2000 Conference Proceedings

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Project RSVP: Using a Web-based Toolkit to Assist Private Providers in Creating Vocational Rehabilitation Choices for SSI and SSDI Recipients

Jane Rath & Howard Lightbody
Project RSVP
Falls Church, VA



Overview

The Social Security Administration (SSA) designed Project RSVP in 1999 to encourage alternate vocational rehabilitation providers (APs) to make vocational rehabilitation (VR) services more readily available to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. Under this program, SSA pays the VR provider for the costs of VR services provided to disability beneficiaries. The outcome of the service is the individual to go to work at a specified earnings level for at least nine months. Project RSVP has created a Web based Toolkit for APs to work with recipients of SSI and SSDI to increase client participation in the program. The use of the Web-based Toolkit allows the AP to monitor progress, re-evaluate parameters, and ensure the best possible outcomes for the client. The Toolkit also allows the AP to spend more time performing services and less time completing paperwork. This presentation will cover the tools and mechanisms that help APs assist beneficiaries in the job seeking process. This presentation will be a hands on workshop that will enable participants to walk through the toolkit with the assistance of the speaker.


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The Toolkit

The Web-Based Toolkit is located at the following URL address: http://rsvp/icdi.wvu.edu Under the main menu for the Web site is a section labeled "Alternate Participant (AP) Toolkit." The Toolkit includes categories 1) Strategies for Participating, 2) Motivated Clients, 3) Matching Clients with Jobs, 4) Using the RSVP Express Software, 5) Developing an Employment Plan, 6) Using Work Incentives, and 7) Processing and Submission of Claims. Each of the sections identified has a "Tools" and "Resource" button. "Tools" are items such as forms, worksheets, checklists, spreadsheets, and letter templates that can be used to manage information or perform specific functions in the vocational rehabilitation process. The "Resources" section provides information, references, and Internet links. The "Tools" and "Resource" section can be viewed on line and downloaded to an APs computer. Once they are downloaded they can be modified and adapted to suit the AP. The following is a detail description of each section:


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Strategies for Participating

The current Federal legislation that regulates the AP Program presents a significant challenge for many vocational rehabilitation (VR) providers. The outcome-based reimbursement process raises questions about whether providers can financially afford to participate in this program. To help answer the question, "How can I afford to participate in this program?," we have compiled a number of tools and resources based on sound business planning and risk management strategies, as well as the best practices applied by active APs. Whether you are an AP, or thinking about submitting a proposal to become one, we hope that the tools and resources provided in this toolkit makes it easier for you to incorporate the AP Program into your organization's business goals. The Tools for this section include a Strategic Plan Worksheet, a Strengths and Weaknesses worksheet, and external Opportunities and Threats Worksheet.


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How to Find Motivated Clients

This section contains the tools and resources to assist vocational rehabilitation (VR) providers to find clients who are motivated enough to return to work and are likely to achieve at least nine months of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Currently, the tools for this section are under development.


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Matching Clients with Jobs

This section of the toolkit contains tools and resources for helping APs match clients with jobs.

The tools for this section include a Client Motivation Assessment Worksheet, a Client Work Experience Questionnaire, an Employment Sources Checklist, an Information Release Form, a Job Analysis Form, a Job Analysis Inventory Checklist and a Job Analysis Preparation Inventory Checklist.


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RSVP Express Software

The RSVP Express Software was created to help APs manage the referral lists that they download. The AP can sort and filter the referral lists by age, impairment, and location. The software also helps the AP identify highly motivated beneficiaries who themselves have requested VR services. Currently, the Web-based Toolkit for this section is under construction.


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Developing and Employment Plan

It is essential for APs to know the types of jobs available in the community so the beneficiary can easily become employed. APs should have an idea of the resources available for each job search. Employment opportunities can include, but not be limited, to industry, services, and self-employment. Currently, the Web-based Toolkit for this section is under construction.


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Work Incentives

SSA provides work incentives for people with disabilities who are trying to become employed and productive in mainstream society. Work incentives provide support over a period of years to allow the disabled beneficiary to test his or her ability to work and gradually become self-supporting and independent. It is important for disability beneficiaries to understand that they can still receive benefits while they try to work. Work incentives is a powerful tool for motivating beneficiaries to become employed. APs who are familiar with work incentives have the ability to influence beneficiaries to choose employment as a means of enhancing their independence and self-esteem.


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Processing and Submission of Claims

This section of the AP Toolkit was designed to simplify and expedite the claims process. This section contains tools and resources for completing the Vocational Rehabilitation Provider Claim form (SSA-199-U2) in order to ensure that all the required supporting documents are included. The Claim Form template in the tools menu will enable you to complete the form on-line or download it to your personal computer and complete it later. Once the form has been completed, it should be printed, signed, checked to make sure required supporting documents, are attached then submitted by mail. The completed document can be saved to your files. Most of the topics and information sections on the Claim Form template are linked directly to references that define terms or clarify what information should be provided. The Tools menu also provides a Claim Form Checklist that can be used to ensure that all required information and documentation has been included with your claim.


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AP Training

Seventeen training sessions have been set up throughout the United States to train APs on how to use the Web-Based Toolkit. Project RSVP has scheduled the training session as close to the interested APs as possible. The one day training session allows APs the opportunity to have an interactive hands on session to learn more about the toolkit. The hands on interaction allows the AP to become more familiar with the software so they will come away with enough knowledge to develop contacts with potential beneficiaries, and upload, and track beneficiary activity.


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