West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services 2013 Annual Report

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West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services

2013 Annual Report

Table of Contents

Page numbers omitted because Rich Text Format is rendered differently in different software

Mission Statement


Field Services

Vocational Rehabilitation Process

Available Services

Program Data

Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators

Programs and Services

Disability Determination Section


Ability Works Success Stories

Employer Recognition Program

Financial Report

Contact Information

Dear Colleagues:

The Office of the Secretary for West Virginia's Department of Education and the Arts and the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)are pleased to present this 2013 Annual Report. We are proud of the accomplishments reflected herein, and the DRS mission of enabling and empowering individuals with disabilities to work and live independently.

Once again, this report highlights the partnerships that assist DRS in serving West Virginians with disabilities. These include strong relationships with secondary and post-secondary schools, WorkForce West Virginia, Community Rehabilitation Programs, the Statewide Independent Living Council and the State Rehabilitation Council.

This report also emphasizes how the essential partnerships developed with West Virginia employers play a crucial role in empowering people with disabilities to work.

Through these affiliations and hard work, DRS and its valued employees provided vocational rehabilitation services to 16,826 West Virginians with disabilities in fiscal year 2013. More than 91 percent of those served were individuals with significant disabilities, a federally mandated priority of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.

We acknowledge with pride the 3,831 determined individuals who, after receiving services from DRS, secured employment during the past year. These new on-the-job citizens represent the powerful impact of vocational rehabilitation with an average increase in annual earnings of 50 percent! In difficult economic times, we are enormously encouraged by this success.

Through continued dedication of resources for positive change, DRS is assisting West Virginians with disabilities in achieving successful, integrated employment and better lives.
Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary

Department of Education and the Arts
Donna L. Ashworth, Director

Division of RehabilitationServices
Mission Statement

To enable and empower individuals with disabilities to work and to live independently
Vocational Rehabilitation Program

  • 16,826 individuals with disabilities served

  • 3,831 successfully rehabilitated into employment

  • 91 percent of individuals served had significant disabilities

  • 50 percent increase in average annual earnings due to rehabilitation services

  • Increased client services budget by 399 percent over the last five years, focusing on customer service improvements for vocational rehabilitation services throughout West Virginia

  • Spent more than $10 million in tuition and other college expenses, helping 2,936 students get the education needed to meet their work-related educational goals

  • Met all required federal benchmarks for program evaluation standards and performance indicators

Disability Determination Section

  • Cleared 48,498 disability claims

  • Met all productivity goals established by the Social Security Administration

  • Processed 7.5 percent more cases than last year

  • Implemented the use of video conferencing equipment to conduct disability hearings on medical cessations, resulting in both time and travel costs savings

  • Significantly improved medical evidence of record payment processing from a two to four week timeframe to within two days of invoice receipt

  • Installed a new mail machine that has allowed DDS to automate its notice process

Field Services
One-to-one effective personal service is what clients receive from DRS. In 31 field offices across the state, DRS rehabilitation counselors carefully evaluate clients' skills and interests.

Vocational success is achieved by providing the services and comprehensive support each client needs to meet his or her employment goal.

DRS employs approximately 140 extensively trained vocational rehabilitation counselors who work directly with individuals with disabilities throughout the vocational rehabilitation process. Vocational rehabilitation counselors are required to meet a stringent certification criterion, which requires a Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field.

Each of the field offices has a supervisor who, in addition to providing leadership and guidance to employees, takes the lead in developing partnerships with area employers, workforce centers, schools and other public and private service agencies within the community.

Through our statewide quality assurance program, DRS strives to ensure that the same level of high quality services is delivered to individuals with disabilities throughout West Virginia. Quality assurance specialists work in their districts and as a team to develop client services policy, review casework practices, assure consistent interpretation of policy throughout the state and provide training on policy and casework.

Vocational Rehabilitation Process

The vocational rehabilitation process begins when an individual applies for DRS services.

An application is completed and an intake interview is held to explore the individual's medical, social, financial, educational and vocational experiences. This is an opportunity to explore the applicant's skills, abilities and interests and to understand his or her specific vocational rehabilitation needs. Further assessment of the individual's employment barriers is conducted when necessary to establish eligibility for services.

Once eligibility is established, the client and his or her vocational rehabilitation counselor work together to develop an individualized plan for employment (IPE). This plan describes the services that will be needed so the individual can reach his or her employment goal.

Each IPE is tailored to assure the client receives the services necessary to achieve his or her goals. The anticipated outcome of the individual's vocational rehabilitation program is competitive employment in a career of the individual's choice.

Depending on the services needed, the individual's involvement with DRS can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Follow-up services are provided by the rehabilitation counselor to assure that the individual's employment is stable and satisfactory. Advocacy and support services are available through the Client Assistance Program throughout the term of the individual's involvement with DRS.

Available Services
To help them achieve their employment goals, DRS is able to provide a variety of services to eligible individuals. The client and the vocational rehabilitation counselor work together to determine the necessary and appropriate services to enable the client to meet his or her identified employment goal. The services provided to any eligible individual are determined by his or her unique employment barriers, his or her chosen employment goal and his or her individual circumstances.

DRS services include:

Evaluation and diagnostic services may be provided to determine eligibility and the services needed for the individual to become employed.

Vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance is provided directly by a vocational rehabilitation counselor during the client's plan of services to accomplish a variety of objectives leading to successful employment.

Training services may be provided to meet the employment goal and may include vocational training, college or other academic training, personal and vocational adjustment training, job coaching, on-the-job training, job seeking skills training, and books, tools and other training materials.

Rehabilitation technology services may include assistive technology devices, driver evaluation and education services, assistive technology services and rehabilitation engineering services to address barriers encountered by an individual in obtaining or retaining employment.

Physical and mental therapeutic services may be provided to correct or substantially modify an individual's physical or mental condition.

Specialized services for individuals who are blind, deaf and deaf-blind may include orientation and mobility training, interpreter services, note-taking services and reader services.

Placement services may be provided to assist an individual with a disability to find adequate and suitable employment in his or her chosen field.

Support services such as maintenance, transportation assistance, personal care assistance and services to family members may be provided, if necessary.

Post-employment services may be provided to previously rehabilitated individuals when needed to maintain or regain suitable employment.

Program Data
Economic Impact of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Consumers
Income after rehabilitation: $98,711,028

Income at referral: $65,982,020
West Virginians served, by district
Charleston 2,689

Clarksburg 2,612

Wheeling 2,942

Beckley 3,280

Huntington 2,967

Martinsburg 2,336

Total served 16,826
Educational Attainment of Individuals Vocationally Rehabilitated
Before rehabilitation:

Master's degree 189

Bachelor's degree 300

Associate's degree 453

Post secondary education, no degree 514

High school graduate or GED 1,387

Special education certificate 116

Secondary Education, grades 9-12 780

Elementary education, grades 1-8 91

No formal schooling 1
After rehabilitation:

Master's degree 228

Bachelor's degree 480

Associate's degree 715

Post secondary education, no degree 538

High school graduate or GED 1,434

Special education certificate 118

Secondary Education, grades 9-12 233

Elementary education, grades 1-8 84

No formal schooling 1
Age of Individuals Vocationally Rehabilitated
65+ 391

45-64 1,658

35-44 514

20-34 598

Younger than 20 670

Gender of Individuals Vocationally Rehabilitated
Female 1,633

Male 2,198

Race of Individuals Vocationally Rehabilitated
White 3,650

Black or African American 136

American Indian or Alaska Native 16

Asian or Pacific Islander 14

Hispanic or Latino 15

Total 3,831

Occupations of Individuals Vocationally Rehabilitated
Office & Administrative Support 407

Management 345

Production 342

Transportation & Material Moving 312

Sales & Related 265

Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance 254

Construction & Extraction 222

Healthcare Practitioners & Technicians 207

Education, Training & Library 205

Food Preparation & Serving Related 202

Healthcare Support 201

Installation, Maintenance & Repair 198

Personal Care & Service 195

Community & Social Services 124

Protective Service 93

Business & Financial Operations 54

Architecture & Engineering 47

Computer & Mathematical 38

Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media 32

Legal 29

Life, Physical & Social Sciences 24

Farming, Fishing & Forestry 20

Military 8

Unpaid Family 7

Referral Sources of Individuals Vocationally Rehabilitated
Educational Institution, Elementary/Secondary 543

Educational Institution, Post-secondary 107

Physician or other Medical Personnel

or Medical Institutions 1,294

Welfare Agencies 35

Community Rehabilitation Programs 74

Social Security Administration 9

One-stop EmploymentTraining Centers 74

Self-referral 1,005

Other Sources 690
Primary Disability of Individuals Vocationally Rehabilitated
Visual Impairments 121

Hearing Impairments 1,597

Physical Impairments 1,172

Cognitive Impairments 588

Psychological Impairments 353
Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators

The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 require the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration to establish program evaluation standards and performance indicators that DRS is expected to annually meet. To successfully meet these requirements, DRS must pass four of the six employment outcome indicators (Indicators 1.1 to 1.6)and pass two of the three primary indicators (Indicators 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5). DRS must also pass the equal access indicator (Indicator 2.1).

Fiscal year 2013 data shows that DRS exceeded the required federal benchmarks. Federal performance requirements assure a trend of successful employment outcomes for West Virginians with disabilities, benefiting taxpayers and rehabilitation clients alike.
Evaluation Standard 1 – Employment Outcomes

DRS assists eligible individuals to obtain, maintain or regain high quality employment.

Performance Indicator 1.1 — Change in Employment Outcomes

The number of individuals who achieved an employment outcome in the current year must equal or exceed the number from the previous year. (Federal Requirement – equal to or greater than prior year)

FY 2013 – 3,831

FY 2012 – 3,393

FY 2011 – 2,537

FY 2010 – 2,169

Performance Indicator 1.2 — Percent of Employment Outcomes

The percentage of individuals exiting the program during the current year who have achieved an employment outcome after receiving services. (Federal Requirement –55.8%)

FY 2013 – 75.4%

FY 2012 – 74.8%

FY 2011 – 74.3%

FY 2010 – 70.5%

Performance Indicator 1.3 — Competitive Employment Outcomes

The percentage of individuals who achieved an employment outcome and are earning at least the minimum wage. (Federal Requirement – 72.6%)

FY 2013 – 98.4%

FY 2012 – 98.7%

FY 2011 – 98.7%

FY 2010 – 96.1%

Performance Indicator 1.4 — Significance of Disability

Of those earning at least the minimum wage, the percentage who have significant disabilities.(Federal Requirement – 62.4%)

FY 2013 – 82.1%

FY 2012 – 80.6%

FY 2011 – 88.7%

FY 2010 – 91.3%

Performance Indicator 1.5 — Earnings Ratio

The ratio of the average hourly earnings of all individuals earning at least the minimum wage to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the state. (Federal Requirement – Ratio of .52)

FY 2013 – .68

FY 2012 – .64

FY 2011 – .62

FY 2010 – .63

Performance Indicator 1.6 — Self-Support

Of those earning at least the minimum wage, the difference in the percentage of individuals who at program entry reported their income as the largest single source of support, and the percentage that reported their personal income as the largest single source of support at program exit. (Federal Requirement – 53% mathematical differences)

FY 2013 – 36.8%

FY 2012 – 43.9%

FY 2011 – 54.2%

FY 2010 – 58.1%

Evaluation Standard 2 – Equal Access to Services

DRS must ensure that individuals from minority backgrounds have equal access to services.

Performance Indicator 2.1 — Minority Background Service Rate

The service rate for individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minorities with disabilities. (Federal Requirement – Ratio of .80)

FY 2013 – .828

FY 2012 – .817

FY 2011 – .837

FY 2010 – .811
Programs and Services
Transition Program
A successful and seamless transition from high school into appropriate vocational training, post-secondary education or employment is the goal of the transition program. DRS transition counselors begin working with students with disabilities in the 11th grade to help them determine their vocational and career directions and to prepare for employment.

DRS maintains cooperative agreements with the state Board of Education, each of the 55 county school systems and the WV Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to ensure effective collaboration for school-aged youth with disabilities. Throughout West Virginia, 66 rehabilitation counselors are assigned to work with public and private schools, 32 of whom serve local education agencies full time.

Comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services and careful planning that involved students, their families and school personnel garnered the following results:

  • 7,170 students (ages 16 to 21) with disabilities served, which is 42.6 percent of the total number of individuals served by DRS.

  • 5,212 transition students were referred directly from the schools to DRS.

  • 1,348 students with disabilities developed individualized plans for employment.

  • 770 transition clients gained employment, which is 20 percent of the total number of rehabilitation closures.

College Education Services
A college education provides increased opportunities for vocational success and independent living.

DRS counselors are assigned liaison responsibilities with public and private colleges and universities throughout West Virginia.

  • Assisted 2,936 students with college education services they needed to meet their work-related educational goals.

Community Rehabilitation Programs

The state network of Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) is critical to the effective and efficient delivery of vocational rehabilitation services to West Virginians with significant disabilities.

DRS maintains strong working relationships with CRPs in West Virginia that provide supported and direct employment, community-based assessment, job coach training, work adjustment and/or life skills training. These services are commonly purchased by DRS to assist individuals with significant disabilities to achieve successful employment outcomes. There are 63 DRS-acknowledged CRPs with 92 total service locations throughout West Virginia. To better meet the needs of DRS and its clients, DRS works closely with the CRPs and other local community providers to expand programs, such as pre-vocational training, employment-readiness services and job coaching.

DRS continues to collaborate with the CRPs and other local community providers to identify needs, available resources, training opportunities and best practices to enable positive changes to assist West Virginians with disabilities to achieve successful, integrated employment outcomes.

Two specially trained DRS employees, one in northern West Virginia and the other in the southern region, generate ongoing communication between DRS and CRPs. They also address ongoing training needs for new CRPs and existing CRP staff.

DRS continues to monitor past expansion investments throughout the state in order to ensure necessary services are available to meet client service needs.

Blind and Visually Impaired Services
DRS has specially trained rehabilitation counselors to meet the vocational rehabilitation needs of people with blindness and significant vision impairments.

  • Served 825 people with blindness or significant vision impairments.

  • 149 people obtained or retained employment after completing their vocational rehabilitation programs.

DRS offers individualized and intensive training to those clients who need to learn skills to effectively compensate and live independently with blindness or limited vision. This training may include orientation and mobility, computer literacy and access technology, Braille, home economics, activities of daily living, individual and group counseling and career development.

In addition to compensatory skills training, blind and visually impaired clients may receive job training, job placement or access technology to assist in training or to help them function on the job.

DRS also administers and operates the Visually Impaired Seniors In-home Outreach and Networking Services (VISIONS) program, through an independent living grant from the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration. VISIONS serves individuals age 55 and older

with vision loss, providing individualized services such as low-tech adaptive aids and hand-held low vision aids, along with training in activities of daily living, orientation and mobility, computer-access technology, community integration and more. In fiscal year 2013, 1,114 consumers were served through the VISIONS program.

Hearing Services
DRS has specially trained rehabilitation counselors to meet the vocational rehabilitation needs of people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

  • Served 3,184 clients who listed hearing impairments as their primary or secondary disability, which includes people who are deaf or deaf-blind.

  • 1,912 clients with hearing impairments achieved their employment goals.

During 2013, three DRS rehabilitation counselors for the deaf completed the rehabilitation counseling for the deaf and hard of hearing training program at Western Oregon University. This in-depth training focused on American Sign Language, as well as deaf culture and providing vocational rehabilitation services specific to deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

With the goal of increasing the number of certified interpreters in the state, DRS provided a grant to the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WVCDHH) that allowed interpreters to apply for assistance with exam fees and travel costs to take the test to become a certified interpreter. Additionally, DRS provided a grant to WVCDHH to provide smoke alarms to people with hearing impairments. The West Virginia Accessible Smoke Alarm Project provides free smoke alarms to homeowners who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Given the state’s rural nature and the limited number of certified interpreters, DRS has partnered with Purple Communications which means DRS clients and counselors can access nationally certified interpreters using video remote interpreting services.

Employment Services Program

DRS employs a team of employment specialists who provide business owners and employers critical business options and assistance in staffing, employee retention strategies, education on disability-related issues, job accommodations and information about financial incentives for employers who hire individuals with disabilities.

Employment specialists are the link between DRS clients and employers. They specialize in providing instruction on résumé preparation, interviewing and job seeking skills, networking and local labor information to DRS clients as they prepare for and enter the workforce.

Technical skills and ongoing education are vital to providing high quality employment services. To better serve employers and DRS clients, DRS employment specialists received training from the George Washington University Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center and are now certified National Employment Services Professionals. The program’s curriculum is approved by the National Association for Community Rehabilitation Educators and is designed to increase knowledge and skills of the employment workforce to support job seekers with disabilities.

Randolph-Sheppard Program

DRS serves as the State Licensing Agency for the Randolph-Sheppard Program in West Virginia. The purpose of the Randolph-Sheppard Act is to provide profitable employment for individuals who are blind. In carrying out the intent of Congress and the West Virginia Legislature, the Randolph-Sheppard Program promotes economic opportunity and profitability through self-employment for people who are legally blind. The Randolph-Sheppard Program provides training in food service management to DRS clients who are blind and who meet eligibility requirements under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. These individuals are referred to the vending training program by DRS rehabilitation counselors. Other services include upward mobility training, in-service training, food service training, maintenance of equipment and inventory management. Randolph-Sheppard vendors are self-employed and must possess the aptitude and abilities required to function as a business owner and manager. In fiscal year 2013, one individual who is legally blind was trained and licensed through the program.

The program has 18 licensed, self-employed blind vendors providing concession services to 190 governmental facilities throughout the state. Average income for vendors in West Virginia for fiscal year 2013 was $38,135 with gross sales of $3.4 million.

Rehabilitation Technology Services

The Rehabilitation Technology Unit travels statewide to provide services to improve DRS clients' independence in the workplace, home and community. This unit consists of a group of experienced engineers, computer specialists, driving instructors, mobility specialists and technicians who specialize in job accommodations, custom-designed assistive technology, product fabrication and driver education, including bioptic driving training, a specialized program for drivers whose vision falls below the normal legal limits that allows them to qualify for a Class G driver's license.

  • Served 628 people, providing 1,251 services which included 179 rehabilitation engineering services, 465 assistive technology services, 291 driver rehabilitation services, 83 environmental modification services, 59 bioptic driving services and 174 visually impaired services.

Disability Determination Section

Under contract with the Social Security Administration (SSA), Disability Determination Section (DDS) makes eligibility determinations on disability claims filed by West Virginians for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSA, which fully funds DDS, authorized $18.6 million to fund DDS for fiscal year 2013.

DDS cleared 48,498 claims in fiscal year 2013, exceeding budgeted workload projections while also meeting SSA quality and processing time goals. DDS achieved this performance despite losing 18 employees with authorization from SSA to replace only seven of those losses.

SSDI and SSI disability benefits have a significant economic impact for West Virginians with disabilities and their families. In 2010, an estimated 170,000 disabled West Virginians and 24,000 spouses and dependent children of disabled workers received $2 billion in Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income payments based on disability or blindness.

Individuals eligible for SSI disability payments also receive Medicaid, and those eligible for Social Security disability payments for more than 24 months receive Medicare. The $2 billion in cash payments and the health insurance entitlement significantly affect the state's economy and the quality of life for recipients.

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