BASIC (05-02)

DI 26520.010 Initial Referrals and Re-referrals to the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency and Initial Referrals to Other Agencies

A. Background

With the enactment of Public Law 106-170, when the Social Security Administration (SSA) announces that it is issuing the first Tickets in a Ticket State, the referral process in a Ticket State is repealed in title II, and amended in title XVI. See Section DI 55001.001B which indicates when tickets will be issued in a specific State. In ticket States, follow instructions in Emergency Messages 02012 and 01084 and Section DI 55070.000 ff.

B. Introduction

The SSA field office (FO) will transmit any title II or XVI disability or blindness case requiring a State determination directly to the appropriate Disability Determination Services (DDS) for a determination of disability/blindness and evaluation of rehabilitation potential. Generally, the DDS examiner, with the aid of the DDS medical or psychological consultant when needed, is responsible for evaluating rehabilitation potential (conducting a gross screening) using Program Operations Manual System (POMS)/State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency criteria in conjunction with each disability/blindness determination. In some States, VR screening responsibility is assumed by the VR agency. In either case, whether screening is performed by DDS examiners or the VR agency itself, persons who are identified as having rehabilitation potential must be referred for VR services in accordance with DI 26520.025.

Because an individual's circumstances and rehabilitation potential may change, the case folder should be reviewed each time it is received in the DDS for assessment of rehabilitation potential and possible referral to VR. It would also be appropriate to make a referral in a case which was previously closed by VR but it appears that services are necessary at this time to aid in the individual's rehabilitation or adjustment, e.g., postemployment services.

C. Policy - referral of title xvi child applicants

The title XVI definitions of disability and blindness have no lower age limits. There will be young applicants for whom a vocational objective cannot be established. Agreement should be reached between the SSA and the State VR agency on the appropriate age (e.g., age 15) when long-range vocational rehabilitation planning would be of realistic value. Usually, any child who has not attained the agreed-upon age should be screened out for VR referral. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) should refer visually impaired child applicants, regardless of age, to the appropriate agency for the blind.

In addition to consideration of VR referral, all allowed blind and disabled children under age 16 will be referred to the State children's agency for social, developmental, educational, medical, and rehabilitative services. (See DI 26520.030 for preparation and routing the referrals to the designated agency.)

Even though children may be too young for VR referral, all allowed blind and disabled children under age 16 will be referred by the DDS to the State agency administering the State program under title V of the Social Security Act or other agency designated by the Governor for social, developmental, educational, medical, and rehabilitative services. This means that in those States where the State VR agency accepts referral of individuals before age 16, some children will be referred to both the State VR agency and the designated agency at the same time. In these dual referral cases, the responsibility lies with the State VR agency and designated agencies to coordinate the services given the child.

All child applicants, or their representatives, should be informed of the possible referral to the State VR agency and/or other designated agencies by the DDS. However, because some children will be eligible neither for VR referral nor for the other designated agency referral, all child applicants who are in need of special medical or social services should be informed of and referred to the appropriate agencies. The field office (FO) should annotate any referral of a child applicant for needed social or medical services on the SSA-3820-BK (Disability Report - Child).

D. Policy - referral of denied title xvi applicants

Section 1615 of the Act requires only that recipients of payments based on blindness or disability who have not attained age 65 be referred to the State vocational rehabilitation agency. However, it is the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) policy that denied title XVI applicants be screened and referred in the same manner as denied title II applicants.

E. Policy - referral of presumptively allowed title xvi applicants to vocational rehabilitation (vr) agencies

Since medical and vocational documentation will be incomplete, these cases will not be s