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(SSA) announces that it is issuing the first Tickets in a Ticket State, the referral process in a Ticket State is repealed in title II, and amended in title XVI.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 screened during the presumptive period but will be considered for referral at the time of the final determination. However, when the State VR agency staff contacts the DDS for information as to the payment status of the individual for purposes of beginning VR evaluation services, they may be given a copy of the presumptive disability finding and such pertinent evidence as is available. The official referral and transmittal of appropriate information should take place when the final decision is completed.

F. Policy - referral of 'parents' and certain other non-beneficiaries to vocational rehabilitation (vr)

The Social Security Act does not require that “parents” or widows determined disabled for Medicare purposes only be referred to VR. (State VR agencies can not be reimbursed by SSA when these individuals receive VR services.) If the DDS believes that a referral is appropriate, the State VR agency should be alerted to the fact that the individual is not a disability/blindness beneficiary.

G. Policy - visual impairment referrals

In a State where there is a separate agency for the blind, referrals of visually impaired applicants should be made to the agency for the blind or to the general VR agency, depending upon existing agreements and eligibility requirements of these agencies.

H. Policy - drug addicts and alcoholics (da&a) referrals

Referrals for individuals with an alcohol or drug addiction condition. In a case of any individual whose benefits are paid to a representative payee, refer such individual to the appropriate State agency administering the State plan for substance abuse treatment services approved under subpart II of part B of title XIX of the Public Health Services Act.

I. Policy - applicant moves out of state

If an applicant moves out of the State of jurisdiction before the case is released by the DDS, and if referral is appropriate, copies of the forms and material referred to in DI 26520.025 should be sent to the DDS in the State in which the individual now lives.

J. Policy - applicant is known to vocational rehabilitation (vr) (re-referral)

If the applicant is already a client of the State VR agency or agency for the blind but had not been referred by the DDS referral should be made along with copies of pertinent material (see DI 26520.030) from the applicant's file.

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DI 26520.010 - Initial Referrals and Re-referrals to the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency and Initial Referrals to Other Agencies - 04/08/2011
Batch run: 12/12/2014