[Nmabs] Minutes from November's Rehab call.

Darian Smith dsmithnfb at gmail.com
Thu Dec 8 06:02:28 UTC 2011

Hello all,
 Sorry for  the delay, but I believe you will will be pleased  with
what you didn't know you would be waiting for!
 Below are  minutes from the rehab call, as taken by  membership
committee secretary Liz Bottner.   I truley  Hope you find these as
informitave as I have!

 NABS Membership Call: 11-20-11

Topic: Rehabilitation as it Relates to the Blind

Guest Speaker: Dr. Edward Bell

Slated Questions:

Q: What is the goal of vocational rehabilitation?

A: There are a lot of different aspects of rehabilitation. All on this
call are interested in Title I of the Rehab act; To gain, maintain or
advance in

To Gain: Get a job

To Maintain: If you are already working; maybe the job has changed,
workload/responsibilities have increased, technology has changed.
Obtain help to learn
the new things.

Advance: Moving up in your line of career or finding a different one
which is higher up.

Q: What will rehab pay for in terms of someone getting an undergraduate degree?

A: Anything that is necessary to help you get a job can be paid for by
vocational rehabilitation; almost no limit at all if you can
demonstrate that it
will help you get a job. Different states may have different
interpretations of this law; some states may not pay for Masters
degrees, PH.D’s, etc. In
some states, they will help you get the initial training and anything
beyond that is your responsibility. While not federal law, Voc Rehab
will also enquire
about using comparable services to help pay for things. Federal law is
above state law. It is not your responsibility to worry about the
state budget;
it is your responsibility to worry about what it takes to go to
school/getting a job.

Q: Are any services provided dictated by financial need?

A: This differs from state to state. If a family has financial means
to pay for things, they could be asked to pay for a computer and then
Voc Rehab would
pay for the assistive technology software for the computer as that is
considered necessary because of the blindness or visual impairment;
above and beyond
the normal cost of a computer.

Q: What kinds of services can Voc Rehab provide above and beyond graduation?

A: Voc Rehab does not have a good track record in helping people with
disabilities find jobs. You should be thinking about the job that you
want to do long
before you graduate. The most successful blind people find their jobs
in the way that sighted people do; go to job websites, submit resumes
at job fairs,
call companies, etc. What Voc Rehab will do is fund the services that
you need to get you ready for the job; training, school, technology,
readers, etc.

Q: You work for a few years and when you go to get a promotion find
out that you need another degree. Your case is then closed with VR.
Would it be possible
to open a VR case at that point?

A: Yes. You can be employed and open a VR case. Up until eight months
after your case is closed, you are eligible for post-employment
services. This usually
to cover one or two ‘things’ and only involves short time periods. Voc
Rehab can and does open cases on people who are employed all the time.
Voc Rehab
counselors are always looking at two things; the budget and the rate
of closure on cases.

Q: What are some tips/good strategies for people who are struggling
with dealing with their Voc Rehab agencies?

A: The most successful VR cases are when there is a good working
relationship between the client and counselor. Be polite, cordial and
professional; document
and justify everything; have a good track record of success;

Q: What is the IPE?

A: IPE - Individualized Plan for Employment; It is a contract between
you and the agency. Whatever is on the IPE that you and your counselor
sign is a contract
that you and your VR agency must fulfill in order for you to get what
you need. Four important pieces of the IPE:

list of 4 items
1. The Vocational Goal: What is it that you want to be when you ‘grow
up’? Example: I want to be a classroom teacher.
2. What are the services that VR has to provide in order for you to
achieve this goal? Ex: Training, technology, undergraduate degree,
certification exams,
Masters degree.
3. The Evaluation: You have to demonstrate that you can fulfill your
half of the bargain.
4. The Timeline: Voc Rehab is not going to stretch your plan out
forever. You have to follow through with what you say you are going to
within the time
line that is agreed upon.
list end

At any time in the process you or your counselor can amend the IPE;
changing the goal, services or time line.

Open Questions:

Q: If there is inaccessible software at a job where it was being
looked into for a company to come in and script for JAWS, does this
fall within VR or within
the employer to pay for it?

A: VR will say that the employer should be responsible for this
expense. It is expected that as an employer you would want to
accommodate your employee.
The employer might also decide that they cannot pay for it and in that
case VR would be looked to in doing so.

Q: If someone wanted to try and get a second chance with their VR
agency, what would be a good way to show the agency that things have
changed on the end
of the individual?

A: Have the initial conversation with the counselor and explain
yourself. You have to demonstrate that you can do what you say you can
do Realize that the
VR agency may at first be skeptical, but by law they cannot refuse you service.

Respectfully Submitted,

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