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Disability Program Navigator (DPN)

This topic explains what a Disability Program Navigator (DPN) is, and what they do for people with disabilities and others within a One-Stop Career Center. You may read through the topic or jump to specific sections by using the links to sections of this topic below.

Links to Sections of this topic:

           General

           Overview

           Disability Program Navigator Functions

           Disability Program Navigator Duties - General

           Disability Program Navigator Duties - Specific

o                        Outreach Activities - Disability Program Navigator

o                        Accessibility Issues - Disability Program Navigator

o                        Services Coordination - Disability Program Navigator

 

General

In October 2002 the Department of Labor (DOL) and Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a partnership to establish and evaluate a new Disability Program Navigator (DPN) or "Navigator" position within DOL's One-Stop Career Centers. The "Navigator" will conduct outreach to the disability community and organizations that serve them, provide expertise and information on SSA work incentives and employment support programs, provide assistance on navigating through the variety of programs and services that impact their employment (e.g., transportation, housing, health care, etc.) and serve as a resource to other One-Stop Center staff. Direct services to customers with disabilities, in particular, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability and blindness beneficiaries, are also included in the position description, especially on Social Security's employment support programs including Ticket to Work.

Overview

           SSA and DOL signed an Interagency Agreement in October 2002 to jointly fund, establish and evaluate the DPN.

           SSA and DOL will each provide $3 million in FY 2003 and $6 million in FY 2004.

           80-100 DPN positions will be established in FY 2003, with an additional 80-100 positions to be added in FY 2004.

           The first DPN's will be placed in One-Stop Centers in the 13 Phase 1 Ticket states: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

           Navigator demonstration grants will be established with the agreement of the state workforce agency administration and state Workforce Investment Board.

           SSA will train or contract to train the DPN's on SSA employment support programs and DOL will train or contract to train on One-Stop partner funded programs.

           SSA and DOL will work together to establish a comprehensive evaluation of the DPN.

Disability Program Navigator Functions

           Conduct outreach and provide direct services to people with disabilities, including SSA disability beneficiaries, who visit One-Stop Career Centers.

           Act as office expert on programs and services that impact the employment or employability of people with disabilities such as health care options, transportation and housing supports.

           Provide training to One-Stop Center personnel on issues and programs related to people with disabilities such as information on assistive technologies and accommodations.

           Assist people with disabilities, including SSA beneficiaries, prepare for, find, or retain employment by collaborating with mandated and non-mandated WIA partners and agencies.

           Act as the office expert and coordinator on SSA work incentives, including Ticket to Work, linkages to SSA field offices, SSA Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach (BPAO) counselors, and Employment Networks.

           Assist beneficiaries in understanding the effects of earnings on SSA and other program benefits.

Disability Program Navigator Duties General

           Serves as an expert on workforce development issues and policies impacting persons with disabilities who are seeking employment, skill development, job retention assistance, or career advancement through the One-Stop Career Center system (including Individual Training Accounts);

           Serves as a resource to the workforce investment community within their service area to ensure the availability of comprehensive knowledge on Federal, State, local and private programs that impact the ability of persons with disabilities to enter and remain in the workforce;

           Facilitates universal access to the One-Stop system for persons with disabilities;

           Serves as a One-Stop Career Center resource on the SSA's work incentives and other employment support programs, including the Ticket to Work provisions and programs, Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach organizations (BPAOs), Protection and Advocacy systems (P&As), Employment Networks (ENs), (including State Vocational Rehabilitation [VR] Agencies), etc.;

           Provides information on the following programs that support successful entry or re-entry into the workforce:

o                   TANF programs and services for people with disabilities,

o                   State and local mental health and developmental disability programs and providers,

o                   SSA employment support programs, including the Ticket to Work,

o                   Medicaid and Medicare provisions, and

o                   Other State and/or local services designed to support employment and transition from public benefits to careers.

Disability Program Navigator Duties Specific

The duties and responsibilities of the Navigator may be adjusted in the local workforce investment area in order to meet the needs of the local area but each of the following duties and responsibilities must be provided:

A.          Disability Program Navigator Outreach Activities:

The Disability Program Navigator conducts outreach to the disability community, as well as to local and regional disability advocacy organizations on:

     Resources available through the One-Stop Career Center system and facilitates their access to these services. This outreach may include but is not limited to:

o    Formation of, and/or participation in, a disability advisory group as an active partner on access and services provided through the workforce investment system;

o    Involvement of, and coordination with, local Independent Living Centers and community service providers working with persons with disabilities;

o    Provision of information and training on One-Stop Career Center programs and services and SSA employment support programs to public and private mental health and developmental disability organizations in the community and regional area, and

o    Development of linkages that foster usage and participation in: One Stop Career Center programs and services and SSA's employment support programs and related organizations (e.g., SSA Field Offices (FO), BPAOs, P&As, ENs, MAXIMUS, etc.).

o    Provision of information and training on One-Stop Career Center services and SSA's employment support programs to TANF agencies, supported housing, alcohol and drug recovery programs, and other community organizations that serve many individuals with disabilities, and development of linkages that foster usage and participation in One-Stop Career Center programs and services and SSA employment support programs and services (including SSA FOs, BPAOs, P&As, ENs, MAXIMUS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)

o    Provision of information and training to employers to promote the hiring of people with disabilities, including facilitating and/or participating in implementation of job fairs; knowledge sharing and implementation of applicable accommodations; and coordination of outreach activities with Disability Business and Technical Assistance Centers and others to the business community.

B.          Accessibility Issues Disability Program Navigator

The Navigator:

     Assesses, on an ongoing basis, One-Stop Career Center facilities, services, programs and equipment to ensure these are accessible to people with disabilities;

     Works with designated Equal Employment Opportunity officer(s), the Local Workforce Investment Board and the One-Stop Operator to ensure that One-Stop Career Center facilities, services, programs and equipment are accessible to people with disabilities, including ensuring the availability of publications and materials in alternate formats; and

     Is an expert in and provides expert information on state of the art rehabilitation technology and local or regional resources that facilitate their application in the One-Stop Center(s) and employer workplace to accommodate diverse functional disabilities.

The Navigator Trains the One-Stop Career Center Operator and Staff on:

     Disability etiquette; facility, communication and program accessibility requirements;

     Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 (Part 32) of the Rehabilitation Act;

     WIA section 188 (Part 37) definitions and requirements; assessment tools and their applicability. NOTE: Training will include:

o    ADA definition of individual with a disability which is required for use in registration and record-keeping for WIA reporting purposes,

o    Applicability and Department of Labor position on disclosure and non-disclosure of disability in the context of WIA services as well as applicability in the context of job referral and employer interviews,

o    Providing a welcoming environment for people with disabilities through development of competence and familiarity of issues affecting persons with disabilities throughout the local workforce investment system.

The Disability Program Navigator is knowledgeable about complaint procedures established under the:

     Nondiscrimination provisions of WIA section 188;

     Complaint provisions of SSA's Ticket to Work Programs (i.e., P&As); and

     Will provide information on complaint procedures when applicable and appropriately refer people with disabilities.

C.          Disability Program Navigator Services Coordination:

The Disability Program Navigator has expertise in and knowledge of a broad range of Federal, State, local and private work incentive and other employment support programs. The Navigator will provide service and information to persons with disabilities, including SSI and SSDI beneficiaries, on how to enter, re-enter, or retain unsubsidized, competitive employment. The Navigator will also provide information on these resources to other staff and will work directly with people with disabilities to access, facilitate, and "navigate" the complex provisions under various programs, including SSA's employment support programs, that impact their ability to enter, re-enter or retain employment. Navigators' role will be to develop comparable expertise with other One-Stop Career Center staff in order to deliver a comprehensive, seamless delivery of services and access to programs that will meet the needs of persons with disabilities in an effective manner. Navigators will network and partner with other agencies and organizations (e.g., SSA FOs, BPAOs, P&As, ENs) to obtain correct information or properly refer individuals with disabilities for additional information and services to assist them transition to careers or maintain current employment.

The Navigator will serve as a resource person with expertise in the following areas to provide detailed information to staff and customers. (The list below is not all inclusive.)

     SSA's work incentives, including the Ticket to Work provisions and programs (e.g., BPAOs, ENs [including State VR agencies], P&As, etc.);

     Referral for more in-depth information advice affecting SSI and SSDI beneficiaries (e.g., to BPAOs for detailed benefits counseling on how work and earnings will affect Social Security benefits, based on disability);

     Broad-based knowledge about SSA's Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) and other SSA employment support programs under Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security Act; knowledge about how to obtain additional information about PASS from SSA's PASS Cadre Specialists; and coordination with SSA PASS Cadre and FO staff to facilitate the use of PASS's with SSI beneficiaries;

     Broad-based knowledge of Medicaid and Medicare provisions, including the different options for "buy-in" that maybe available to certain individuals in the State (e.g., SSI and/or SSDI beneficiaries, TANF recipients or individuals who may be employed and eligible for these health benefits); and coordination with SSA FOs and the Human Health Services Administration's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS);

     Coordination and referral of One-Stop Career Center customers to applicable agencies;

     In-depth knowledge of WIA Title I core, intensive and training processes available to customers of the One-Stop Career Center system, including registration procedures, applicability of skill assessment and other tools that may assist individuals with disabilities identify aptitudes and abilities, and development of Individual Employment Plans;

     In-depth knowledge of WIA Title I adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs, including eligibility and other requirements related to participation in training programs;

     In-depth knowledge of Section 504 and Section 188 and the DOL's implementing non-discrimination regulations;

     Broad-based knowledge of vocational rehabilitation agency services provided through the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, including coordination with VR staff on the provision of services and availability of programs and referral processes applicable to individuals with disabilities;

     Broad-based knowledge of functional assessment tools available, through VR, and adult literacy programs that may assist in identifying barriers to employment; e.g., such as undiscovered learning disabilities; and

     Coordination with applicable agencies and staff to access these resources;

     Broad-based knowledge of training protocols and designs that may assist skill development and meet training needs of people with disabilities, including knowledge of employment suited to certain individuals with disabilities; e.g., self-employment and entrepreneurialism, on-the-job training, job carving and individualized job development, and transition from cloistered employment settings to integrated employment settings with unsubsidized, self-sustaining wages.

     Broad-based knowledge of transportation availability and limitations that may affect access to training and employment for people with disabilities (including diverse functional disabilities); alternative transportation that may be available or means to develop alternative transportation to eliminate or reduce these barriers to transportation;

     Broad-based knowledge of housing availability and limitations (e.g., supported housing requirements) affecting persons with disabilities and the proper methods to coordinate and refer individuals to appropriate sources for adequate housing in order for them to be able to pursue employment.

     Broad-based knowledge of TANF and welfare-to-work requirements affecting TANF recipients with disabilities and the resources available that work with and assist individuals with disabilities to obtain and retain long-term, unsubsidized employment;

     Broad-based knowledge of states' EO WIA Methods of Administration as adapted by the Governor and approved by DOL's CRC Director.

The Disability Program Navigator will ensure that information and publications on the Ticket to Work, PASS and other SSA employment support programs, Medicaid and Medicare, TANF, public housing, transportation and other resources that impact persons with disabilities are readily available within the comprehensive One-Stop Center. (NOTE: Information should be publicly displayed to the extent feasible and also to the extent possible, material should be available in alternate formats.)

Additional Information

NOTE: In October 2002 the Social Security Administration and the Department of Labor jointly announced their intention to establish and evaluate the position of Disability Program Navigator. Information contained in this topic is based on preliminary documents from these two agencies, written before any Navigators were hired or trained. It is possible that the program will change somewhat from these early descriptions once the Navigators are hired, trained, and gain experience in the One Stop Centers.

See also:

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program

Benefits Planning, Assistance, and Outreach Program

Work Incentive Liaison (WIL)

Area Work Incentives Coordinator (AWIC)

PASS Cadre

One-Stop Centers - Overview

Individual Training Account (ITA)

NOTE: In October 2002 the Social Security Administration and the Department of Labor jointly announced their intention to establish and evaluate the position of Disability Program Navigator. Information contained in this topic is based on preliminary documents from these two agencies, written before any Navigators were hired or trained. It is possible that the program will change somewhat from these early descriptions once the Navigators are hired, trained, and gain experience in the One Stop Centers.


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