Weekly Focus January 6, 2017

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

January 6, 2017

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:

Elevating OOD's Commitment to Employers and Strengthening Services for the Visually Impaired

A message from OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller

Director Miller


In just the past few years OOD’s commitment to engaging with our employer partners has not only been a great success from OOD’s perspective, but this success has been recognized as a national model amongst peer vocational rehabilitation agencies. This is evidenced by our employer partnerships with the Ohio Workplace Initiative, the growth of the Ohio Business Leadership Network and connecting employers with jobseekers through our job fairs.


With the continued positive impact and commitment displayed by our employer partners, I am very pleased to announce that effective next week I am further elevating the agency’s focus on employers as our dual customer, by consolidating OOD’s business relations activities and staff. They are currently managed between the Bureau of Services for Visually Impaired (BSVI) and the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR). They will now become part of a newly formed Division of Employer and Innovation Services, led by Deputy Director Raivo Murnieks.


Reporting to Murnieks will be Assistant Deputy Director Bob Nicholson, who will supervise Business Relations Manager Jon Hackathorn and our regional Business Relations Specialists Stephanie Branco, Cynthia Crews, Kelly Jordan and Heather Mauk. Employer Services Liaisons Chris Glover and Craig Marsh will continue reporting to Hackathorn. This structure also connects these business relations resources directly to our staff that are dedicated to managing labor market information, data analytics, performance management and process improvements. We look to expand our employer partnerships in an effort to secure a more fluid sourcing process thereby assuring jobseekers match available positions more accurately.


In addition to the changes in Business Engagement, OOD’s BSVI has added Program Services Manager Sarah Kelly. She will report to Deputy Director Mindy Duncan and will lead BSVI’s efforts on a number of key priorities. Kelly’s focus will include development of new BSVI staff training; supporting BSVI’s provision of Orientation and Mobility, Activities of Daily Living, Rehabilitation Technology and Low Vision Services; identifying, sharing and promoting promising practices in service delivery across all services leading to improved BSVI customer experience and outcomes; and engaging with partners and professionals to increase BSVI referrals. Kelly brings extensive experience to this new opportunity with five years of experience at OOD, where she has served as both a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and a Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor.


I have always approached every decision on its alignment with our strategic direction and what is in the best interest of those we serve. This restructuring not only fits that criteria, but is critical to OOD’s compliance with new federal workforce legislation and aligns with the Governor’s workforce transformation priorities. My ultimate goal is that not only will we continue to be recognized as a national model for other vocational rehabilitation agencies, but that OOD will serve as a blueprint for all workforce agencies.  

18 Walmart Stores Receive Recognition

Walmart Grove City
Pictured above are representatives from the Stringtown Road Walmart located in Grove City.


OOD recognized 18 Walmart stores as Committed to Opportunity Award recipients for their leadership in integrating individuals with disabilities into Ohio’s workforce. The Committed to Opportunity Awards recognize companies that have had four consecutive years of successful hires of OOD consumers.


In recognizing Walmart on their achievement, OOD Director Kevin Miller stated, “Walmart is the largest retailer in the world and they have taken it upon themselves to make sure that well-qualified and capable individuals who happen to have a disability are integrated into their corporate culture. By embracing inclusion and diversity, individuals with disabilities lives are enhanced, the community benefits and Walmart’s workforce is strengthened.”


Walmart Market Manager Jeff Stone said, “In every one of our stores across the state, we make it a priority to serve our community the best we can and help people to live better. So it’s very important to us as employers that we find opportunities for those with disabilities because they are important members of our community with much to contribute.”


For more information about OOD’s Opportunity Awards, visit http://ood.ohio.gov/Employers/Opportunity-Awards.

OOD Processes First Case Nationally in New Federal System

OOD’s Division of Disability Determination (DDD) is leading the way on the development and implementation of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) new Disability Case Processing System (DCPS). DDD is assisting SSA in their effort to modernize and bring greater consistency to the 54 separate state disability determination services across the country. Ohio is one of only three states to implement DCPS and Ohio was the first state in the nation to process a claim utilizing this new technology.


In addition to processing the first case in the new system, DDD is leading the way in testing and helping other states troubleshoot any issues that arise when they bring the system on board. When fully implemented across the nation, DCPS is expected to simplify system support and maintenance, improve the speed and quality of the disability process, and reduce the overall growth rate of infrastructure costs.

STABLE Account



STABLE Account, the nation’s first savings and investment accounts for people with special needs, dramatically improves the lives of individuals with disabilities. Since Ohio rolled out its STABLE Account on June 1, 2016, more than 1,900 people have enrolled. 


Previously, if Ohioans with disabilities saved more than $2,000 in their name, they risked losing essential benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Individuals with disabilities are now empowered to save and invest up to $14,000 a year with a maximum account limit of $426,000, without losing their healthcare benefits. This will give them the opportunity to live more independent and financially secure lives.  


Diane Cox, who opened a STABLE Account for her 13-year-old son Ben said, “It is money he can use for anything related to his disability in the future. We can save for him the same way as we can for his siblings without restrictions.”


STABLE Accounts are available nationwide and can be opened by an individual with a disability or by an authorized legal representative. They function as an investment account (similar to a 529 college savings or a 401(k) retirement). Not only can participants withdraw and spend money as needed, but the STABLE Account will also allow the money to grow in order to save for long-term expenses. Earnings on savings are tax-deferred when used to pay for qualified disability expenses. Qualified expenses range from housing and rent, to assistive technology (like hearing aids or an iPad) or employment training.


For more information, visit www.stableaccount.com or call 1-800-439-1653.

Do You Have a Disability and Want To Work?

OOD Works


If you have a disability and want to work, OOD can help! At oodworks.com starting on the path to employment is as simple as 1, 2, 3. You can explore Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), take a self-assessment, create your profile and apply for services.


VR is a program that assists individuals with physical, intellectual, mental health and sensory disabilities to obtain and retain employment. More simply, VR helps individuals with disabilities find jobs and be more independent. This involves deciding if a person is eligible, setting an employment goal, putting the goal into a plan, and getting the job services and training needed to get a job. Job coaching and other employment services may also be involved.


At OOD, both the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR) and the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI) are involved in providing VR services.


Visit oodworks.com to get started today on your path to employment.

Did You Know? Local Resources are Available to Help Seniors and Families



The Eldercare Locator, a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, helps seniors and families identify local resources for financial assistance, health care, home modifications and more.  For information, visit http://eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

 or call 188-0677-1116 weekdays 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

OOD By the Numbers


Vocational Rehabilitation


                                                                 Current                     FFY2017

Individuals in Job Ready Status:           2,984                        1,774

For county level information

& map, visit our website.


Individuals Employed:                            2,277                        1,554

Employed, not yet

successfully closed


Successful Closures:                                                               1,631    

Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully


                                         Disability Determination

                                (FFY 2017 as of 12/30/2016 – Week 13)


Applications Received:                                                          43,862  


Determinations:                                                                      47,215


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                          351.9

Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded