Terms To Be Familiar With When Transitioning Into Dane County Vocational Services
Unearned Income and Insurance Terms
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a federal needs-based program. Once you are deemed eligible, you must continue to meet certain financial eligibility requirements to maintain your SSI benefit. There are three types of SSI: Federal SSI, State SSI and SSI-E.
Payments that individuals on SSI receive are based on the maximum monthly payment amount. This is called the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). In , the FBR for an individual is $698 and the FBR for a couple is $1,048. An individual/couple may receive a lower payment if they have other sources of income. Also, individuals who do not pay their share of housing and food costs may have reduced maximum payment amounts.
In the state of Wisconsin, a person who receives at least $1.00 of federal SSI is also eligible to receive the basic state supplement of $83.79 (). If your federal SSI payment ends due to your level of earned income or assets, the basic state supplement and SSI-E will end.
Exceptional Expense Supplement (SSI-E)
SSI-E is an additional $95.99 () per month. You can qualify if you require 40 hours per month or more of assistance in your home. If you are eligible, you will receive the basic state supplement and SSI-E payment in one payment of $179.77 ().
Student Earned Income Exclusion
For SSI recipients under the age of 22 and regularly attending school, SSI does not “count” up to $1,700.00 per month of earned income, with an annual maximum exclusion of $6,840.00 (in ). It should also be noted that the Social Security Student Earned Income Exclusion will no longer apply after an individual exits High School (unless they choose to continue with post-secondary education). If you receive SSI, at the time of your graduation/exit from high school you must inform the Social Security Administration that you are exiting school. After your exit, your federal SSI check will be calculated based upon your monthly gross earnings. You are encouraged to provide verification of all earned and unearned income to the social security administration. The most convenient way to do this is to mail your Social Security representative your pay stubs on a monthly basis.
In Wisconsin, SSI recipients receive Medicaid (MA) automatically with SSI. If you are eligible to receive SSI, you are receiving the Medicaid benefit. In order to maintain MA and SSI eligibility, you must maintain less then $2,000 of assets and resources.
Medical Assistance Purchase Program (MAPP)
This program has many of the same benefits as MA but allows an asset level of $15,000. You must work at least 1 hour per month to be eligible for this program and can have a monthly premium cost depending on earned and unearned income.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
SSDI provides monetary benefits to disabled or blind individuals who are “insured” by workers’ contributions to the Social Security trust fund. These contributions are based on taxes of your work earnings or those of your spouse or parents. You can become eligible for SSDI when you have contributed enough money into the Social Security trust fund. You are also able to receive SSDI when a parent or spouse retires or passes away (in this case you would draw from their work record). In most cases, when you receive SSDI, you also receive Medicare.
Dane County SDS Terms
Self Directed Services (SDS)
Is the support model of Dane County Human Services. SDS aims to expand choices for people with developmental disabilities. It gives people and their families control over the allocation of their service dollars. SDS provides people the freedom to choose their Support Broker and Service Providers as well as the type of supports they purchase and how their providers get paid. With SDS, people and their families have the opportunity to define and assess quality. You will receive support from a variety of agencies in the SDS system.
Medicaid Waiver Funding
Waivers are Medicaid funds that have been authorized to pay for community support. The Medicaid waiver programs are built upon a foundation of primary program values. These values support individual choice, the enhancement of relationships, the building of accessible, flexible service systems, the achievement of optimum physical and mental health for the participant, and the promotion of presence, participation and optimal social functioning in the community. The program values further seek to ensure that participants are treated with respect and assure that service systems empower the individual, build on their strengths, enhance individual self worth and supply the tools necessary to achieve maximum independence and community participation. The Dane County Department of Human Services receives money for services from a variety of sources including the State of Wisconsin, the federal government and local government. There are many rules and regulations connected to these funding sources. Common Medicaid Waiver programs that Dane County might access during transition could include CIP or CLTS Waiver Funding (state Waiver programs that match federal, state and local money). You must qualify for Medicaid and meet the Medicaid Waiver target group criteria to participate in these programs. Your Transition Coordinator or Case Manager will help complete your initial Medicaid Waiver paperwork.
Dane County Department of Human Services (Dane County)
Utilizes the Self Directed Services support model and is the long-term funding source for your support needs. The Dane County Department of Human Services commonly accesses Medicaid Waiver funding to pay for community supports. Please see the definition of “Rate” which explains Dane County’s process of assessment and vocational rate setting during transition. Dane County will also fund contacted services such as your Support Broker.
Works with students with developmental disabilities in Dane County who are exiting the school system and entering Dane County Adult Communities Services. The Transition Coordinator assists students and families through this transition by providing support and service coordination during the last year of high school while working closely with school personnel as an active member of a student’s team. The Transition Coordinator works closely with the Dane County Department of Human Services (DCDHS) and disseminates information regarding DCDHS policies to the team. During the last year of school, the Transition Coordinator will support you through the conversion to Adult Services by assisting you in: developing a support plan and outcomes; identifying future vocational support provider; completing all necessary Dane County Human Services paperwork; and interviewing and hiring a Support Broker. If you receive case management from FSRC or UCP-ASAP, your FSRC or UCP-ASAP case manager functions as your Transition Coordinator into the adult service system. A Transition Coordinator employed by Progressive Community Services typically assists with the transition of individuals who have been determined eligible for adult services and who do not have prior case management involvement.
The Support Broker is the primary quality assurance monitor that will be a part of your team. It is important for you, your guardian and family to have an open relationship with your Support Broker. All of you should feel free to speak out and ask questions. Your Support Broker will: visit you in person at least one time every three months, have contact with your support team every month, assist in the negotiations for other needed supports and complete ongoing paperwork. Your Transition Coordinator will assist you when selecting a Support Broker. Individuals typically select their Support Broker in early June (near graduation/exit from high school).
Your individual rate is the amount of funds DCDHS expects it will cost to purchase the supports you need. The rate is set with the expectation that people have the most efficient supports at an appropriate level. This means that individuals transitioning from high school will be assessed when they enter the Dane County adult system in order to determine the level of support needed. The team must then assure that the level of supports given match the assessment. A vocational rate is given based on the amount of hours an individual is employed in the community and the level of support required at the paid job site(s). The Transition Coordinator will help you obtain a vocational rate from Dane County.
Your person-centered plan will describe your life and what you would like to do in the future. It will also show how you plan to spend your DCDHS funds. Your Transition Coordinator will help to write your initial person-centered plan and your Support Broker will help update the plan in the future.
Individual Financial Plan (IFP)
This is the form that puts a dollar amount to all of your services. It shows which supports are paid under self-directed services and which are paid under contract. An IFP is completed annually by your Support Broker unless services change during the year.
Support and Services Agreement/Voucher
This is commonly referred to as a “voucher”. You and your Transition Coordinator approve payments by signing a voucher. The voucher shows that you, the Transition Coordinator and the provider all agree to work together to achieve your support plan. The vouchers specifically shows how much the services will cost. Without this form, a provider will not be paid.
Fiscal Assistance of Dane County (FA)
Fiscal Assistance is a fiscal intermediary for your DCDHS funds. Your signed voucher is mailed to FA, which then pays your provider agency according to the amount of money allocated in your plan. FA tracks your budget and vouchers and makes sure that no additional funds are paid out than are allocated in the agreement.
Supported Employment (SE)
Supported Employment is competitive work in integrated work settings for persons with disabilities. Supported Employment is for people whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or for whom employment has been interrupted as a result of disability. There are many levels of Supported Employment. A few examples of Supported Employment are: One-on-One Support (constant support at a job site), Paired Support (two individuals with a disability receiving help for one job coach), Spot Checks (periodic checks at a job site).
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
DVR is a federal/state program designed to assist individuals with disabilities. It is DVR’s goal to help individuals with disabilities obtain, maintain and improve employment opportunities. There are many services provided by DVR; a few examples of their services are: guidance and counseling, funding assistive technology, and training. Their primary motive is to help “jump start” your Supported Employment. DVR achieves this by providing funding to vocational providers in order to make the transition from High School to adult services as smooth as possible. DVR is a short-term service; typically, they are involved for six months to a year.
Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)
Your IPE is your DVR plan which outlines how you are going to reach your employment goals. The IPE describes your work goal and the steps you will take to reach your goal. It describes the services you need, as well as the cost of these services and who will pay for them. It clearly identifies your responsibilities and DVR’s responsibilities. Your DVR IPE is the plan that helps “jump start” your future Supported Employment that will ultimately be funded long-term by DCDHS.
Unpaid friends, family or co-workers who assist individuals with developmental disabilities in their place of employment or home. In any workplace, support to employees is provided by supervisors, a structured work environment, daily work routines, and co-worker peer interactions. These “natural supports” occur naturally in the work environment. In all supported community employment outcomes, workers with developmental disabilities and their support teams should look to natural supports to be the foundation for independence and success in the workplace. Individuals with developmental disabilities bring a variety of skills and talents to the workplace, but even in the best job matches sometimes there are supplemental supports needed around specific tasks or work routines that are part of the supported employee’s job description.
Partners with Business (PWB)
Individuals with disabilities bring a variety of skills and talents to the workplace, but even in the best job matches sometimes there are supplemental supports needed around specific tasks or work routines that are critical to the employee’s success. One option is an innovative approach called Partners with Business (PWB). In this approach, traditional service providers partner with an employer to provide the needed supplemental assistance required by an employee in the workplace, eliminating the need for vocational provider job coaches on site. PWB offers several advantages: it is least intrusive and most naturally integrative, it enables employers to have direct oversight of the supported employee’s work, and it is more efficient and responsive than traditional job coaching models by providing supports exactly when they are needed during the course of the workday.
Co-Employment and Employer Agent
In certain situations, directly hiring a job coach of one’s own choosing is an attractive option. Co-Employment and Employer Agent are two ways to do this. The Co-Employment or Employer Agent model are particularly attractive when factors such as distance/work location or the unique needs of a supported worker, point to the desirability of directly hiring job coach support.
Offers the supported employee and his/her team assistance with some or all of the following: recruitment, background checks, employee benefits, payroll processing, and general human resources support. Job coach wages and benefits are individually set by the supported employee and his/her team (within the limits of the SDS rate). In addition, Goodwill Industries, Inc. serves as the employer of record, acting on behalf of the individual with a disability.
Is a second option that gives the individual the opportunity to directly hire a job coach for needed supports on the job. In the Employer Agent model (administered in Dane County by Fiscal Assistance, Inc.), the individual with a disability (or his/her guardian) is the employer of record. Fiscal Assistance will provide information on benefits such as worker’s compensation and aid in the process of meeting all the relevant requirements of Wisconsin’s employment laws.
For many years, providers specializing in vocational services have been hired by supported workers to provide job coaching and job development services. A vocational provider typically offers access to a trained pool of job coaches and job developers and handles issues of recruitment, training, and scheduling of workers so that there is minimal disruption to supports in the workplace. Most vocational providers do not offer consumers choice around who will work with them but usually can assure a supported worker that a trained job coach will be present, as needed, during each shift. Within SDS, supported workers can use their rate to hire a vocational provider. A rate paid to a provider must cover employee wages, benefits, supervisory overhead, office rent, business supplies, etc. This means that in general, an hour of support purchased at a vocational provider will be more expensive than an hour of support purchased through either Co-Employment, Employer Agent or Partners with Business. The cost-benefit trade off really comes down to back-up support and assurance of staff coverage. By hiring an agency, one can expect “wrap-around services” so it is particularly well suited to those who, due to the significance of their support needs, require access to multiple trained workers over the course of each week. Vocational agencies are used to handling these kinds of staffing requirements.
Paid staff who assists another person at his/her job when the individual is assessed to require direct job coaching support.