under the Fair Labor Standards Act for compensatory subminimum wages; and (3) compliance with a mandated direct labor-hour ratio of persons with disabilities. It is the responsibility of the VR agency to take these factors into account when determining if a position in a particular work location is an integrated setting.

 



6. What does RSA mean by “work unit,” as used in the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?

The use of the phrase “work unit” in the definition of “competitive integrated employment,” is consistent with the Department’s long-standing policy on integrated settings. The term “work unit” properly focuses the consideration of the interaction of the individual with the disability with employees without disabilities on the particular job and the environment in which the work is performed. As used in the definition, “work unit” may refer to all employees in a particular job category or to a group of employees working together to accomplish tasks, depending on the employer’s organizational structure (81 FR at 55643). The level of integration experienced by all individuals with disabilities employed by a community rehabilitation program is not the same and is dependent on the circumstances of the particular job within each work unit of the organization. Therefore, some employment opportunities offered by community rehabilitation programs may be considered to be in “integrated locations,” and thus satisfy the definition of “competitive integrated employment,” while others may not.

For example, a community rehabilitation program may consist of two divisions or “work units.” In one division, individuals with disabilities are congregated together to perform work in a call center under JWOD contracts. Such a work unit would not likely satisfy the integrated location criteria of the definition of “competitive integrated employment” because it is operated for the express purpose of employing individuals with disabilities under JWOD contracts and, thus, is not typically found in the community. In addition, the high percentage of individuals with disabilities employed with these entities most likely would result in little to no opportunities for interaction between individuals with disabilities and non-disabled individuals. Conversely, the other division in the community rehabilitation program employs individuals with disabilities to provide vocational and independent living services, but the sole purpose of the division is not to employ individuals with disabilities. Such work unit would likely satisfy the integrated location criteria of the definition of “competitive integrated employment” because it is not operated for the primary purpose of employing persons with disabilities, but rather to provide services to individuals with disabilities.

 



7. Do group employment settings, such as janitorial crews in which individuals with disabilities earn competitive wages, satisfy the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?

Under 34 CFR §361.5(c)(9)(ii)(B), through application of the integrated location criteria, individuals with disabilities hired by community rehabilitation programs to perform work under service contracts, either alone, in mobile work crews, or in other group settings (e.g., landscaping or janitorial crews) whose interaction with persons without disabilities (other than their supervisors and service providers), while performing job responsibilities, is with persons working in or visiting the work locations (and not with employees of the community rehabilitation programs without disabilities in similar positions) would not be performing work in an integrated setting. Even if such group employment in a community rehabilitation program provides for competitively paid wages, this fact does not change the non-integrated nature of the employment and may result in a less desirable level of integration (e.g., interaction with non-disabled co-workers), which supports the autonomy and self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.

 


Last Modified: 11/15/2017

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/09/2018

One-Stop Infrastructure Costs FAQs

December 27, 2016



1. What is the deadline for entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between the Local Workforce Development Board and one-stop partners?

In order to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place for Program Year (PY) 2017, which begins on July 1, 2017, the Local Workforce Development Board (Local WDB) and one-stop partners must enter into a MOU that aligns with the requirements of WIOA — except for the final infrastructure funding agreement (IFA) — by June 30, 2017.

 



2. What is the deadline for finalizing infrastructure funding agreements for Program Year 2017?

The U.S. Department of Labor is using the transition authority of WIOA sec. 503(b) to provide an extension for the implementation date of the final IFAs for PY 2017. With this extension, final IFAs must be in place no later than January 1, 2018. However, Governors have the discretion to require local areas to enter into final IFAs at any time between July 1, 2017, and January 1, 2018. During the extension period, local areas may use the funding agreement they used for PY 2016, with any such modifications as the partners may agree to, to fund infrastructure costs in the local area. During the extension period, the regulations at 20 CFR 678.715(c) and 678.510(b) providing for a six month interim IFA shall not apply. This extension does not change the deadline of July 1, 2017, for the rest of the MOU.

While one required component of a MOU is the IFA, the Departments realize additional time is needed for local areas to negotiate and reach consensus on the one-stop partners’ contributions for infrastructure costs for PY 2017. Also, States may need additional time to develop and implement the State Funding Mechanism (SFM) that is to be applied to those local areas that are unable to reach a consensus agreement on infrastructure costs in the IFA. In order to implement the SFM, the Governor must be notified of all the local areas in the State that are not able to reach consensus in order to calculate the caps on infrastructure spending applicable to each partner program (20 CFR 678.730(b)(3), 34 CFR 361.730(b)(3), and 34 CFR 463.730(b)(3)). The statewide caps used in the SFM are the aggregate amounts available for each partner program for all local areas in the State that could not reach consensus with respect to funding the one-stop system’s infrastructure costs (20 CFR 678.731(b)(5)-(6) and 678.738, 34 CFR 361.731(b)(5)-(6) and 361.738, and 34 CFR 463.731(b)(5)-(6) and 463.738). They are not separate caps for the program in each local area. Therefore, the expectation is that the Governor will establish the notification deadline for local areas unable to reach consensus sufficiently in advance of when the IFA needs to be finalized so the SFM may be implemented, including calculating and applying the statewide caps, if necessary.

 



3. What are the required elements of an infrastructure funding agreement?

The jointly-administered regulations at 20 CFR 678.755, 34 CFR 361.755, and 34 CFR 463.755 require IFAs to include the following:

  1. The period of time in which the IFA is effective (which may be a different time period than the duration of the MOU);
  2. Identification of the infrastructure costs budget, which is a component of the overall one-stop operating budget;
  3. Identification of all one-stop partners, chief elected officials (CEOs), and the Local WDB participating in the IFA;
  4. A description of the periodic modification and review process to ensure equitable benefit among one-stop partners;
  5. Information on the steps the Local WDB, CEOs, and one-stop partners used to reach consensus or the assurance that the local area followed the SFM process; and
  6. A description of the process to be used among partners to resolve issues related to infrastructure funding during the MOU duration period when consensus cannot be reached.
The Departments also consider it essential that the IFA include the signatures of individuals with authority to bind the signatories to the IFA, including all one-stop partners, CEO, and Local WDB participating in the IFA.

 



4. How does the infrastructure funding agreement relate to the overall one-stop operating budget?

The IFA contains the infrastructure costs budget, which is one of several integral components of the one-stop operating budget. The other components of the one-stop operating budget are considered “additional costs,” which must include applicable career services, and may include shared operating costs and shared services. While each of these components covers different cost categories, an operating budget would be incomplete if any of these were omitted because funding infrastructure costs as well as additional costs is necessary to maintain a fully functioning and successful local one-stop delivery system. Therefore, the Departments strongly recommend that the Local WDBs, one-stop partners, and CEOs negotiate the IFA and additional cost funding together when developing the operating budget for the local one-stop system. The overall one-stop operating budget must be included in the MOU.

the SFM. This means the SFM will not be triggered due to a failure by the required partners to reach consensus on additional cost funding or by a failure of any additional partners to join the consensus regarding the terms of the IFA. When implementing the SFM to determine partner contributions to cover the one-stop center’s infrastructure costs component, the Governor should consider the local area’s infrastructure cost needs in light of the additional costs included in the local one-stop operating budget (e.g., applicable career services costs, shared operating costs, and the cost of shared services). This should be done while making the determinations necessary to complete the IFA according to 20 CFR 678.730 - 678.745, 34 CFR 361.730 - 361.745, and 34 CFR 463.730 - 463.745, and should ensure that the infrastructure costs are sufficient to support the services that the one-stop center will provide. However, it is important to note that the Governor’s determinations under the SFM pertain only to the infrastructure costs, and not to any of the additional costs components. The Governor’s consideration of these other components of the overall local one-stop operating budget is simply to provide a context for the Governor when determining infrastructure costs under the SFM.

 



5. What are infrastructure costs? What are the distinctions between “non-personnel” costs and “personnel” costs?

Infrastructure costs are non-personnel costs that are necessary for the general operation of the one-stop center, which may include: rental of the facilities; utilities and maintenance; equipment (including assessment-related and assistive technology for individuals with disabilities); and technology to facilitate access to the one-stop center, including technology used for the center’s planning and outreach activities. This may also include the costs associated with the development and use of the common identifier (i.e., American Job Center signage) and supplies, as defined in the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.94, to support the general operation of the one-stop center (WIOA sec. 121(h)(4) and 20 CFR 678.700(a), 34 CFR 361.700(a), and 34 CFR 463.700(a)).

Non-personnel costs are all costs that are not compensation for personnel costs. For example, technology-related services performed by vendors or contractors are non-personnel costs and may be identified as infrastructure costs if they are necessary for the general operation of the one-stop center. Such costs would include service contracts with vendors or contractors, equipment, and supplies.

Personnel services include salaries, wages, and fringe benefits of the employees of partner programs or their subrecipients, as described in 2 CFR 200.430 - 200.431 of the Uniform Guidance. For example, allocable salary and fringe costs of partner program staff who work on information technology systems (e.g., common performance and reporting outcomes) for use by the one-stop center as a whole would be personnel costs. The cost of a shared welcome desk or greeter directing employers and customers to the services or staff that are available in that one-stop center is a personnel expense. These costs, therefore, could not be included in infrastructure costs but are included in “additional costs.”

 



6. Which WIOA one-stop partner programs are required to contribute towards one-stop infrastructure costs?

All required partners that carry out their program in the local area must contribute toward infrastructure costs based on their proportionate use of the one-stop delivery centers and relative benefits received. (WIOA sec. 121(b) and 121(h); 20 CFR 678.400, 678.410, 678.415, and 678.700(c); 34 CFR 361.400, 361.410, 361.415, and 361.700(c); and 34 CFR 463.400, 463.410, 463.415, and 463.700(c)). Additional partners, which are any local one-stop partner programs that are not listed as required partner programs, also must contribute to infrastructure costs in the local areas in which they are partners. However, the SFM is only applicable to required one-stop partners. This means that additional partners cannot trigger the SFM by not joining in the overall consensus regarding the terms of the IFA, nor are they subject to the SFM if it is triggered. Although WIOA does not subject the additional partners to the Governor’s determination of required partners’ infrastructure cost contributions under the SFM, the additional partners must contribute toward infrastructure costs in accordance with the program’s proportionate use and relative benefit received, consistent with the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.405.

Native American programs (described in WIOA sec. 166), as required one-stop partners, are strongly encouraged to contribute to infrastructure costs, but they are not required to make such contributions under WIOA. Any agreement regarding the contribution or non-contribution to infrastructure costs by Native American programs must be documented in the MOU. Further, if made, these contributions must be in proportion to the program’s proportionate use and relative benefits received, consistent with the Uniform Guidance. The Native American programs cannot trigger the SFM, nor are they subject to the SFM.

 



7. Do the infrastructure requirements and methodologies apply to comprehensive and affiliate one-stop centers? Is a separate infrastructure funding agreement needed for each center?

The requirements that govern infrastructure costs apply to each one-stop center in the local delivery system, whether the center is a comprehensive, affiliate, or specialized one-stop center. All one-stop partners, whether they are required partners or additional partners — except as discussed above concerning Native American programs — must contribute to the infrastructure cost funding of the one-stop centers based on proportionate use and relative benefits received. The required one-stop partners must provide access to their programs in the comprehensive one-stop centers and contribute to the infrastructure costs of those centers. Only those one-stop partners that participate in the affiliate one-stop centers are required to contribute to the infrastructure costs for those centers. As with MOUs, the Local WDB may negotiate an umbrella IFA or individual IFAs for one or more of its one-stop centers.

 



8. Can the Governor require a one-stop partner program (administered by outside entity or outside the Governor’s authority) to contribute if the SFM is triggered? Can such a program appeal?

To put the question more precisely: If a required one-stop partner program administered by an entity outside the control or authority of the Governor does not want to contribute towards infrastructure costs, or disagrees on the appropriate amount to contribute, and the State Funding Mechanism is triggered, can the Governor require this program to make a specific financial contribution? Can the program file an appeal?

Under the SFM, the Governor has authority to determine the financial contribution of all required one-stop partners toward infrastructure costs in accordance with 20 CFR 678.725 – 678.738, 34 CFR 361.725 – 361.738, and 34 CFR 463.725 – 463.738. For the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) program, the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program, and postsecondary career and technical education activities under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, as specified in 20 CFR 678.730(c)(2), in States in which the policymaking authority is placed in an entity or official that is independent of the authority of the Governor, the determination of the amount each of these programs must contribute toward infrastructure costs must be made by the official or chief officer of the entity with policymaking authority, in consultation with the Governor (see also 34 CFR 361.730(c)(2) and 34 CFR 463.730(c)(2)). Programs may appeal the Governor’s determinations of their infrastructure cost contributions — or those determinations made, in certain cases, by the applicable official or chief officer — in accordance with the process established under 20 CFR 678.750, 34 CFR 361.750, and 34 CFR 463.750.

 



9. What are non-cash contributions and how are they valued?

Non-cash contributions are expenditures incurred by one-stop partners on behalf of the one-stop center and goods or services contributed by a partner program and used by the one-stop center. The value of non-cash contributions must be consistent with 2 CFR 200.306 and reconciled on a regular basis (i.e., monthly or quarterly) to ensure they are fairly evaluated and meet the partners’ proportionate share. One way to ensure that non-cash contributions are fairly evaluated is to ensure that the one-stop partners agree on the sources or companies that will be used to assess or appraise the fair market value or fair rental value of non-cash contributions (2 CFR 200.306).

Example 1: For Program Year (PY) 2017, a partner’s proportionate use of the one-stop center results in a contribution of $15,000. The partner does not have sufficient cash resources to fully fund its share and wishes to donate to the one-stop center (not for its own individual use) gently used surplus office furniture. The furniture is needed in the one-stop center. The office furniture was purchased in 2015 for $18,500 using unrestricted or non-Federal funds. The office furniture has a current fair market value of $10,000 and a depreciated value of $11,100. In accordance with the requirements specified in the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.306(d), the value of the contribution must be the lesser of the current fair market value or the value of the remaining life of the property as recorded in the partner’s accounting records at the time of donation unless approval has been granted, by the Federal awarding agency, in accordance with 2 CFR 200.306(d)(2). The partner would be able to count the $10,000 value as part of its $15,000 contribution and would be required to use additional resources for the remaining $5,000 balance of its share. This one-time contribution is recognized by the partner during the year in which the contribution is made.

Example 2: In the same example as above, the partner does not donate the gently used office furniture but loans it for general use by partners at the one-stop center. The office furniture is on a five-year depreciation schedule. The annual depreciation is $3,700 and the annual fair rental value is $3,500. In accordance with 2 CFR 200.306(i)(4), the partner may count $3,500 as part of its contribution for that year. As with any depreciable asset, an assessment of its fair rental value must be done each year in which the equipment is loaned to the one-stop center. The one-stop partners must determine annually whether the one-stop center still requires the use of the office furniture and that this cost is built into the IFA.

 



10. What are third-party in-kind contributions and how are they valued?

Third-party in-kind contributions are contributions of space, equipment, technology, non-personnel services, or other like items to support the infrastructure costs associated with one-stop operations. The value of third-party in-kind contributions must also be consistent with the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.306 and reconciled on a regular basis (i.e., monthly or quarterly) to ensure they are fairly evaluated and meet the partners’ proportionate share.

There are two types of third-party in-kind contributions: (1) general contributions to one-stop operations (i.e., those not connected to any individual one-stop partner), and (2) those made specifically to a one-stop partner program (20 CFR 678.715, 34 CFR 361.715, and 34 CFR 463.715, and 2 CFR 200.306).

Example 1: For PY 2017, a county government that is not a one-stop partner, has space in a vacant building and would like to donate the space for use as a one-stop center. This in-kind contribution would not be associated with one specific partner, but rather would go to support the one-stop center generally and would be factored into the underlying budget and cost pools used to determine proportionate share. The value of the donated space by a third party must adhere to the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.306(i)(3). The annual fair rental value of comparable space in the same locality, as established by an independent appraisal, is $77,000. As with all non-cash and third-party in-kind contributions, the value at which the space has been appraised is the amount accounted for in the infrastructure budget. The value of the donated space should be assessed again each subsequent year.

The second type of third-party in-kind contribution is a contribution to a specific partner to support that partner’s proportionate share of one-stop infrastructure costs. If the contribution was in the one-stop center’s budget for infrastructure costs, the partner could then use the value of the third-party in-kind contribution to count toward its proportionate share.

Example 2: An employer provides assistive technology equipment to a VR program located in a one-stop center. The acquisition cost for the equipment at the time of purchase by the employer was $6,800 and, at the time of the donation, the fair market value was assessed as $4,500. If the assistive technology equipment was in the one-stop center’s budget for infrastructure costs, the partner could use the fair market value of the donation toward its contribution. The Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.306(g) requires that the equipment is valued at no more than the fair market value ($4,500) at the time of donation.

Example 3: A local literacy foundation wants to donate gently used computer equipment to the local one-stop center to support the infrastructure cost contribution of the designated AEFLA partner program in the local community. Computer equipment is part of the one-stop operating budget. The fair market value of the computer equipment is valued at $9,200 at the time of donation. The AEFLA partner program’s proportionate use of the one-stop center is determined to be $12,500. The AEFLA partner program may use the fair market value of this equipment towards its infrastructure cost contribution for that program year. Furthermore, the AEFLA partner program is required to contribute an additional $3,300 in cash, non-cash, or in-kind contributions from its available resources to pay its remaining share.

 



11. Will the specific WIOA requirements for local agreements for funding the one–stop infrastructure costs apply in PY 2016?

No. The specific requirements for the local funding agreements, which are related to how the shared and infrastructure costs of the one–stop service delivery system will be paid by the one–stop partners, need not be satisfied in the funding agreements for PY 2016. States and local areas may continue to negotiate local funding agreements as they have been doing so under Workforce Investment Act (WIA) for purposes of PY 2016. However, the local funding agreements must satisfy the requirements of section 121(h) of WIOA for purposes of funding the one–stop system in PY 2017.

 



12. What happens if the local areas fail to reach an agreement for funding the one–stop system in PY 2016?

In the event of failure to reach an agreement for funding the one–stop system in PY 2016, the State funding mechanism will not yet be applicable as the alternative, as it will not be implemented until PY 2017. Therefore, if a local area fails to reach an agreement for funding the one–stop system in PY 2016, the one–stop partners must continue to use whatever process they have been using under WIA to resolve disputes for purposes of funding the one–stop system during PY 2016.

 



13. What can States do now to prepare for implementation of the funding requirements in PY 2017?

The Governor and the State Board should begin developing the guidance to be used by the local areas in negotiating agreements for the funding of the one–stop service delivery system. This guidance should also include the development of a State funding mechanism that will be used in the event that a local area fails to reach an agreement.

 


Last Modified: 11/15/2017

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/09/2018

Frequently-Asked Fiscal Questions

August 8, 2016



1. How must a State calculate the amount it must reserve for the provision of supported employment services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities?

Section 603(d) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), requires a State to reserve and expend half of its State allotment, under the State Supported Employment (SE) Services grant (CFDA 84.187A), for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. It reads:

SEC. 603. ALLOTMENTS.
(d) Services for Youth with the Most Significant Disabilities. - A State that receives an allotment under this title shall reserve and expend half of such allotment for the provision of supported employment services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities in order to assist those youth in achieving an employment outcome in supported employment.

The State allotment, which forms the basis for the reservation of funds requirement, refers to the Federal SE funds awarded pursuant to section 603(a) of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 603(b) of the Rehabilitation Act makes clear that funds received during reallotment are considered an increase to the State’s allotment for that Federal fiscal year (FFY). Consequently, receiving additional funds during reallotment will mean that the State will need to calculate a proportionate increase to the amount of funds it must reserve for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. Similarly, funds relinquished during reallotment are considered a reduction to the State’s allotment. Relinquishing funds during reallotment will mean that the State may calculate a proportionate decrease to the amount of funds it must reserve for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. In the case of a State either receiving additional funds or relinquishing funds during reallotment, the State is still obligated to reserve 50 percent of the State’s increased or decreased allotment for that fiscal year for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

In calculating the 50 percent minimum amount to be reserved, States must base the percentage on the total amount allotted to the State in the fiscal year of appropriation. In other words, a State should use the amount listed on the State’s Grant Award Notification (GAN) as the basis for ensuring that it has reserved 50 percent of that amount for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. See Example 1 below. A State may choose to adjust its calculations with each GAN it receives during the fiscal year of appropriation, taking into account adjustments made throughout the FFY for continuing resolutions and allotment fund increases or decreases through the reallotment process, for this purpose. See Examples 2 and 3 below. The important point to note is that a State’s final calculation of its reserve must be based on the final sum of its allotments listed on all of the GANs it received during the fiscal year of appropriation. Deobligation of SE funds, as opposed to relinquishment through reallotment, either requested by the State or as a result of grant closeout after September 30 of the year of appropriation will not affect the amount of the required 50 percent reserve determined at the end of the year of appropriation based on the State’s allotment identified in its GAN. See Example 4 below.

The following are examples of how a State may calculate the amount to be reserved for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

Example 1: A State receives only one GAN for the FFY for $100,000. The State must reserve 50 percent of that amount, or $50,000, for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

Example 2: A State receives two GANs - one at the beginning of the FFY for $100,000 and a second during the reallotment process for an additional $10,000. The State must reserve 50 percent ($55,000) of the total funds allotted ($110,000) during that FFY. This means the amount to be reserved was adjusted upwards to account for the additional funds received during reallotment.

Example 3: The State receives a GAN for $100,000, but relinquishes $10,000 for reallotment to other States later in the year. As a result of the decrease in funds, the State receives a second GAN showing a total allotment for the year of $90,000. This means that the State must reserve 50 percent of the $90,000 in SE funds it received that year, or $45,000. In other words, the amount to be reserved was adjusted downward from the amount that would have been based on the initial allotment of $100,000 to take into account the amount of funds relinquished during the reallotment process.

Example 4: A State receives only one GAN for $100,000. However, at the end of the year of appropriation, the State has $10,000 remaining in unexpended Federal funds. The State did not relinquish these funds during the reallotment period in the year of appropriation. In this case, the GAN in the year of appropriation still reflects an allotment of $100,000. The State must reserve the full 50 percent, or $50,000, based on the total allotment to the State in the year of appropriation - not the amount of funds actually used. Any reduction to the SE allotment that occurs after the year of appropriation through deobligation, including the deobligation of Federal funds carried over into the subsequent fiscal year in accordance with section 19(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act, will not reduce the 50 percent reserve calculated at the end of the year of appropriation (4th quarter).

 



2. How does a State calculate the 10 percent match requirement for the 50 percent reserve of SE funds for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities?

Section 606(b)(7)(I) of the Rehabilitation Act requires States to provide a match of at least 10 percent in non-Federal expenditures for the total amount of expenditures incurred with the half of the allotment reserved to provide SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. This section reads:

SEC. 606. STATE PLAN.

****

(b) CONTENTS.—Each such plan supplement shall—

****

(7) provide assurances that—

****

(I) with respect to supported employment services provided to youth with the most significant disabilities pursuant to section 603(d), the designated State agency will provide directly, or indirectly through public or private entities, non-Federal contributions in an amount that is not less than 10 percent of the costs of carrying out such services;

The statutory 10 percent match requirement applies to the costs of carrying out the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. This means that the 10 percent is applied to total expenditures, including both the Federal and non-Federal shares, incurred for this purpose, and that the non-Federal share MUST also be spent on the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. (Note: This is different than the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services’ 15 percent pre-employment transition services award reserve, for which the non-Federal share is not required to be expended solely for the provision of pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities).

Example 1: A State receives only one GAN for the FFY for $100,000. The State must reserve 50 percent of that amount, or $50,000 (representing the Federal share), for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. To determine the total expenditures for carrying out the reserve, the $50,000 (Federal share) is divided by 0.90, resulting in $55,556. The non-Federal share amount is then determined by multiplying the $55,556, ( total expenditures for SE reserve purposes) by 0.10 (10 percent match), resulting in a non-Federal share amount of $5,556 in non-Federal funds that must be spent on the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

Example 2: A State receives two GANs - one at the beginning of the FFY for $100,000 and a second during the reallotment process for an additional $10,000. The State must reserve 50 percent ($55,000) of the total funds allotted ($110,000) during that FFY. This means the amount to be reserved was adjusted upwards to account for the additional funds received during reallotment. To determine the total expenditures for carrying out the reserve, the $55,000 is divided by 0.90, equaling $61,111. The non-Federal share amount is then determined by multiplying the $61,111 (total expenditures for SE reserve purposes) by 0.10 (10 percent match), resulting in $6,111 in non-Federal funds that must be spent on the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

Example 3: The State receives a GAN for $100,000, but relinquishes $10,000 for reallotment to other States later in the year. As a result, the State receives a second GAN showing a total allotment for the year of $90,000. This means that the State must reserve 50 percent of the $90,000 in SE funds it received that year, or $45,000. Note the amount to be reserved was adjusted downward from the amount that the State would have had to reserve ($50,000) based on the initial allotment of $100,000 to take into account the amount of funds relinquished during the reallotment process. To determine the total expenditures for carrying out the reserve, the $45,000 is divided by 0.90, equaling $50,000. The non-Federal share amount is then determined by multiplying the $50,000 (total expenditures for SE reserve purposes), resulting in $5,000 in non-Federal funds that must be spent on the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

 



3. Can a State carry over any portion of its SE allotment, whether for SE reserve purposes or not?

The half of the SE award that is NOT reserved for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities does not have a match requirement. Therefore, any unobligated portion of these unreserved funds may be carried over into the succeeding FFY for obligation and expenditure.

Similar to the VR award funds, the 50 percent reserve of SE funds for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities must be matched by September 30 of the fiscal year of appropriation for the State to fully expend the reserved funds, or permit the carry over of any unobligated portion of the reserved funds into the succeeding FFY for obligation and expenditure. Any amount of the reserved funds carried over into the next FFY must be spent on supported employment services, including extended services, for youth with the most significant disabilities in that carryover year.

 



4. How must a VR agency account for the Federal SE funds it reserves for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities?

Because section 603(d) of the Rehabilitation Act is clear that the State must reserve and use 50 percent of its total SE allotment for a specific purpose (SE services, including extended services) that benefit a specific population (youth with the most significant disabilities), it will be critical that the designated State unit implement internal controls that ensure proper data collection and financial accountability of these reserved funds. The State’s accounting procedures must be such that the designated State unit will be able to accurately complete all required forms, including financial reports, that show the reservation and use of these funds for this purpose and for this population, as required by Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.302.

In order to track and account for the proper expenditure of funds for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities, agencies should consider those services as a cost objective in order to effectively track the use of reserve funds within the SE program. The Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.28 defines a cost objective as:

“a program, function, activity, award, organizational subdivision, contract, or work unit for which cost data are desired and for which provision is made to accumulate and measure the cost of processes, products, jobs, capital projects, etc. A cost objective may be a major function of the non-Federal entity, a particular service or project, a Federal award, or an indirect (Facilities & Administrative (F&A)) cost activity….”

 



5. Can a State expend more than 50 percent of its SE Federal funds for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities?

Yes. Section 603(d) of the Rehabilitation Act requires a State to reserve “half” of its SE allotment for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. However, this does not preclude the State from providing SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities in an amount that is in excess of 50 percent of the State’s SE allotment with its SE funds or VR funds.

In the event that a State does expend more than 50 percent of its SE allotment to provide SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities, there is no requirement that the State provide non-Federal expenditures to match the Federal funds in excess of the 50 percent reserved amount expended for this purpose.

 



6. What are the potential consequences of a State not reserving and using the requisite amount of funds for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities?

Section 603(d) of the Rehabilitation Act requires a State to reserve half (50 percent) of its allotment for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. Therefore, the statute makes clear that the reservation and use of SE funds for this purpose is mandatory, not discretionary, for States. Section 107(a)(1) requires the Commissioner of RSA to conduct annual reviews and periodic on-site monitoring of the VR program, and ensure that the State is complying with the provisions of the State plan, which includes a supplement for the provision of SE services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act, including those provided to youth with the most significant disabilities. Section 107(a)(4)(B) requires the Commissioner to examine, among other things, the provision of services, including SE services and extended services to youth with the most significant disabilities, when conducting reviews or monitoring. Section 107(b) and (c) specify the remedies available to the Commissioner if a State fails to satisfy Federal requirements governing the VR program and services authorized under the State plan, which includes requirements related to SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities. These remedies may include a corrective action plan and recovery and/or withholding of funds. In this manner, compliance with requirements governing SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities is the same as it is for any VR or SE program requirement. States that fail to meet the 50 percent reserve requirement may also face potential consequences resulting from audit findings stemming from Department of Education Inspector General, State, or Single Audits.

 



7. How is the SE reservation requirement affected when there are two VR agencies (General and Blind)?

The reservation of funds for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities is a State matter that must be resolved at the State level when there are two agencies. For this reason, RSA encourages agencies to coordinate to ensure State compliance. While RSA recommends that each designated State unit, particularly when a State has two designated State units, reserve 50 percent of its SE allotment to facilitate tracking of State compliance of the reservation requirement, there is no statutory requirement that this be done. If one agency (when a State has two VR agencies) uses more of its funds than the other, the State would be in compliance so long as the State’s total of funds reserved and expended for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities, is at least 50 percent of the State’s total allotment, including any adjustments that affect the amount of the Federal award to one or both agencies.

 



8. When may a State expend SE award funds for the provision of SE services to individuals with the most significant disabilities?

Because supported employment funds are meant to be used to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in employment, the provision of SE services may not be provided prior to an individual being placed into an employment position requiring supported employment services. Section 7(39) of the Rehabilitation Act indicates that SE services are “ongoing support services, including customized employment, needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment…” Section 7(38) of the Rehabilitation Act defines supported employment:

(38) Supported employment.— The term ‘supported employment’ means competitive integrated employment, including customized employment, or employment in an integrated work setting in which individuals are working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment, that is individualized and customized consistent with the strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individuals involved,…

Because the use of SE funds can begin only when an individual with a most significant disability is placed in an employment position requiring supported employment services, this means that all Federal expenditures for that individual that occur prior to the individual being placed into supported employment, must be provided with VR funds. If the individual is a youth with a most significant disability, the expenditures, since they are made with VR, rather than SE funds, do not count toward the 50 percent reserve requirement. Additionally, any non-Federal funds expended on VR services provided to an individual who is a youth with a most significant disability prior to his or her placement into a supported employment position do not qualify as SE services, and may not be counted as non-Federal share for the 50 percent SE reserve requirement for the provision of SE services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

 



9. How do States pay for costs of administering the SE award in excess of the 2.5 percent administrative cap?

WIOA amended section 603(c) of the Rehabilitation Act to reduce the amount of the SE allotment that States can spend on administrative costs from 5 to 2.5 percent. In accordance with section 608(a), however, nothing prohibits States from using VR funds to pay for SE services, including administrative costs in excess of the 2.5 percent allowed from the SE allotment itself.

(Aug. 8, 2016)

 


Last Modified: 11/15/2017

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/09/2018

Frequently-Asked Questions about Pre-Employment Transition Services


April 13, 2016
Requirements under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program
As Imposed by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)



  Select a link below to jump to the relevant page section.

  1. How must a State calculate the amount it must reserve for the provision of pre–employment transition services?
  2. Can a State relinquish funds during reallotment and have the returned funds reduce the pre–employment transition service requirement dollar for dollar?
  3. How must a VR agency account for the Federal VR funds it reserves for the provision of pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities?
  4. Does RSA have to approve the methodology VR agencies use to allocate costs to the funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services?
  5. Can VR agencies use estimates of the amount of time they believe VR counselors will spend providing pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities as a basis for allocating expenditures to the reserved funds?
  6. Can a VR agency assign personnel to provide pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities as a single cost objective, thereby allocating 100 percent of the employee’s salary and fringe benefits to the funds reserved for the provision of
  7. Can a State expend more than 15 percent of its VR Federal funds for the provision of pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities?
  8. Can funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services be carried over for obligation or liquidation in the subsequent Federal fiscal year?
  9. What are the potential consequences of a State not reserving and using the requisite amount of funds for the provision of pre–employment transition services?
  10. How is the reservation requirement impacted when there are two VR agencies (General and Blind)?


1. How must a State calculate the amount it must reserve for the provision of pre–employment transition services?

Section 110(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), requires a State to reserve at least 15 percent of its State allotment, under the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services grant (CFDA 84.126A), for the provision of pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities under section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act. The mandate for a State to reserve funds for the sole purpose of providing, or arranging for the provision of, pre–employment transition services is reinforced at section 113(a):

SEC. 113. PROVISION OF PRE–EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES.

(a) IN GENERAL. – From the funds reserved under section 110(d), and any funds made available from State, local, or private funding sources, each State shall ensure that the designated State unit, in collaboration with the local educational agencies involved, shall provide, or arrange for the provision of, pre–employment transition services for all students with disabilities in need of such services who are eligible or potentially eligible for services under this title.

The State allotment, which forms the basis for the reservation of funds requirement, refers to the Federal VR funds awarded pursuant to section 110(a) of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 110(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act makes clear that funds received during reallotment are considered an increase to the State’s allotment. Consequently, receiving additional funds during reallotment will mean that the State will need to calculate a proportionate increase to the amount of funds it must reserve for the provision of pre–employment transition services. Similarly, funds relinquished during reallotment are considered a reduction to the State’s allotment. Relinquishing funds during reallotment will mean that the State may calculate a proportionate decrease to the amount of funds it must reserve for the provision of pre–employment transition services.

In calculating the 15 percent minimum amount to be reserved, States must base the percentage on the total amount allotted to the State in the fiscal year. In other words, a State should use the amount listed on the State’s Grant Award Notification (GAN) as the basis for ensuring that it has reserved at least 15 percent of that amount for the provision of pre–employment transition services. A State may choose to adjust its calculations with each GAN it receives during the fiscal year of appropriation, taking into account adjustments made throughout the fiscal year for continuing resolutions, allotment fund increases or decreases through the reallotment process, and penalties applied to resolve maintenance of effort deficits, for this purpose.

Following are examples of how a State may calculate the amount to be reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services.

Example 1: A State receives only one GAN for the fiscal year for $1 million. The State must reserve at least 15 percent of that amount, or $150,000, for the provision of pre–employment transition services.

Example 2: A State receives two GANs – one at the beginning of the fiscal year for $1 million and a second during the reallotment process for an additional $1 million. The State must reserve 15 percent ($300,000) of the total funds allotted ($2 million) during that fiscal year. This means the amount to be reserved was adjusted upwards to account for the additional funds received during reallotment.

Example 3: The State receives a GAN for $1 million, but relinquishes $100,000 for reallotment to other States later in the year. At that time, the State receives a second GAN showing a total allotment for the year of $900,000. This means that the State must reserve at least 15 percent of the $900,000 in VR funds it received that year ($135,000). In other words, the amount to be reserved was adjusted downward from the amount that would have been based on the initial allotment of $1 million to take into account the amount of funds relinquished during the reallotment process.

Example 4: A State receives only one GAN for $1 million. However, at the end of the year of the appropriation, the State left $500,000 in its account, unexpended. The State did not relinquish these funds during the reallotment period in the year of appropriation. In this case, the GAN in the year of appropriation still reflects an allotment of $1 million. The State must reserve the full 15 percent, or $150,000, based on the total allotment to the State in the year of appropriation – not the amount of funds actually used.

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2. Can a State relinquish funds during reallotment and have the returned funds reduce the pre–employment transition service requirement dollar for dollar?

No. The impact of relinquished funds is proportional (see FAQ 1 above). In accordance with section 110(d)(1), a State must reserve at least 15 percent of its State allotment, under the VR grant, for the provision of pre–employment transition services under section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act. Funds relinquished in the year of appropriation only reduce the amount of the State’s allotment upon which the reserved amount is based.

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3. How must a VR agency account for the Federal VR funds it reserves for the provision of pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities?

Because both sections 110(d) and 113 of the Rehabilitation Act are clear that the State must reserve and use at least 15 percent of its total VR allotment for a specific purpose (pre–employment transition services) that benefits a specific population (students with disabilities), it will be critical that the designated State unit implement administrative methods and procedures that ensure proper data collection and financial accountability of these reserved funds, as required by 34 CFR 361.12. Moreover, the State’s accounting procedures must be such that the designated State unit will be able to accurately complete all required forms, including financial reports, that show the reservation and use of these funds for this purpose, as required by 2 CFR 200.302.

In order to track and account for the proper expenditure of funds for the provision of pre–employment transition services, it may be helpful for agencies to consider those services as a cost objective. The Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.28 defines a cost objective as:

a program, function, activity, award, organizational subdivision, contract, or work unit for which cost data are desired and for which provision is made to accumulate and measure the cost of processes, products, jobs, capital projects, etc. A cost objective may be a major function of the non–Federal entity, a particular service or project, a Federal award, or an indirect (Facilities & Administrative (F&A)) cost activity.

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4. Does RSA have to approve the methodology VR agencies use to allocate costs to the funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services?

No. Federal regulations at 34 CFR 361.12 and 2 CFR 200.302 require each agency to implement processes necessary to ensure the proper accounting and reporting of expenditures, including expenditures incurred with funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services in order to ensure the funds spent were only for allowable and allocable purposes. As is true with all VR expenditures, cost allocation methodologies are reviewed during RSA’s routine monitoring and review activities.

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5. Can VR agencies use estimates of the amount of time they believe VR counselors will spend providing pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities as a basis for allocating expenditures to the reserved funds?

While an agency may choose to use interim estimates of anticipated staff time that will be spent providing pre–employment transition services to budget anticipated personnel time and expenditures allocated to the reserved funds, the estimates must be based upon a realistic assessment of the anticipated personnel effort, as would be true for budgeting any expenditure of VR funds. Additionally, in order to ensure the proper accounting and reporting of Federal VR funds, as required by 34 CFR 361.12 and the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.302, such interim estimates must be reconciled against the actual time personnel spent providing pre–employment transition services during the same period, after the time was worked. As would be true for the proper accounting and reporting of any VR expenditure, adjustments to the actual expenditures must be made if discrepancies are identified as a result of the reconciliation between the amount estimated (or budgeted) and the amount actually expended. In so doing, the VR agency ensures that only actual personnel effort for the provision of pre–employment transition services is counted toward the funds reserved for this purpose. As a reminder, 34 CFR 75.707 states that personnel services by employees of a grantee are considered obligated when the services are performed. Therefore, these employee costs are not considered obligated when they are budgeted.

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6. Can a VR agency assign personnel to provide pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities as a single cost objective, thereby allocating 100 percent of the employee’s salary and fringe benefits to the funds reserved for the provision of

If the agency can document that the staff member is providing only services identified as pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities, then 100 percent of the employee’s salary and fringe benefits may be allocated to the funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services. Such cost allocation of personnel time is no different than is required of a VR agency when personnel work on one or more cost objectives.

When considering whether the staff is only providing pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities, it is important to consider that a student receiving pre–employment transition services may also be receiving other VR services (other than pre–employment transition services) and, therefore, would be under a different cost objective and such costs would not be permissible with the funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services. Pre–employment transition services required and/or authorized under section 113 include:

(b) REQUIRED ACTIVITIES.—Funds available under subsection (a) shall be used to make available to students with disabilities described in subsection (a)—

(1) job exploration counseling;

(2) work–based learning experiences, which may include in–school or after school opportunities, or experience outside the traditional school setting (including internships), that is provided in an integrated environment to the maximum extent possible;

(3) counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education;

(4) workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living; and

(5) instruction in self–advocacy, which may include peer mentoring.

(c) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES.—Funds available under subsection (a) and remaining after the provision of the required activities described in subsection (b) may be used to improve the transition of students with disabilities described in subsection (a) from school to postsecondary education or an employment outcome by—

(1) implementing effective strategies to increase the likelihood of independent living and inclusion in communities and competitive integrated workplaces;

(2) developing and improving strategies for individuals with intellectual disabilities and individuals with significant disabilities to live independently, participate in postsecondary education experiences, and obtain and retain competitive integrated employment;

(3) providing instruction to vocational rehabilitation counselors, school transition personnel, and other persons supporting students with disabilities;

(4) disseminating information about innovative, effective, and efficient approaches to achieve the goals of this section;

(5) coordinating activities with transition services provided by local educational agencies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.);

(6) applying evidence–based findings to improve policy, procedure, practice, and the preparation of personnel, in order to better achieve the goals of this section;

(7) developing model transition demonstration projects;

(8) establishing or supporting multistate or regional partnerships involving States, local educational agencies, designated State units, developmental disability agencies, private businesses, or other participants to achieve the goals of this section; and

(9) disseminating information and strategies to improve the transition to postsecondary activities of individuals who are members of traditionally unserved populations.

A VR agency must be sure to distinguish between service costs versus administrative costs since administrative expenditures are not permissible with funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services (section 110(d)(2)). A VR agency must refer to the definition of “administrative costs” in 34 CFR 361.5(b)(2) to determine which personnel–related and other expenditures would not be permissible with the reserved funds because they constitute “administrative costs.”

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7. Can a State expend more than 15 percent of its VR Federal funds for the provision of pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities?

Yes. Section 110(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act requires a State to reserve “at least” 15 percent of its VR allotment for the provision of pre–employment transition services. The statute makes clear that 15 percent is a minimum, not a maximum, amount.

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8. Can funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services be carried over for obligation or liquidation in the subsequent Federal fiscal year?

Yes. Section 19(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act permits a State to carry over into the subsequent Federal fiscal year any grant funds that remain available at the end of the Federal fiscal year in which the funds were awarded so long as the State provided the requisite match for those funds by the end of the Federal fiscal year in which the funds were awarded (year of appropriation). Funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services merely represent a percentage of the State’s VR allotment and, therefore, these funds must comply with all requirements governing the allotment, including requirements related to carryover of funds. This means that unobligated funds reserved for the provision of pre–employment transition services that have been matched by the end of the fourth quarter (9/30) of the year of appropriation may be carried over for obligation and expenditure during the subsequent fiscal year.

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9. What are the potential consequences of a State not reserving and using the requisite amount of funds for the provision of pre–employment transition services?

Section 110(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act requires a State to reserve at least 15 percent of its allotment for the provision of pre–employment transition services. Section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act requires the State to use those reserved funds to provide, or arrange for the provision of, pre–employment transition services to students with disabilities. Therefore, the statute makes clear that the reservation and use of VR funds for this purpose is mandatory, not discretionary, for States. Section 107(a)(1) requires the Commissioner of RSA to conduct annual reviews and periodic on–site monitoring of the VR program. Section 107(a)(4)(B) requires the Commissioner to examine, among other things, the provision of VR services, including the provision of pre–employment transition services, when conducting reviews or monitoring. Section 107(b) and (c) specify the remedies available to the Commissioner if a State fails to satisfy Federal requirements governing the VR program, including requirements related to pre–employment transition services. In this manner, compliance with requirements governing pre–employment transition services is the same as it is for any VR program requirement. States that fail to meet the 15 percent reserve requirement may also face potential consequences resulting from audit findings stemming from Inspector General, State, or Single Audits.

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10. How is the reservation requirement impacted when there are two VR agencies (General and Blind)?

The reservation of funds for the provision of pre–employment transition services is a State matter that must be resolved at the State level when there are two agencies. For this reason, RSA encourages agencies to coordinate to ensure State compliance. While RSA recommends that each designated State unit, particularly when a State has two designated State units, reserve at least 15 percent of its allotment to facilitate tracking of State compliance of the reservation requirement, there is no statutory requirement that this be done. If one agency (when a State has two VR agencies) uses more of its funds than the other, the State would be in compliance so long as the State’s total of funds reserved and expended for the provision of pre–employment transition services is at least 15 percent of the State’s total allotment, including any adjustments that impact the amount of the Federal award to one or both agencies.

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Period of Performance for Formula Grant Awards FAQs


March 21, 2017

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  1. What is the "period of performance" for grant awards?
  2. What is the "Federal fiscal year (FFY) of appropriation"?
  3. What is the period of performance for RSA formula awards?
  4. What are obligations?
  5. When are obligations considered made by a grantee?
  6. How does the period of performance affect the grantee’s ability to obligate Federal funds?
  7. How should States track and report the liquidation of obligations?
  8. Can the total cost of a contract be obligated to a grant award if some of the contract services will be performed after the period of performance ends?
  9. Can the total cost of a contract be obligated to a grant award if some of the contract services will be performed during the carryover year, but still within the grant’s period of performance?
  10. How does the obligation and liquidation of required non-Federal funds affect the period of performance?
  11. How does the period of performance affect the submission of a final financial report?
  12. What happens if an agency does not submit its fourth quarter financial report in a timely manner?


1. What is the "period of performance" for grant awards?

The Uniform Guidance in 2 CFR 200.77 defines "period of performance" as the time during which the non-Federal entity (grantee) may incur new obligations to carry out the work authorized under the Federal award. The Federal awarding agency must include start and end dates of the period of performance in the Federal award. For purposes of the Department’s Grant Award Notifications (GANs), the period of performance is referred to as the Federal Funding Period, Box 6.

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2. What is the "Federal fiscal year (FFY) of appropriation"?

The FFY of appropriation is the FFY in which Congress appropriated funds to the Department to award program grants, which covers the period from October 1 through September 30. For example, the FFY 2016 Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) grants were made from the 2016 FFY of appropriation, which included October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016.

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3. What is the period of performance for RSA formula awards?

During the FFY of appropriation, the period of performance listed in Box 6 of the GAN will be from October 1 to September 30 of that FFY. This represents the one-year period for which the award was made and in which the grantee may incur new obligations against the award.

Section 19(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Act), permits grantees to carry over Federal funds for obligation and expenditure in the subsequent FFY provided certain conditions are met, identified further below. This means that grantees may carry over the unobligated balance of Federal funds for one FFY beyond the FFY of appropriation. For example, the FFY of appropriation for FFY 2016 awards began on October 1, 2015 and ended on September 30, 2016. The carryover year for FFY 2016 awards started on October 1, 2016, and will end on September 30, 2017. In order to carry over Federal funds, grantees must:

  1. Have an unobligated balance of Federal funds at the end of the FFY of appropriation; and
  2. Have satisfied the applicable non-Federal share requirement for:
    1. the Federal funds obligated or liquidated during the FFY of appropriation; and
    2. the unobligated balance of Federal funds to be carried over to the subsequent FFY (see FAQ 5 for additional information).

For RSA formula awards that do not have a non-Federal share requirement, the determination regarding a carryover year will be based only on item A above, namely that the grantee has unobligated Federal funds remaining at the end of the FFY of appropriation. The table below lists all of RSA’s formula award programs and whether there is a non-Federal share requirement applicable to the program.

Program Name Non-Federal Share Requirement
State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Yes
State Supported Employment Services Yes – for 50% of award
Independent Living Services for Older Individuals who are Blind Yes
Client Assistance Program No
Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights No

Upon receipt of the grantee’s fourth quarter financial report, which is the reporting period ending on September 30 of the FFY of appropriation, an RSA financial management specialist will review the grantee’s report to determine whether the grantee met the requirements necessary to carry over funds. If the grantee met the requirements, RSA will process an administrative change to the current grant award extending the period of performance to include the carryover year. RSA will provide the grantee a revised GAN with a new Action Number and a revised period of performance that will include the carryover year. Therefore, if the conditions discussed above are met, a grantee’s period of performance for a formula award will be revised to include both the FFY of appropriation and the carryover year.

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4. What are obligations?

When used in connection with a non-Federal entity’s use of funds under a Federal award, the term "obligations" "means orders placed for property and services, contracts and subawards made, and similar transactions during a given period that require payment by the non-Federal entity during the same or a future period" (2 CFR 200.71). The future period in which obligations may be paid is limited by Federal requirements and the terms and conditions applicable to the award. As a reminder, subawards are only permissible, for purposes of the program grants awarded by RSA under the Act, in the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who are Blind program because that program is specifically authorized by statute to make grants to public and nonprofit private agencies or organizations.

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5. When are obligations considered made by a grantee?

The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR 76.707 provide a chart, listed below, that specifies when obligations are considered made. In determining when an obligation is made, agencies must also follow their State laws, regulations, and policies and procedures, as applicable.

If the obligation is for - The obligation is made -

(a) Acquisition of real or personal property

On the date the State or subgrantee makes a binding written commitment to acquire the property.

(b) Personal services by an employee of the State or subgrantee

When the services are performed.

(c) Personal services by a contractor who is not an employee of the State or subgrantee

On the date on which the State or subgrantee makes a binding written commitment to obtain the services.

(d) Performance of work other than personal services

On the date on which the State or subgrantee makes a binding written commitment to obtain the work.

(e) Public utility services

When the State or subgrantee receives the services.

(f) Travel

When the travel is taken.

(g) Rental of real or personal property

When the State or subgrantee uses the property.

(h) A pre-agreement cost that was properly approved by the Secretary under the cost principles in 2 CFR part 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles

On the first day of the grant or subgrant performance period.

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6. How does the period of performance affect the grantee’s ability to obligate Federal funds?

If the grantee has not met the requirements to carry over Federal funds, obligations must be incurred by the end of the FFY of appropriation (fourth quarter). In this circumstance, the period of performance and the FFY of appropriation are the same (i.e., they end on September 30 of that FFY).

If the grantee has met the carryover requirements by the end of the FFY of appropriation, the period of performance will be extended to include the carryover year (the FFY subsequent to the FFY of appropriation). This will enable the grantee to incur new obligations against Federal award funds during the carryover year, in accordance with section 19 of the Act. When a State has provided sufficient match to carryover funds into the subsequent FFY, the period of performance will be revised on the GAN to reflect the carryover year as part of the period of performance for that particular grant award. In this circumstance, the period of performance covers two FFYs - the FFY of appropriation plus the carryover year.

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7. How should States track and report the liquidation of obligations?

All expenditures incurred against an obligation must be tracked and reported by the States in terms of when the obligation was incurred, not when the liquidation occurs.  For example, if a State enters into a contract in FFY 2016 for the provision of services under the VR program, thereby constituting an obligation for purposes of 34 CFR 76.707 for FFY 2016, but many of the invoices submitted by the contractor for payment will be submitted to the State agency during FFY 2017, the State VR agency must report those expenditures (i.e., liquidation of the obligations) on its SF-425s for FFY 2016, not FFY 2017 when the payments were made.

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8. Can the total cost of a contract be obligated to a grant award if some of the contract services will be performed after the period of performance ends?

Yes. If a contract is entered into during a period of performance, but some of the services will be performed after the period of performance ends (in other words, some services would be performed after the FFY of appropriation and the carryover year, if applicable, has ended), the contract would still constitute a valid obligation, as established by 34 CFR 76.707, for purposes of the period of performance in which it was incurred. Therefore, the entire contract could be charged to the period of performance in which it was made. The same would be true if the period of performance only encompassed the FFY of appropriation because the State did not satisfy the requirements to carry funds over into a subsequent FFY.

Example (assumes the State did not satisfy requirements to carry over FFY 2016 funds): In this example, the State enters into a contract on July 1, 2016, and assigns the contract to the FFY 2016 award. The contract binds the vendor to provide services from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. Because the State did not satisfy the requirements to carry over FFY 2016 funds into a subsequent FFY in accordance with section 19 of the Act, the period of performance for this award ends on September 30, 2016. In this example, one-fourth of the services under the contract will be provided during the period of performance for FFY 2016, but three-fourths of the services will be provided during the 2017 FFY of appropriation, which falls outside the period of performance for the FFY 2016 award (because the State did not satisfy the requirements to carry over FFY 2016 funds into the subsequent FFY). Nevertheless, the entire contract constitutes an obligation pursuant to 34 CFR 76.707, and, as such, the entire contract can be charged to the FFY 2016 award because the obligation was incurred during the period of performance for that award.

The grantee would remain responsible for ensuring that any obligations assigned to the period of performance ending on September 30, 2016, were liquidated by December 30, 2016, (90 days after the end of the period of performance) in accordance with 2 CFR 200.343(a).

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9. Can the total cost of a contract be obligated to a grant award if some of the contract services will be performed during the carryover year, but still within the grant’s period of performance?

Yes. When a State satisfies the requirements of section 19 of the Act to carry over funds into a subsequent FFY, the State may use those funds to make new obligations as well as to liquidate obligations during the carryover year. Therefore, if all of the services to be performed under the contract will occur within the grant’s period of performance, the entire obligation may be charged to the FFY of appropriation.

Example (assumes the State satisfied the requirements of section 19 to carry FFY 2016 funds over to the subsequent FFY): A State enters into a contract requiring the contractor to provide services to beneficiaries of the program. The contract is awarded in FFY 2016 and the contractor provides services starting on July 1, 2016, and the services are to end June 30, 2017. The period of performance for the grant to which the contractual obligation is charged is the FFY of appropriation (FFY 2016) and the carryover year (FFY 2017) ending September 30, 2017. In this example, the obligation would be valid under 34 CFR 76.707, despite that most (three-fourths) of the services would be provided during the carryover year because all services would be performed during the period of performance of the FFY 2016 award, to which all costs are charged.

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10. How does the obligation and liquidation of required non-Federal funds affect the period of performance?

To carry over unobligated Federal grant funds, the grantee must have fully met the applicable non-Federal share requirement for the Federal funds through the obligation or liquidation of non‑Federal funds in the FFY of appropriation, as reflected in the grantee’s fourth quarter financial report. Unless the Department authorizes an extension, a non-Federal entity must liquidate all obligations incurred under the Federal award not later than 90 calendar days after the end date of the period of performance, as specified on the GAN (2 CFR 200.343).

If a grantee has not met the requirements to carry over Federal funds to a subsequent FFY, all non-Federal share expenditures must be liquidated by the end of the 90-day liquidation period following the end of the period of performance (September 30 of the FFY of appropriation).

If the grantee has met the requirements to carry over Federal funds, the obligated non-Federal share counted as match at the end of the FFY of appropriation must be liquidated by the end of the 90-day liquidation period following the end of the period of performance, which will be the end of the carryover year.

Non-Federal share can only be counted as match when obligated in the FFY of appropriation of an award. Grantees must report any non-Federal share obligated during the carryover year of an award as match for the succeeding FFY award.

Non-Federal obligations that are cancelled during the carryover year, or otherwise not liquidated after the FFY of appropriation, may not be used toward satisfying the match requirement. In such instances, the grantee must adjust its records either to show other allowable expenditures that can count as match or to reflect a lower match amount on their fourth quarter financial report submitted for the FFY of appropriation, which could affect the amount of Federal funds eligible to be carried over. Non-Federal funds that fail to liquidate may not be re-obligated for expenses incurred during the carryover year.

Failure to liquidate sufficient non-Federal obligations or make the necessary accounting adjustments could result in more Federal funds being carried over and expended than were authorized, which could result in RSA seeking recovery of those funds.

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11. How does the period of performance affect the submission of a final financial report?

The final financial report must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the period of performance (2 CFR 200.343(a)). For RSA formula awards with a non-Federal share (match) requirement, if the amount of Federal funds matched by the grantee is obligated by September 30 of the FFY of appropriation, the grantee’s final report for the grant period will be due within 90 days of the end of the FFY of appropriation. If matched unobligated Federal funds are carried over for obligation in the succeeding FFY, the grantee’s final financial report will be due 90 days after the end of the carryover year.

For grant awards that do not have a match requirement, if all Federal funds are obligated by September 30 of the FFY of appropriation, the grantee’s final report for the grant period will be due within 90 days of the end of the FFY of appropriation. If unobligated Federal funds are carried over for obligation in the succeeding FFY, the final financial report will be due within 90 days of the end of the carryover year.

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12. What happens if an agency does not submit its fourth quarter financial report in a timely manner?

If an agency does not submit its required financial report for the reporting period ending on September 30, the end of the FFY of appropriation (fourth quarter), by the due date, the period of performance for the agency’s grant award will not be extended to include a carryover year because there is no documentation to show that the grantee met the requisite match requirement to carry over funds into the subsequent FFY. In such a circumstance, the grant award will be treated as a one-year award, and the grantee will be unable to draw down additional Federal award funds through the Department’s Grant Management System (G5) after the end of the liquidation period for that particular grant award. The State’s grant award will remain in suspended status, meaning the State will not be able to draw down funds for new obligations in the subsequent FFY, until it submits the requisite fourth quarter financial report. Only by submitting the required financial report will the State be able to demonstrate that it met the match requirement and, thus, is eligible to carry funds over into the subsequent FFY for obligation and liquidation.

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Frequently-Asked Questions about the RSA-911


August 8, 2016

  Select a link below to jump to the relevant page section.

  1. What has changed in the RSA-911?
  2. Why must VR agencies submit open service record data quarterly under the new RSA-911?
  3. When must VR agencies begin the process of collecting data under the new RSA-911?
  4. What data under the revised RSA-911-16 must VR agencies submit for FFY 2016?
  5. What RSA-911 data must VR agencies report for the nine-month period between October 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 (i.e., the first nine months of FFY 2017)?
  6. Must VR agencies report the complete RSA-911-16 data collection for the quarterly reporting period ending September 30, 2017?
  7. Will RSA provide a data edit program for VR agencies to check the accuracy of their RSA-911-16 data?
  8. What data must VR agencies report regarding students with disabilities receiving pre-employment transition services?
  9. When is the service record of a student with a disability who receives pre-employment transition services considered “closed”?
  10. Are Social Security Numbers (SSNs) required for the RSA-911-16?
  11. How will the incomes of individual’s exiting with self-employment outcomes be reported?
  12. Does the RSA-911 collect all data elements necessary to report the effectiveness in serving employers indicator?
  13. Where should questions regarding implementation of the RSA-911 be sent?


1. What has changed in the RSA-911?

The RSA-911 (OMB Control Number 1820-0508), approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on June 29, 2016, represents a substantial revision of RSA-911-14-01 (RSA-911-14), dated October 25, 2013. Two of the most significant changes include the reporting of open service record data (rather than the closed service record data required historically) and the reporting on a quarterly basis (rather than on an annual basis as done historically). The majority of the data elements are either new or revised. Each principal data element contains a field titled “change” that indicates whether the data element is “new,” “revised,” or unchanged (“none”). Revisions to the RSA-911 encompass new data elements to comply with new requirements of section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (the Act), as amended by title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and section 116 of title I of WIOA, as well as revised instructions or reporting codes for data elements that existed previously. Detailed information for each field is included in the RSA-911 Case Service Report Manual, dated September 2016 (RSA-911-16 Manual). The RSA-911-16 Manual is available at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/rsabvrs/rsa-911-case-service-report-manual-2016.pdf.

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2. Why must VR agencies submit open service record data quarterly under the new RSA-911?

In order to align the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program (which operates on a Federal fiscal year (FFY) basis) with the other five WIOA core programs (which operate on a program year (PY) basis) to the extent practicable, VR agencies must report participant data in a manner consistent with the jointly-administered requirements set forth in the final joint WIOA regulations and the WIOA Common Performance Reporting Information Collection Request (ICR) (approved by OMB on June 29, 2016 (OMB Control Number 1205-0526)). Section 116(a) of title I of WIOA establishes performance accountability measures that apply across the six core programs, including the VR program, to assess the effectiveness of States and local areas in achieving positive outcomes for individuals served by those programs. The primary indicators of performance, set forth in section 116(b)(2)(A)(i), are calculated on a PY basis (i.e., July 1-June 30). Because the VR program’s FFY (i.e., October 1-September 30) spans two different PYs by an overlap of one quarter (July 1-September 30) and, therefore, many participants are served by the VR program for more than one PY, the data must be reported on a quarterly basis to ensure the required data are available for the entire PY. In so doing, the VR program can ensure compliance with the performance accountability requirements of section 116 of WIOA and data comparability with the other core programs. Furthermore, the collection of quarterly data will allow RSA to analyze the data on both a PY and a FFY basis, thereby providing RSA the ability to develop required FFY reports without additional data collection and reducing the burden on State VR agencies.

RSA is requiring VR agencies to collect and report open service record data to ensure compliance with the requirements of section 101(a)(10) of the Act and section 116 of WIOA. Collecting data only after service record closure, as had been done historically, would result in the data elements for many participants not being available for reporting purposes during a given PY.

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3. When must VR agencies begin the process of collecting data under the new RSA-911?

In accordance with section 506(b) of WIOA, the performance accountability system requirements of section 116 of WIOA took effect July 1, 2016. At that time, VR agencies were expected to begin the process of implementing the final RSA-911-16 data collection. However, we recognize that agencies may have difficulty implementing the new data requirements quickly enough to submit reports containing the new data elements for PY 2016. Therefore, the Department of Education (ED) is exercising its transition authority under section 503 of WIOA to ensure the orderly transition from the requirements under the Act, as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, to the requirements of WIOA. In so doing, VR agencies must begin to submit data required by the RSA-911-16 in PY 2017. VR agencies must submit the first quarterly RSA-911-16 report for PY 2017 by November 15, 2017, covering the reporting period from July 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017, for all service records (including students receiving pre-employment transition services, reportable individuals, and participants) open as of or after July 1, 2017. VR agencies must ensure that they begin implementation of the data system requirements in PY 2016 and that their data collection systems, including internal controls necessary to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the data being reported, support accurate and timely reporting of data no later than the start of PY 2017 (July 1, 2017).

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4. What data under the revised RSA-911-16 must VR agencies submit for FFY 2016?

None. As stated above, VR agencies will begin to report data required by the new RSA-911-16 in PY 2017. VR agencies will submit RSA-911 data in accordance with RSA-PD-14-01 (RSA-911-14), dated October 25, 2013 for FFY 2016 (October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016). The FFY 2016 data collection will use the same format and submission process as was used in FFY 2015. The submission due date for the annual FFY 2016 RSA-911-14 data is November 30, 2016.

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5. What RSA-911 data must VR agencies report for the nine-month period between October 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 (i.e., the first nine months of FFY 2017)?

For the first nine months of FFY 2017 (October 1, 2016-June 30, 2017), VR agencies will continue to submit closed service record data in accordance with the requirements set forth in the RSA-911-14. A partial FFY 2017 RSA-911-14 report for the reporting period October 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 must be submitted to RSA by August 30, 2017. This will be the last RSA-911-14 closed service record data report using the former RSA-911-14.

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6. Must VR agencies report the complete RSA-911-16 data collection for the quarterly reporting period ending September 30, 2017?

Yes. The submission of the first quarterly RSA-911-16 report for PY 2017 is due by November 15, 2017, and it will cover the reporting period from July 1, 2017, through September 30, 2017. Therefore, any individuals meeting the definition of a “reportable individual” or “participant” as defined in 34 CFR 361.150[1] and the joint Performance ICR, as of July 1, 2017, must be included in the agency’s RSA-911-16 reporting system. Reportable individuals include individuals receiving pre-employment transition services (regardless of whether they have applied and been determined eligible for VR services)[2] and applicants for VR services. This means that an agency must report data elements in the RSA-911-16 for all individuals who meet the definition of “reportable individual” or “participant” during the first quarter of PY 2017 (July 1, 2017-September 30, 2017), regardless of whether their VR service records were opened prior to July 1, 2017 (i.e., their VR services were initiated prior to that date). Agencies are not required to retroactively report data in the RSA-911-16 for individuals who exited the VR program (i.e., their VR service records were closed) prior to July 1, 2017, regardless of whether they meet the definition of “reportable individual” or “participant.” Data for individuals who exited prior to July 1, 2017, are to be reported through the RSA-911-14. This information is required to ensure that RSA-911-16 data are complete for all “reportable individuals” and “participants” for the first PY 2017 quarterly reporting period ending September 30, 2017.

 

[1] Most of the regulations in 34 CFR part 361 governing the VR program took effect on September 19, 2016, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which occurred on August 19, 2016. The regulations in 34 CFR part 361 Subparts D through F will take effect on October 18, 2016, 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The regulations in these subparts are part of the jointly-administered regulations with the Department of Labor.

[2] A student with a disability who is receiving pre-employment transition services is a “reportable individual” if he or she has not yet applied and been determined eligible for VR services. However, once the student with a disability who is receiving pre-employment transition services applies, is determined eligible for VR services, and has an approved individualized plan for employment in place, he or she would meet the definition of a “participant” in 34 CFR 361.150(a).

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7. Will RSA provide a data edit program for VR agencies to check the accuracy of their RSA-911-16 data?

No. VR agencies are responsible for ensuring that any data submitted conform to data submission requirements. However, RSA will maintain a comprehensive data edit table on the RSA website at https://rsa.ed.gov, which will detail, by data element, the edits required to ensure the accuracy and integrity of data submitted. ED will analyze each data submission to determine whether the data are consistent with the edits. ED will return data submissions that fail the edit check to the VR agency for correction and resubmission. More information about the edit process is included in the RSA-911-16 Manual.

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8. What data must VR agencies report regarding students with disabilities receiving pre-employment transition services?

A section titled “Pre-Employment Transition Services” was added to the “General Information” included in the RSA-911-16 Manual (see section I.H). This section clarifies the data elements required when an individual receives pre-employment transition services prior to applying and being determined eligible for VR services. The pre-employment transition services-related data elements included in the RSA-911-16 are those required to satisfy statutory and regulatory requirements. However, if the student has applied for and been determined eligible for the VR program, then all data elements, including the pre-employment transition services-related data elements, if necessary, required of other VR program participants, would be applicable to these students as well.

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9. When is the service record of a student with a disability who receives pre-employment transition services considered “closed”?

For a student with a disability who solely received pre-employment transition services and who has not applied or been determined eligible to receive other VR services, the service record is closed when the student is no longer receiving such services as indicated in the pre-employment transition services data elements included in the RSA-911-16 Manual (see section X). Codes were added to the pre-employment transition service data elements to enable agencies to report when those services are no longer being provided. However, if a student with a disability has applied and been determined eligible for VR services, the student’s service record would be “closed” when the student satisfies the definition of “exit” at 34 CFR 361.150(c) because his or her service record is closed pursuant to 34 CFR 361.43 or 361.56.

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10. Are Social Security Numbers (SSNs) required for the RSA-911-16?

No. A SSN is not required for an individual to receive services through the VR program and, thus, individuals are not required to provide one. The RSA-911-16 requires VR agencies to report a unique identifier for each individual, thereby enabling ED to report an unduplicated count of individuals receiving services in accordance with the Joint WIOA Performance ICR. If an individual does not have an SSN or chooses not to provide an SSN, only the Unique Identifier is reported. Additional information regarding the Unique Identifier is included in the RSA-911-16 Manual (see section I.C). Although VR agencies are not required to report SSNs, the collection of SSNs by VR agencies will enable them to comply with the employment-related primary indicators of performance required by section 116(b)(2)(A)(i) of WIOA. If an individual refuses to provide the VR agency with a SSN, the VR agency will need to rely on supplemental wage information in order to comply with section 116.

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11. How will the incomes of individual’s exiting with self-employment outcomes be reported?

Individuals who receive services through the VR program to assist with the achievement of employment outcomes in self-employment are considered “participants” as that term is defined in 34 CFR 361.150(a) and thus must be taken into account when calculating a VR agency’s performance on those measures. Therefore, individuals with self-employment outcomes will be accounted for in the same manner as other participants under WIOA for purposes of calculating levels of performance. Since the employment status and earnings of self-employed individuals are not always captured through the unemployment insurance wage system, a VR agency may use supplemental wage information to obtain the data necessary for the calculation of its performance. Using such supplemental data ensures that VR programs are able to provide a more representative picture of their performance. If a State uses supplemental information to report on the employment rate indicators, the State must also use supplemental information to report on the median earnings indicators. In particular, States that elect not to use supplemental information and follow-up methods are expected to include participants who do not have the necessary data points to complete a wage record match in the denominator of the calculation. These individuals will not be included on the third employment indicator (median wage in the second quarter after the exit quarter). ED and the Department of Labor intend to issue additional guidance regarding the use of supplemental wage information.

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12. Does the RSA-911 collect all data elements necessary to report the effectiveness in serving employers indicator?

No. The RSA-911 collects individual-level data regarding VR participants that are contained in their VR service records. The data elements collected through the RSA-911 are necessary to determine the State’s level of performance under the VR program for purposes of the performance indicators related to participants. These indicators are those related to employment in the second and fourth quarters after exit, the median earnings in the second quarter after exit, credential attainment, and measureable skill gains. The effectiveness in serving employers indicator specifically measures how effective a State is in meeting the needs of employers, which is separate and distinct from the indicators related to the program’s performance with respect to participants.

With respect to the effectiveness in serving employers indicator, the WIOA Joint Performance ICR requires each State to choose two of the three approaches (employer retention, employer penetration, and repeat business customer) described in the preambles of both the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Final Rule, as well as any additional measure that the Governor may establish related to services to employers. States must report results related to the effectiveness in serving employers indicator in the first WIOA annual report due in October 1, 2017. The data elements related to the three different approaches are not included in the Joint Performance ICR because it is unknown which States will choose which two of the three possible approaches and which States will elect to establish a completely different approach for measuring performance under this indicator. ED and the Department of Labor anticipate that a revised Joint Performance ICR will be developed to capture data regarding the effectiveness in serving employers indicator once more information is learned as to how the States proceed with this indicator.

Nevertheless, RSA will collect through the RSA-911 certain individual-level data regarding VR participants that could be used by a State to demonstrate the VR agency’s effectiveness in serving employers with respect to employer retention of a participant. For participants exiting the VR program with an employment outcome, the RSA-911 requires VR agencies to report whether the participant exiting the VR program had the same employer during the second quarter and fourth quarter after the exit quarter. This data element can be used to inform the employer retention measure. However, the data for the employer penetration rate and the repeat business customer rate are not data elements specific to an individual’s VR services or service record. Consequently, such data are not captured in the RSA-911. For States choosing to implement the employer penetration or repeat business customer approaches to measure a program’s effectiveness in serving employers, VR agencies must work collaboratively with their WIOA core program partners to develop and implement the processes necessary to report on the data elements the State selects.

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13. Where should questions regarding implementation of the RSA-911 be sent?

Questions regarding the RSA-911 should be sent to RSAData@ed.gov.

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Frequently-Asked Questions About Supported Employment

May 10, 2017



1. What do these FAQs address?

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education (Department) has received requests for general information and clarification of changes to the Supported Employment program made with the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and implementing regulations. In response, this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page highlights substantial changes in title VI of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by title IV of WIOA, (the Act) and its implementing Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program and Supported Employment program regulations in 34 CFR parts 361 and 363 (see 81 FR 55629 (August 19, 2016) at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/08/19/2016-15980/state-vocational-rehabilitation-services-program-state-supported-employment-services-program). The information in these FAQs provides general guidance and technical assistance to VR agencies and community rehabilitation programs so that they may assist individuals with the most significant disabilities to achieve high-quality supported employment.

 



2. What significant changes have been made to the Supported Employment program through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

WIOA made several changes to the Supported Employment program, including requiring VR agencies to make extended services available to youth with the most significant disabilities through the use of Supported Employment program funds and/or VR program funds pursuant to section 604(b)(2). Other significant changes include:

1) Extending the time frame for the provision of supported employment services from 18 months to 24 months (section 7(39)(C) of the Act and 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(54)(iii) and 363.50(b)(1));

2) Requiring that supported employment be in competitive integrated employment or, if not, in competitive employment, in an integrated work setting in which the individual is working toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis (section 7(38) of the Act and 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(53)(i) and 363.1(b));

3) Requiring a State to reserve and expend 50 percent of its allotment under the Supported Employment program for the provision of supported employment services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities (section 603(d) of the Act and 34 CFR §363.22);

4) Requiring a State to provide not less than a 10 percent non-Federal contribution for the 50 percent of the allotment reserved to serve youth with the most significant disabilities (section 606(b)(7)(I) of the Act and 34 CFR §363.23); and

5) Reducing the amount of funds that States may spend on administrative costs to 2.5 percent from 5 percent of the State’s Supported Employment program allotment (section 606(b)(7)(H) of the Act and 34 CFR §363.51).

For additional information regarding the reservation of funds and fiscal requirements related to the Supported Employment program found in the amendments to the Act made by WIOA, see Frequently Asked Fiscal Questions.

 



3. What is “supported employment”?

Section 7(38) of the Act, and implementing VR program and Supported Employment program regulations in 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(53) and 363.1(b), define “supported employment” as competitive integrated employment, including customized employment, or employment in an integrated work setting in which an individual with a most significant disability, including a youth with a most significant disability, is working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment; and that is individualized and customized, consistent with the individual’s unique strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice, including with ongoing support services for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Because the definition of “employment outcome,” in section 7(11) of the Act, requires all employment outcomes achieved through the VR program to be in the “integrated labor market,” all supported employment outcomes must be in integrated settings with the additional expectation that individuals with the most significant disabilities can and will achieve competitive wages. This means that despite the payment of competitive wages, employment in a non-integrated work setting does not meet the requirement under the Act, for an employment outcome in supported employment. Therefore, employment in sheltered workshops and enclaves and group employment settings does not constitute supported employment because an individual achieves a supported employment outcome only if the supported employment meets the integrated setting requirement. More information regarding “integrated setting” may be found at Integrated Location Criteria of the Definition of “Competitive Integrated Employment” FAQs.

 



4. Who does the Supported Employment program serve?

Section 7(38) of the Act and 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(53) and 363.1(b) of the implementing regulations describe who may be served by the Supported Employment program. The Supported Employment program serves individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with the most significant disabilities, for whom competitive integrated employment has not historically occurred or for whom competitive integrated employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability, and who, because of the nature and severity of their disabilities, need intensive supported employment services and extended services after the transition from support provided by the VR agency in order to perform the work involved.

Supported employment should not be considered automatically as the first choice for individuals with significant or the most significant disabilities. The Supported Employment program and supported employment services exist to assist individuals with the most significant disabilities who need intensive services and ongoing supports to achieve an employment outcome and should be considered after a comprehensive assessment of the rehabilitation needs of the individual when determining an individual’s employment goal consistent with his or her unique strengths, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

 



5. What are the authorized activities under the Supported Employment program?

States are authorized to use funds allotted under the Supported Employment program to provide supported employment services, as defined in section 7(39) of the Act and 34 CFR §361.5(c)(54), and to provide extended services in accordance with the requirements in section 604(b)(2) of the Act and 34 CFR §363.4(a)(2), to youth with the most significant disabilities for a period of time not to exceed four years, or until such time that a youth reaches the age of 25, thereby no longer meeting the definition of a “youth with a disability” in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(58), whichever occurs first.

In accordance with the VR services portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan and section 101(a)(22) of the Act, a VR agency may provide supported employment services or discrete post-employment services using funds made available through the VR program allotment for an individual who is eligible under the Supported Employment program. In addition, funds allotted under the Supported Employment program or the VR program may be used to provide extended services to youth with the most significant disabilities as authorized under section 604(b)(2) of the Act. However, extended services may not be provided by the VR agency using funds allotted under either the Supported Employment program or the VR program to an individual who is not a youth with a disability. See sections 604(b)(1) and 608 of the Act and 34 CFR 363.4(b) and (c).

 



6. What are supported employment services?

Section 7(39) of the Act and 34 CFR §361.5(c)(54) define “supported employment services” as ongoing support services, including customized employment, and other appropriate services needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability, including a youth with a most significant disability, in supported employment and that are organized and made available, singly or in combination, in such a way as to assist an eligible individual to achieve competitive integrated employment. Supported employment services are based on a determination of the needs of an eligible individual as specified in the individualized plan for employment (IPE), and are provided by the VR agency for a period of not more than 24 months, unless under special circumstances the eligible individual and the rehabilitation counselor jointly agree to extend the time to achieve the employment outcome identified in the IPE.

“Ongoing support services” as referenced in the definition of “supported employment services” is defined in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(37). Ongoing support services are services identified based on a determination by the VR agency of an individual’s need as specified in the IPE, and that are needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability, including a youth with a most significant disability, in supported employment. Ongoing services are furnished by the VR agency, using funds under the Supported Employment program and/or the VR program, from the time of job placement until the transition to extended services, and thereafter by one or more extended services providers, including the VR agency, in accordance with 34 CFR §363.4(a)(2), throughout the individual’s term of employment in a particular job placement. However, the VR agency may also provide post-employment services following transition to extended services using funds made available under the VR program, if they are necessary to maintain or regain the job placement or advance in employment and are unavailable from an extended services provider, other than the VR agency.

Ongoing support services may include activities such as an assessment of employment stability and the provision or coordination of specific services at or away from the worksite that are needed to maintain stability, including supplementary assessments of rehabilitation needs, the provision of skilled job trainers for the individual at the worksite, social skills training, follow-up services, facilitation of natural supports at the worksite, and other applicable services defined within the scope of services in 34 CFR §361.48(b).

 



7. What is the time frame for the provision of supported employment services?

Prior to job placement in supported employment, individuals with the most significant disabilities receive VR services identified in the IPE, and which the VR counselor and the individual have determined will lead to achievement of the supported employment outcome. Supported employment services, also identified on the IPE, begin at the time of the individual’s job placement. The definition of “supported employment services” in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(54) specifically references “ongoing support services,” which are defined in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(37) and are furnished by the VR agency from the time of job placement until transition to extended services. They also may include post-employment services, if these services are required from the VR agency because they are unavailable from an extended services provider and are necessary to maintain or regain the job placement or advance in employment.

Under the Act, the time frame for the provision of supported employment services, has been extended from 18 months to no longer than 24 months, unless, under special circumstances, the eligible individual and the rehabilitation counselor jointly agree to extend the time to achieve the employment outcome identified in the IPE. The extension provides additional time for individuals with the most significant disabilities to receive the services and supports necessary to achieve an employment outcome in supported employment either in competitive integrated employment or working in an integrated setting on a short-term basis to achieve competitive integrated employment.

 



8. What is the short-term basis?

The inclusion of the short-term basis provision in the definition of “supported employment” in section 7(38) of the Act clearly indicates Congress’ intent that individuals with the most significant disabilities should not linger in subminimum wage employment for long periods of time and should achieve competitive integrated employment. For purposes of supported employment, an individual with a most significant disability, whose supported employment in an integrated setting does not satisfy the criteria of competitive integrated employment, as defined in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(9), is considered to be working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment so long as the individual can reasonably anticipate achieving competitive integrated employment within six months of achieving a supported employment outcome. In limited circumstances, the short-term basis period may be extended up to an additional six months (not to exceed 12 months from the achievement of the supported employment outcome), if a longer period is necessary based on the needs of the individual, and the individual has demonstrated progress toward competitive earnings based on information contained in the service record (section 7(38) of the Act and 34 CFR §363.1(c)).

The six-month short-term basis period, and the additional six months that may be available in limited circumstances, begins after an individual has completed up to 24 months of supported employment services (unless a longer period of time is necessary based upon the individual’s needs) and the individual has achieved a supported employment outcome, meaning that the individual is stable in the supported employment placement for a minimum period of 90 days following the transition to extended services. At this point, the individual has achieved a supported employment outcome in accordance with the criteria set forth in 34 CFR §363.54.

It would not be appropriate to put an individual in an unpaid internship, pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship (including a Registered Apprenticeship), or transitional employment for a short-term basis because the short-term basis period occurs after the achievement of the supported employment outcome. These employment experiences do not constitute supported employment outcomes within the meaning of the definition of “supported employment” in 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(53) and 363.1(b) and (c); instead, they are VR services that may lead to the achievement of employment outcomes. Therefore, they would not be appropriate placements for employment on a short-term basis.

 



9. What are the requirements for providing extended services for youth?

“Extended services,” as defined in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(19), means ongoing support services and other appropriate services that are needed to support and maintain an individual with a most significant disability, including a youth with a most significant disability in supported employment. Extended services must be organized and made available, singly or in combination, in such a way as to assist an individual in maintaining supported employment; based on needs specified in the IPE; provided by a State agency, a private nonprofit organization, employer, or any other appropriate resource after an individual has made the transition from support from the VR agency; and, in the case of a youth with a most significant disability, provided by the VR agency in accordance with requirements in section 604(b)(2) of the Act and 34 CFR §363.4(a)(2), and as described in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(19)(v). The transition to extended services begins after all supported employment services are complete.

VR agencies must make extended services available to youth with the most significant disabilities with funds available under the Supported Employment program based upon the individual needs of the youth. Read together, sections 603(d) and 604(b)(2) of the Act, as amended by WIOA, mandates that the VR agency make available extended services for youth with the most significant disabilities for a period not to exceed four years. Furthermore, section 604(b)(2) of the Act permits VR agencies to use title I VR funds to pay for extended services to youth with the most significant disabilities. The regulations in 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(19)(v) and 363.4(a)(2) clarify that extended services may be provided for a period of up to four years or until such time that a youth reaches the age of 25, and, thus, no longer meets the definition of a “youth with a disability” under 34 CFR §361.5(c)(58), whichever occurs first. Therefore, a youth may no longer be eligible to receive extended services provided by the VR agency with funds allotted under the Supported Employment program or the VR program if the individual:

  • No longer meets age requirements established in the definition of a “youth with a disability” in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(58); or
  • Has received extended services for a period of four years; or
  • Has transitioned to extended services provided with funds other than those allotted under the VR program or Supported Employment program prior to meeting the age or time restrictions.
Once a youth reaches age 25 or his or her four year limit of extended services provided by the Supported Employment or VR program, under 34 CFR §363.53(b)(2)(ii), the VR agency must identify another source of extended services to ensure that there will be no interruption of services. The VR agency may not provide extended services to a youth with the most significant disability who has not received services from the VR agency through an IPE simply because he or she meets the definition of a “youth with a disability” and is in need of extended services. To be eligible for supported employment services, including extended services, a youth must meet the requirements of section 605 of the Act and 34 CFR §363.3 of the regulations, which include being determined eligible for VR services. It should be noted that WIOA did not amend title VI of the Rehabilitation Act to allow VR agencies to fund extended services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are not youth with significant disabilities using Supported Employment or VR program funds (34 CFR §§361.5(c)(19)(v) and 363.4(b)).

 



10. Can the VR agency “opt out” of providing extended services to youth?

While the VR agency cannot “opt out” of any of the activities authorized under section 604 of the Act and 34 CFR §363.4 by refusing to fund them, VR agencies determine the need for and fund services on a case-by-case basis dependent upon each individual’s need for services. In light of the responsibility to make available funds for extended services for youth with the most significant disabilities, VR agencies should continue to explore the availability of funding from other sources, as is done for other individuals with the most significant disabilities transitioning from supported employment services to extended services.

Prior to WIOA, VR agencies were not permitted to expend Supported Employment or VR program funds for extended services. This new requirement is implemented in the definition of “extended services” in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(19)(v) of the regulations and is an authorized service in 34 CFR §363.4(a)(2). In addition, under section 603(d) of the Act and 34 CFR §363.22, a reservation of 50 percent of a State’s Supported Employment program allotment is required for the provision of supported employment services, including extended services, to youth with the most significant disabilities.

 



11. What requirements must be satisfied to demonstrate achievement of an employment outcome in supported employment?

Section 7(11)(B) of the Act and 34 CFR §361.5(c)(15) include supported employment within the employment outcomes available to individuals with disabilities through the VR program. Under section 7(38) of the Act, and 34 CFR §§361.5(c)(53) and 363.1(b), supported employment requires that the individual be employed in competitive integrated employment or in an integrated setting in which the individual is working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment. Thus, in limited circumstances, individuals in supported employment may not have achieved employment that satisfies all the criteria of “competitive integrated employment” initially since they will be earning noncompetitive wages on a short-term basis. This very narrow exception is the only instance in which the statute permits that all criteria of “competitive integrated employment” need not be satisfied for an individual to achieve an employment outcome. However, even under this narrow exception, the expectation is that, after a short period of time, the individual will achieve competitive integrated employment in supported employment. For further discussion of what constitutes an employment outcome in supported employment, see question 2 of this FAQ.

Requirements that must be satisfied to demonstrate achievement of an employment outcome in supported employment are set forth in 34 CFR §363.54 of the regulations:

  • First, the individual must have completed supported employment services, which may be received for up to 24 months, or longer if the counselor and the individual have determined that such services are needed to support and maintain the individual in supported employment. Any other VR services listed on the IPE provided to individuals who are working on a short-term basis toward the achievement of competitive integrated employment in supported employment need not be completed prior to satisfying the achievement of an employment outcome;
  • Second, the individual has transitioned to extended services provided either by the VR agency for a youth with the most significant disability, or another provider, consistent with the provisions of 34 CFR §§363.4(a)(2) and 363.22 of the regulations;
  • Third, the individual has maintained employment and achieved stability in the work setting for a minimum of 90 days after transitioning to extended services; and
  • Finally, the employment must be individualized and customized consistent with the strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual.

 



12. When may a service record be closed?

The service record of an individual who has achieved an employment outcome in supported employment will be closed in accordance with 34 CFR §363.55 of the regulations.

Closure of the service record may occur at the time individuals or youth with the most significant disabilities achieve a supported employment outcome or at a later time, depending on whether individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with the most significant disabilities, achieve competitive integrated employment or work toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis and whether they are receiving extended services and/or any other VR services from the VR agency or from other service providers.

 



13. What are some scenarios for the achievement of supported employment outcomes and when service records may be closed?

The interplay between when an individual with a most significant disability has achieved a supported employment outcome and when the service record of the individual may be closed can involve multiple steps of analysis. Factors such as whether individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with the most significant disabilities, are working toward competitive integrated employment on a short-term basis and whether they are receiving extended services and/or any other VR services from the VR agency or from other service providers must be considered. The examples below incorporate the requirements in 34 CFR §§363.54 and 363.55 and are intended to assist in understanding the timing of closure of the service record in relation to the achievement of the supported employment outcome. All examples must still meet the other requirements for closing a service record in 34 CFR §361.56(c) and (d) – the VR counselor and consumer consider the employment outcome to be satisfactory and agree that the individual is performing well in the employment and the individual is informed through appropriate modes of communication of the availability of post-employment services.

EXAMPLE 1: Bob has been placed in a competitive wage job in an integrated setting individualized and customized for him that is consistent with his strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice; has completed up to 24 months of supported employment services; has transitioned to extended services provided by a provider other than the VR agency; and has been stable for a minimum of 90 days after transitioning to extended services.

Has he achieved a supported employment outcome? YES

Can the service record be closed? YES, if the requirements for service record closure in 34 CFR §361.56 also have been satisfied.

EXAMPLE 2: In the previous scenario, what if Bob is a youth with a most significant disability and is receiving extended services from the VR agency instead of from another provider?

Has he achieved a supported employment outcome? YES

Can the service record be closed? NO. Bob is continuing to receive services (extended services) from the VR agency. Once he no longer is receiving extended services from the VR agency (e.g., he has reached the age of 25, received extended services for 4 years or begins receiving extended services from another agency), his service record can be closed, if the requirements for service record closure in 34 CFR §361.56 also have been satisfied.

EXAMPLE 3: Bob has been placed in a job in an integrated setting at a subminimum wage that is individualized and customized for him that is consistent with his strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice but he reasonably anticipates achieving competitive integrated employment within six months. He has completed up to 24 months of supported employment services; has transitioned to extended services provided by a provider other than the VR agency; and has been stable for a minimum of 90 days after transitioning to extended services and is receiving VR services while working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment.

Has he achieved a supported employment outcome? YES

Can the service record be closed at the time of the supported employment outcome? NO. Bob is continuing to receive VR services during the short-term basis period from the VR agency with funds under 34 CFR part 361 (VR program funds).

When can the service record be closed?

The service record can be closed when Bob:

  • Achieves competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period established pursuant to 34 CFR §363.1(c); and
  • Satisfies the requirements for service record closure in 34 CFR §361.56; and
  • Is no longer receiving VR services provided by the VR agency with funds under 34 CFR part 361.
The service record must also be closed if Bob does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period.

EXAMPLE 4: Bob is a youth with a most significant disability who has been placed in a job in an integrated setting at a subminimum wage that is individualized and customized for him that is consistent with his strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice but he reasonably anticipates achieving competitive integrated employment within six months. He has completed up to 24 months of supported employment services; has transitioned to extended services provided by the VR agency; has been stable for a minimum of 90 days after transitioning to extended services and is receiving VR services funded under VR program funds while working on a short-term basis toward competitive integrated employment.

Has he achieved a supported employment outcome? YES

Can the service record be closed at the time of the supported employment outcome? NO. Bob is continuing to receive extended services funded under the Supported Employment program or the VR program and VR services during the short-term basis from the VR agency with VR program funds.

When can the service record be closed?

The service record can be closed when Bob:

  • Achieves competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period; and
  • Is no longer receiving VR services provided by the VR agency with funds under 34 CFR part 361; and/or
  • Is no longer eligible to receive extended services provided by the VR agency with funds allotted under the Supported Employment program or the VR program or has transitioned to another extended services provider; and
  • Satisfies the requirements for service record closure in 34 CFR §361.56.
The service record must also be closed if Bob does not achieve competitive integrated employment within the short-term basis period and, in such a case, extended services should be coordinated with another extended services provider.

In summary, the service record may be closed and the supported employment outcome taken at the same time an individual, including a youth with a most significant disability, achieves a supported employment outcome in competitive integrated employment, unless an individual with a most significant disability is receiving VR services during the short-term basis period and/or, in the case of a youth with a most significant disability, is receiving extended services funded by either Supported Employment program or VR program funds.

 



14. What happens if an individual with a most significant disability working in an integrated setting has not achieved competitive wages by the end of the short-term basis period?

If an individual with a most significant disability does not achieve competitive wages during the short-term basis period, the service record will be closed, and he or she will have achieved a supported employment outcome working on a short-term basis. Because the individual has not achieved competitive wages and is continuing to work at a subminimum wage, he or she will be subject to the requirements of section 511 of the Act, related to limitations on the use of subminimum wage. Additionally, the VR agency will review the status of the individual on a semi-annual basis for the first two years of employment and annually thereafter to determine the interests, priorities, and needs of the individual with respect to competitive integrated employment or training for competitive integrated employment in accordance with 34 CFR §361.55(a)(2)(i) of the VR program regulations. At any time, the individual may also reapply for the VR program if he or she intends to seek competitive integrated employment.

 



15. What happens if an individual with a most significant disability loses a job after being placed in supported employment?

Consistent with the scope and provision of VR services for individuals with disabilities in section 103(a) of the Act and 34 CFR §361.48, if an individual with a most significant disability loses a job prior to achieving an employment outcome, he or she may continue to receive VR services that will lead to another placement in supported employment. After placement, he or she may receive supported employment services to assist in achieving a supported employment outcome.

Similarly, for an individual with a most significant disability who has achieved a supported employment outcome and subsequently loses his or her employment, prior to closure of the service record, the individual may receive VR services that will assist in finding another placement, after which additional supported employment services may be provided to enable him or her to achieve a supported employment outcome.

For an individual with a most significant disability who has lost a job following the achievement of an employment outcome and whose service record has been closed, he or she may apply to the VR agency for services again. Additionally, following transition to extended services, an individual with a most significant disability may receive post-employment services identified in the IPE that are unavailable from an extended services provider and that are necessary to maintain or regain the job placement or advance in employment (34 CFR §§361.5(c)(54)(iv) and 361.46(c)).

 


Last Modified: 11/15/2017

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/09/2018