Rehabilitation Services_Vocational Rehabilitation Grants to States

To assist States in operating comprehensive, coordinated, effective, efficient and accountable programs of vocational rehabilitation; to assess, plan, develop, and provide vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns,
abilities, and capabilities so they may prepare for and engage in competitive employment.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.



Program Accomplishments

As a group, persons who achieve employment as a result of vocational rehabilitation services each year show notable gains in their ability to function in economic terms, regardless of their employment status when they apply for services. In fiscal year 2007, approximately 981,050 persons received services. Approximately 59.6 percent of those individuals who exited the program after receiving services achieved an employment outcome.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Federal and State funds are used to cover the costs of providing vocational rehabilitation services which include: assessment, counseling, vocational and other training, job placement, reader services for the blind, interpreter services for the deaf, medical and related services and prosthetic and orthotic devices, rehabilitation technology, transportation to secure vocational rehabilitation services, maintenance during rehabilitation, and other goods and services necessary for an individual with a disability to achieve an employment outcome.

Services are provided to families of disabled individuals when such services will contribute substantially to the rehabilitation of such individuals who are being provided vocational rehabilitation services.

Funds can also be used to provide Vocational Rehabilitation services for the benefit of groups of individuals with disabilities including the construction and establishment of community programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

State agencies in all States (including territories/possessions) designated as the sole State agency to administer the vocational rehabilitation program may apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services is based on the presence of a physical and/or mental impairment, which for such an individual constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment, and the need for vocational rehabilitation services that may be expected to benefit the individual in terms of an employment outcome.

Credentials/Documentation

The State agency must certify the availability of State funds for matching purposes. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and localgovernments.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies are required to submit a State Plan describing the manner in which they will administer the VR and Supported Employment programs in their States. The State is not required to submit any policies, procedures or descriptions related to its State Plan that have been previously approved and demonstrate that the State currently meets the requirements of the Act. However, State agencies are required to annually update and submit State Plan attachments related to: (1)the comprehensive system of personnel development; State assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress; (2)innovation and expansion activities, and (3)a description of the State's plans with respect to the distribution of State Supported Employment Title VI, Part B funds.

Award Procedures

Notice of annual allotment to the State; grant award notices and funds are withdrawn under the Electronic Transfer System.

Deadlines

Changes to the State Plan and annual updates must be submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) by July 1 of each year. The State Plan must be approved before the State agency can receives its annual allotment of funds.

Authorization

Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title I, Parts A and B, Sections 100-111.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

If a State plan is disapproved, and after reasonable effort has been made to resolve a dispute, the State agency may request a hearing. If dissatified with the hearing officer's initial decision, the State agency may seek the Secretary's review of the decision.

Appeals

A State may appeal the Secretary's decision to disapprove the State plan by filing a petition for review with the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the State is located.

Renewals

None.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Title I, Part A, Section 110, Federal funds are distributed (78.7 percent Federal and 21.3 percent State) based on population weighted by per capita income. Funds become available for obligations for the fiscal year for which they are appropriated and may remain available for an additional year if the matching requirement is met in the year of the appropriation. The statistical factors for fund allocation are: 1) The per capita income 3-year average by State and the source is the Survey of Current Business, Bureau of Economic Analysis; 2) the U.S. total population and State population and the source is the Population Estimates Annual, Bureau of the Census; Bureau of Labor Statistics. Statistical factors used for eligibility do not apply to this program. This program has a maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement. The MOE level is based on the amount of State expenditures for the Federal fiscal year two years earlier. See funding agency for further details.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Notice of annual allotment to the State; grant awards are issued biannually (1st and 4th quarter) with funds released through the Electronic Transfer System.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Annual and quarterly progress reports; annual budget and case service reports; quarterly financial reports.

Audits

Conducted by ED Office of Inspector General and by site visits of regional staff. Both are periodic but no set schedule. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program- specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.

Records

Case service records for individual consumers. Financial and programmatic records for a prescribed period of three years (34 CFR 80.42).

Financial Information

Account Identification

91-0301-0-1-506.

Obigations

(Grants) FY 07 $2,802,716,000; FY 08 est $2,839,151,000; and FY 09 est $2,839,151,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 2008, the range of awards is expected to be $928,801 to $275,593,209.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Vocational Rehabilitation Regulations (34 CFR 361). Vocational Rehabilitation Manual. Rehabilitation Services Policy Directives and Technical Assistance Circulars.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Department of Education, OSERS Rehabilitation Services Administration 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20202-2500. Contact: Carol Dobak E-mail: Carol.Dobak@ed.gov. Telephone: (202) 245-7325.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

None.



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