State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies and the Ticket Program
State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies can choose to serve Social Security beneficiaries under the traditional VR Cost Reimbursement (CR) program or as an EN under the Ticket program. State VR agencies that choose to function as ENs under the Ticket program are referred to as VRENs. Regardless of whether a beneficiary is being served under CR or the Ticket program, the beneficiary's Ticket is considered to be "in-use" (meaning it cannot be assigned to another service provider). As long as the beneficiary is making expected progress towards self-supporting employment (as defined by the Social Security Administration and known as Timely Progress), his/her regularly scheduled medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) will be postponed. Under the original Ticket regulations, Social Security could only provide financial compensation to a State VR agency under the CR program or an EN (or a VREN) under the Ticket program for successfully serving a beneficiary. In 2008 the Ticket regulations were changed, authorizing Social Security to provide financial compensation to a State VR agency and an EN for serving the same beneficiary under the same Ticket under certain conditions. Read more about this new service delivery model in the sections on "Partnership Plus."
Prior to 2014, there were no Federal mandates or requirements in the authorizing legislation or governing regulations for State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies addressing how VR should coordinate their services with services available under the Ticket program. The reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act in 1998 was prior to the passage of the Ticket legislation in 1999. Recent amendments to the Rehabilitation Act (Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 - WIOA) addressed the issue of services coordination. WIOA requires State VR agencies to:
- Coordinate their activities with any other state agency functioning as an Employment Network (EN);
- Provide the Social Security disability beneficiaries they serve with "general information on additional supports and assistance for individuals with disabilities desiring to enter the workforce, including assistance with benefits planning";
- Provide VR consumers with information on post-employment services and service providers that are necessary for the individual to maintain or regain employment; and
- Coordinate VR services with EN services for common customers.
This includes, for an individual receiving assistance from an EN under the Ticket program, a description of how responsibility for service delivery will be divided between the EN and the State VR agency.