Division Policy 8.07


Participation of Individuals in Cost of Services Based on Financial Need


August 6, 2010


January 18, 2013


This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed.


Establish a guideline for determining the extent of an individual’s participation in the costs of vocational rehabilitation.


34 CFR 361.54 (b) (3) (ii)


While there are no federal regulations requiring an economic needs test in order to continue serving all eligible individuals in the State, the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) requires a financial needs test before providing the following service:

  1. Maintenance for additional costs incurred in excess of normal living expenses while participating in an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational needs, or while receiving services under an individualized plan for employment. Normal living expenses are defined as rent/mortgage, utilities such as power, water and gas; phone and food.  Example of expenses that would be considered in excess of normal living expenses would be, but are not limited too; monthly internet service if required for DBS sponsored training, clothing for job interviews/job, short-term shelter that is required in order for an individual to participate in assessment activities or vocational training at a site that is not within commuting distance of an individuals home etc. Please refer to the Maintenance Policy, 6.12 for further information.

**Transportation is a service provided to all clients regardless of economic need as per #7 below.

Note: DBS provides this service without regard to financial need for individuals who have been determined eligible for Social Security benefits (SSI Disabled, SSI Blind, SSDI) regardless of any other income.    

According to 34 CFR 361.54 (b) (3) (ii), under the VR program a Designated State Unit may not apply a  financial needs test, or require the financial participation of the individual, as part of furnishing any VR service if the individual has been determined eligible for SSI or SSDI.

The following income guidelines must be applied when determining eligibility for maintenance services:

Income Guidelines
# of Persons in Family Available Monthly Income
1 $917
2 $1,451
3 $1,828
4 $2,206
5 $2,583
6 $2,961
7 $3,338
8 $3,716

Duration of Services

The duration of diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments may not exceed one year unless the District Administrator grants an exception. Requests for exceptions must be documented in the AWARE case service record and include:

  1. Documentation of all efforts to secure comparable benefits;
  2. A written strategy to resolve the issue of on-going medical support (post –DBS involvement); and
  3. The estimated length of extended services.

The following services should be provided without regard to economic need:

  1. Assessment for determining eligibility;
  2. Assessment for determining vocational rehabilitation needs, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;
  3. Vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice;
  4. Referral and other services necessary to help applicants and eligible individuals secure needed services from other agencies if such services are not available in the vocational rehabilitation program;
  5. Vocational and other training services, including personal and vocational adjustment training, except that no training or training services in an institution of higher education (universities, colleges, community or junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, or hospital schools of nursing) may be paid for unless maximum efforts have been made by DBS and the individual to secure grant assistance in whole or in part from other sources to pay for that training;
  6. Books, tools, and other training materials;
  7. Transportation in connection with the rendering of any vocational rehabilitation service;
  8. Technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans, and otherwise provide resources. This service can be provided to the extent such resources are authorized to be provided through the workforce investment system to eligible individuals who are pursuing self-employment, telecommuting or establishing a small business operation as an employment outcome;
  9. Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, initial stocks and supplies;
  10. Interpreter services for individuals who are deaf, and tactile interpreting services for individuals who are deaf-blind;
  11. Reader services, rehabilitation teaching services, and orientation and mobility services, including adequate training in the use of public transportation;
  12. Rehabilitation technology devices and services including rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology devices (including computer systems), assistive technology services, telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices;
  13. Job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up and follow-along services;
  14. Supported employment services;
  15. On-the-job or other related personal assistance services provided while an individual is receiving other Vocational Rehabilitation services;
  16. Post-employment services necessary to assist an individual with a disability to retain, regain, or advance in employment;
  17. Transition services for students with disabilities, that facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the Individualized Plan for Employment;
  18. Diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments including:
    1. Corrective surgery or therapeutic treatment necessary to correct or substantially modify a physical or mental condition that constitutes a substantial impediment to employment, but is of such a nature that such correction or modification may reasonably be expected to eliminate or reduce such impediment to employment within a reasonable length of time;
    2. Necessary hospitalization in connection with surgery or treatment;
    3. Prosthetic and orthotic devices;
    4. Eyeglasses and visual services as prescribed by qualified personnel who meet state licensure laws and who are selected by the individual;
    5. Special services (including transplantation and dialysis), artificial kidneys, and supplies necessary for the treatment of individuals with end-stage renal disease; and
    6. Diagnosis and treatment for mental and emotional disorders by qualified personnel who meet State licensure laws.
  19. Services to family members of an applicant or eligible individual if necessary to enable the applicant or eligible individual to achieve an employment outcome;

Signed by Joyce Hildreth, DBS Director, on March 14, 2011.

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