§ 411.180. What is timely progress toward self-supporting employment?

(a) General. We consider you to be making timely progress toward self-supporting employment when you show progress as described below toward the ability to work at levels which will reduce your dependence on Social Security disability benefits or SSI benefits. We will also consider you to be making timely progress when you obtain a high school diploma or GED certificate in the first 12-month progress certification period, or if you show progress as described below toward obtaining an educational degree or certificate or vocational or technical training that will enhance your ability to return to work. In addition, if you complete a certain percentage of the work requirement and a certain percentage of the post-secondary education requirement or vocational or technical training requirement in the applicable progress certification period under the guidelines below, and the sum of the two percentages equals 100 or more, we will consider you to have met the timely progress requirements for purposes of the progress review conducted at the end of the 12-month progress certification period. For example, if you complete 33.3 percent of the work requirement during the first 12-month progress certification period as described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section (i.e., one month of work with earnings equal to or greater than the amount representing a trial work service month), and complete 66.7 percent of the requisite credit hours in an educational program during this period as described in paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section (i.e., 40 percent of the post-secondary credit hours that are considered to represent an academic year of full-time study), we will consider you to have met the timely progress requirements for purposes of the progress review conducted at the end of the first 12-month progress certification period. In addition, we will apply the variance tolerance described in § 411.166(h) in determining whether you have met the requirements in paragraph (c)(1)(iii), (iv) or (v), paragraph (c)(2)(ii), (iii) or (iv), paragraph (c)(3)(iii) or (v), paragraph (c)(4)(ii) or (iii), or paragraph (c)(5)(ii) or (iii) of this section.

(b) 12-month progress certification periods. The first 12-month progress certification period begins with the month following the month in which you first assigned your ticket, or with the month beginning after the date described in § 411.170(b) if you have a ticket that would otherwise be available for assignment and are receiving VR services under an IPE from a State VR agency which has chosen the VR cost reimbursement option. Any subsequent 12-month progress certification period will begin with the month following the end of the previous 12-month progress certification period. In computing any 12-month progress certification period, we do not count any month during which—

(1) Your ticket is not assigned to an EN or State VR agency acting as an EN and is not in VR cost reimbursement status (as described in § 411.166(j)); or

(2) Your ticket is in inactive status (see § 411.192).

(c) Guidelines. We will determine if you are making timely progress toward self-supporting employment by using the following guidelines:

(1) During the first 12-month progress certification period, you must be making timely progress as follows:

(i) You must have worked in at least three months within this 12-month period and have earnings in each of those three months that are equal to or greater than the amount representing a trial work service month (see § 404.1592(b) of this chapter); or

(ii) You must have obtained a high school diploma or GED certificate within this 12-month period; or

(iii) You must have been enrolled in a two- or four-year degree or certification program at an educational institution and have completed 60 percent of the post-secondary credit hours that are considered to represent an academic year of full-time study in the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(iv) You must have been enrolled in a vocational or technical training program at an educational institution consisting of a technical, trade or vocational school and have completed 60 percent of the course requirements that are considered to represent a year of full-time study in the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(v) You must have completed a percentage of the required number of months of work and earnings described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section and a percentage of the specified amount of post-secondary credit hours or course requirements required under paragraph (c)(1)(iii) or (iv) of this section within this 12-month period so that the sum of the two percentages equals 100 or more.

(2) During the second 12-month progress certification period, at the conclusion of 24 months of ticket use, you must be making timely progress as follows:

(i) You must have worked in at least six months within this 12-month period and have earnings in each of those six months that are equal to or greater than the amount representing a trial work service month (see § 404.1592(b) of this chapter); or

(ii) You must have been enrolled in a two- or four-year degree or certification program at an educational institution and have completed an additional 75 percent of the post-secondary credit hours that are considered to represent an academic year of full-time study in the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(iii) You must have been enrolled in a vocational or technical training program at an educational institution consisting of a technical, trade or vocational school and have completed an additional 75 percent of the course requirements that are considered to represent a year of full-time study in the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(iv) You must have completed a percentage of the required number of months of work and earnings described in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section and a percentage of the specified amount of post-secondary credit hours or course requirements required under paragraph (c)(2)(ii) or (iii) of this section within this 12-month period so that the sum of the two percentages equals 100 or more.

(3) During the third 12-month progress certification period, at the conclusion of 36 months of ticket use, you must be making timely progress as follows:

(i) You must have worked in at least nine months within this 12-month period and have gross earnings from employment (or net earnings from self-employment as defined in § 404.1080 of this chapter) in each of those nine months that are more than the SGA threshold amount specified in § 404.1574(b)(2) of this chapter; or

(ii) You must have completed the course work and earned a degree or certificate from a two-year degree or certification program at an educational institution by the end of this 12-month period; or

(iii) You must have been enrolled in a four-year degree or certification program at an educational institution and completed additional post-secondary credit hours that are considered to represent an academic year of full-time study in the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(iv) You must have been enrolled in a vocational or technical training program at an educational institution consisting of a technical, trade or vocational school and have completed the course requirements of the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(v) You must have completed a percentage of the required number of months of work and earnings described in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section and a percentage of the specified amount of post-secondary credit hours required under paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section within this 12-month period so that the sum of the two percentages equals 100 or more.

(4) During the fourth 12-month progress certification period, at the conclusion of 48 months of ticket use, you must be making timely progress as follows:

(i) You must have worked in at least nine months within this 12-month period and have gross earnings from employment (or net earnings from self-employment as defined in § 404.1080 of this chapter) in each of those nine months that are more than the SGA threshold amount specified in § 404.1574(b)(2) of this chapter; or

(ii) You must have been enrolled in a four-year degree or certification program at an educational institution and completed additional post-secondary credit hours that are considered to represent an academic year of full-time study in the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(iii) You must have completed a percentage of the required number of months of work and earnings described in paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section and a percentage of the specified amount of post-secondary credit hours required under paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section within this 12-month period so that the sum of the two percentages equals 100 or more.

(5) During the fifth 12-month progress certification period, at the conclusion of 60 months of ticket use, you must be making timely progress as follows:

(i) You must have worked in at least six months within this 12-month period and have earnings in each of those six months that preclude payment of Social Security disability benefits and Federal SSI cash benefits; or

(ii) You must have been enrolled in a four-year degree or certification program at an educational institution and either completed additional post-secondary credit hours that are considered to represent an academic year of full-time study in the program or completed the course work and earned a degree or certificate from the program by the end of this 12-month period; or

(iii) You must have completed a percentage of the required number of months of work and earnings described in paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section and a percentage of the specified amount of post-secondary credit hours required under paragraph (c)(5)(ii) of this section within this 12-month period so that the sum of the two percentages equals 100 or more.

(6) During the sixth 12-month progress certification period, at the conclusion of 72 months of ticket use, you must be making timely progress as follows:

(i) You must have worked in at least six months within this 12-month period and have earnings in each of those six months that preclude payment of Social Security disability benefits and Federal SSI cash benefits; or

(ii) You must have completed the course work and earned a degree or certificate from a four-year degree or certification program at an educational institution by the end of this 12-month period.

(7) During all subsequent 12-month progress certification periods, you must have worked in at least six months within the 12-month period and have earnings in each of those six months that preclude payment of Social Security disability benefits and Federal SSI cash benefits.

[73 FR 29341, May 20, 2008]