Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 51.5. Persons with Disabilities
Chapter 14. Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
11/29/2021

Article 10. Community-Based Services for People with Disabilities.

§ 51.5-161. Awarding of grants; purposes; eligible applicants.

A. The Department is authorized, subject to other requirements of this law, to make grants or enter into contracts, in accordance with rules and regulations of the Commissioner, for the following purposes:

1. To promote a philosophy of independent living, including a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of society by:

a. Providing financial assistance for expanding and improving the provision of independent living services; and

b. Providing financial assistance to develop and support a statewide network of centers for independent living; and

2. To assist employers in employing, training, and providing other related services to persons with significant disabilities.

B. Applications for the grants and contracts authorized in subdivision A 1 may be made by consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential, private nonprofit agencies that (i) are designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities and (ii) provide an array of independent living services. Each applicant shall be established and shall have a governing board, the majority of whose members shall be persons with disabilities, for the sole purpose of operating the independent living center.

C. Applications for the grants and contracts authorized in subdivision A 2 may be made by employers in the Commonwealth who wish to take affirmative steps to employ and advance in employment persons with disabilities.

1985, c. 421, §§ 51.01-23, 51.5-23; 1992, c. 755; 2003, c. 503; 2011, cc. 7, 166; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 51.5-162. Independent living services.

Independent living services provided pursuant to this article shall be provided in accordance with the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.), as amended.

1985, c. 421, §§ 51.01-24, 51.5-24; 2003, c. 503; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 51.5-163. Centers for independent living.

A. Services provided through grants or contracts with centers for independent living pursuant to this article shall include:

1. Advocacy;

2. Peer counseling;

3. Independent living skills training;

4. Information and referral; and

5. Services that (i) facilitate the transition of individuals with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences with the requisite supports and services, (ii) provide assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals may remain in the community, and (iii) facilitate the transition of youth with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under § 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or who have completed their secondary education, to post-secondary life.

Services may include other services deemed necessary by the local consumer base.

B. Centers for independent living funded in whole or in part by the Department shall be staffed by persons with disabilities who are trained in the philosophy of independent living. The majority of management staff shall include persons with disabilities.

1985, c. 421, §§ 51.01-25, 51.5-25; 2003, c. 503; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2016, c. 27.

§ 51.5-164. Statewide Independent Living Council created.

The Statewide Independent Living Council is hereby created to develop and sign the Statewide Plan for Independent Living in accordance with Title VII of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 796 et seq.) and to perform other activities as provided in such Act. Membership and duties shall be constructed according to federal provisions. The Department shall provide staff support for the Council.

1994, c. 81, § 51.5-25.1; 2006, cc. 110, 169; 2007, cc. 473, 556; 2011, cc. 7, 166; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2016, c. 27.

§ 51.5-165. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2016, c. 27, cl. 2.

§ 51.5-166. Eligibility criteria.

The Commissioner shall establish eligibility criteria for services to be applied by programs awarded grants pursuant to this article. Such criteria shall provide that:

1. Eligibility shall be determined without regard to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, national origin, religion, or type of impairment of the person applying for the service;

2. Preference shall be given to applicants for services whose impairments are so severe that they do not presently have the potential for employment, but whose ability to live and function independently within their family settings or communities may be improved by the services for which they have applied; and

3. Services shall not be provided to people who are eligible for prevocational or supported employment services through a Medicaid home and community based waiver program.

1985, c. 421, §§ 51.01-27, 51.5-27; 1992, c. 755; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2020, c. 1137.

§ 51.5-167. Participation by clients in cost of services.

The Commissioner shall establish written standards for determining the extent to which a client shall be financially responsible for the cost of services funded in whole or in part by the Department. Each public or private agency awarded a grant or contract in accordance with § 51.5-161 shall utilize the Commissioner's regulations to maximize the financial participation of persons receiving services.

1985, c. 421, §§ 51.01-28, 51.5-28; 1987, c. 50; 1992, c. 755; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 51.5-168. Rights of clients.

The Commissioner shall establish written standards governing the rights of clients of services provided by public or private agencies in accordance with § 51.5-161. Each such public and private agency shall educate clients and staff regarding those rights and shall provide a procedure to fairly and impartially resolve conflicts and complaints about alleged violations of those rights. Each such agency shall make referrals consistent with the provisions of 29 U.S.C. § 732.

1985, c. 421, §§ 51.01-29, 51.5-29; 1992, c. 755; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 51.5-169. Cooperative agreements with community services boards and schools.

No services funded under the authority of this article shall be provided to:

1. Persons whose primary impairment is mental illness, intellectual disability, or substance abuse, except by cooperative agreement with the local community services board established pursuant to Chapter 5 (§ 37.2-500 et seq.) of Title 37.2 or the behavioral health authority established pursuant to Chapter 6 (§ 37.2-600 et seq.) of Title 37.2 when that board or authority is currently offering the same services; or

2. Public school-aged persons, except by cooperative agreement with that person's school.

1985, c. 421, §§ 51.01-30, 51.5-30; 2012, cc. 476, 507, 803, 835.

§ 51.5-169.1. Long-Term Employment Support Services and Extended Employment Services.

A. Long-Term Employment Support Services and Extended Employment Services shall be provided in the Commonwealth to assist individuals with a significant disability or most significant disability with maintaining employment. The Department shall administer and make referrals for such services in accordance with the provisions of this section.

B. Long-Term Employment Support Services shall be provided to individuals with a most significant disability, as defined in 29 U.S.C. § 705, to assist such individuals with maintaining group-supported employment or individual center-based, facility-based, or community-based employment through an employment services organization.

All employment services organizations that provide group-supported, center-based, facility-based, or community-based employment services to individuals with a most significant disability shall be eligible to receive funding for Long-Term Employment Support Services.

C. Extended Employment Services shall be provided to individuals with a most significant disability and individuals with a significant disability, as those terms are defined in 29 U.S.C. § 705, to assist such individuals with maintaining group-supported employment or individual center-based or facility-based employment through an employment services organization. Extended Employment Services funds may also be used to support such individuals that transition from group-supported, center-based, or facility-based employment into community-based employment. Extended Employment Services shall be provided upon the informed choice of the individual being served and in accordance with the Commonwealth's Employment First initiative, federal law and regulation, and the Commonwealth's August 23, 2012, settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

All employment services organizations that provide group-supported, center-based, or facility-based employment services to individuals with a most significant disability or individuals with a significant disability, or that provide community-based employment services to such individuals transitioning from group-supported, center-based, or facility-based employment, shall be eligible to receive funding for Extended Employment Services.

D. The Department shall make referrals to any employment services organization that provides competitive or commensurate wages and is eligible to receive state-funded Long-Term Employment Support Services pursuant to subsection B or Extended Employment Services pursuant to subsection C. The Department shall develop and implement a referral process to refer individuals to employment services organizations for services described in subsections B and C. Such referral process shall require that whenever an individual makes an informed choice to pursue an employment outcome that is not considered a competitive integrated employment setting by the Department, the Department shall refer the individual to eligible employment services organizations that provide the employment services sought by the individual within 15 days. Upon making such referrals, the Department shall provide to the employment services organization, in writing, (i) a referral letter that includes the skills, likes, dislikes, and desired outcome of the individual seeking services; (ii) certification that the individual made an informed choice to pursue an employment outcome that is not considered a competitive integrated employment setting by the Department; and (iii) the contact information of the individual seeking services. The Department shall also provide to the individual seeking services, in writing, (a) the contact information of the employment services organizations to which the individual is referred and (b) information and advice regarding the services available at such employment services organizations that will help the individual to prepare for, secure, maintain, or regain employment in accordance with the provisions of this section and applicable federal law and regulations. The Department shall provide training to all vocational rehabilitation counselors immediately upon employment and annually thereafter regarding the referral process established by the Department pursuant to this subsection.

E. In allocating funds for Long-Term Employment Support Services and Extended Employment Services, the Department shall consider recommendations made by the Employment Service Organization Steering Committee established in § 51.5-169.2.

2018, cc. 243, 377; 2019, cc. 851, 852.

§ 51.5-169.2. Employment Service Organization Steering Committee; membership; terms.

A. The Employment Service Organization Steering Committee (the Committee) is established as an advisory board, within the meaning of § 2.2-2100, in the executive branch of state government. The purpose of the Committee shall be to report to and advise the Commissioner on policy, funding, and the allocation of funds to employment services organizations for Long-Term Employment Support Services and Extended Employment Services pursuant to § 51.5-169.1.

B. The Committee shall consist of 11 nonlegislative citizen members who shall be appointed as follows: four members to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, two of whom shall be representatives of the Virginia Association of Community Rehabilitation Programs, one of whom shall be a representative of the Virginia Goodwill Network, and one of whom shall be a representative of the Virginia Association of People Supporting Employment First; five members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, two of whom shall be representatives of the Virginia Association of Community Rehabilitation Programs, one of whom shall be a representative of the Virginia Goodwill Network, one of whom shall be a representative of the Virginia Association of People Supporting Employment First, and one of whom shall be an individual who has a family member receiving services in an employment services organization that is eligible to receive funding pursuant to § 51.5-169.1; and two at-large members to be appointed by the Governor. No employee, agent, or representative of the Commonwealth may serve as a member of the Committee.

C. Appointments to fill vacancies, other than by expiration of a term, shall be for the unexpired terms. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

No member shall serve more than two consecutive three-year terms. The remainder of any term to which a member is appointed to fill a vacancy shall not constitute a term in determining the member's eligibility for reappointment.

D. Each year, the Committee shall elect a chairman and a vice-chairman from among its members. Five members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum. The Committee shall meet no more than four times per year.

E. Members shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825.

2019, c. 851, 852.