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?
  2. Who is eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation program?
  3. If I am eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation program, do I automatically receive services?
  4. How do I apply for services?
  5. What services can the Vocational Rehabilitation program provide?
  6. Are there grants or scholarships available for people with disabilities who want to go to college?
  7. How do I contact the Vocational Rehabilitation agency in my state?
  8. What can I do if I am not satisfied with my experience with the Vocational Rehabilitation program?
  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?
  10. How do I learn more 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?
    This link will provide you with 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.


 


This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/19/2017

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 02/19/2017

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




  1. What are the criteria that an employment setting must satisfy to be considered an integrated location?
  2. Is the regulatory definition of “competitive integrated employment,” with respect to the integrated location criteria, consistent with the statutory definition?
  3. Do the integrated location criteria in the definition of “competitive integrated employment” restrict the informed choice of individuals with disabilities?
  4. Who is responsible for determining whether an employment setting is in an integrated location and satisfies the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?
  5. What is meant by “typically found in the community,” as used in the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?
  6. What does RSA mean by “work unit,” as used in the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?
  7. Do group employment settings, such as janitorial crews in which individuals with disabilities earn competitive wages, satisfy the definition of “competitive integrated employment”?



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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Modified: 01/18/2017

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/19/2017

One-Stop Infrastructure Costs FAQs




  1. What is the deadline for entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between the Local Workforce Development Board and one-stop partners?
  2. What is the deadline for finalizing infrastructure funding agreements for Program Year 2017?
  3. What are the required elements of an infrastructure funding agreement?
  4. How does the infrastructure funding agreement relate to the overall one-stop operating budget?
  5. What are infrastructure costs? What are the distinctions between “non-personnel” costs and “personnel” costs?
  6. Which WIOA one-stop partner programs are required to contribute towards one-stop infrastructure costs?
  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?
  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?
  9. What are non-cash contributions and how are they valued?
  10. What are third-party in-kind contributions and how are they valued?
  11. Will the specific WIOA requirements for local agreements for funding the one–stop infrastructure costs apply in PY 2016?
  12. What happens if the local areas fail to reach an agreement for funding the one–stop system in PY 2016?
  13. What can States do now to prepare for implementation of the funding requirements in PY 2017?



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Modified: 01/30/2017

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/19/2017

Frequently-Asked Questions




  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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Last Modified: 09/28/2016

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/19/2017

Frequently-Asked Questions




  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?
  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?
  3. Can a State carry over any portion of its SE allotment, whether for SE reserve purposes or not?
  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?
  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?
  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?
  7. How is the SE reservation requirement affected when there are two VR agencies (General and Blind)?
  8. When may a State expend SE award funds for the provision of SE services to individuals 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?



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).

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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.

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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.

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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….”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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Last Modified: 08/12/2016

This content was copied from www.ed.gov on 02/19/2017