​Chapter 8.06 Contents:

[REVISED: 11/22/16]

  1. Home modification definition.
    Home modification means architectural changes and permanent installation of equipment that remove or reduce the impediment to employment, including inaccessible home entrance and primary living quarters.

  2. Primary living quarters definition.
    Primary living quarters means one bathroom, client bedroom, and an eating area.  If the client lives alone, primary living quarters may also include the kitchen and laundry areas.  It does not include other areas where inaccessibility is a problem but not an impediment to employment, such as basement without laundry area, attic, family room or living room.

  3. Case status.
    The counselor may only provide home modification under a Trial Work Experiences Plan, Extended Evaluation Plan, or Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).  Consultation with the supervisor is strongly recommended when authorizing home modification before Service status. The counselor shall not (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5(c)(42)) provide home modification under a Post Employment Services (PES) Plan because it is a complex and comprehensive service.

  4. Home Modification Assessment.
    Before the counselor includes home modification on the service plan, the case record shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42 (d) (1) and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45 (b) (1) and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.48 (a)) document all requirements in Chapter 6.06, HOME MOD ASSESSMENT, Policy 1 for RS-33 Home Modification Assessment tool, Chapter 6.06, HOME MOD ASSESSMENT, Policy 2 for home modification assessment report, and Chapter 6.06, HOME MOD ASSESSMENT, Policy 3 for local building codes.  DRS staff shall not authorize home modifications that the counselor determines are not essential to removing the disability impediment to employment (such as a leaky roof).

  5. Once a lifetime.
    DRS shall pay for home modification only once a lifetime per client, even if the client is eligible for VR services more than once, moves to another home, moves from rental property to a purchased home, etc. The counselor may make an exception supported by documentation that after the initial modification a dramatic change in the disabling condition adversely affects client ability to obtain or retain employment, and client requires home modification rather than lower cost solutions to remove the disability impediment to employment.

  6. Allowable architectural changes to home.
    The counselor may authorize architectural changes, such as, but not limited to, adding ramps and other structures to enter or exit the home or move about the primary living quarters; widening doorways; retrofitting a bathroom; modifying the client bedroom; lowering a counter top; and other modifications to an eating area and/or the kitchen. For a home under construction, the counselor may authorize non-architectural modifications (such as adding shower grab bars) recommended in the Home Modification Assessment Report, but DRS staff shall not authorize architectural modifications. DRS staff shall not authorize home additions (new permanent structures, rooms, or units) unless approved by the DRS rehabilitation engineer as the most cost-effective solution to removing a disability impediment to employment.  For example, the rehabilitation engineer may recommend the addition of an accessible bathroom when there is no bathroom in the home, or the addition is more cost effective to DRS than modifying/retrofitting a current bathroom.

  7. Allowable equipment purchases for home.
    The counselor may authorize installation or modification of the following equipment when integral to the home modification project: telephones; and systems for plumbing, electrical, ventilation, heating, and cooling. Heating and cooling systems as the home modification itself shall be limited to the primary living quarters and shall require documentation that the current system is an impediment to employment and written documentation from a doctor that the need is medically necessary due to client disability. Otherwise, these systems are (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5(c)(35)) normal homeowner expenses and homeowner financial responsibility, including clients exempt from consumer financial participation and regardless of the Client Financial Statement (RS-13) results.

  8. Building code requirements.
    See Chapter 6.06, HOME MOD ASSESSMENT, Policy 3.

  9. Homeowner insurance.
    Regardless of the Client Financial Statement (RS-13) results and client exemption from consumer financial participation, (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5(c)(35)) the homeowner, not DRS, is responsible for adequately insuring the home and modification and paying the insurance premiums.

  10. Rental property modification.
    The counselor may authorize modification to rental property where the client resides. Rental property is subject to the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988, not the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and does not require the landlord to make the property or home accessible.

  11. Homemaker cases documentation.
    For cases with employment goal or employment outcome of homemaker, the counselor shall document client homemaking skills before and after home modification and evidence (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.56) that the home modification and at least one other service on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) substantially contributed to achieving the homemaker outcome.

  12. Decor.
    The counselor shall not (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5(c)(35)) authorize costs to decorate the home or modification, including clients exempt from consumer financial participation and regardless of the Client Financial Statement (RS-13 form) results. This is a normal homeownership expense and the financial responsibility of the homeowner.

  13. Qualified vendors and contractor selection.
    See Policy 2 of this chapter.

  14. Home Modification procedures.
    See Policy 1: Section A2 of this chapter.  For pre-bid conference, See Policy 3 of this chapter.

  15. Change order.
    The counselor may authorize a change order only when needed to correct DRS work specifications.

  16. Retrofitting.
    The counselor may authorize retrofitting of the DRS modification only when i) needed because the vendor followed DRS work specifications that were incorrect (such as when modifications do not meet building code), or ii) DRS accepts the modifications at inspection and later requests a change order. All other retrofitting and work necessary to meet DRS Scope of Work specification is at the expense of the building permit holder and is subject to additional DRS inspection.

  17. Repair.
    See Chapter 8.08, REPAIRS, Policy 1.

  18. Client training on use and care.
    The counselor may (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5 (c)(8) authorize training the client or homeowner needs to use or maintain the home modification.  The client or homeowner shall successfully complete authorized training.

  19. Ownership.
    DARS shall not retain title or ownership of the home modification, even if DRS is paying part or all of the cost.

  20. Restoration to original state.
    DARS staff shall not authorize services to restore the modified home to the previous decor, state, or condition, even if the client moves or no longer needs the modification. The client is responsible for restoring it back to its original state if necessary.

  21. Comparable benefits.
    Home modification, service maintenance contract, and extended warranty contract shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.53) be exempt from a search for comparable benefits.

  22. Fee-based.

    1. Home modification, service maintenance contract, and extended warranty contract shall (per Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54) be subject to consumer financial participation policy and Client Financial Statement (RS-13 form) results (see Chapter 14.3 FINANCIAL, Policy 1), including when provided under Trial Work Experiences Plan or Extended Evaluation Plan. 
       
    1. Change order or retrofitting costs due to incorrect DRS Scope of Work specifications are exempt from the RS-13 results.

  23. Encumbering funds.
    Signed Scope of Work and Homeowner Agreement for Residential Modifications (RS-34 form) indicate client and homeowner commitment to proceed, and shall not financially obligate DRS to pay part or all of the modification cost.  Home modification shall be subject to DRS established purchasing policies and procedures (see Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 1).   FOr S/I Code and fee schedule, see DARS Servcies Reference Manual, Other services, Home Mod category.

  24. Lowest cost.
    For policies on lowest cost, add-ons, and upgrades, see Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 6.

  25. Client debts.
    For policy on consumer debts, mechanics liens on modifications, etc. see Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 8.
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[REVISED: 3/1/14]

 

  1. Before the counselor includes home modification on the Trial Work Experiences Plan, Extended Evaluation Plan, or Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE):
     
    1. Client shall provide written proof the home is insured and the counselor shall keep a copy in the case record, and 
       
    1. Client and staff shall select a qualified vendor and follow the vendor selection procedure.  See Policy 2: Section A1 of this chapter.
       
  1. Once the counselor authorizes home modification:
     
    1. Counselor shall meet in the home with the contractor, client, and identified homeowners.  The counselor may ask the DRS rehabilitation engineer to attend.  All parties agree to the work to be done, the work timetable, and who pays for what, and homeowner and contractor sign the construction contract.  The counselor shall maintain a copy of the signed construction contract in the case record.  By law, there is a three day period in which the homeowner can cancel the construction contract.  The counselor, homeowners, client, and DRS rehabilitation engineer shall have a copy of the contractor work timetable, and
       
    1. If the contract falls through, the client shall immediately notify the counselor, who shall immediately cancel the authorization, and
       
    1. Contractor obtains the building permit; however, the homeowner obtains it when the labor is being provided free of charge.  Under no circumstances shall the building permit be issued to DARS or Commonwealth of Virginia, and
       
    1. DRS rehabilitation engineer may conduct periodic in-progress inspections for DRS.  The client, counselor, and homeowners may attend at their discretion after consulting the rehabilitation engineer, and
       
    1. Client shall participate in formal or informal (such as by telephone) follow-up activities to ensure the home modification is meeting client VR needs, and
       
    1. Building permit holder shall arrange the necessary building inspections, and 
       
    1. Building permit holder shall provide a copy of the inspection or certificate of occupancy signed by the building inspector to the counselor, who maintains it in the case record and forwards a copy to the DRS rehabilitation engineer to review.

       
  1. Once the building inspector passes the work:
     
    1. DRS rehabilitation engineer shall conduct the DRS final inspection to ensure the home modifications meet the DRS-approved work specifications and contractual obligations and any installed equipment is in good working order.  The client, counselor, and homeowners may attend at their discretion after consulting the DRS rehabilitation engineer.  If the work fails, the DRS rehabilitation engineer shall give the contractor directions and a timetable,
       
    1. When the work passes DRS final inspection, the DRS rehabilitation engineer shall notify the counselor in writing,
       
    1. DRS rehabilitation engineer shall document client satisfaction, modification effectiveness, and contractor quality, and 
       
    1. Counselor shall request vendor payment upon receipt of: i) signed proof of inspections or certificate of occupancy, and ii) written notice the work passed final DRS rehabilitation engineer inspection, and iii) accurate contractor invoice.

       
  1. If the modification has increased the home value to require additional insurance, the client shall provide written proof of adequate insurance and the counselor shall keep a copy in the case record.

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[Revised: 3/1/14]

 

  1. Qualified vendor.

    1. When the cost is $1,000 or more and involves construction, removal, repair, improvement or equipment installation of any building, the contractor, except non-profit agencies that provide free labor (such as Habitat for Humanity), must possess the appropriate license from the State Board of Contractors (per § 54.1-1100 of the Code of Virginia), which is subject to change:
       

    Contractor License B ($10,000 — $119,999)

    Contractor License A ($120,000 or more)

    Contractor License C ($1,000 — $9,999)

     

    1. When the building permit stipulates that a Master’s Card is required to perform the work (such as heating, plumbing, air conditioning, electrical, and ventilation systems), then the workers must be supervised by a person issued a Master’s Card.
       
    2. When the labor is provided free of charge by a non-profit organization (such as Habitat for Humanity): i) the counselor should consult the DRS rehabilitation engineer to ensure the work conforms to the standards, ii) the homeowner must sign and date a statement for DRS acknowledging liability for correcting any building code violations, which the counselor shall maintain in the case record, and iii) the building permit must be applied by and issued to the homeowner, not the organization or DARS or Commonwealth of Virginia.
       
    3. For additional vendor requirements, see Chapter 14.4, VENDORS, Policy 2

 

 

  1. Vendor shall be selected in this manner:

    1. When considering complex modifications or weighing different modification alternatives, the DRS rehabilitation engineer may require a pre-bid conference (See Policy 3 of this chapter). 
       
    1. The counselor, in consultation with the client, shall obtain from a licensed contractor a price quote on the Scope of Work.  If the price quote exceeds counselor authority in Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 3 the counselor shall obtain management pre-approval.  If multiple price quotes are required in Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 1, the counselor shall contact the DRS rehabilitation engineer, who shall solicit the additional price quotes.
       
    1. DRS rehabilitation engineer shall review the price quote(s), references, and construction contract and shall offer any recommendations to the counselor. 
       
    1. Counselor shall: A) Notify the selected contractor, B) Verify or establish the contractor in the DRS approved vendor file, C) Amend the Plan to add home modification and any client or homeowner training, D) Authorize home modification, and E) Inform the DRS rehabilitation engineer.
       
    1. DRS rehabilitation engineer shall notify the bidders not selected.



                 
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[Revised: 3/1/14]

  1. When considering complex home modifications or weighing different modification alternatives, the DRS rehabilitation engineer may require a pre-bid conference to ensure all parties have a clear understanding of the exact services needed.

  2. The pre-bid conference is usually held at the home to be modified.

  3. The counselor shall coordinate the date for the pre-bid conference with the homeowners (mandatory participants), client, DRS rehabilitation engineer who should attend to answer Scope of Work questions and approve any suggested changes, and occupational therapist if OT is appropriate.

  4. The counselor shall invite all qualified vendors to participate in the pre-bid conference.  The notice must advise the vendors that only vendors attending the pre-bid conference shall be allowed to bid.

  5. Any Scope of Work changes suggested during the pre-bid conference shall require i) written pre-approval from the DRS rehabilitation engineer that the recommended changes will effectively meet client VR needs and meet quality and safety standards and ii) client and homeowner to sign the change to document acceptance.

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Links to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are currently unavailable while we await federal changes to the vocational rehabilitation program. Upon promulgation of the final regulations the links will be updated and activated.