State VR Counselors
Counselors employed by State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies play a critical role in ensuring that Social Security disability beneficiaries have access to the full array of services and support that can result in long-term employment success. The role of the VR Counselor (VRCs) in terms of the Ticket program stems from the following facts.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and its governing regulations require State VR agencies to facilitate informed choice for each person receiving services (34 CFR 361.52) and to discuss the potential need for post-employment services prior to closing a person's VR case (34 CFR 361.56). VRCs typically discuss the Ticket program/ongoing support services as an option for beneficiaries to access ongoing employment support after case closure. The opportunities afforded by the Ticket program might be discussed, at a minimum, during the assessment process, when the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is being developed, and prior to case closure.
- A beneficiary can use his/her Ticket with a State VR agency or take it to an approved Employment Network (EN). In signing the IPE, the beneficiary is agreeing to use his/her Ticket with the State VR agency.
- At case closure, beneficiaries are informed that the Ticket still has value and can be assigned to an EN to receive ongoing employment support to maintain or advance in employment.
- While the beneficiary's VR case is open, the Ticket cannot be assigned to another EN or State VR agency. If the beneficiary becomes dissatisfied with his/her VR services, the Ticket can be unassigned and then reassigned to an EN or another State VR agency. If VR is providing services under the Cost Reimbursement program, the beneficiary may request that his/her case be closed.
- While the beneficiary's case is open with the State VR agency and as long as the beneficiary is making expected progress towards self-supporting employment (as defined by Social Security), he/she is protected from medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR). When the beneficiary's case is closed, this protection will continue for an additional 90 days. If the beneficiary assigns his/her Ticket within 90 days of case closure, the CDR protection may continue uninterrupted.
- If a beneficiary is being wait-listed under an Order of Selection, the beneficiary might be informed of the option to take the Ticket to an EN to receive services while waiting for services from VR.