TN 1 (05-02)

DI 28087.010 Initial Referrals and Re-referrals to the State VR Agency and Initial Referrals to Other Agency

A. Background

With the enactment of Public Law 106-170, when the Social Security Administration notifies you that it is issuing the first Tickets in a Ticket State, the referral process in a Ticket State is repealed in title II, and amended in title XVI.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. Refer to AM-03177 regarding the elimination of SSA’s referral authority.

B. Policy - initial referrals

1. General

The SSA field office will transmit any title II or XVI disability or blindness case requiring a State determination directly to the appropriate 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 and State VR agency criteria in conjunction with each disability/blindness determination. However, in some States, the State VR agency assumes the screening responsibility and the agency must screen each determination. In either case, whether screening is performed by DDS examiners or the State VR agency itself, individuals identified as having rehabilitation potential must be referred for VR services in accordance with DI 28087.030.

Because an individual's circumstances and rehabilitation potential are subject to change, the case folder should be reviewed each time it is received in the DDS for the 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., post-employment services.

2. Referral of Title XVI Child Applicants

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. To cope with this, an agreement should be reached between the DDS and the State VR agency as to 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 DDS should refer visually impaired child applicants, regardless of age, to the appropriate agency for the blind.

In addition to being considered for VR referral, all allowed blind and disabled children under age 16 will be immediately referred to the State children's agency for social, developmental, educational, medical and rehabilitative services. (See DI 28087.035 for preparation and routing of referrals to the designated State agency.)

This means that in those States, where the State VR agency accepts referrals of children under 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 VR and designated agencies to coordinate the services given to the child.

3. 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 VR agencies. However, it is SSA's policy that denied title XVI applicants be screened and referred in the same manner as denied title II applicants.

4. Referral of Presumptively Allowed Title XVI Applicants to VR Agencies

Since medical and vocational documentation will be incomplete, these cases will not be screened during the presumptive period but will be considered in the same manner as all other cases 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.

5. Referral of "Parents" and Certain Other Non-beneficiaries to VR

The Social Security Act does not require that “parents” or widows determined disabled for Medicare purposes only be referred to VR. If the DDS believes that a referral is appropriate, the VR agency should be alerted to the fact that the individual is not a disability/blindness beneficiary.

6. Visual Impairment Referrals

In a State where there is a separate agency for the blind, referrals of visually impaired applicants should be made ei