VRS/SSB and DSD Partnership Update

Vocational Rehabilitation Services header

Date:     4/12/19

To:        Waiver and VRS Employment Providers


From:    Alexandra Bartolic, Disability Services Division Director

              Larry Vrooman, Vocational Rehabilitation Services Director

              Carol Pankow, State Services for the Blind Director


VRS/SSB and DSD Partnership Update


Vocational Rehabilitation Services, State Services for the Blind and the Disability Services Division are actively exploring ways to better align our systems to support people who are on HCBS disability waivers seeking competitive, integrated employment. Our work is driven by a shared commitment to build a person-centered process that meets Minnesota's Employment First policy and federal employment guidelines.


By the end of June, we expect to present a completed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will guide our partnership moving forward. These are some of the key agreements made to date:


  • Employment exploration. DHS will expand the scope of employment exploration services to activities that help people develop informed employment goals and launch a job search for competitive, integrated employment. 
  • Job search services. VRS/SSB will be the first payer for employment development services since HCBS disability waivers can only pay for these services when categories are closed or someone isn't eligible for VRS/SSB. We're continuing to explore whether waiver employment development services can be opened after a VRS/SSB application is submitted and until VRS/SSB activities are authorized.
  • VRS/SSB Placement & Retention payment structure. VRS/SSB will consider a new payment structure that is responsive to serving individuals with more intensive levels of service and support.
  • Provider alignment. We'll work together to strengthen our statewide shared network of employment service providers to improve access to employment services and support seamless transitions.


Next Steps

Under the strategic direction of the MOU, we'll work out implementation details through subsequent planning and stakeholder engagement activities. We will offer additional updates as they become available. Our goal is to create a communication, training and transition plan to help all our partners adapt.

In the meantime, thank you for the good work you are doing under the current DHS Interim Guidance.