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Principle Regarding Consumer Involvement in the IPE Process

Consistent with the intent of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, vocational rehabilitation services are to be provided in accordance with the following principle:

Individuals with disabilities must be active participants

in their own rehabilitation programs, including making

meaningful and informed choices about the selection of

their vocational goals and objectives and the vocational

services they receive.

Description of the IPE

The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is a written plan outlining an individual's vocational goal, and the services to be provided to reach the goal.

The IPE formalizes the planning process through which the vocational goal, service delivery and time frames for service delivery are determined. The IPE identifies the individual's employment objective, consistent with their unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities and capabilities and provides a plan for monitoring progress toward achievement of the goal.

Through the IPE, individuals are informed of their rights and responsibilities in the rehabilitation process.

The individual's involvement in developing the plan is reflected throughout the IPE. Consistent with the principle stated above, the IPE must be agreed upon and signed by the consumer and the counselor.

IPE Consumer Handouts

Two informational handouts regarding the IPE have been developed to provide information and assistance to consumers during the VR process. 

What You Need to Know About the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) provides general information about the IPE. It is included in the VR Handbook and should be discussed with the consumer during the intake process. 

Deciding where I need help... is to be shared with consumers who are beginning to develop their IPE. This handout contains a series of questions to be answered by the consumer. The questions will help the consumer to evaluate whether they are knowledgeable about their employment goal; the steps they need to take and the services they need to achieve their goal. Completing this handout is optional but should be encouraged, particularly with consumers who are unsure of what job they are interested in pursuing. 

Time Frame for Developing an IPE

1. An IPE will be developed with every individual who is eligible for services as soon as possible but no later than 90 days after they have been determined eligible for VR services

2. IPEs must also be developed for students who are eligible for services, within 90 days after they have been determined eligible for VR services. However, if the student will be leaving the school setting before the 90 day timeframe, the IPE must be developed by the time the student leaves the school setting.

Developing the IPE

The following general principles must be applied as the IPE is developed.

Options for Developing the IPE – There are several options a consumer can use when developing an IPE. A consumer can work with their VR Counselor to develop their IPE. They can also request assistance from a relative or friend, an organization or agency that helps people with disabilities, staff at a career center, a teacher or counselor, a representative of the Client Assistance Program or they can develop their IPE on their own. However the IPE is developed, it must be reviewed and approved by the NYSCB VR Counselor and his/her supervisor before it is finalized and ready for implementation. When the IPE is developed with the VR Counselor, it should be done during a face-to-face meeting. When that is not possible, for example in a job save situation, the IPE can be developed without a face-to-face meeting. The reason for not having the face-to-face meeting should be documented in the ECF.

For consumers who communicate through sign language, a certified interpreter must be present if the IPE is being developed by the VR Counselor and the consumer. This procedure should be followed regardless of the counselor's signing skills, unless the counselor is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (Manual Communication). Counselors in this title are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in manual sign language which will allow them to perform the job satisfactorily. During the development of the IPE, the counselor should stop frequently to check for the consumer's understanding and confirm that understanding through the interpreter.

For individuals who do not speak English, NYSCB can provide a foreign language interpreter to enable the consumer to meaningfully participate in the development of their IPE. In some situations, a family member or friend can assist the consumer in this process however, this may not always be the most appropriate option

Basis for the IPE - The IPE must be based on an assessment carried out in the most individualized and integrated setting, consistent with the informed choice of the individual.

Provision of Services - VR services should be provided in the most integrated setting that is appropriate for the service and is consistent with the informed choice of the eligible individual. In the event that the IPE provides for services in a non-integrated setting, a justification to support the non-integrated setting should be included in the case record.

Informing Consumers of Options - The counselor should discuss the various options available to the consumer throughout the process of developing the IPE. This enables the consumer to make informed decisions about their employment goals, services, service providers and the methods used to provide or procure services.

Annual Review - The IPE must be reviewed with the consumer (or his/her representative) at least annually. Amendments resulting from the annual review may not take effect until agreed to and signed by the consumer.

Accessible Language and Format - A copy of the IPE and its amendments must be provided to the consumer or, as appropriate, the consumer’s authorized representative. The IPE should be provided, to the extent possible, in the consumer's preferred format (including large print, Braille, cassette tape or email), or to the extent possible, in the native language of the consumer or as appropriate, the consumer’s authorized representative. A copy of the completed signature page should be attached to the IPE in the consumer’s ECF.

Contents of the IPE

The IPE contains the following:

1. The employment goal

2. Objectives associated with achievement of the goal

3. Consumer and counselor responsibilities

4. The specific rehabilitation services to be provided.

5. The service providers and the process used to provide or procure services.

6. The projected dates for initiation of the services and the anticipated duration of each service.

7. Criteria to be used to determine progress toward achieving the employment goal.

8. The individual's rights and responsibilities including the right to an initial review, mediation, administrative review or administrative hearing.

9. A description of the availability of the local Client Assistance Program.

10. An assessment of the anticipated need for post­employment services.

11. A listing of comparable benefits available to the individual or the individual's family that may be used to offset the cost of vocational rehabilitation services.

12. If appropriate, information regarding the individual's need for rehabilitation technology, specific on­the­job services and related personal assistance services.

Preparing an IPE


Follow this procedure to complete the IPE.

1. Select the IPE from the list of available forms in the consumer’s ECF.

2. Select the appropriate Type of Plan from the pick pst.

3. Select the appropriate goal from the pick pst containing the O-net database of job titles

Guidance for Selecting an Employment Goal

When selecting a goal, the consumer and counselor should consider many factors including but not limited to: 

a. Availability of employment

b. Occupational requirements

c. Medical factors

d. The consumer's previous work history, interests, abilities and capabilities and willingness to relocate.

The selection of the goal should be based on an assessment of vocational rehabilitation needs including, where appropriate, situational assessments. See Chapter 3.00 for additional information regarding assessing the nature and scope of services.

The employment goal for an individual must be based, primarily, on the individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities and capabilities (e.g. primary employment factors). The employment goal also must reflect the individual's interest and informed choice to the extent that those factors are consistent with the individual's primary employment factors (i.e. strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities and capabilities). Factors such as the local economy or local labor market conditions (e.g. job availability in the community) are external factors that may be considered, but cannot alone determine whether the employment goal is appropriate. These considerations apply to employment goals for both eligible individuals who are not currently employed and eligible individuals who are seeking to advance in their present careers.

4. Enter the objectives, specific services, the service providers, the start and end dates for each service, the consumers responsibilities associated with participation in each service, NYSCB’s responsibilities and the way the consumer's success will be measured. Counseling and Guidance provided by NYSCB is preprinted on the IPE form. If Orientation and Mobility and/or Vision Rehabilitation Therapy is to be provided by NYSCB staff, those services should also be entered on the IPE with NYSCB as the provider. The dates of service, measurement of success and my responsibilities boxes will need to be completed. CIS includes pick lists for the consumer and counselor responsibilities and for progress evaluation criteria. Counselors can enter their own text or select from the pick lists.

5. Review Your Responsibilities with the consumer.

6. Review the NYSCB Counselor Responsibilities with the consumer.

7. Review the Consumer's Rights regarding confidentiality, the availability of the appeals process and the Client Assistance Program with the consumer. Confirmation of this discussion should be noted in a case note in the consumer's ECF.

8. Review the statement regarding the availability of Future Services (post-employment services).

9. Review the Signatures section with the consumer and obtain his/her signature. Explain that the IPE is not finalized until it is approved and signed by the NYSCB senior counselor. If the IPE includes graduate school training and/or a home modification, the counselor should explain that the IPE must also be approved and signed by the NYSCB district manager. 

10.Sign and date the IPE in CIS. This triggers an email notification to the counselor’s supervisor letting them know an IPE is ready to be signed. When the supervisor signs the IPE an email notification is sent to the counselor. The counselor can now enter the consumer signature date in CIS if the consumer has agreed to the IPE.

If changes are recommended by the senior counselor and/or district manager, contact the consumer to discuss the changes prior to sending the consumer a copy of the signed IPE as noted in Step 11.

See page 6.00.07 – Consumer’s Signature on the IPE for more information,

11. Provide a copy of the signed IPE to the consumer.

12. Indicate the date that the IPE was given or sent to the consumer and note the format in which it was provided in the record of service.

13. Scan and attach the signature page to the consumer’s IPE in CIS.

Consumer's Signature on the IPE

The Rehabilitation Act specifically states that the IPE is to be jointly agreed upon and signed by the consumer (or authorized representative) and the counselor. If the consumer refuses to sign the IPE and disagrees with the IPE, no viable plan is in effect. The reasons for the refusal should be discussed with the consumer and documented either on the IPE or in a case note. The counselor and consumer should attempt to resolve the issue(s) and redevelop the plan.

If the issue(s) cannot be resolved and the consumer and counselor cannot agree upon an IPE, the counselor should advise the consumer of his/her right to exercise the appeals process and of the availability of assistance through the Client Assistance Program (CAP). If no resolution is possible, the counselor should advise the consumer that his/her case will be closed.

Annual IPE Reviews

The IPE can be reviewed as often as determined necessary; however, it must be reviewed at least annually. During the annual review, the consumer and the counselor review the entire IPE and jointly redevelop the IPE as needed.

The annual review is to be conducted during a face-to-face meeting between the counselor and the consumer. When this is not possible, the annual review can take place without a face-to-face meeting. The reason for not having a face-to-face meeting must be documented in the ECF. If the consumer has a representative, the representative should also attend the annual IPE review meeting.

If an unscheduled review of the entire IPE takes place prior to the date of the scheduled annual review, the next annual review can be set for one year from the date the unscheduled review took place.

Documenting the Annual Review 

The annual review of the IPE should be documented in the ECF and should be identified as the IPE Annual Review. 

If during the annual review there is no longer agreement on an IPE, see instructions in the "IPE Amendments" section on page 6.00.08.

IPE Amendments

An IPE is amended if there are substantive changes in the employment outcome, in the VR services to be provided or in the providers of the VR services.

When an individual receiving services under an approved IPE chooses to pursue a different vocational goal, the existing IPE will be reviewed to determine the appropriateness of the services on the IPE. If an amended IPE with a new vocational goal is being developed, the individual's case can remain in Status 18. If there is no agreement on a new goal and services are not continuing, the case should be moved to Status 24 until a new IPE is ready to be developed or the case is ready for closure.

A case note should be entered into the consumer’s ECF documenting the current circumstances, the plans for re-developing the IPE or the reason for moving the case to Status 24. Amended IPEs must be signed by the counselor, supervisor and the consumer prior to implementation of the changes.


The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)

The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is a written plan which describes your employment goal and the steps you will take to achieve your goal.

Your IPE will be developed on a form provided by NYSCB. 

Before your plan can begin, it needs to be reviewed and approved by your NYSCB counselor.

When is an IPE developed?

An IPE is developed after you are found to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

Who can help me develop an IPE?

There are several options for getting help developing your IPE. These are:

A professionally trained vocational rehabilitation counselor employed by NYSCB can help you to choose an employment goal and can assist you in developing all or part of your IPE. The NYSCB counselor will also assist you in completing the IPE form.

You can get help from any resource you can identify, such as:

a relative or friend,

an organization or agency that helps people with disabilities

staff at a one-stop employment center

a school teacher or a counselor

a representative of the Client Assistance Program

You can work on developing your IPE on your own

What information needs to be included in your IPE?

your employment goal - the job you plan to have

when you have finished your services the services you will need to reach your employment goal and how long it will take to finish services and reach your goal.

who will provide the services you need

the way progress toward your goal will be measured

the length of time it will take you to achieve your goal

the costs of the services and who will pay for them

your responsibilities in carrying out your plan

What services can NYSCB provide?

NYSCB will provide services that are required for you to reach your employment goal. NYSCB will always provide counseling and guidance as you develop your IPE and while you are receiving services. Most people also receive placement services (services designed to help you with your job search) either while they are receiving training or after their training is completed.

While NYSCB can pay for most services, there are some services that cannot be paid for if your income is above a specified level. Your NYSCB counselor will give you more information about this. If services that are based on your ability to pay are listed on your IPE, you will need to provide your NYSCB counselor with financial information in order to determine who will pay for those services.

Can my IPE change after it is approved by NYSCB?

You and your NYSCB counselor will review your plan each year. Your plan can also be revised at other times during the year. Any change must be approved by you and your NYSCB counselor. Please keep your counselor informed of any changes in your life that may affect your IPE.

What if NYSCB does not approve my IPE

It is possible that your NYSCB counselor and you may disagree about your IPE. If you have a disagreement that you cannot resolve with your counselor, the first step is to discuss the issue with the district office senior counselor. If that is not helpful, you can discuss the issue with the district manager and/or regional coordinator.

If after these discussions, your IPE is not approved, you can appeal the decision. There are several appeal options available. Ask your counselor for information on the different options and on how to request an appeal.

The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is an independent program that can help you as you try to resolve your disagreement with NYSCB. Contact information for your local CAP is listed in the Handbook for Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Deciding where I need help...

Employment Goal Yes No, I will need help

I have an idea of the type of job

I would like to find…………………. ____ ____ 

I have spoken with someone,

who is doing this job.……………. ____ ____

I have spoken with someone who

is visually impaired who is doing

this job……………………………. ____ ____

I know the job duties that are

usually required for this job.…. ____ ____ 

I know whether I will need

special services because of

my disability……………………. ____ ____

I know how jobs in this field are

typically filled…..……………… ____ ____

I know that the average salary for

this type of job will be adequate

for my needs…………………… ____ ____


I know when I would like to

begin working………………….. ____ ____


Steps to Reach My Employment Goal

Yes No,I will need help

I know what skills I have that will

help me succeed in this job…… ____ ____

I know the educational and

training requirements of the job… ____ ____

I know the steps I need to take

to reach my employment goal.. ____ ____

I have concerns in my life that

will need to be addressed before

I can go to work (for example,

transportation,child care, benefits)….____ ____


I know what services I will need

to reach my employment goal

(for example, counseling, job

training, education, daily living

skills training, travel training)… ____ ____

I know who will be able to

provide the services I need ….. ____ ____

I know about other benefits

I have or can apply for to

help pay for the services……... ____ ____