Weekly Focus - June 3, 2016

An update and information report for doctors who provide consultative exams for OOD’s Division of Disability Determination
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

Kevin L. Miller, Executive Director

June 3, 2016

The mission of the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency is to ensure individuals with disabilities achieve quality employment, independence and disability determination outcomes.

What's Inside:

The launch of STABLE accounts was announced at a news conference in Cincinnati on Wednesday

Ohio First State to Launch ABLE Accounts

On Wednesday, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced the launch of State Treasury Achieving a Better Life Experience (STABLE) accounts.  STABLE accounts allow individuals with disabilities to save and invest money for their future while remaining eligible for certain public benefit programs. Ohio is the first state in the country to implement a process for enrollment for eligible individuals living with disabilities. 


STABLE Accounts are made possible by the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (“ABLE”) Act passed by Congress in 2014.  STABLE Accounts allow individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefits programs, like Medicaid, Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  Earnings in STABLE Accounts are not subject to federal income tax, so long as funds are spent on qualified disability expenses.


Participants in the STABLE program can use the money in their individual account for qualified expenses, such as education, healthcare, housing and transportation.  The new accounts were made possible by House Bill 155 which was signed into law by Governor Kasich in July of 2015.


STABLE Accounts have similar features to normal bank accounts, but are also investment accounts, similar to 529 college savings accounts or 401(k) retirement accounts.  When a participant deposits money into their STABLE Account, the money can be invested in different options chosen by the participant.  While participants can still withdraw and spend money as needed, a STABLE Account also allows money to grow and to save for long-term disability expenses.


Eligible individuals can set up their STABLE Account for free at www.stableaccount.com.   An initial contribution of at least $50 is required in order to set up an account.


As the parent of a child with a disability, I am excited to see this important financial tool become a reality.  OOD provided guidance to the Treasurer’s office as they built and prepared the infrastructure to launch this program.  We are working on steps to coordinate any necessary training our work incentive consultants will need when assisting individuals with disabilities gain employment.


No license? No problem!

A major goal of OOD's Business Engagement Unit involves assisting organizations in removing barriers to employment.  This includes dialogue with our partners in state government.  Until this year, one of the first questions on the general State of Ohio Application was "Do you have a driver's license?" with required data fields for the specific driver's license number.  But people who did not possess a driver’s license could not indicate that they had a valid form of identification such as a state ID or passport.  The driver’s license question was clearly intended for identification purposes, not as a necessary qualification for a position involving driving.


As co-chair of Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT), I highlighted this issue as an example of unintended barriers to employment.  In the follow-up discussion surrounding the WIT final report, we began conversations with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) on how best to address the issue.  DAS was able to make the driver’s license question optional and worked with us to communicate this change.  We are happy to be able to help remove a potential barrier to employment for all people; including individuals with disabilities, and are hopeful that this will open the door for all qualified individuals to be considered for employment with the State of Ohio.


To search for State of Ohio jobs, including openings at OOD, please visit the Ohio Hiring Management System at http://careers.ohio.gov .


If you are an employer looking to hire or retain people with disabilities, or to learn more about breaking down potential barriers to employment, feel free to reach out to the OOD Business Engagement Team via e-mail at HiringAbility@ood.ohio.gov.


Did you know? Service Dog Awareness Week

Ohio Service Dog Awareness Week
Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, center, signs a bill designating a "Service Dog Awareness Week," as Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl, from left, Janet Newcity, Jess Casamassimo and Christopher Cooley observe (Photo courtesy of Mike Elicson/Ohio House of Representatives)


House Bill 121, which became effective this month, designates the last week of July as Service Dog Awareness Week.  The goal is to raise awareness about the important role that service dogs play in the lives of individuals with disabilities.  Although protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), business owners and the general public may not be aware of the laws permitting service animals in public spaces.


The legislation was inspired by Christopher Cooley and his service dog, Conrad.  Christopher started the Guide Dog/Service Dog Night Out Group to bring together Ohioans with disabilities and to help spread awareness about the importance of service dogs.

OOD by the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation

                                                               Current                     FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:            3,317                    4,589

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                             1,965                     4,407

(Employed, not yet

successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                             4,489

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 05/27/2016 – Week 35)


Applications Received:                                                            133,964


Determinations:                                                                        135,779


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                       376.4

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)

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