WSR 01-14-064

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SERVICES FOR THE BLIND

[ Filed July 2, 2001, 1:03 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 01-03-131.

Title of Rule: Order of selection.

Purpose: In the event that the Department of Services for the Blind does not have sufficient vocational rehabilitation funds to serve all eligible participants, the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act requires that a system be established for giving "the most severely disabled" eligible participants priority for services. The proposed rules would establish the state's definition of "the most severely disabled," as well as priority categories, and would provide a description of how order of selection would be implemented.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Federal Regulatory Authority for Order of Selection Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Section 101 (a)(5). 34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 361 Sec. 361.36 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. Regulatory Authority for Information and Referral Services Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Section 101 (a)(20) Information and Referral services. 34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 361 Sec. 361.37 Information and referral services. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Title I - Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Part A - General Provisions, Section 100 - Declaration of Policy.

Statute Being Implemented: Federal Regulatory Authority for Order of Selection Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Section 101 (a)(5). 34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 361 Sec. 361.36 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. Regulatory Authority for Information and Referral Services Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Section 101 (a)(20) Information and Referral services. 34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 361 Sec. 361.37 Information and referral services. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Title I - Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Part A - General Provisions, Section 100 - Declaration of Policy.

Summary: In the event that the Department of Services for the Blind does not have sufficient vocational rehabilitation funds to serve all eligible participants, the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act requires that a system be established for giving "the most severely disabled" eligible participants priority for services. The proposed rules would establish the state's definition of "the most severely disabled," as well as priority categories, and would provide a description of how order of selection would be implemented.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Lou Oma Durand, 3411 South Alaska, Seattle, 98119, (260) 721-6435; Implementation and Enforcement: Bill Palmer, P.O. Box 40933, Olympia, 98504, (360) 586-6981.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Services for the Blind, governmental.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, see Statutory Authority and Statute Being Implemented above.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The purpose of an order of selection is to establish an equitable and organized system which, when resources are not sufficient to meet the demand for services, gives the first priority to those eligible VR participants who meet the definition of "most significantly disabled."

When the order of selection is in effect, eligible individuals will be assigned to one of three priority categories. Within each priority category, persons who are public safety officers disabled in the line of duty have priority over others in that category. The three priority categories are:

First priority: Participants with active IPEs.

Second priority: New eligible participants who meet the definition of "most significantly disabled."

Third priority: New eligible participants who do not meet the definition of "most significantly disabled."

Proposal does not change existing rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. No impact on small business is anticipated.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, applies to this rule adoption. Department of Services for the Blind complies with RCW 34.05.328.

Hearing Location: Lilac Blind Foundation, 1212 North Howard, Spokane, WA 99201, on Monday September 17, 2001, at 2-4 p.m.; and at the Department of Services for the Blind, 3411 South Alaska Street, Seattle, WA 98119-1631, on Wednesday, September 19, 2001, at 1-3 p.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Rebecca Jensen by September 4, 2001.

Submit Written Comments to: Rebecca Jensen, Department of Services for the Blind, P.O. Box 40933, Olympia, WA 98504, fax (360) 586-7627, by September 7, 2001.

Date of Intended Adoption: October 1, 2001.

July 2, 2001

Rebecca Jensen

Confidential Secretary

OTS-5004.2


NEW SECTION
WAC 67-25-460   What if the department of services for the blind (DSB) vocational rehabilitation (VR) program does not have sufficient resources to serve all eligible individuals?   (1) The purpose of an order of selection is to establish an equitable and organized system which, when resources are not sufficient to meet the demand for services, gives the first priority to those eligible VR participants who meet the definition of "most severely disabled," WAC 67-25-470(1).

(2) In the event that sufficient funds or other resources are not available to serve all VR eligible individuals, DSB will use a prioritized order, as established in subsection (3) of this section, for selection of individuals to develop and carry out an individualized plan for employments (IPE) supported by expenditure of VR funds.

(3) When the order of selection is in effect, eligible individuals will be assigned to one of two priority categories:

(a) First priority: New eligible participants who meet the definition of "most severely disabled."

(b) Second priority: New eligible participants who do not meet the definition of "most severely disabled."

(4) An eligible individual can develop and carry out an IPE based on:

(a) The priority of the category to which they are assigned, and whether or not that category is open for development of new IPEs.

(b) And, the order in which they applied for DSB services as indicated by the date of application.

(5) Individuals who are receiving services under an IPE at the time an order of selection is implemented will continue to receive services as planned. They are not subject to the order of selection and are not a category within that order.

(6) The only services to individuals in a closed order of selection category will be information and referral services. These individuals will not receive counseling and guidance, assessment and training, placement, or other VR services until their category is reopened and they come off the waiting list.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 67-25-470   How will DSB determine whether a person meets the definition of "most severely disabled"?   (1) Individuals who meet the definition of "most severely disabled" are: Individuals who have three or more functional limitations (mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) related to employment and require services over an extended period of time.

(2) A DSB vocational counselor will gather the information needed to determine whether an eligible participant meets the definition of "most severely disabled." If assessment services are to be purchased, the counselor will provide the participant with information about the providers available, so that the individual can make an informed choice.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 67-25-480   How will DSB implement an order of selection?   (1) The director of the department of services for the blind will decide when to implement an order of selection, if necessary, and will determine which priority categories will be open or closed for the development of new IPEs.

(2) Participants will be notified in writing of their category status when they are notified of their eligibility, as well as of the conditions pertaining to that category:

(a) Whether the category is open or closed.

(b) Their position on any existing waiting list.

(3) Participants will be placed in the highest priority category for which they are qualified. The date of application will be used whenever it is determined that a waiting list is required for a category.

(4) Participants will be notified of the right to appeal the category decision, and of their responsibility to notify the agency if their condition changes in a way that may affect their priority category placement.

(5) The order of selection will not affect the provision of services needed to determine eligibility WAC 67-25-015 through 67-25-110.

(6) Services being authorized or provided to any individual with an active IPE will not be disrupted as a result of the closing of a priority category.

(7) Comparable services and benefits will be applied, as appropriate, for participants with an IPE.

(8) Information and referral services will be provided to all eligible individuals affected by the closure of their priority category.

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Washington State Code Reviser's Office