View History

5.4.1  Barrier Screening Tool When to Use the BST How to Use the BST Applicants/Participants with Limited English Proficiency


The W-2 BST is used to identify the potential presence or risk of a personal barrier to normal functioning in an employment setting.  The responses to the BST questions provided by each applicant or participant will assist the FEP in determining if the individual could benefit from a formal assessment by a professional.  The formal assessment results, in turn, will enable the FEP to make a more informed decision about the individual’s W-2 placement, the activities s/he is assigned to and any special services or work site accommodations that s/he may need.  

The BST is voluntary and applicants/participants may decline part or all of the BST.  When to Use the BST

The BST must be offered to W-2 applicants who have not previously completed the BST.  

The BST must be offered prior to the initial W-2 placement.  Completion of the BST is not, however, a condition W-2 eligibility.  Eligibility determination and placement must not be delayed pending completion of the BST.

CARES functionality allows a worker to create a completed or declined BST record for an applicant/participant anytime after the CARES Work Programs Referral date is captured. The ACEO/AIJR driver flow will allow workers to refer an individual to Work Programs prior to confirming W-2 eligibility or placing the individual in an employment position on CARES screen WPWW.   

If a participant who is placed in W-2 T or CSJ has not been offered the BST prior to the initial W-2 placement, the individual may not receive a payment reduction for failing to participate in any assigned activity until the BST is either completed or declined.  (See 5.5.7)

If the entire BST is initially declined the BST must be offered again at 6 month intervals until such time as the participant completes the BST or is no longer in a W-2 placement. An alert will be generated in CARES after 6 months has passed to remind the case worker that the BST must be offered again.    

Once an applicant or participant has completed the BST, there is no requirement to offer the BST again, unless:

Each time a participant is assigned to a different FEP, or transferred to a different W-2 agency, the new FEP must:

Completion of the BST does not replace the informal assessment process.  The FEP must continue to use the informal assessment process to assist in making decisions about W-2 placement and assignment to W-2 activities.

When offering the BST, the W-2 agency must make the individual aware of child care options that may be used while completing the BST.  If requested, the W-2 agency must assist with making the child care arrangements before completing the screening.  How to Use the BST

Agencies have the discretion to determine who in their agency will administer the BST.  Some agencies may assign each FEP to screen his/her own applicants/participants.  Other agencies may choose to have one staff person or contracted provider who specializes in this function.  All individuals designated to administer the BST must have FEP training (or have equivalent training as determined by the BWF Partner Training Section) and participate in the BST training.  

The designated screener must use the W-2 Barrier Screening Tool Agreement (form 13578) to help explain to the applicant/participant the purpose of the screening and the type of follow-up services that may result from completing it.  It is critical that the worker explain the BST using positive language that reinforces how the applicant/participant may benefit from completing the screening.  

The applicant/participant has the choice to complete or decline the BST.  If the individual chooses to complete the BST, s/he still has the option to decline any questions that s/he is not comfortable answering.

Applicants/participants must indicate at the bottom of the W-2 Barrier Screening Tool Agreement their decision to complete the screening process or decline to be screened.  The applicant/participant may decline to be screened without risk of sanction or case closure.  If the applicant/participant declines to complete the screening, the screener must document this information using the automated screening tool.  

There are four sections to the BST:

  1. Domestic Abuse Screen: This section of the screening helps the FEP and applicant/participant determine if a referral for a domestic abuse assessment and services are needed.  The Domestic Abuse Screen must be completed with all new applicants/participants who agree to complete the BST.

    If an applicant/participant voluntarily discloses that (s)he is or has been a victim of domestic abuse or is at further risk of domestic abuse, s/he is not required to be screened.  An applicant/participant must never be asked to complete the Domestic Abuse Screen while his or her partner is present.    

  2. Functional Screen: This section screens applicants/participants for their ability to function in a work setting, work training and daily living activities.  The Functional Screen must be completed with all new applicants/participants who agree to complete the BST.  Specific instructions are provided in the screening tool to help the FEP determine if a formal assessment is needed and whether an applicant/participant must complete Screen 2.

  3. Screen 2: This section screens applicants/participants to determine if they are at-risk for barriers that often go unidentified, including mental health issues, learning needs, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and alcohol or other drug abuse.  

    Completion of Screen 2 is only required when the Functional Screen indicates it is necessary.  Specific instructions are provided in Screen 2 to help determine if a referral for formal assessment is needed.

  4. Family Needs Screen:  The Family Needs questions assist the worker with gathering information about special needs of other family members in the household that may affect W-2 activities and the participation schedule the participant is assigned to.  The information gathered may also lead to referral for services by other community providers as determined by the worker.  Unlike the other sections of the BST, there are no instructions provided for the Family Needs Screen on follow-up actions steps.  Upon completing the Family Needs Screen, the FEP and the applicant/participant must discuss the results and determine if any follow-up action steps or changes to the participant’s EP are needed.

The Family Needs Screen contains:

It is not necessary to administer all required BST screens during one meeting. The designated screener has the discretion to schedule multiple meetings to complete the required BST screenings.  This is particularly important if the applicant/participant is uncomfortable or is having difficulty answering the questions.  The designated screener must determine whether it is appropriate to administer the BST when an applicant’s/participant’s children are present.  An applicant’s eligibility and placement determination must not be delayed pending completion of the BST.   Applicants/Participants with Limited English Proficiency

Agencies must make applicants/participants aware of the availability of qualified interpreters to assist in completing the BST for individuals who cannot speak, read, write, or understand the English language at a level that permits them to interact effectively with program service providers.  

Spanish and Hmong translation of the BST are available in a paper version online at  In some parts of these translated tools, the questions were modified from the English version to be culturally relevant.  Therefore, it is critical that when an interpreter or a bilingual FEP is administering the tool to a Hmong or Spanish speaking participant, s/he is reading the questions word-for-word from the translated tool.   



This page last updated in Release # 12-01
Release Date:  01/23/12
Effective Date:  01/23/12