The theme of NCSAB's Spring 2022 Virtual Conference is Moving Forward: Maximizing a Future of Innovation & Opportunity. RSA staff delivered and participated in sessions throughout the conference. On May 9, 2022, RSA delivered a presentation featuring:
What's New in RSA
NCSAB Spring 2022 Virtual Conference
RSA Issues Guidance regarding Financial Needs Tests and Cost Participation for SSI and SSDI Recipients
On April 22, 2022, RSA issued guidance titled Prohibition Against Applying Financial Needs Tests or Requiring Cost Participation as a Condition for the Receipt of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for SSI and SSDI Recipients (RSA-TAC-22-03). This guidance reminds VR agencies of the prohibition against applying a financial needs test or requiring financial participation as a condition for providing VR services to an individual who has been determined eligible for Social Security benefits under titles II or XVI of the Social Security Act (i.e., recipients of Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance).
CSAVR Spring 2022 Virtual Conference
The theme of CSAVR's Spring 2022 Virtual Conference is Transformative Resilience: Focusing on VR Performance. On April 14, 2022, RSA delivered a presentation, titled Partnering for Progress, featuring:
- RSA Updates;
- A conversation with Valerie Williams, Director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs;
- A review of VR program performance and fiscal data;
- A summary of RSA discussions with State VR agencies related to fiscal issues; and
- Remarks from Sarah Brenna, Director of the Utah Office of Rehabilitation
Federal Partners Share New Webcast: Rebuilding Service Delivery
On March 24, 2022, Federal partners from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services shared a new webcast discussing the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to Build Back Better and invest in the public workforce and education systems.
The agency heads examine top priorities, multiple challenges, and opportunities for expanding job quality, improving equity, and strengthening partnerships across workforce programs to support prosperity for job seekers and employers. Listen to the webcast here.
RSA Issues Final NOI regarding Pre-Employment Transition Services
On March 21, 2022, RSA announced the publication of the final notification of interpretation (NOI) regarding the use of Federal Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) funds reserved for pre-employment transition services.On February 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) published an NOI in the Federal Register (85 FR 11848) to clarify current policy regarding the permissibility of using funds reserved for pre-employment transition services for auxiliary aids and services, and to announce a change in policy regarding the use of Federal VR funds reserved for pre-employment transition services. There are no changes between the original interpretation and this final interpretation.
Through this document, the Department rescinds the Dear Director Letter (December 28, 2016) regarding the use of reserved funds for the provision of auxiliary aids and services because the substance of that letter was incorporated into and clarified by the original interpretation.
Education Department Launches Historic Real Pay for Real Jobs Initiative for People with Disabilities
On March 18, 2022, RSA released the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for the Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment (SWTCIE) demonstration project, aimed at increasing access for people with disabilities to jobs that pay good wages. The SWTCIE project is the largest discretionary grant administered by RSA, with $167 million available to VR agencies and their partners.
“Economic security should be available to all Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Providing individuals with disabilities with a high-quality education and the services that they need to thrive will result in real pay for real jobs, empowering them and leading to greater social and economic inclusion.” Read the full Press Release.
On March 21, 2022, the Federal Register published the official version of the NIA. The deadline for submissions is June 21, 2022.
RSA Issues FAQs related to Post-Employment Services
On March 14, 2022, RSA issued FAQ-22-03: Post-Employment Services in response to questions VR agencies have asked regarding how to provide post-employment services to individuals with disabilities who have achieved employment outcomes and how to report these services on the Case Service Report (RSA-911), particularly because of the reporting requirements in Section 116 of the WIOA and its regulations. Specifically, VR agencies have asked how to report post-employment services since, as explained in these FAQs, VR agencies cannot reopen the service records of “participants” whose “exits” from the VR program have been reported through the RSA-911 under WIOA’s performance accountability system.
RehabData Workgroup Updates MSG Data Tool
On March 8, 2022, the RehabData Workgroup shared an updated version of the Measurable Skill Gains Data Tool, which incorporates performance results from Program Years 2019 and 2020. The tool is also available on the VRTAC-QM website. To navigate the tool, you must enable macros after downloading the Excel file. Select “Enable Content” in the Security Warning.
The RehabData Workgroup is also preparing updates to the Pre-Employment Transition Services Data Tool and the Employment Status at Exit and Post-Exit Data Tool and plans to share these in the coming weeks.
RSA Publishes VR Program SAM for PYs 2022 and 2023
On February 25, 2022, RSA provided VR agencies with the Estimated Levels of Performance for PYs 2022 and 2023 for five WIOA performance indicators in its Statistical Adjustment Model (SAM). The SAM includes the coefficients, specific values for each variable for each State, and performance results from PY 2017 to PY 2020, as applicable, for each State VR program.
After State VR programs submit their Expected Levels of Performance by March 15, 2022, RSA will use the Estimated Levels of Performance as one of the factors in establishing Negotiated Levels of Performance for PYs 2022 and 2023. For more information related to the negotiations process, please review RSA-TAC-20-02 or this webcast which provides an overview of the joint policy guidance.
Credential Attainment Training
On February 9, 2022, RSA and VRTAC-QM shared new technical assistance on Credential Attainment Rate - one of the six performance indicators for the VR program under WIOA. The training provides an overview of the indicator; outlines the Case Service Report (RSA-911) data elements used in reporting the indicator; highlights performance results from Program Years 2019 and 2020; specifies how the indicator is calculated; details how to report some of the Credential Attainment Scenarios; answers questions posed to RSA and VRTAC-QM related to the indicator; and links to policy guidance and other technical assistance resources.