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Benchmark 1A: Discovery, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA), and the Review Meeting
If a consumer has a supported employment (SE) goal, discovery is conducted by the employment specialist. While there is no set standard for how much time a provider spends with a consumer during discovery, research suggests that providers should spend as many as 20 to 30 hours on the discovery process to observe the consumer's abilities, challenges, and resources, as well as to collect information from professional and nonprofessional supports in the consumer's life. The process includes exploring options related to wages, employment outcomes, and self-employment outcomes; including interests, capabilities, preferences, ongoing support needs; and Extended Services and supports required at and away from the job site that are necessary for employment success.
Discovery activities include:
- exploring options related to wages and employment outcomes;
- identifying options for Extended Services and supports that will be used for successful employment;
- observing the consumer's work skills and behaviors at home and in the community environment and/or touring with the consumer in current or potential work environments;
- collecting personal and employer reference information;
- assessing the consumer's learning style and needs for adaptive technology, accommodations, and on-site supports; and
- assessing the consumer's strengths, challenges, and transferable skills from previous job placements.
Supported Employment Assessment (SEA)
The discovery process enables the provider to gather information necessary to answer all the questions on the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment. The report must describe the consumer so that someone reading the report has an accurate understanding of who the consumer is and the consumer's employment goals. DARS recommends that the person-centered planning process be used when collecting information for the SEA.
The SEA must focus on the consumer's:
- support needs that may be necessary for successful employment, including self-employment;
- interests, skills, and functional abilities related to daily living, employment, and recreation; and
- support needs that family, friends, and professionals provide to help the consumer maintain a quality life at home and in the community (for example, financial assistance, room and board, supervision for safety, and transportation).
The SEA must be submitted to the DARS counselor at least one week before the SEA review meeting. The DARS counselor reviews the SEA in accordance with the Quality Criteria. If the Quality Criteria are not achieved, the SEA is returned to the provider so the needed information can be added before the SEA review meeting.
SEA Review Meeting
The SEA review meeting is a meeting with the DARS counselor, consumer, and employment specialist following the completion of the discovery process and SEA. This meeting may happen in conjunction with Benchmark 1B. The SEA review meeting includes a discussion of SE, determines what employment outcome, if any, will be pursued, and identifies the type of documentation needed next. SEA information and recommendations are used to develop the DARS1614, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 2.
The SEA DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment is required documentation and must:
- include supporting documentation to determine support-needs tier for SE in the planning meeting;
- provide enough information to determine one or more appropriate job matches, or to support the consumer's pursuit of a self-employment outcome;
- identify specific support needs and/or interventions;
- demonstrate that interests, assets, and abilities in work and nonwork areas were explored, identified, and appropriately summarized to enable the employment specialist to market the consumer to potential employers or to enable the pursuit of a self-employment outcome; and
- be signed by the employment specialist who actually performed the discovery work with the consumer and completed the SEA form.
See Quality Criteria for the SEA.
Benchmark 1A is complete when the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment, has been completed by the employment specialist and approved by the DARS counselor.
Payment for Benchmark 1A (see Chapter 3: Rates, 3.2 Service Rates) is made when the DARS counselor receives and approves:
- the DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment;
- completion of the SEA meeting; and
- an invoice.
Benchmark 1B: Supported Employment Services Plan (SESP) Part 1
Supported Employment Services Plan (SESP) Part 1
The SESP Part 1 is completed after the SEA and the SEA review meeting.
SESP Part 1 (DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1) must be completed during an SESP Part 1 meeting and signed by all parties at the conclusion of the meeting. The SESP meetings are planning with the consumer, counselor, and provider. They should be held in person to allow all parties to participate in the discussion. The provider should not bring a completed DARS1613 to the meeting or complete the DARS1613 after conclusion of the meeting. The DARS counselor or designee will complete the DARS 1613 while the provider is facilitating the planning meeting to ensure that all input is captured correctly on the SE service plan. The completed DARS1613 should be signed by all parties at the conclusion of the meeting.
The SESP Part 1 (DARS1613) is developed and implemented with the consumer leading or assisted by team members. It identifies interests, preferences, and skills related to setting the long-term placement goal. Both the DARS counselor and the SE provider ensure that group discussions during SESP Part 1 include recommendations and strategies outlined in the SEA. The SESP Part 1 meeting typically is one to two hours long and is facilitated by the SE provider.
The SESP Part 1 identifies:
- members of the SESP team;
- consumer preferences and/or interests;
- consumer assets and/or abilities;
- negotiable and non-negotiable employment conditions;
- potential Extended Services and support needs of the consumer;
- targeted job tasks the consumer can perform or potentially perform; and
- potential employers.
Members of the consumer's SESP team must include:
- the consumer;
- the consumer's representative, if any;
- the SE services provider; and
- the DARS counselor.
The team may include other significant people whom the consumer wants to invite and who may potentially help achieve successful employment for the consumer or be a long-term support for the consumer. Significant people may include:
- case managers;
- business owners; and/or
- church members.
The team maintains ongoing communication throughout the process to ensure that SE outcomes are achieved.
Team members can help to:
- identify a possible placement;
- provide short- and long-term supports (including long-term Extended Services) to ensure employment success; and
- motivate the consumer.
Preferences and Interests
Preferences and interests are specific types of work or activities in which the person would like to engage. Examples are:
- Working in an office
- Working with children
- Teaching others
- Working with computers
Preferences and interests can also be stated in negative terms (for example, "no fast food restaurant employment"). Information must be consistent with the SEA. Although the final job placement does not have to include all the listed preferences and interests, they should be prioritized during the meeting.
Assets and Abilities
Assets and abilities are the skills and traits the consumer offers a potential employer.
These may include:
- personality traits;
- skills; and
Information must be consistent with the SEA.
Employment conditions are characteristics that are important to the consumer and relevant to his or her support needs with respect to employment.
- environmental considerations (for example, indoors, outdoors, or crowded);
- learning and training considerations;
- safety issues;
- work hours (number of hours, shift, days);
- specific anticipated support needs (for example, medications, toileting, redirecting); and
- social and/or communication considerations.
SESP information must be consistent with information provided in the SEA.
The SESP Part 1 identifies which employment conditions are "negotiable" and "non-negotiable" as identified by the consumer and others. Employment conditions must be written in measureable terms so that each person has a clear understanding of the needs to be addressed. The placement must meet all non-negotiable employment conditions and the majority (50 percent or more) of the negotiable employment conditions listed in the SESP Part l.
Potential Extended Services and Support Needs of the Consumer
Extended Services and supports (sometimes referred to as long-term supports or services) may involve either on-site or off-site monitoring or delivery of services necessary for the consumer to maintain employment after DARS case closure. The Extended Services and supports are provided for as long as the consumer needs them and as long as the consumer or legal representative requests them.
Extended Services and supports identified must be consistent with the SEA and are updated throughout the consumer's employment.
Some examples of Extended Services and supports include:
- job performance monitoring;
- job skill training (short-term) for new job tasks added to job duties or to improve performance;
- setting up compensatory strategies;
- earned income reporting to the Social Security Administration;
- services such as medication management, attendant care, and counseling;
- business venture supports such as bookkeeping, marketing, and managing data or inventories; and
Frequency of Extended Services and supports can be daily, weekly, monthly, or as identified.
Extended Services and supports are rendered and funded by sources other than DARS. Sources may include Social Security Employment Networks, Social Security Plan for Acheiving Self Support (PASS), property essential to self-support (PESS), or Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE), Medicaid Waiver, parents, family, friends, churches, and nonprofits.
Possible resources for Extended Services and supports must be identified as part of the SESP Part 1 and updated throughout the process. When all other resources to pay for Extended Services and supports have been exhausted, a provider may offer to provide the supports on a fee-for-service basis. Such supports may be funded through a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) or Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE), or they may be paid by the consumer or family. The cost of these supports must be disclosed to the consumer, the consumer must agree to that fee as part of the SESP Part 1 process, and the fee must be added to the consumer's Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). The community rehabilitation program provider will not attempt to collect any fees from the consumer or his or her family for services provided before DARS case closure.
Targeted Job Tasks
Targeted job tasks identified by the team are tasks the consumer can currently or potentially perform.
Information must be consistent with the:
- employment conditions; and
- the consumer's preferences and/or interests.
Job tasks are not the same as job titles. Job titles are titles given to a group of duties (for example, administrative assistant), and job tasks describe specific activities (for example, filing, greeting customers, stocking shelves). Vague descriptions such as "kitchen helper" are not acceptable.
Potential employers are specific employers or industries in the consumer's preferred or desired geographical boundaries where the identified job tasks might be performed. The list should be prioritized. If a member of the SESP Part 1 team has a potential job lead or contact, that information should be included.
The DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 is required and must include:
- preferences and/or interests;
- assets and/or abilities;
- employment conditions;
- potential extended services and support needs;
- targeted job tasks;
- potential employers; and
- the signatures of:
- the consumer (or the signature of the consumer's legal representative);
- the employment specialist; and
- the counselor.
See Quality Criteria for SESP Part 1.
Benchmark 1B is complete when the DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1 (SESP Part 1) has been completed by the Supported Employment provider, signed by the appropriate parties, and approved by the DARS counselor.
The DARS1613 indicates whether the provider is eligible for any Employment Premium Services payments.
Payment for Benchmark 1B is made upon receipt of a completed, accurate, and signed DARS1613, Supported Employment Services Plan—Part 1, and invoice.