MOU Webinar Link & Questions/Responses

MN Dept of Employment and Economic Development

DEED and DHS held a webinar titled Collaborating for Employment – DEED and DHS Partnership on Tuesday, Dec. 10.  This webinar covered the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) our agencies signed in September as well as what to expect in our partnership in the coming year.  If you were not able to watch the entire webinar or want to share it with colleagues, you can access the PowerPoint slides and call in to hear an audio recording of the webinar: 

  • PowerPoint slides available on training archive page
  • Audio recording of webinar will be available until March 10, 2020.
  • Dial 800-585-8367
  • Conference ID: 8699842

We had some questions in the chat that we were not able to get to during the webinar.  Below, we have consolidated questions where possible and responded to them.  If you have any additional questions or want more information, please email

Best regards,

MOU Steering Committee

Consolidated Chat Questions and Responses

Question:  How do you access the MOU?­

Response: You can access the MOU at the DHS/DEED MOU page  tab on the Disability HUB MN webpage

Question:  Does this mean that VRS/SSB will be paid waivered funds to provide employment services?  What does this mean for community employment companies?

Response: No. The agreements in the MOU do not change the overall structure of how DEED-VRS/SSB pays for services and it does not mean that waiver funds will be used to pay DEED-VRS/SSB for providing job search services.  These agreements clarify that DEED-VRS/SSB will be the primary payer for job search services, which may be provided through a provider who has a Professional/Technical (P/T) contract through DEED. More information on how to become a provider with DEED-VRS/SSB is on the DEED website. We will be leveraging the “Service Provider Alignment” workgroup to look at how we create more shared providers across DEED-VRS/SSB and DHS-DSD.

Question:  Can people under the age of 25 currently choose to work for subminimum wage?

Response: Yes, however when a person is choosing whether they will accept subminimum wages, it is important that they are able to make an informed choice and understand there are services and supports available to help them obtain competitive, integrated employment.  

People under the age of 25 must engage with DEED-VRS/SSB in order to receive the WIOA, 511 documentation that would allow an individual to earn subminimum wages.  

Question:  What impact will this have on Customized Employment services through VRS for people receiving waiver services? 

Response:  People receiving waiver services will continue to be able to access Customized Employment services through DEED-VRS/SSB. We will be leveraging the “Service Process and Experience” workgroup to look at what portions of the Discovery process will be covered by the employment exploration service and overall how exploration and discovery processes work together for individuals who are on an HCBS waiver and would benefit from Customized Employment

Question:  Will you be seeking input from people who receive services and their families?  Will there be representation on the Advisory Committee and workgroups?  How will you conduct outreach for participation?  How will you be communicating changes to people, especially those receiving Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS)?

Response: We will be seeking input from people who receive services as well as families.  For the Advisory Committee, we will have several categories of membership to represent key stakeholder groups.  One of these categories will be to represent people receiving services.  The MOU workgroups, will be comprised of state staff and each workgroup will structure stakeholder engagement depending on the nature of their work.  So, the form and timing of all stakeholder engagement (including with people receiving services and families) will depend on the projects each workgroup is completing. 

We have not finalized outreach strategies, but these will likely involve 1) email announcements to DSD stakeholder elist and VRS/SSB emails 2) engaging with our partner organizations who advocate for and encourage self-advocacy of people with disabilities and 3) leveraging the Virtual Insight Panel through the Disability Hub MN, which includes people with disabilities and people receiving services. 

Regarding communicating future policy changes to people receiving services and families, this will again depend on the nature of the change.  Lead agency staff for DHS-DSD and local VRS office staff or DEED-DHS/SSB are our best resource in explaining program policies to people receiving services.  People self-directing supports through CDCS are still connected to lead agencies through case managers, who continue to be our best resource in explaining program policies and changes.  If policy changes will be directly impacting the services that someone receives or could potentially receive, then tools, notices that we can directly share with people, and places to ask questions/get more information would likely be needed.  Workgroups will help us think through communication and training needs for the work they are doing. 

Question: ­What is the plan for seamless and timely approval of budgets between services to avoid delays?­

Response:  We plan on leveraging the “Service Process and Experience” workgroup to help us improve the referrals/transitions between our programs.  This includes developing processes and communication between lead agencies, services providers, and DEED-VRS/SSB offices to make sure that authorizations and access to services are carried out as quickly as possible during transitions.  This is a significant area of work and one that we hope to work with stakeholders in improving current processes.  For example, we will be looking at identifying when a DEED-VRS/SSB counselor engages with a person for during the employment exploration services in order to enroll in services to ensure a rapid start to the job search phase when a person wants to pursue competitive, integrated employment. 

Question:  We have previously helped people find competitive, integrated employment through waiver services without referring to VRS.  Why are we changing this now?

Response:  DEED-VRS/SSB have always been the primary payers for job search services.  HCBS waiver funding can only be leveraged for job search services when other sources of these supports (including DEED-VRS/SSB) are not available.

In the process of developing our MOU, DHS-DSD and DEED-VRS/SSB clarified the definition of “not available” (current definition is available in the interim guidance and new definition is available in the “financial responsibility” section of the MOU).  To create a shared definition, our agencies worked with our respective national technical assistance organizations, conducted extensive review of federal guidance, and conducted an environmental scan of other states’ MOUs.

Question:  What is the definition of “not available” in regards to VRS job search services?

Response:  We are currently working under the VRS, SSB, IDEA and home and community-based employment services - interim guidance to define when DEED-VRS/SSB services are “not available” until the MOU is fully implemented. 

In the MOU under the Financial Responsibility section we define how DHS-DSD will determine when services are “not available” from DEED-VRS/SSB. For purposes of the MOU, the term “not available” is defined under four categories: 

  • Ineligible/not priority status:when a person is determined ineligible for vocational rehabilitation services or is placed on a waiting list
  • In process:the time between application to DEED-VRS/SSB and determination of eligibility and priority status (up to 60 days)
  • Services exhausted: When an adult not enrolled in 18-21 transition programming:
    • Has received DEED-VRS/SSB job search services for over 24 months, and DEED-VRS/SSB has determined the individual can no longer benefit from continued DEED-VRS/SSB services or;
    • Has been determined by DEED-VRS/SSB to have exhausted all job possibilities in the area and can no longer benefit from DEED-VRS/SSB job search services.
  • Services not offered: when services such as long-term supports to maintain employment are not offered by DEED-VRS/SSB

Question:  How will the MOU impact or define where the funding will be to help people obtain and maintain competitive, integrated employment?

Response:  The financial responsibility section of the MOU agreement clarifies the relationship between DEED-VRS/SSB and DHS-DSD funding and how our services will work together. The funding arrangements for employment supports are outlined in the graphic on slide 15 of the presentation.   

Part of this question is the concern that there will not be enough funding through DEED-VRS/SSB to help people receiving waiver services obtain competitive employment. If DEED-VRS/SSB is not able to serve people within available funding, then DEED-VRS/SSB would begin placing people on a waiting list and services would be considered ‘unavailable’ and waiver funding can assist.  The changes to the PBA funding model (discussed on slide 16) will help ensure that sufficient supports are available for people with significant employment support needs.

Question:  Do you have plans to track employment outcomes pre/post MOU implementation?  How will you evaluate success and determine if you need to adjust course?

Response: We plan on leveraging the “Quality and Performance Improvement” workgroup to help us improve our tracking of employment outcomes and identify areas of success or improvement, including evaluating the impact of the MOU and the way our agencies work together.  We don’t have the specific strategies built at this time, but employment outcomes and evaluating success will be part of our data collecting methods.