20.1 Overview of Premiums

Premiums are payments made to contractors in addition to the base rate paid for services.

Premiums are paid to providers when:

  • the provider:
    • places a customer in a job that pays more than $16 an hour, provides 20 or more hours of work per week, and requires at least a bachelor's degree; and/or
    • places a customer who has a felony; and
  • the provider has obtained the credentials necessary to work with individuals who have disabilities such autism or deafness.

Premium payments compensate providers for their additional efforts, such as taking required training that ultimately benefits customers but can increase the costs of providing services. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) encourages all staff of contracted providers to obtain specialty endorsements. The specialist endorsement identifies the individuals working for contractors who possess the necessary knowledge for competent practice related to disability populations and complex employment barriers.

Whether a contractor receives a premium payment depends on a customer's specific vocational needs and barriers to employment. Multiple premiums may be associated with a base rate when vocationally justified. VR counselors are not required to provide premium payments when a direct service provider qualifies for the premium, if the VR counselor determines that extra effort made by the provider, such as taking required training, is not necessary for the customer's success. Premiums that are agreed on for providing support and job placement services are noted on each benchmark service authorization in the special instructions section. If a customer does not have a vocationally justified need for the service, it will not be approved by the VR counselor.

Premium payments must be authorized when the applicable benchmark (1B Supportive Employment, 6 Closure, and/or C Bundled Job Placement, as applicable) is reached.

Payment

Premiums are paid only when all outcomes for the service have been achieved and the criteria for the premium are achieved.

Premium payments must be vocationally justified. They must be approved through a service authorization and must be indicated on the service authorization in the special instructions section.

No partial payments are made.

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20.2 Staff Qualifications

A contracted provider's staff member who provides services directly to the customer must:

  • meet the staff qualifications identified for the base service; and
  • maintain all staff qualifications required for the premium.

If more than one staff member works with the customer, each staff member must meet the qualifications required for the base service and for any premium authorized. VR does not issue waivers or exceptions for staff qualifications related to specialty endorsements.

See additional staff qualifications under each premium description, as appropriate.

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20.3 Autism Premium

20.3.1 Service Description

A service provider is eligible for the Autism Premium when:

  • the customer has been diagnosed with one or more of the following, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5):
    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • Social communication disorder;
  • the counselor determines that the customer requires intervention to remove barriers to employment that are directly related to the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder in any of the following categories:
    • Level of independence
    • Social skill deficits
    • Communication deficits
    • Obsessive thoughts and/or interests, resistance to change
    • Sensory integration issues (such as but not limited to, seeking deep pressure or having sensitivity to lights or noise)
    • Level of anxiety
    • Comorbidities (such as but not limited to, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder); and
  • the direct service provider has a University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE) Autism Specialization Endorsement.

The Autism Premium may be available for the services covered in:

20.3.2 Process and Procedures

A contracted provider's staff member who provides a direct service to the customer must:

  • meet the staff qualifications identified for the base service; and
  • maintain a current UNTWISE Autism Endorsement.

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Autism Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Autism Premium for Supported Employment Autism 1 B must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 1 B is issued. A premium that is agreed on for Supported Employment Autism Benchmark 6 or for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C is noted on the service authorization in the special instructions section. The service authorization for the premium must be issued at the time that the benchmark (1B Supportive Employment, 6 Closure, and/or C Bundled Job Placement, as applicable) is reached.

The referral and/or service authorization identifies the categories in which the customer may need intervention to remove barriers related to the customer's diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder.

The provider's staff member:

  • ensures that all deliverables for the base service are provided; and
  • provides interventions, as needed, to remove any barriers related to the customer's autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder.

The staff member with the UNTWISE Autism Endorsement assigned to work with the customer must:

  • provide the base service, as defined in the VR Standards for Providers (VR-SFP) manual;
  • remain on-site providing all necessary interventions, as identified on the referral form and/or service authorization;
  • identify interventions and compensatory techniques to address and/or remove the barriers directly related to the customer's diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or social communication disorder; and
  • complete and sign DARS1882, Autism Service Premium Report.

The DARS1882, Autism Service Premium Report, must be submitted each time a deliverable is submitted (such as a report on the achievement of Job Placement benchmarks A, B, and C) or a report on Job Skills training.

20.3.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The services provider is eligible for an Autism Premium when:

  • the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual); and
  • the staff member of an UNTWISE autism–endorsed provider documents in descriptive terms all information required on DARS1882, Autism Service Premium Report, and on the service authorization.

VRS does not pay for fees related to excused or unexcused absences or holidays.

The premium is paid after:

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20.4 Criminal Background Premium

20.4.1 Service Description

For a customer's case to be eligible for the Criminal Background Premium, VR must have documentation of criminal history in the customer's case file, such as:

  • a name-based criminal background check;
  • the customer's conditions of probation or parole; or
  • the customer's fingerprint record indicating that the customer has a:
  • felony conviction;
  • guilty plea with deferred adjudication for a felony; or
  • no-contest plea with deferred adjudication for a felony.

The VR counselor determines whether the type of felony interferes with the customer's ability to obtain competitive integrated employment to meet the goals listed on the customer's individualized plan for employment (IPE), based on consideration of such factors as the:

  • type of felony and how long ago the felony was committed;
  • customer's job history;
  • customer's qualifications; and
  • local job market conditions.

A provider is not automatically issued a service authorization for the Criminal Background Premium because a customer has a felony.

An employment service provider is eligible for the Criminal Background Premium when:

The premium is paid only once, at the conclusion and achievement of Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

To be eligible for payment of the premium, the employment obtained by the customer must meet all the criteria outlined in DARS1845B, Bundled Job Placement Services Plan Part B and Status Report, or in DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan Part 1 - Plan and Benchmark Report.

20.4.2 Process and Procedures

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Criminal Background Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Criminal Background Premium must be received with the last benchmark for Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment services.

The staff member working with the customer must provide the Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment service as required in the VR-SFP manual.

The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for either Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment, including the section for the Criminal Background Premium. The Criminal Background Premium is paid only after all required outcomes for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6 deliverables have been achieved and approved by the VR counselor.

20.4.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The direct services provider is eligible for the Criminal Background Premium when the customer achieves all outcomes required for either Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6, as outlined in the corresponding chapters of the VR-SFP manual.

The service provider is eligible for the Criminal Background Premium when the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual.

Payment for the Criminal Background Premium is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • report for the base service, with the Criminal Background section completed; and
  • invoice.

20.4.4 Fee

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.5 Deaf Service Premium

20.5.1 Service Description

A service provider is eligible for the Deaf Service Premium when:

  • the customer's primary mode of communication is a form of sign language (such as American Sign Language, Manually Coded English, Signed Exact English, and/or Pidgin Signed English); and
  • services are delivered by a staff member qualified to communicate in the customer's primary mode.

To qualify for this premium, the staff member providing direct services must show proof of proficiency in sign language by providing documentation of certification from the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI), certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) rating of intermediate plus.

The Deaf Service Premium may be available for the services covered in:

For interviews and meetings with an employer, the customer may request an interpreter who is not providing the base service by contacting the customer's VR counselor.

20.5.2 Process and Procedures

A contracted provider's staff member who provides direct service to the customer must:

  • meet the staff qualifications identified for the base service; and
  • be certified by the BEI or the RID, or hold an SLPI rating of intermediate plus.

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Deaf Service Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization must be received at the time that base services are authorized for all services.

Exceptions:

  • Supported Employment Deaf 1B — The service authorization must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 1B is issued.
  • Deaf Service Premium for Supported Employment Deaf Benchmark 6 — The service authorization must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 6 or Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C is issued.
  • Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C — The service authorization must be issued when the service authorization for Benchmark 6 or Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C is issued.

The provider's staff member:

  • ensures that all outcomes are achieved for the base service; and
  • provides interpretation in the customer's primary mode of communication, such as American Sign Language, Manually Coded English, Signed Exact English and/or Pidgin Signed English.

The staff member interpreting for the customer:

  • provides the base service as defined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual; and
  • remains on-site providing all interpretation necessary for the customer to participate in the base service.

The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for the base service, including the section for the Deaf Service Premium.

20.5.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The services provider is eligible for the Deaf Service Premium when:

  • the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual; and
  • the provider's staff member who provides the interpretation attaches current evidence of the staff member's proficiency in sign language.

VRS does not pay fees related to excused or unexcused absences or holidays.

The Deaf Service Premium is paid when the VR counselor:

  • verifies that interpreting was provided to the customer; and
  • approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:
    • report for the base service, with the Deaf Service Premium section completed; and
    • invoice.

20.5.4 Fees

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.6 Travel Premiums

20.6.1 Overview of Travel Premiums

Two types of Travel Premiums are available to contracted providers for specific services. There is a Travel Premium for mileage reimbursement that is referred to as a "Mileage Premium," which is a reimbursement to the provider for actual miles traveled to provide a specific service to a VR customer when the provider uses their own vehicle. There is also a Travel Premium for other travel-related costs, such as lodging, food, and third-party transportation, which is referred to as the "Highly Specialized Training Premium".

The Mileage Premium and the Highly Specialized Training Premium can be authorized at the same time when it is determined that this is the most cost-effective means of meeting the VR customer's needs.

The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program does not pay a Travel Premium:

  • to transport customers; or
  • if the customer does not show up for a scheduled service (also referred to as a "no show").

Travel Premiums must be authorized by the VR counselor in advance with a service authorization.

If a Travel Premium is necessary for any other reasons in order to meet the individualized needs of a customer, but does not meet the requirements listed in the service description, process and procedure or outcomes required for payment, a DARS3472, Contracted Service Modification Request must be completed by the VR counselor and the modification must be approved by the state VR Division Director prior to the travel.

20.6.1.1 Travel Premiums Terminology

To ensure consistent application of the Travel Premiums, the following terms are defined in this section:

  • Multiple Trips
  • 50-mile Radius
  • Provider Location
Multiple Trips

When a provider chooses to make multiple trips in the same day serving one or more customers eligible for a Travel Premium, VR only allows the provider to invoice for one trip; trips that the provider may make returning the identified provider location between customer visits are not reimbursed.

Fifty-Mile Radius

To calculate whether the contracted provider is outside of the 50-mile radius and eligible for a Travel Premium, VR staff determines the round-trip mileage from the provider's location to the location where the service will be provided using the route with the lowest mileage according to MapQuest. If the round-trip mileage is more than a total of 100 miles, then the provider may be eligible for one or both Travel Premiums if all other conditions are met and the premium is approved in advance with a service. authorization.

The VR counselor must consult with the regional quality assurance specialist or the regional program support specialist to confirm that there is not another provider that will meet the customer's needs within 50 miles of the customer's service location.

Provider Location

The provider's location is defined as the provider's headquarters, as stated in the provider's contract, or the physical location of the provider's staff that is providing the service, whichever is closest to the location where the service will be provided.

For example, if the provider's headquarters is 75 miles one way from the location where the service will be provided, but the staff providing the service is located (either their residence or a satellite location) is 35 miles one way from where the service will be provided, then the provider is not eligible for a Travel Premium. If the same provider's headquarters is 75 miles one way from where the service will be provided, but the staff providing the service is located 100 miles one way from where the service will be provided, then the providers headquarters, as stated on the providers contract, will be used to calculate the mileage premium since this is the shortest distance.

20.6.2. Mileage Premium

This premium is for mileage reimbursement and no other expenses.

20.6.2.1 Service Description

The Mileage Premium may be available to providers serving VR customers receiving the services or assessments under a contract with TWC-VR in the following chapters:

  • Chapter 4: Employment Assessments
  • Chapter 5: Orientation and Mobility Services
  • Chapter 7: Diabetes Self-Management Education Services
  • Chapter 9: Assistive Technology for Sight-Related Disabilities
  • Chapter 10: Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind
  • Chapter 13: Work Readiness Services
  • Chapter 14: Work Experience Services
  • Chapter 17: Basic Employment Services
  • Chapter 18: Supported Employment

The Mileage Premium may be available to providers serving VR customers:

  • who require contracted services to achieve the long-term goals as identified on the customer's individualized plan for employment (IPE) or independent living goals established under the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind program;
  • when there is not a qualified contracted provider available within a 50-mile radius of the location where the authorized service is to be provided; and
  • who require at least two hours of a contracted service (one or more customers) during a single trip, (travel time to and from service location is not included in this two hours).

The Mileage Premium amount is based on direct, round-trip travel for each mile traveled over 100 miles. Travel within the customer's community is not allowed to be counted when the Mileage Premium payment is calculated. 

When a provider sees more than one customer within the area that the provider travels to:

  • the provider can only be reimbursed for travel for one customer, and
  • the round-trip mileage is based on the travel to the furthest location of the customers served during the visit.

To calculate the amount to pay for the Mileage Premium, VR staff:

  1. determines the round-trip mileage from the provider's location to the service location using MapQuest Route Planner with shortest distance and round-trip options selected;
  2. subtracts 100 miles from the round-trip total; then
  3. multiplies the total by the state-approved mileage rate.

The amount calculated is the Mileage Premium amount that is paid to the contracted provider if all other conditions are met and the premium is approved in advance with a service authorization.

All State of Texas travel rules for employees must be adhered to by providers.

20.6.2.2 Process and Procedures

  • After all appropriate approvals are in place, the provider receives multiple service authorizations from TWC-VR for all approved services and premium fees. The service authorization for the Mileage Premium must include the anticipated distance and number of trips to be traveled.
  • The provider schedules the services with the customer and makes travel arrangements.
  • The provider travels from the defined provider location to the location of the service.
  • The provider provides the service and completes the DARS3435, Mileage Premium Report to document all required information.
  • The provider submits the required documentation for payment.
  • VR staff reviews documentation, verifies mileage on MapQuest Route Planner with shortest distance, and round-trip options selected and authorizes payment if all requirements are met.

20.6.2.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The service provider is eligible for the Mileage Premium when:

  • The customer(s) receives at least two hours of services (one or more customers), excluding travel time;
  • There is no provider for the service within a 50-mile radius of the customer's location, or the staff of the provider within the 50-mile radius do not meet the qualifications necessary to provide the service; and
  • All information required on DARS3435, Mileage Premium Report, is provided.

The information required on the DARS3435, Mileage Premium Report, includes the:

  • Case ID for all customers served during the round trip;
  • Date(s) the service was provided;
  • Length of the customer's training;
  • The provider's location at which the mileage was initiated;
  • Each customer's location where the services were provided during the round trip;
  • Shortest round-trip mileage, for each segment of the round-trip travel according to MapQuest;
  • Total mileage for the round trip, according to MapQuest;
  • When more than one customer is served in a single trip, include the name of the customer for whom an invoice will be submitted and a Travel Mileage Premium claimed.

Payment for the Mileage Premium is made when the VR counselor verifies the mileage for the trip and approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

20.6.2.4 Mileage Premium Fee

For more information, see 20.9.5 Travel Premium.

20.6.3 Highly Specialized Training Premium

This premium is used for reimbursement of approved travel expenses, excluding mileage.

20.6.3.1 Service Description

The Highly Specialized Training Premium may be available to providers serving VR customers receiving the highly specialized services or assessments under a contract with TWC-VR in the following chapters:

  • Chapter 4: Employment Assessments
  • Chapter 5: Orientation and Mobility Services;
  • Chapter 7: Diabetes Self-Management Education Services;
  • Chapter 9: Assistive Technology for Sight-Related Disabilities; and
  • Chapter 10: Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind.

The Highly Specialized Training Premium may be available to providers serving customers:

  • who require contracted services to achieve the long-term goals as identified on the customer's individualized plan for employment (IPE) or independent living goals established under the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind program;
  • when there is not a qualified contracted provider to provide the services available within a 50-mile radius of the location where the service is to be provide the services outlined in the customer's IPE or ILP; and
  • who require at least two hours of a contracted service (one or more customers) during a single trip, (travel time to and from service location is not included in this two hours).

The Highly Specialized Training Premium reimbursement includes lodging, per diem, airfare (if necessary), and transportation by taxi, bus, other mode of mass transit, or network transportation driver.

The provider must submit a DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report, which includes the projected cost of travel for the trip before travel. VR Manager approval in advance is required to reimburse costs identified in the provider's travel plan and is only authorized when a service authorization is issued.

The provider must submit DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report and copies of all receipts for all costs to be reimbursed following the guidelines below:

Lodging

The lodging expense may only be reimbursed if it is incurred at a commercial lodging establishment. The customer uses hotels that are approved and listed in Contract Hotel Directory Listings unless less expensive lodging is available than allowed as published in the US General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Domestic Maximum Per Diem Rates. If the city is not listed but the county is listed, use the daily rate of the county.

Meals

Meals are only reimbursed if the provider is away from the identified provider location for at least six consecutive hours and overnight travel is required for the trip. All meals to be reimbursed must have a receipt. No gratuity is reimbursed. No taxes are reimbursed. To identify the allowed per diem rate, refer to the GSA's Federal Domestic Maximum Per Diem Rates. If the city is not listed but the county is listed, the VR counselor uses the daily rate of the county.

Air Transportation

A copy of a complete passenger receipt issued by a commercial airline company or an itinerary issued by the company or a travel agency is required for a provider to be reimbursed for a commercial air transportation expense.

The commercial air transportation expense receipt or itinerary must include the following:

  • The name of the provider and airline
  • The ticket number
  • The class of transportation
  • The travel dates
  • The amount of the airfare
  • The origin and destination of each flight
  • Proof of payment

The airfare reimbursement may not exceed the cost of the lowest available airfare between the airport closest to the identified provider location and the city where services will be provided.

Ground Transportation

A provider is may be reimbursed for the actual cost of transportation by bus, other mode of mass transit, taxi, or network transportation driver (for example, Uber, Lyft) if required for the provider to travel to the location where the service will be provided to the customer. The most cost-effective mode of transportation available must be used. Receipts of all travel must be provided.

All State of Texas travel rules for employees must be adhered to by providers. Providers do not qualify for state tax exemption.

20.6.3.2 Process and Procedures

  • The provider submits submit the DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report, to the VR counselor.
  • The VR counselor and VR Manager review the DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report.
  • VR Manager approves allowable expenses.
  • VR counselor notifies provider of outcome of review
  • After all appropriate approvals are in place, the provider receives multiple service authorizations from TWC-VR for all approved services and premium fees.  The service authorization for the Highly Specialized Training Premium must include separate line items for each of the allowable expenses.
  • NOTE: The Highly Specialized Training Premium requires VR Manager review and approval.
  • The provider schedules the services with the customer.
  • The provider travels from the defined provider location to the location of the service.
  • The provider completes the report section of the DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report documenting the actual expenses after providing the service.
  • The provider submits the required documentation and receipts for allowable expenses for payment.
  • VR staff reviews documentation, verifies allowable expenses, and authorizes payment if all requirements are met.

20.6.3.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The service provider is eligible for the travel premium for highly specialized training when all requirements in the service description have been achieved and the provider's DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report, is complete, accurate, and approved by the VR counselor and VR Manager.

The information required on the DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report includes the:

  • Case ID for all customers served during the round-trip
  • Projected cost of all reimbursements that apply to the trip
  • Preapprovals from the VR counselor and VR Manager related to the travel plan
  • Actual cost being submitted for reimbursements
  • Required supporting documentation, such as receipts
  • Date the service was provided to each customer
  • Each customer's location where the services were provided during the trip
  • When multiple customers are included in the trip travel, the name of the customer for whom an invoice will be submitted and a travel premium for highly specialized training claimed

The travel premium for highly specialized training may not be paid if one or more customers) does not receive a minimum of two hours of service or the travel by the provider is not approved prior to the trip with a service authorization.

Payment for the travel premium for highly specialized training is made when the VR counselor verifies the travel reimbursement and approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report;
  • required supporting documents, such as receipts; and
  • invoice.

20.6.3.4 Highly Specialized Training Premium Fee

For more information, see 20.9.5 Travel Premium.

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20.7 Professional Placement Premium

20.7.1 Service Description

A provider receives a Professional Placement Premium when the customer finds a job that meets all the criteria outlined in DARS1845B, Bundled Job Placement Services Plan Part B and Status Report, or DARS1613B, Supported Employment Service Plan Part 1 - Plan and Benchmark Report.

In addition to meeting the requirements in DARS1845B or DARS1613B, the position obtained must require at least a bachelor's degree, and the requirement must be stated in the job description or job posting.

The Professional Placement Premium is paid only once, after achievement of the Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.7.2 Process and Procedures

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Professional Placement Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Professional Placement Premiums agreed upon for Supported Employment and Job Placement is noted on each benchmark service authorization in the special instructions section.

A service authorization for a premium must be issued when the customer has met the requirements of Supported Employment Benchmark 6: VR Closure, as applicable, and Bundled Job Placement Closure Benchmark C.

The staff member working with the customer must provide the Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment service as defined in the VR-SFP manual.

The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for either Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment, including the section for the Professional Placement Premium. The Professional Placement Premium is paid only after all outcomes have been achieved and approved by the VR counselor for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.7.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The direct services provider is eligible for the Professional Placement Premium when the customer achieves all deliverables required for either Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6, as outlined in the corresponding chapters of the VR-SFP manual.

Proof that a degree is required for the position obtained by the customer must be submitted with the invoice.

The services provider is eligible for the Professional Placement Premium when:

  • the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual; and
  • proof that a bachelor's degree or higher was required for the position obtained by the customer is demonstrated by either a copy of the job posting or the customer's job description.

The Professional Placement Premium is paid when the VR counselor verifies that the position required a bachelor's degree or higher and approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • report for the base service, with the Professional Placement section completed; and
  • invoice.

20.7.4 Fee

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.8 Wage Premium

20.8.1 Service Description

For a customer's case to be eligible for a Wage Premium, a customer must:

Proof of the customer's earnings and average hours worked per week must be submitted with the invoice; for example, an itemized pay stub may be used to verify the earning and hours.

The Wage Premium is paid only once, after achievement and completion of Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.8.2 Process and Procedures

The contracted provider receives authorization for the Wage Premium through a service authorization. The service authorization for the Wage Premium that is agreed upon for Supported Employment and Job Placement is noted on each benchmark service authorization in the special instructions section. A premium service authorization must be issued when the Supported Employment Benchmark 6 Closure or Bundled Job Placement Closure are issued, as applicable. The service authorization for Wage Premium must be received before services for Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment Benchmark 2 begin.

The staff member working with the customer must provide the Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment service as defined in the VR-SFP manual. The provider's staff member must complete the required documentation for either Bundled Job Placement or Supported Employment, including the section for the Wage Premium.

The Wage Premium is paid only after all outcomes have been achieved and approved by the VR counselor for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6.

20.8.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The direct services provider is eligible for the Wage Premium when the customer achieves all deliverables required for Bundled Job Placement Benchmark C or Supported Employment Benchmark 6, as outlined in the corresponding chapters of the VR-SFP manual.

Proof of the customer's earnings and average hours worked per week must be:

  • documented in a format such as an itemized pay stub; and
  • submitted with the invoice.

The services provider is eligible for a Wage Premium when the VR counselor confirms and approves that the customer:

  • has achieved all outcomes required for the base service, as outlined in the corresponding chapter of the VR-SFP manual;
  • earns over $16 per hour (gross); and
  • works an average of 20 hours per week, as verified by documentation such as an itemized pay stub.

Payment for the Wage Premium is made when the VR counselor:

  • verifies that the customer earns over $16 gross per hour and works 20 or more hours per week; and
  • approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:
  • report for the base service, with the Wage Premium section completed; and
  • invoice.

20.8.4 Fee

See the fees listed in the chapter associated with base services.

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20.9 Premium Fee Chart

A provider cannot collect money from a VR customer or the customer's family for any service-related charge that exceeds VR's allowable service fees. If VR and another resource are paying for a service for a customer, the total payment must not exceed the fee specified in the the VR Standards for Providers.

20.9.1 Autism Premium

Autism Premium

Unit Rate

Non-Bundled Employment Data Sheet, Application, and Résumé Training

$35.00

Non-Bundled Interview Training

$28.00

Bundled Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$450.00

Bundled Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$600.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 1B

$225.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 1B (prorated when the Environmental Work Assessment has been completed)

$135.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$1,500.00

Job Skills Training (Individual)

$7.50 per hour

Job Skills Training (Group)

$3.50 per hour

20.9.2 Criminal Background Premium

Criminal Background Premium

Unit Rate

Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$500.00

Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$500.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$500.00

20.9.3 Deaf Service Premium

Deaf Service Premium

Unit Rate

Non-Bundled Employment Data Sheet, Application, and Résumé Training

$177.00

Non-Bundled Interview Training

$142.00

Bundled Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$1,065.00

Bundled Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$1,420.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 1B

$533.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$3,550.00

Job Skills Training (Individual)

$17.75 per hour

Job Skills Training (Group)

$8.50 per hour

VAT-Job Search Training

$390.00

VAT-Disability Disclosure

$390.00

VAT-Entering the World of Work

$195.00

VAT-Explore the You in Work

$195.00

VAT-Money Smart

$585.00

VAT-Public Transportation Training (Group)

$8.50 per hour

VAT-Public Transportation Training (Individual)

$17.75 per hour

VAT-Soft Skills for Work Success

$292.50

VAT-Soft Skills to Pay the Bills—Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success

$390.00

20.9.4 Professional Placement Premium

Professional Placement Premium

Unit Rate

Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$500.00

Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$500.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$500.00

20.9.5 Travel Premium

Mileage Premium

Paid at the approved state automobile mileage rate found on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts webpage: https://fmx.cpa.texas.gov/fmx/travel/textravel/rates/current.php

Highly Specialized Training Premium

Paid for the allowable expenses outlined on DARS3434, Provider Travel Plan and Report, which are based on the guidelines found in section 20.6.3.1 Highly Specialized Training Premium Service Description

20.9.6 Wage Premium

Wage Premium

Unit Rate

Job Placement (Basic) Benchmark C

$500.00

Job Placement (Enhanced) Benchmark C

$500.00

Supported Employment Benchmark 6

$500.00

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