Focus April 2017

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

What's Inside:

State of the State 2017 - Sandusky


On April 4th, in anticipation of Governor’s Kasich’s State of the State address that evening, cabinet directors and staff spent the day in Sandusky highlighting the positive impact state agencies are making in Northwest Ohio. 


OOD enjoyed a great day of events highlighting the variety of ways we seek to accomplish our mission of quality employment and increased independence for individuals with disabilities. The events illustrated the many different ways OOD impacts the community. A few examples include:


  • The Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP) with the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) at EHOVE Career Center.
  • A business engagement and disability awareness training for more than 20 local businesses held at Great Wolf Lodge. We partnered with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and OWT to recognize employers for hiring individuals with disabilities.
  • The Employment First partnership in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) met at Sawmill Creek Resort and Steak ‘n Shake.  We recognized Ability Works for their great partnership and assisting individuals with disabilities find employment at the restaurant.



At EHOVE are (left to right) OOD Director Kevin Miller, EHOVE Career Center Superintendent Sharon Mastroianni, ODHE Chancellor John Carey, Representative Richard Stein, Ken Hughes (an OOD client that found successful employment as an English as a second language teacher), and OWT Director Ryan Burgess. To see a video, visit



At Great Wolf Lodge are Erie County employers who were recognized for their commitment to hiring individuals with disabilities, (center) OOD Director Kevin Miller, ODJFS Director Cynthia Dungey and OWT Director Ryan Burgess. To see a video, visit



At Sawmill Creek Resort are (right) OOD Director Kevin Miller with DODD Director John Martin talking to employees as they toured the laundry room where they work. Sawmill Creek Resort was recognized for hiring individuals with disabilities. To see a video, visit



At Steak ‘n Shake are (far left) DODD Director John Martin and (far right) OOD Director Kevin Miller with several Steak ‘n Shake employees, along with staff from Ability Works.


For more information about our State of the State events, Connect to OOD on TwitterFacebook and YouTube or to see all State of the State events use #OHSotS. 


Pilot Program Offers Literacy Training for People with Visual Impairments


OOD’s Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s (ODHE) ABLE program are working together to provide literacy training for adults with visual impairments. This assistance will help them prepare for employment and further their education.


ODHE’s ABLE program will fund grants to OOD’s BSVI to recruit students into basic Braille literacy classes that lead to high school diplomas and certifications. The goal this year is to have trained Braille literacy instructors to recruit students and teach Braille basics courses regionally.


Additionally, this spring, a pilot program will be launched at the Cleveland Sight Center to further this important mission. The Cleveland Sight Center has been providing Braille instruction throughout its 110-year history to children, adolescents and adults who are blind or visually impaired. The ABLE teachers work alongside the Braille instructor to help the students meet their education and employment goals.


“Education is important to every citizen,” said OOD Director Kevin Miller. “From the passage of the Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT) and implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, OOD has focused on creating access points for individuals with disabilities.  We’re diligent in seeking ways to implement WIT recommendations to make the programs and training services more readily available to individuals who are blind, deaf and deafblind.”


For more information, visit

Visual Impairment Doesn’t Stop Man from Becoming an Independent Business Owner

Business Enterprise Operator Jim Lutz loading snacks in the vending machine at the Riffe Center.


When Jim Lutz received his master’s degree in economics from the University of Akron, he envisioned having a job that would allow him to utilize his degree. Due to his visual impairment, he realized this was easier said than done. “It’s hard for a blind person to get comparable jobs,” said Jim.


He learned about the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) through OOD’s Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI). This opportunity enables Ohioans who are legally blind to have entrepreneurial careers in food service management.


Jim applied for services and became a certified BEP operator at the Akron courthouse in the late 90s. He later moved to Columbus and worked in the cafeteria in the Rhodes Tower downtown. In 2006, he began operating the vending machines on the 19th floor of the Riffe Center. Jim currently operates nine vending machines, and a snack counter that serves Starbucks, as well as two machines on the Governor’s floor in the Riffe Center. He owns the operation and is responsible for all aspects of the business. Due to his disability, he uses Uber to get downtown so he can manage his machines and coffee shop.


“For a blind person, there’s no better job than this. If you’re not afraid to put in the work, you can’t fail,” Jim. 


The goals of the Business Enterprise Program are to establish employment for people who have a visual disability, demonstrate the capabilities and competence of individuals who are legally blind, and provide quality food and vending services throughout Ohio. For more information, visit

April is Autism Awareness Month



April is Autism Awareness Month and a time to raise awareness around the differences of those on the autism spectrum. It is also to support people with the disorder and their families, and educate the public on autism. OOD works all year long to provide services to individuals (beginning at age 14) who are on this spectrum, to assist them in finding and maintaining a job, and live independently in all 88 Ohio counties. For more information about how OOD can help you or someone you know who has a disability find a job or maintain a job, visit

Connect To OOD – Director Miller Supports Panera’s Pieces of Hope Cookie Campaign


Connect to OOD on TwitterFacebook and YouTube to see items like this post about Director Miller supporting Panera’s Pieces of Hope cookie campaign in honor of Autism Awareness Month.  



Social Security Administration Honors OOD’s Division of Disability Determination Employees

Pictured above are OOD Director Kevin Miller, DDD Deputy Director Erik Williamson, Disability Claims Specialist Christian Mateos, Disability Claims Supervisor Julie Keel and SSA’s Chicago Regional Disability Program Administrator Jim Jamison.


Three OOD Division of Disability Determination (DDD) employees were recently honored by the Social Security Administration (SSA). On Thursday, April 6th, SSA’s Chicago Region Disability Program Administrator Jim Jamison traveled to Columbus to personally recognize DDD Deputy Director Erik Williamson, Disability Claims Supervisor Julie Keel and Disability Claims Specialist Christian Mateos for their exemplary work.


Williamson received the Disability Program Leadership Award for his long-term commitment to the Social Security Disability Program and displaying outstanding leadership. Keel was recognized with the 2016 Office of Disability Associate Commissioner Honor Award (in recognition for her outstanding contribution to the limited English proficiency workgroup) and the 2016 Office of Disability Determination’s Associate Commissioner Honor Award (in recognition for her hard work, leadership, professionalism and pride in serving the citizens of Ohio). Mateos received the Social Security Commissioner’s Citation, in recognition of her contributions to excellent customer service as a bilingual disability claims specialist.

OOD and Provider Community Meet to Update Reporting Process

OOD Rehabilitation Program Specialist Mike Kinney works with a group of providers and OOD staff to revise reporting templates.


OOD hosted a number of representatives from our provider community along with OOD field staff to assist in updating report templates required under the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Fee Schedule. Proposed changes in VR fee structures will allow for streamlining templates with attention given to progress and outcomes of service, rather than documentation of billable hours and miles driven. These reports will ultimately be entered or uploaded directly into the VR Provider Portal, which ties into the requirements of the development process. 


OOD’s policy and training unit facilitated small groups of provider and staff to review existing templates and identify opportunities to eliminate items that were not required and did not add value. The revisions are expected to significantly reduce the administrative time for providers to complete required documentation. This will allow for an increased allocation of time for staff to work directly with individuals referred for services. The efficiencies will also reduce OOD's time for review and approval while cutting down on billing rejections.


Please share this publication and encourage others to subscribe to the OOD Focus E-newsletter on our website. Also be sure to join us on TwitterFacebook and YouTube.