Weekly Focus - July 8, 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

July 8, 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:

Opening a Path to In-Demand Jobs

Truck Driving School (line of semis)


Ohio continues to break down barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities. This week we announced that, for the first time, Ohioans who are deaf or hearing impaired have the opportunity to obtain their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and pursue a career in an in-demand occupation.


To make this exciting opportunity a reality OOD partnered with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and the Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) to develop the procedures that make it possible for individuals who qualify for a hearing exemption waiver to train and test for a CDL.


The process to obtain a hearing exemption waiver was instituted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Ohio is leading the way as one of the first states to implement testing accomadations. BMV, OCJS and OOD took the proactive step of developing Ohio test procedures, which have been distributed to the hearing impaired community and driver training schools across the state.



Since implementing the new CDL testing process, Ohio has seen immediate interest from individuals with hearing impairments wanting to learn more about pursuing a CDL. At last report, more than 13 individuals were in various phases of obtaining their waiver, training or testing, with at least two individuals successfully obtaining a CDL and securing employment as a commercial driver.


OOD approached the BMV to collaborate on this project as an outgrowth of the Governor’s Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT). Created by the General Assembly in 2014, the WIT was charged with gathering and analyzing data in order to make recommendations regarding barriers to employment and income parity for Ohioans who are deaf or blind. The goal was to better understand the current employment environment for deaf and blind communities, and as a result, develop effective strategies aimed at helping these citizens reach their highest employment potential.


CDL trucking-driving is an In-Demand Career and this industry supports Ohio’s economy. From April 14, 2016, through May 13, 2016, more than 28,000 job openings with a CDL requirement were posted on OhioMeansJobs.com.


While Ohioans with a CDL can take advantage of the demand for drivers, the trucking industry will greatly benefit from a larger pool of qualified candidates in a market experiencing a driver shortage. Estimates of the shortage are as high as 50,000 drivers nationwide, a number that is expected to grow to 200,000 over the next 10 years, according to Tom Balzer, president of the Ohio Trucking Association. (To find out more about an In-Demand Career in the transportation industry, visit OhioMeansJobs.com or your county’s OhioMeansJobs Center.)


We are also working with the BMV to develop a video in American Sign Language (ASL) that explains the requirements and testing process. The video will be available through both the BMV and OOD websites this fall so that individuals, driving schools and employers, can learn about the testing and licensure process.


This innovative collaboration is another example of Ohio breaking down barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities. It opens a path to an in-demand job for more Ohioans and means an expanding workforce for Ohio employers seeking qualified applicants.

New Disability Claims Adjudicators

The Chicago Region of the Social Security Administration (SSA) has granted the Ohio Division of Disability Determination (DDD) the ability to hire 68 new employees this Federal Fiscal Year. The ability to hire new staff was made possible because of the excellent work being done in Ohio to process claims quickly and accurately, while providing outstanding customer service to those Ohioans applying to receive disability benefits.


A new class of 34 disability claims adjudicators will start a rigorous eight-week training program starting next week. In this training, they will be immersed in learning about OOD, specific components of the SSA disability program and how to review and adjudicate disability claims applications.


This class of 34 people will join an adjudicative team of approximately 304 caseload-carrying adjudicators who are on track to process over 200,000 disability determinations for the citizens of Ohio. DDD remains a national leader in quality, accuracy, and volume of disability claims processed.  


Commissioners Seek Award Nominations

2015 Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award
Commissioner David V. Daugherty, 2015 Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award winner Kelli Grisham (Assistant Superintendent of Hancock County DD) , Commissioner Chair Jack Licate, Commissioner Jacqueline Romer-Sensky


The OOD Commissioners are seeking nominations for two awards that are presented to honor the service of individuals who significantly contribute to assisting individuals with disabilities.


Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award

OOD has established the Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award to honor outstanding advocacy accomplishments by non-employees of OOD. Ben Bonanno was a former OOD Commissioner and an unwavering advocate. The Ben Bonanno Disability Advocate Award recognizes a person whose advocacy efforts have significantly improved the employment possibilities of Ohioans with disabilities in a manner that is consistent with OOD’s mission. The deadline date for submitting nominations is July 22, 2016.


Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award

The Denise Joanne Weisenborn Service Award honors non-employees of OOD who provide outstanding services to Ohioans with disabilities to make their participation in society more meaningful. This award has been established in memory of Denise Weisenborn who served as an OOD Commissioner from 1997 to 2006. The deadline date for submitting nominations is July 22, 2016


The nomination forms can be found on OOD’s website at http://www.ood.ohio.gov/About-Us/OOD-Commissioners/Commissioners-Awards.

Did you know? National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Poster Available

Reflecting the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “#InclusionWorks.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. The official 2016 NDEAM poster is now available.


The Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor has a variety of resources online to assist organizations in planning and implementing National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) activities.


National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Poster 2016

OOD by the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation

                                                               Current                     FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:            3,267                    5,102

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                             1,931                    5,025

(Employed, not yet

successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                             5,131

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 07/01/2016 – Week 40)


Applications Received:                                                            152,540


Determinations:                                                                        153,169


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                       372.8

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)

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