​​Chapter 14.3 Contents:

[REVISED: 4/10/2017]

  1. Definition.
    For purposes of consumer financial participation policy, “family” means everyone listed on the same federal income tax return as the VR client for the most recent tax period (January 1 through December 31 of each year), regardless of whether the VR client resides with the family, or is temporarily absent from the home due to extended illness, school, vacation, or military leave (per State Regulation 22 VAC 30-20-160). For method to determine family size when the VR client or family is not legally required to file a federal income tax return, see Chapter 12, FORMS, RS-13 .

    Note: The DRS definition of family size is different from the definition in the Higher Education Act used by institutions of higher education to determine the student financial aid award package. For school training services that participate in federal financial aid, DRS is bound by the school’s determination of family size as defined in the Higher Education Act. The VR client may appeal the school’s determination to the school’s financial aid office (for procedure, see Chapter 12, FORMS, RS-25).

  2. State option.
    DARS Division of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) has elected, as is our option, to consider the financial need of VR clients receiving services under a Trial Work Experiences Plan, Employment Plan, or Post Employment Services Plan (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54 and State Regulation 22 VAC 30-20-160).

  3. Applied uniformly.
    Consumer financial participation policies and procedures shall be applied uniformly so that equitable treatment is accorded all individuals in similar circumstances (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54).

  4. Public comment.
    DRS will hold public meetings whenever there are significant and relevant changes in the consumer financial participation policy, including public meetings to develop or amend the relevant portion of the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and Supported Employment Services Program.

  5. Consumer financial participation and exceptions.
    The VR client and family shall share in the annual cost of all VR services provided - unless the service or client is exempt.  The consumer financial participation amount is subject to the Client Financial Statement (RS-13) (see subsection B1 of this policy) as well as the other DRS funding policies (i.e., comparable benefits, fee schedule and maximum allowances, lowest cost alternative that meets the client VR needs, self-employment enterprise, Expected Family Contribution for school training that participates in federal financial aid program, etc.).  For documentation requirements to support the RS-13, see Chapter 12, FORMS, RS-13.   

    Exception 1: VR clients who are a dependent of a family receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are exempt from consumer financial participation (per agency mandate).  At application enter TANF cash amount in AWARE and keep proof of amount in client file. Each year before providing fee-based services update RS-13 page 1 and verify continued TANF status (but not amount). 
     

    Exception 2:  VR clients who are a dependent of a family receiving General Relief (GR) cash benefits are exempt from consumer financial participation (per agency mandate). At application enter GR cash amount in AWARE and keep proof of amount in client file. Each year before providing fee-based services update RS-13 page 1 and verify continued GR status (but not amount).
     

    Exception 3:  VR clients who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are exempt from consumer financial participation (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54). At application enter SSI cash amount in AWARE and keep proof of amount in client file. Each year before providing fee-based services update RS-13 page 1 and verify continued SSI status (but not amount) (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46 and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.47 and RSA Manual Chapter 2510.04 issued November 12, 1991).  
     

    Exception 4: VR clients who receive cash benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as the disabled worker Claimant or as a disabled adult (at least 18 years of age) receiving SSDI cash benefits through the SSA Child Disability Benefits Program are exempt (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54) from consumer financial participation.  At application enter SSDI cash amount in AWARE and keep proof of amount in client file. Each year before providing fee-based services update RS-13 page 1 and verify continued SSDI status (but not amount) (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46 and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.47 and RSA Manual Chapter 2510.04 issued November 12, 1991). Clients who no longer receive cash benefits from SSDI but are in the extended period of eligibility for Medicare benefits are not exempt (per guidance in e-mail correspondence from RSA dated June 15, 2006) from consumer financial participation. Clients who receive SSDI Survivor Benefits or Family Benefits are not exempt from consumer financial participation.   
      

    Exception 5: Family member income from TANF, GR, SSI, and SSDI disabled worker Claimant and SSDI Adult Child Disability Benefits cash amounts is exempt (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54) from consumer financial participation, but other family member income is subject to consumer financial participation.
     

    Exception 6: The following VR services are exempt from consumer financial participation (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54 and State Regulation 22 VAC 30-20-160).

    1. Eligibility determination assessment to determine eligibility and VR needs assessment (and assign priority category if DRS is on Order Of Selection). However non-assessment services provided under a Trial Work Experiences Plan, Employment Plan, or Post Employment Services Plan are subject to consumer financial participation (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54).
       

    Cross-reference: For consumer financial participation requirements during trial work, see Chapter 4.02, TRIAL WORK, Policy 1, Section B
     

    Cross-reference: For diagnostic, assessment, and evaluation services, see Chapter 6, DIAGNOSTIC, Policy 1.
     

    1. Vocational rehabilitation counseling, guidance, and referral provided by DRS staff (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54).

       
    1. Personal assistance services (PAS) necessary for the VR client to participate in the VR program (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54). This includes the PAS needs assessment.

       
    1. Job-related services, including job search, job placement, 90-day follow-up services, and follow along services (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54).

    2. On-the-job training (per State Regulation 22 VAC 30-20-160).

       
    3. Auxiliary aids, interpreter for the deaf services or other reasonable communication accommodations that is required under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-336) for the consumer to participate in the vocational rehabilitation program (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54). However, hearing aids, telecommunication systems, assistive listening devices, alerting devices, and other goods are subject to consumer financial participation. "Auxiliary aid" means taped texts, Braille or large print materials, etc. that make visually delivered materials accessible to the consumer; qualified interpreters for the deaf, note takers, readers, written materials, assistive listening systems (e.g., room loop, individual loop), etc. that make aurally delivered materials accessible to the consumer (per Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

       
    4. Support services such as transportation, dependent day care, and maintenance, necessary for the VR client to access diagnostic and evaluation services (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54).

       
    1. Project SEARCH services which include only the cost of Milestone 1-Program Enrollment, Milestone 2- Internship, Milestone 3-Placement, and Milestone 4-Closure (see Chapter 8.24, TRANSITION SERVICES, Policy 1). Other cost services that Project SEARCH students may require are subject to financial participation.
    2. Pre-employment Transition Services (see Chapter 8.24, Transition Services, Policy 2) Other cost services under an IPE for students with a disability are subject   to financial participation policy and Client FInancial Statement (RS-13).

  6. Required on Plan.
    On the Trial Work Experiences Plan, Employment Plan, or Post Employment Services Plan, the counselor shall record the amount of consumer financial participation required, if any, for each planned service (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.46).

  7. Record in case note.
    The counselor shall enter the consumer financial participation percentage and maximum dollar amount in a case note in AWARE.

  8. Refusal to submit information.
    If the VR client or family does not wish to submit the Client Financial Statement RS-13 form, or does not wish to contribute as required by policy, the VR client shall only receive VR services that are exempt from consumer financial participation.

  9. WWRC.
    For details concerning the financial participation pilot for services provided through Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) staff, see Chapter 13, WWRC, Policy 3.

  10. Individuals Jointly Served by DARS and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI).​
    For individuals jointly served by DARS and DBVI, each agency shall apply its own financial participation policies where financial sponsorship of services is involved. See Chapter 16, INDIVIDUALS JOINTLY SERVED BY DARS AND DBVI, Policy 8.​​​

  11. Annual update. 
    The VR client and counselor shall update the Client Financial Statement (RS-13) and required documentation for all VR clients at least annually, usually on the anniversary date.  The RS-13 uses previous year financial situation to determine the client contribution to the current year VR costs.  The counselor should update the RS-13 sooner if a documented change in the VR client or family financial situation (i.e., family size, annual income, cash assets, disability-related expenses) will significantly reduce or increase the calculated consumer financial contribution. If no VR funds will be spent on the case during the year, the counselor may delay the RS-13 update until planning a service subject to the RS-13.  For school training that participates in federal financial aid program, the RS-13 update is required before initiating the RS-25 each year, even if the RS-25 was completed for the previous year.  

 

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.