TITLE 40. SOCIAL SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE

PART 20. TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION

CHAPTER 813. SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING

SUBCHAPTER B. ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES AND SUPPORT SERVICES

40 TAC §813.13

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) proposes amendments to the following section of Chapter 813, relating to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T):

Subchapter B. Access to Employment and Training Activities and Support Services, §813.13

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

The purpose of the proposed Chapter 813 rule change is to amend the rule to clarify the respective roles of TWC and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in the good cause determination process.

The US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) conducted a SNAP E&T Management Evaluation (ME) review in June 2015 to evaluate TWC's operation and compliance with established policies, regulatory requirements, and quality standards. FNS determined that TWC's process with respect to good cause determination did not fully comply with federal law and regulations requiring that only merit staff be permitted to conduct SNAP certifications, and prohibiting SNAP E&T funds from being used for certification activities. FNS emphasized that HHSC must be the agency responsible for determining good cause, with TWC's input limited to a recommendation.

Section 813.13 of TWC's current SNAP E&T rules sets out the criteria for good cause determinations, specifying that Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards) make good cause determinations for mandatory work registrants and for exempt recipients who participate voluntarily in SNAP E&T services. However, based on the finding by FNS during the ME review, TWC must amend the rule to reflect that HHSC is the agency responsible for determining good cause, limiting TWC's input to a recommendation made by Board staff and to reflect that good cause does not apply to exempt recipients who participate voluntarily in SNAP E&T services.

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

(Note: Minor editorial changes are made that do not change the meaning of the rules and, therefore, are not discussed in the Explanation of Individual Provisions.)

SUBCHAPTER B. ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES AND SUPPORT SERVICES

TWC proposes the following amendments to Subchapter B:

§813.13. Good Cause for Mandatory Work Registrants Who Participate in SNAP E&T Services

Section 813.13 is renamed "Good Cause for Mandatory Work Registrants Who Participate in SNAP E&T Services," because good cause does not apply to exempt recipients who voluntary participate in SNAP E&T services.

Section 813.13(a):

--adds language to clarify that good cause applies only to work registrants who are required to participate in SNAP E&T services;

--deletes "exempt recipients who voluntarily participate in SNAP E&T service"; and

--clarifies that good cause is recommended to HHSC for approval.

Section 813.13(b) is deleted because Boards do not make good cause determinations.

Section 813.13(c):

--deletes "reasons constitutes good cause" and adds "legitimate reasons for failing to participate in SNAP E&T activities" for clarity;

--deletes "exempt recipient who voluntarily";

--changes "Texas Workforce Center" to "Workforce Solutions Office"; and

--is re-lettered as subsection (b).

Section 813.13(d) is amended to clarify that Boards will monitor good cause monthly and share results with HHSC if there is a change in the circumstances surrounding the good cause exception. Paragraph (2) is deleted because boards cannot extend good cause.

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

Randy Townsend, Chief Financial Officer, has determined that for each year of the first five years the rule will be in effect, the following statements will apply:

There are no additional estimated costs to the state and to local governments expected as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

There are no estimated cost reductions to the state and to local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

There are no estimated losses or increases in revenue to the state or to local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

There are no foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenue of the state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

There are no anticipated economic costs to individuals required to comply with the rule.

There is no anticipated adverse economic impact on small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

Based on the analyses required by Texas Government Code §2001.024, TWC has determined that the requirement to repeal or amend a rule, codified at Texas Government Code §2001.0045, does not apply to this rulemaking.

Government Growth Impact Statement

TWC has determined that during the first five years the amendment will be in effect:

--the proposed amendment will not create or eliminate a government program;

--implementation of the proposed amendment will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions;

--implementation of the proposed amendment will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to TWC;

--the proposed amendment will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to TWC;

--the proposed amendment will not create a new regulation;

--the proposed amendment will not expand, limit, or eliminate an existing regulation;

--the proposed amendment will not change the number of individuals subject to the rule; and

--the proposed amendment will not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

Economic Impact Statement and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

TWC has determined that the proposed rule will not have an adverse economic impact on small businesses or rural communities, as these proposed rules place no requirements on small businesses or rural communities.

Doyle Fuchs, Director of Labor Market and Career Information, has determined that there is no significant negative impact upon employment conditions in the state as a result of the rules.

Courtney Arbour, Director, Workforce Development Division, has determined that for each year of the first five years the rule is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the proposed rule will be to comply with statutory requirements and clarify rule language.

TWC hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within TWC's legal authority to adopt.

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

In the development of this rule for publication and public comment, TWC sought the involvement of Texas' 28 Boards. TWC provided the concept paper regarding this rule amendment to the Boards for consideration and review on October 31, 2017. TWC also conducted a conference call with Board executive directors and Board staff on November 3, 2017, to discuss the concept paper. During the rulemaking process, TWC considered all information gathered in order to develop rules that provide clear and concise direction to all parties involved.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to TWC Policy Comments, Workforce Policy and Service Delivery, attn: Workforce Editing, 101 East 15th Street, Room 459T, Austin, Texas 78778; faxed to (512) 475-3577; or e-mailed to TWCPolicyComments@twc.state.tx.us.

Comments must be received or postmarked no later than 30 days from the date this proposal is published in the Texas Register.

The rule is proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such a rule as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed rule affects Texas Labor Code, Title 4, particularly Chapters 301 and 302, as well as Texas Government Code, Chapter 2308.

§813.13.Good Cause for Mandatory Work Registrants [and Exempt Recipients] Who [Voluntarily] Participate in SNAP E&T Services.

(a) Good cause applies only to mandatory work registrants who are required to participate in SNAP E&T services [and exempt recipients who voluntarily participate in SNAP E&T services]. A Board shall ensure that good cause is recommended to HHSC for approval [determined] before SNAP benefits are denied when mandatory work registrants state that they have a legitimate reason for:

(1) [mandatory work registrants state that they have a legitimate reason for] failing to respond to the outreach notification; and

(2) [mandatory work registrants and exempt recipients who voluntarily participate in SNAP E&T services have legitimate reasons for] failing to participate in SNAP E&T activities.

[(b) A Board shall ensure that a good cause determination:]

[(1) is based on individual and family circumstances;]

[(2) is based on face-to-face or telephone contact;]

[(3) includes a temporary period when mandatory work registrants or exempt recipients who voluntarily participate in SNAP E&T services may be unable to attend scheduled appointments or participate in ongoing work activities; and]

[(4) is made at the time the change in circumstances is made known to the Board's service provider.]

(b) [(c)] For purposes of this chapter, the following are legitimate reasons for failing to respond to outreach notifications or failing to participate in SNAP E&T activities [reasons constitute good cause]:

(1) temporary illness or incapacitation;

(2) court appearance;

(3) caring for a physically or mentally disabled household member who requires the recipient's presence in the home;

(4) no available transportation and the distance prohibits walking; or no available job within reasonable commuting distance, as defined by the Board;

(5) distance from the home of the mandatory work registrant[, or exempt recipient] who [voluntarily] participates in SNAP E&T services, to the [Texas] Workforce Solutions Office, [Center] or employment service provider requires commuting time of more than two hours a day (not including taking a child to and from a child care facility), [and] the distance prohibits walking, and there is no available transportation;

(6) farmworkers who are away from their permanent residence or home base, who travel to work in an agriculture or related industry during part of the year, and are under contract or similar agreement with an employer to begin work within 30 days of the date that the individual notified the Board of his or her seasonal farmwork assignment;

(7) an inability to obtain needed child care, as defined by the Board and based on the following reasons:

(A) informal child care by a relative or child care provided under other arrangements is unavailable or unsuitable, and based on, where applicable, Board policy regarding child care. Informal child care may also be determined unsuitable by the parent;

(B) eligible formal child care providers, as defined in Chapter 809 of this title (relating to Child Care Services), are unavailable;

(C) affordable formal child care arrangements within maximum rates established by the Board are unavailable; and

(D) formal or informal child care within a reasonable distance from home or the work site is unavailable;

(8) an absence of other support services necessary for participation;

(9) receipt of a job referral that results in an offer below the federal minimum wage, except when a lower wage is permissible under federal minimum wage law;

(10) an individual or family crisis or a family circumstance that may preclude participation, including substance abuse and mental health and disability-related issues, provided that the mandatory work registrant [or exempt recipient] who [voluntarily ] participates in SNAP E&T services[,] engages in problem resolution through appropriate referrals for counseling and support services; or

(11) an individual is a victim of family violence.

(c) [(d)] A Board shall ensure that good cause[:]

[(1)] is monitored [reevaluated ] at least on a monthly basis and results are shared with HHSC if there is a change in the circumstances surrounding the good cause exception.[;]

[(2) is extended if the circumstances giving rise to the good cause exception are not resolved after available resources to remedy the situation have been considered; and based on the existence of family violence, does not exceed a total of 12 consecutive months per occurrence.]

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801676

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


CHAPTER 852. PURCHASE OF MEDICAL GOODS AND SERVICES BY THE TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION-VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES

SUBCHAPTER A. PURCHASE OF GOODS AND SERVICES

40 TAC §852.1

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) proposes the repeal of Chapter 852 in its entirety, relating to the Purchase of Goods and Services by the Texas Workforce Commission - Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Subchapter A. Purchase of Goods and Services, §852.1

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

PART II. IMPACT STATEMENTS

PART III. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

The purpose of the proposed Chapter 852 repeal is to comply with Texas Labor Code §352.101, which required TWC to integrate the two separate Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs--VR for individuals with visual impairments (Blind Services) and VR for individuals with other disabilities (Rehabilitation Services)--into a single VR program. Consistent with §352.101, on October 1, 2017, the VR programs for individuals with visual impairments and for individuals with other disabilities were integrated into a single VR program. The rules to support this integration were effective November 6, 2017.

Currently, TWC's Chapter 852, Purchase of Medical Goods and Services by the Texas Workforce Commission - Vocational Rehabilitation Services, contains a single rule, §852.1, relating to Alternative Purchasing Methods - Rates for Medical Services. To align this purchasing rule with other TWC VR procurement and programmatic operations, this chapter should be repealed. Section 852.1 should be adopted as a rule in Chapter 856 and updated to reflect statutory changes.

PART II. IMPACT STATEMENTS

Randy Townsend, Chief Financial Officer, has determined that for each year of the first five years the repeal is in effect, the following statements will apply:

There are no additional estimated costs to the state and to local governments expected as a result of the repeal.

There are no estimated cost reductions to the state and to local governments as a result of the repeal.

There are no estimated losses or increases in revenue to the state or to local governments as a result of the repeal.

There are no foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenue of the state or local governments as a result of the repeal.

There are no anticipated economic costs to individuals previously required to comply with the rules.

There is no anticipated adverse economic impact on small or microbusinesses as a result of the repeal.

Based on the analyses required by Texas Government Code §2001.024, TWC has determined that the requirement to repeal or amend a rule, codified at Texas Government Code §2001.0045, does not apply to this rulemaking.

Government Growth Impact Statement

TWC has determined that during the first five years the repeal will be in effect:

--the proposed repeal will not create or eliminate a government program;

--implementation of the proposed repeal will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions;

--implementation of the proposed repeal will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to TWC;

--the proposed repeal will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to TWC;

--the proposed repeal will not create a new regulation;

--the proposed repeal will not expand, limit, or eliminate an existing regulation;

--the proposed repeal will not change the number of individuals subject to the rule; and

--the proposed repeal will not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

Economic Impact Statement and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

TWC has determined that the proposed repeal will not have an adverse economic impact on small businesses.

Doyle Fuchs, Director of Labor Market and Career Information, has determined that there is no significant negative impact upon employment conditions in the state as a result of the repeal.

Courtney Arbour, Director, Workforce Development Division, has determined that for each year of the first five years the repeal is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the proposed repeal will be to comply with statutory requirements, unify and clarify rule language, update terminology, and improve consistency within the VR program.

PART III. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

In the development of the proposed repeal for publication and public comment, TWC sought the involvement of Texas' 28 Boards. TWC provided the concept paper regarding this proposed repeal to the Boards for consideration and review on January 16, 2018. TWC also conducted a conference call with Board executive directors and Board staff on January 19, 2018, to discuss the concept paper. During the rulemaking process, TWC considered all information gathered in order to repeal this chapter.

Comments on the proposed repeal may be submitted to TWC Policy Comments, Workforce Policy and Service Delivery, attn: Workforce Editing, 101 East 15th Street, Room 459T, Austin, Texas 78778; faxed to (512) 475-3577; or e-mailed to TWCPolicyComments@twc.state.tx.us. Comments must be received or postmarked no later than 30 days from the date this proposal is published in the Texas Register.

The repeal is proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The repeal affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§852.1.Alternative Purchasing Methods - Rates for Medical Services.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801677

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


CHAPTER 853. INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES FOR OLDER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) proposes new Chapter 853, relating to Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind (ILS-OIB), comprising the following subchapters:

Subchapter A. Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind, §§853.1 - 853.6

Subchapter B. Services, §853.10 and §853.11

Subchapter C. Customer Financial Participation, §§853.20 - 853.22

Subchapter D. Case Documentation, §853.30

Subchapter E. Customer's Rights, §853.40 and §853.41

PART I. PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

The purpose of the new Chapter 853 rules is to develop rules to establish the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind (ILS-OIB) services as in-house services delivered by TWC. As transferred to TWC in 2016, these rules, found at Subchapter D of current TWC Chapter 854 rules, regarding the Division for Blind Services, supported plans for this program to be outsourced through an agreement between the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). However, following input from the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), it was decided that TWC would deliver ILS-OIB services in-house. Therefore, new Chapter 853 is proposed to reflect this service delivery model. New Chapter 853 will contain all rules for the ILS-OIB program. In a separate, but concurrent rulemaking, TWC proposes the repeal of Chapter 854, Subchapter D.

Additionally, the proposed new rules are necessary to comply with Texas Labor Code §352.101, which required TWC to integrate the two separate vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs--VR for individuals with visual impairments (Blind Services) and VR for individuals with other disabilities (Rehabilitation Services)--into a single VR program. Consistent with §352.101, on October 1, 2017, the VR programs for individuals with visual impairments and for individuals with other disabilities became integrated into a single VR program. The rules to support this integration were effective November 6, 2017.

With the transfer of VR services from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to TWC, references within the ILS-OIB rules are no longer consistent with state law. For example, Chapter 854 contains many references to DARS and its organizational structure, and incorporates DARS' terminology, such as referring to individuals receiving services as "consumers." TWC proposes amendments to replace the outdated agency and division names and position titles, as well as references to state statutes and rules in Chapter 854, now being moved to Chapter 853. TWC also proposes to replace the word "consumer" with "customer" to be consistent with TWC terminology.

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

SUBCHAPTER A. INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES FOR OLDER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND

TWC proposes new Subchapter A, Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind, as follows:

§853.1. Definitions

New §853.1 replaces repealed §854.112 and updates its provisions to include the definitions needed to make administration of the ILS-OIB program consistent with federal regulations at 34 CFR Part 367. The definition for "blind" is taken from state law at Human Resources Code §91.002(2). The definition for "low vision" is taken from §91.002(5), with modifications to describe the condition and include a combination of visual limitations. To ensure consistent application of customer participation and provide transparency, the term "Federal Poverty Guidelines" is linked to its definition. The rule also adds a reference to the definitions in state law and federal regulations relating to services, updates the division name, and replaces the word "consumer" with "customer."

§853.2. Referral

New §853.2 identifies the referral phase, the information needed to initiate a referral, and the potential referral sources for ILS-OIB services. It also explains that minimal services can be provided in the referral phase, but that full delivery of ILS-OIB services is conditional upon receipt of a completed application from an individual meeting all eligibility requirements.

§853.3. Accessible Communication

New §853.3, relating to accessible communication, underscores TWC's commitment to providing members of the public who have disabilities and are seeking information or other TWC services access to and use of electronic and information resources comparable to the access and use provided to members of the public without disabilities, unless such access imposes a significant difficulty or expense on TWC under Texas Government Code §2054.460. The rule explains that applicants and customers are entitled to request and to receive communication relating to ILS-OIB services in alternate formats or by alternate methods.

§853.4. Application

New §853.4 relates to the process of application for the ILS-OIB program and specifies that a complete application requires a signature, all the information necessary to initiate an assessment of eligibility, and the customer's availability to complete the assessment.

§853.5. Eligibility

New §853.5 replaces repealed §854.131 and updates its provisions to establish the eligibility criteria that must be met for a customer to receive ILS-OIB services. This includes the requirement for a completed and signed application before eligibility can be determined. The section also addresses data sources for information such as the Social Security Administration, education records, and data that come directly from the applicant and the applicant's family. TWC requires a substantive evaluation of the documentation and the application to meet eligibility requirements. An eligibility decision is made within 60 days, unless there are unforeseen circumstances.

§853.6. Ineligibility Determination

New §853.6 adds that ineligibility can be determined only after a completed application and documentation are obtained and a substantive evaluation is performed. Customers can appeal an ineligibility determination within TWC. Customers must be provided information on the Client Assistance Program (CAP) operated by Disability Rights Texas (DRTx).

SUBCHAPTER B. SERVICES

TWC proposes new Subchapter B, Services, as follows:

§853.10. Independent Living Plan

New §853.10 replaces repealed §854.132 and updates its provisions to add information about the Independent Living Plan (ILP) that is developed between the customer and staff serving Older Individuals Who Are Blind (OIB staff). This plan must be developed and agreed to within 90 days of eligibility determination. The plan guides customer services and goals and specifies progress in meeting the customer's objectives. The plan is reviewed at least once each year. A customer can waive the receipt of a written plan; however OIB staff must maintain a written ILP in the customer's electronic record.

§853.11. Scope of Services

New §853.11 replaces repealed §854.134 and updates its provisions to provide a listing of the services available to ILS-OIB customers, subject to budget constraints of the program. The list includes services provided directly by TWC, as well as those services for which the customer is referred to other entities. Services are based on 29 USC §705(17) and 34 CFR 367.3.

SUBCHAPTER C. CUSTOMER FINANCIAL PARTICIPATION

TWC proposes new Subchapter C, Customer Financial Participation, as follows:

§853.20. Individuals Who Receive Social Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance

New §853.20 specifies that, based on 34 CFR §367.67, customers who are recipients of Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are not required to participate in the financial costs of the service through the customer financial participation system.

§853.21. Customer Participation in the Cost of Services

New §853.21 replaces repealed §854.140 and updates its provisions to add that OIB staff provides independent living services at no cost to customers, retaining the business practice in place previously at DARS, the predecessor agency. Under 34 CFR §367.67(a), a state is neither required to charge nor prohibited from charging customers for ILS-OIB services. However, 34 CFR §367.67(b) establishes that, where a state chooses to allow other service providers to charge customers for ILS-OIB services, a state's policies must meet certain criteria to assure transparency, equal treatment, and access to services. Additional services may be provided and the customer's fee predetermined and agreed on by the customer. The customer's participation agreement will be based on information about the customer's household size, annual gross income, allowable deductions, comparable services or benefits, and the Federal Poverty Guidelines at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines.

New §853.21 also sets forth requirements and conditions related to:

--customer or customer representative provision of the information or choice not to provide the information, in which case the customer shall pay the entire cost of services;

--reporting changes to any of the information provided as soon as possible and signing a new customer participation agreement thereupon;

--the stipulation that any adjusted fee takes effect at the beginning of the following month and is not retroactive;

--the requirement for OIB staff to develop a process for reconsidering and adjusting the customer's fee in the event of documented extraordinary circumstance;

--a list of such circumstances; and

--stipulations on the use of customer participation fees.

§853.22. Availability of Comparable Services and Benefits

New §853.22(a) specifies that if comparable services or benefits are available to the customer under any other program, the customer must use those benefits first. This includes services that are included under the customer's medical and dental insurance, including government insurance.

New §853.22(b) stipulates that TWC must not make this determination in cases in which:

--comparable services or benefits might exist under another program, but are not available to the customer at the time needed; and

--determining the availability of the comparable services and benefits under another program would delay the provision of services to customers who could be at medical risk; or

--the determination would interrupt or delay progress toward achieving the customer's ILP goals.

SUBCHAPTER D. CASE DOCUMENTATION

TWC proposes new Subchapter D, Case Documentation, as follows:

§853.30. Case Closure

New §853.30 adds that ILS-OIB services are typically completed within 18 months. Case closure can also occur when the customer meets certain circumstances, set forth in paragraphs (1) - (8). Customers are informed of case closure, and there is an avenue for appeal. Post-closure services can be provided for up to six months.

SUBCHAPTER E. CUSTOMER'S RIGHTS

TWC proposes new Subchapter E, Customer's Rights, as follows:

§853.40. Rights of Customers

New §853.40 replaces repealed §854.150 and updates its provisions to provide safeguards for TWC customers on their rights to appeal any aspect of eligibility determination, service delivery, customer participation, or any other aspect of ILS-OIB services. The right to file a complaint with the CAP is specified in accordance with CFR §367.68 and 29 USC §717.

§853.41. Right to Appeal

New §853.41 provides notice that a customer has a right to appeal in accordance with TWC Chapter 850 rules, relating to Vocational Rehabilitation Services Administrative Rules and Procedures.

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

Randy Townsend, Chief Financial Officer, has determined that for each year of the first five years the rules will be in effect, the following statements will apply:

There are no additional estimated costs to the state and to local governments expected as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no estimated cost reductions in to the state and to local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no estimated losses or increases in revenue to the state or to local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenue of the state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no anticipated economic costs to individuals required to comply with the rules.

There is no anticipated adverse economic impact on small or microbusinesses as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

Based on the analyses required by Texas Government Code §2001.024, TWC has determined that the requirement to repeal or amend a rule, Texas Government Code §2001.0045, does not apply to this rulemaking. Additionally, Texas Labor Code §352.101 requires TWC's three-member Commission to adopt rules necessary to integrate the VR programs, including recommending adopting rules to implement the integration. Therefore, the exception identified in §2001.0045(c)(9) also applies.

Government Growth Impact Statement

TWC has determined that during the first five years the rules will be in effect:

--the proposed rules will not create or eliminate a government program;

--implementation of the proposed rules will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions;

--implementation of the proposed rules will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to TWC;

--the proposed rules will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to TWC;

--the proposed rules will not create a new regulation;

--the proposed rules will not expand, limit, or eliminate an existing regulation;

--the proposed rules will not change the number of individuals subject to the rules; and

--the proposed rules will not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

Economic Impact Statement and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

TWC has determined that the proposed rules will not have an adverse economic impact on small businesses, as these proposed rules place no requirements on small businesses.

Doyle Fuchs, Director of Labor Market and Career Information, has determined that there is no significant negative impact upon employment conditions in the state as a result of the rules.

Courtney Arbour, Director, Workforce Development Division, has determined that for each year of the first five years the rules are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules will be to comply with statutory requirements, unify and clarify rule language, update terminology, and improve consistency within the ILS-OIB program.

TWC hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within TWC's legal authority to adopt.

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

In the development of these rules for publication and public comment, TWC sought the involvement of Texas' 28 Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards). TWC provided the concept paper regarding these proposed rules to the Boards for consideration and review on January 16, 2018. TWC also conducted a conference call with Board executive directors and Board staff on January 19, 2018, to discuss the concept paper. During the rulemaking process, TWC considered all information gathered in order to develop rules that provide clear and concise direction to all parties involved.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to TWC Policy Comments, Workforce Policy and Service Delivery, attn: Workforce Editing, 101 East 15th Street, Room 459T, Austin, Texas 78778; faxed to (512) 475-3577; or e-mailed to TWCPolicyComments@twc.state.tx.us. Comments must be received or postmarked no later than 30 days from the date this proposal is published in the Texas Register.

SUBCHAPTER A. INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES FOR OLDER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND

40 TAC §§853.1 - 853.6

The new rules are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The new rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapter 351.

§853.1.Definitions.

In addition to the definitions contained in Texas Labor Code §352.001, 34 CFR §361.5, and §856.3 of the Agency's Division for Rehabilitation Services rules, the following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings:

(1) Act--The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 USC 701 et seq).

(2) Adjusted income--The dollar amount that is equal to a household's annual gross income, minus allowable deductions.

(3) Applicant--An individual who applies for Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind (ILS-OIB) services.

(4) Attendant care--A personal assistance service provided to an individual with significant disabilities to aid in performing essential personal tasks, such as bathing, communicating, cooking, dressing, eating, homemaking, toileting, and transportation.

(5) Blind--An individual having not more than 20/200 visual acuity in the better eye with correcting lenses or visual acuity greater than 20/200 but with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.

(6) Center for Independent Living (CIL)--Has the meaning assigned by §702 of the Act (29 USC §796a).

(7) Client Assistance Program (CAP)--A federally funded program under 34 CFR Part 370 that provides information, assistance, and advocacy for individuals with disabilities who are seeking or receiving services from programs funded under the Act. In Texas, the designated agency is Disability Rights Texas (DRTx).

(8) Comparable services or benefits--Services and benefits that are provided or paid for, in whole or part, by other federal, state, or local public programs, or by health insurance, third-party payers, or other private sources.

(9) Customer--An individual who is eligible for and receiving ILS-OIB services under this chapter.

(10) Customer participation system--The system for determining and collecting the financial contribution that a customer may be required to pay for receiving ILS-OIB services.

(11) Customer representative--Any individual chosen by a customer, including the customer's parent, guardian, other family member, or advocate. If a court has appointed a guardian or representative, that individual is the customer's representative.

(12) Federal Poverty Guidelines--The poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the US Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 USC §9902(2), found at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines.

(13) Independent Living Plan (ILP)--A written plan in which the customer and OIB staff have collaboratively identified the services that the customer needs to achieve the goal of living independently.

(14) Low vision--A condition of having a visual acuity not more than 20/70 in the better eye with correcting lenses, or visual acuity greater than 20/70 but with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 30 degrees, or having a combination of both.

(15) Significant disability--A significant physical, mental, cognitive, or sensory impairment that substantially limits an individual's ability to function independently in the family or community.

(16) Transition services--Services that:

(A) 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; and

(B) provide assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals may remain in the community.

§853.2.Referral.

(a) An individual may be referred for ILS-OIB services by a variety of organizations, including, but not limited to:

(1) a physician's office;

(2) a community organization;

(3) the Center for Independent Living (CIL);

(4) a senior community organization; or

(5) family, customer representative, and friends.

(b) A referral shall include the name of the individual seeking services, the address where the individual resides, and an e-mail address and telephone number, if available.

(c) During the referral process, OIB staff shall verify the eligibility criteria, determine the level of services needed by the customer, and provide minimal services, which can include information and referral guide, bump dots for kitchen appliances, and magnifiers. If minimal services are all that a customer requires, the case can be closed as a referral only.

(d) For service delivery to begin, an individual shall submit a complete application and document that all eligibility requirements are met.

§853.3.Accessible Communication.

(a) The Agency shall provide all members of the public with disabilities who are seeking information or other services from the Agency access to and use of electronic and information resources comparable to the access and use provided to members of the public without disabilities, unless compliance with this section imposes a significant difficulty or expense to the Agency under Texas Government Code §2054.460.

(b) The Agency may use alternate methods or formats to provide timely access by individuals with disabilities to Agency electronic and information resources.

(c) The Agency shall ensure that ILS-OIB applicants and customers are given the opportunity to request and receive communication from the Agency in an alternate format or by alternate methods.

§853.4.Application.

An individual is considered to have submitted an application when the individual or the individual's representative, as appropriate:

(1) has completed and signed--including entry of electronic PIN--the ILS-OIB application form;

(2) has provided the information necessary to initiate an assessment to determine eligibility and service delivery; and

(3) is available to complete the assessment process to determine eligibility.

§853.5.Eligibility.

(a) To be eligible for ILS-OIB, a customer must:

(1) be age 55 or older;

(2) be blind or have low vision as defined in §853.1, relating to Definitions;

(3) be an individual for whom independent living goals are feasible; and

(4) be present in Texas.

(b) Eligibility for blindness or low vision is determined by OIB staff based on the documented diagnosis of a licensed practitioner.

(c) Individuals shall establish eligibility through existing data and information, including, but not limited to, medical records and information used by the Social Security Administration. The information may be obtained from the applicant, the applicant's family members, or the applicant's representative. OIB staff may assist in locating or obtaining existing documentation.

(d) The Agency shall substantively evaluate the documentation and application to determine whether eligibility requirements are met.

(e) OIB staff shall endeavor to make an eligibility determination within 60 days from the time a completed and signed application for services has been received. The eligibility determination is conditional on the applicant's availability to complete the assessment process, as set forth in §853.4(3) of this subchapter. When an applicant is unavailable to complete such assessment process in a timely manner due to unforeseen circumstances, which may include, but are not limited to, medical conditions or hospitalizations, the 60-day period shall be abated until the applicant is available to complete the necessary assessment process to determine eligibility.

(f) Eligibility cannot be established unless and until all required elements under subsection (a) of this section have been completed and documented, including any assessment to establish eligibility.

(g) Eligibility requirements are applied without regard to an individual's age, color, creed, gender, national origin, race, religion, or length of time present in Texas.

§853.6.Ineligibility Determination.

(a) A determination of ineligibility shall be based only on a substantive evaluation of an applicant's completed and signed application, including all documentation required to establish eligibility under §853.5(a) of this subchapter.

(b) Before making a determination of ineligibility, OIB staff shall provide the applicant or the applicant's representative, as appropriate, an opportunity to consult with OIB staff. OIB staff shall notify the applicant, or the applicant's representative, as appropriate, of an ineligibility determination. Notice shall be provided in accessible format and through accessible methods, as required under Texas Government Code §2054.460. The notice shall include the following:

(1) A brief statement of the ineligibility determination, with reference to the requirements under this chapter and any deficiencies;

(2) The mailing date of the determination;

(3) An explanation of the individual's right to an appeal;

(4) The procedures for filing an appeal with the Agency, including applicable time frames;

(5) The right to have a hearing representative, including legal counsel;

(6) How to contact the Texas CAP, which is DRTx; and

(7) The address or fax number to which the appeal must be sent.

(c) When appropriate, OIB staff may refer the applicant to other agencies and facilities.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801679

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER B. SERVICES

40 TAC §853.10, §853.11

The new rules are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The new rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapter 351.

§853.10.Independent Living Plan.

(a) Once an individual is determined eligible, the ILP is developed and agreed to within 90 days from the date of notification of eligibility, unless an alternate date is agreed to by the customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate.

(b) OIB staff must jointly develop the ILP and all subsequent amendments in writing, through consultation with the customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate.

(c) A customer may waive receipt of the written plan by signing the Agency Waiver of Independent Living Plan (DARS 5154).

(d) Through consultation, OIB staff and the customer, or the customer's representative, as appropriate, determine how services shall be delivered and document service delivery methods in the electronic record of the ILP, which OIB staff must maintain.

(e) The Agency shall ensure that the customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate, is advised of procedures and requirements affecting the development and review of the ILP.

(f) To receive a copy of the ILP and its amendments in a medium other than print, the customer must inform OIB staff of the preferred medium.

(g) OIB staff shall review the ILP at least annually with the customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate, to assess the customer's progress in meeting the objectives identified in the ILP.

(h) OIB staff shall incorporate any revisions to the ILP that are necessary to reflect changes in the customer's goals, intermediate objectives, or needs.

(i) The customer must inform the Agency in a timely manner of changes that will affect the provision of services, including, but not limited to, the customer's unavailability to receive services.

§853.11.Scope of Services.

(a) All services provided under this section shall be subject to budget constraints of the program.

(b) OIB staff shall provide each service in accordance with a customer's ILP.

(c) OIB staff may directly provide the following services under this chapter:

(1) Information and referral services;

(2) Independent living skills training;

(3) Peer counseling (including cross-disability peer counseling);

(4) Individual and systems advocacy;

(5) Orientation and mobility training;

(6) Diabetes education;

(7) Braille training; and

(8) Transition services.

(d) OIB staff may purchase goods or services with an approved provider as identified and agreed upon with the customer in the ILP, including:

(1) counseling services, to include psychological and psychotherapeutic services;

(2) orientation and mobility training;

(3) diabetes awareness training;

(4) rehabilitation technology (for example, a video magnifier); and

(5) related visual aid tools, such as magnifiers and low vision eyeglasses.

(e) OIB staff may refer customers to other services to meet their needs. Such other services may include, but are not limited to:

(1) CIL services;

(2) housing services, including supportive living;

(3) accessible transportation services;

(4) medical services;

(5) personal assistance services, including attendant care and the training of individuals to provide such services;

(6) education and training necessary for living in a community and participating in community activities; and

(7) social and recreational services.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801680

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER C. CUSTOMER FINANCIAL PARTICIPATION

40 TAC §§853.20 - 853.22

The new rules are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The new rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapter 351.

§853.20.Individuals Who Receive Social Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance.

(a) Customers who are recipients of either Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are not required to participate in the cost of services.

(b) OIB staff shall ensure that each customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate, is informed of the services that require customer participation in the cost of services and the services that do not require customer participation.

§853.21.Customer Participation in the Cost of Services.

(a) The following independent living services, as defined in §853.11, relating to Scope of Services, are subject to customer participation in cost of service:

(1) Transportation, excluding transportation for diagnostic services; and

(2) Adaptive aids or appliances that cost more than $50.

(b) OIB staff shall administer the customer participation system in accordance with the rules in this chapter, the ILS-OIB policy manual, and 34 CFR §367.67(b)(1).

(c) OIB staff shall provide those independent living services defined as not requiring customer participation in cost of services in §853.11 of this chapter at no cost to the customer.

(d) OIB staff shall determine the customer's adjusted gross income and the percentage of the Federal Poverty Guidelines at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines for that income, based on documentation provided by the customer.

(e) OIB staff is required to apply the Federal Poverty Guidelines at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines to determine customer participation.

(f) The customer or customer's representative shall sign a customer participation agreement acknowledging the amount of the customer's fee for services and providing written agreement that:

(1) the information provided by the customer or the customer's representative about the customer's household size, annual gross income, allowable deductions, and comparable services or benefits is true and accurate; or

(2) the customer or the customer's representative chooses not to provide information about the customer's household size, annual gross income, allowable deductions, and comparable services or benefits.

(g) If the customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate, chooses not to provide information on the customer's household size, annual gross income, allowable deductions, and comparable services or benefits, the customer shall pay the entire cost of services.

(h) The customer shall report to OIB staff as soon as possible all changes to household size, annual gross income, allowable deductions, and comparable services or benefits and sign a new customer participation agreement.

(i) When the customer signs a new participation agreement, the new amount of the customer's fee for service takes effect the beginning of the following month. The new amount shall not be applied retroactively.

(j) OIB staff shall develop a process to reconsider and adjust the customer's fee for services based on circumstances that are both extraordinary and documented. This may include assessing the customer's ability to pay the customer's participation amount. Extraordinary circumstances include:

(1) an increase or decrease in income;

(2) unexpected medical expenses;

(3) unanticipated disability-related expenses;

(4) a change in family size;

(5) catastrophic loss, such as fire, flood, or tornado;

(6) short-term financial hardship, such as a major repair to the customer's home or personally owned vehicle; or

(7) other extenuating circumstances for which the customer makes a request and provides supporting documentation.

(k) The customer's calculated fee for services remains in effect during the reconsideration and adjustment process.

(l) OIB staff shall:

(1) use program income that is received from the customer participation system only to provide services outlined in §853.11; and

(2) report fees collected as program income.

(m) The Agency may not use program income received from the customer participation system to supplant any other fund sources.

(n) The Agency may not pay any portion of the customer's participation fee.

(o) The customer's participation agreement and all financial information collected by OIB staff are subject to subpoena.

§853.22.Availability of Comparable Services and Benefits.

(a) The Agency shall determine whether comparable services or benefits are available to the customer under any other program and if comparable services or benefits are available to the customer under any other program, the customer shall use those benefits first. This includes services that are included under the customer's medical and dental insurance, including government insurance.

(b) The Agency shall not make this determination in cases in which comparable services or benefits exist under any other program, but are not available to the customer at the time needed, and:

(1) determining the availability of comparable services and benefits under any other program would delay the provision of services to customers who could be at medical risk, based on medical evidence provided by an appropriate, qualified medical professional; or

(2) the determination would interrupt or delay progress toward achieving the goals in the ILP.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801681

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER D. CASE DOCUMENTATION

40 TAC §853.30

The new rules are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The new rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapter 351.

§853.30.Case Closure.

(a) The Agency closes a case when the customer's ILP has been completed, typically within 18 months of plan development. The case will be closed sooner without completion of services if:

(1) the customer does not meet eligibility criteria;

(2) the customer is unavailable, for an extended period of time, to complete an assessment of independent living needs and staff has made repeated efforts to contact and encourage the applicant to participate;

(3) the customer has refused services or further services;

(4) the customer is no longer present in Texas;

(5) the customer's whereabouts are unknown;

(6) the customer's medical condition is rapidly progressive or terminal;

(7) the customer has refused to cooperate with the Agency; or

(8) the customer's case has been transferred to another agency.

(b) A customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate, shall be notified of any case closure except when the customer's whereabouts are unknown.

(c) Post-closure services shall not normally exceed six months.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801682

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER E. CUSTOMER'S RIGHTS

40 TAC §853.40, §853.41

The new rules are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The new rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapter 351.

§853.40.Rights of Customers.

(a) In accordance with applicable legal provisions, the Agency does not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, exclude, deny benefits to, limit the participation of, or otherwise discriminate against any individual on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. For the purposes of receiving ILS-OIB services, the customer must be blind or have a low vision; however, that requirement is not considered discrimination against any individual on the basis of disability.

(b) OIB staff shall ensure the customer or the customer's representative, as appropriate, is notified in an accessible format about the rights included in subsection (a) of this section, and §853.21, relating to Customer Participation in the Cost of Services, when:

(1) the customer applies for services;

(2) OIB staff determines that a customer is ineligible for services; and

(3) OIB staff intends to terminate services.

(c) Filing a complaint with DRTx:

(1) A customer has the right to appeal a determination to the state's CAP. The CAP in Texas is implemented by DRTx.

(2) DRTx advocates are not employees of the Agency. There are no fees for CAP services, which are provided by advocates and attorneys when necessary. Services are confidential.

(3) A customer who is enrolled in ILS-OIB, or the customer's representative, may file a complaint with DRTx alleging that a requirement of ILS-OIB was violated. The complaint does not need to be filed with ILS-OIB.

§853.41.Right to Appeal.

A customer has the right to appeal, as set forth in Chapter 850 of this title, relating to Vocational Rehabilitation Services Administrative Rules and Procedures.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801683

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


CHAPTER 854. DIVISION FOR BLIND SERVICES

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) proposes the repeal of the following sections of Chapter 854, relating to the Division for Blind Services:

Subchapter A. Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, §§854.1 - 854.7

Subchapter D. Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind, §§854.110 - 854.112, 854.120, 854.130 - 854.134, 854.140 - 854.142, 854.150, 854.151, 854.160, 854.170

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

The purpose of the proposed Chapter 854 Subchapter A, Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center rule change is to comply with Texas Labor Code §352.101. Section 352.101 required TWC to integrate the two Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs--VR for individuals with visual impairments (Blind Services) and VR for individuals with other disabilities (Rehabilitation Services)--into a single VR program. Consistent with §352.101, on October 1, 2017, the VR programs for individuals with visual impairments and for individuals with other disabilities were integrated into a single VR program. The rules to support this integration were effective November 6, 2017. TWC proposes that a new subchapter in Chapter 856 contain all rules for the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) program. Therefore, TWC proposes the repeal of Chapter 854, Subchapter A and Subchapter D.

In August 2016, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission promulgated new rules for the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind (ILS-OIB) program. As transferred to TWC, these rules, found at Subchapter D of current TWC Chapter 854 rules, supported plans for this program to be outsourced. However, as TWC provides ILS-OIB services as in-house services, the rules must be revised to reflect this service-delivery model.

Currently, program rules for ILS-OIB are located in Chapter 854, Subchapter D. In a separate but concurrent rulemaking, TWC proposes adopting new Chapter 853, to contain all rules for the ILS-OIB program.

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

(Note: Minor editorial changes are made that do not change the meaning of the rules and, therefore, are not discussed in the Explanation of Individual Provisions.)

SUBCHAPTER A. CRISS COLE REHABILITATION CENTER

TWC proposes the repeal of Subchapter A, Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, in its entirety:

§854.1. Purpose

Section 854.1 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

§854.2. Legal Authority

Section 854.2 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

§854.3. Definitions

Section 854.3 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 856, Subchapter G, in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that groups common rules that address TWC's VR program.

§854.4. Eligibility

Section 854.4 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 856, Subchapter G, in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that groups common rules that address TWC's VR program.

§854.5. Services

Section 854.5 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 856, Subchapter G, in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that groups common rules that address TWC's VR program.

§854.6. Consumer Participation and Comparable Services and Benefits

Section 854.6 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 856, Subchapter G, in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that groups common rules that address TWC's VR program.

§854.7. Payment of Shift Differentials

Section 854.7 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 856, Subchapter G, in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that groups common rules that address TWC's VR program.

SUBCHAPTER D. INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES FOR OLDER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND

TWC proposes the repeal of Subchapter D, Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind, in its entirety:

SUBCHAPTER D. DIVISION 1: GENERAL RULES

§854.110. Purpose

Section 854.110 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

§854.111. Legal Authority

Section 854.111 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

§854.112. Definitions

Section 854.112 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

SUBCHAPTER D. DIVISION 2: ALLOCATION OF FUNDS

§854.120. Allocation of Funds

Section 854.120 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

SUBCHAPTER D. DIVISION 3: INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES FOR OLDER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND

§854.130. Purpose

Section 854.130 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

§854.131. Eligibility

Section 854.131 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

§854.132. Independent Living Plan

Section 854.132 is repealed. The information in this section has been incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

§854.133. Waiting List

Section 854.133 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

§854.134. Scope of Services

Section 854.134 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

SUBCHAPTER D. DIVISION 4: CONSUMER PARTICIPATION

§854.140. Consumer Participation System

Section 854.140 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

§854.141. Fee Schedule Amount

Section 854.141 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

§854.142. Insurance Payments

Section 854.142 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

SUBCHAPTER D. DIVISION 5: CONSUMER RIGHTS

§854.150. Rights of Consumers

Section 854.150 is repealed. The information in this section is being incorporated into new Chapter 853 in a separate but concurrent rulemaking proposal that consolidates TWC's ILS-OIB program rules into a new chapter.

§854.151. Complaint Process

Section 854.151 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

SUBCHAPTER D. DIVISION 6: TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING

§854.160. Administering Agency's Role in Providing Technical Assistance

Section 854.160 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

SUBCHAPTER D. DIVISION 7: REFERRALS

§854.170. Expectations of Administering Agency's Employees

Section 854.170 is repealed. This section is no longer needed in this chapter.

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

Randy Townsend, Chief Financial Officer, has determined that for each year of the first five years the repeals will be in effect, the following statements will apply:

There are no additional estimated costs to the state and to local governments expected as a result of the repeal.

There are no estimated cost reductions to the state and to local governments as a result of the repeals.

There are no estimated losses or increases in revenue to the state or to local governments as a result of the repeals.

There are no foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenue of the state or local governments as a result of the repeals.

There are no anticipated economic costs to individuals as a result of the repeals.

There is no anticipated adverse economic impact on small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities as a result of the repeals.

Based on the analyses required by Texas Government Code §2001.024, TWC has determined that the requirement to repeal or amend a rule, codified at Texas Government Code §2001.0045, does not apply to this rulemaking.

Government Growth Impact Statement

TWC has determined that during the first five years the repeals will be in effect:

--the proposed repeal will not create or eliminate a government program;

--implementation of the proposed repeal will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions;

--implementation of the proposed repeal will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to TWC;

--the proposed repeal will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to TWC;

--the proposed repeal will not create a new regulation;

--the proposed repeal will not expand, limit, or eliminate an existing regulation;

--the proposed repeal will not change the number of individuals subject to the rule; and

--the proposed repeal will not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

Economic Impact Statement and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

TWC has determined that the proposed repeals will not have an adverse economic impact on small businesses or rural communities, as the proposed repeal places no requirements on small businesses or rural communities.

Doyle Fuchs, Director of Labor Market and Career Information, has determined that there is no significant negative impact upon employment conditions in the state as a result of the repeals.

Courtney Arbour, Director, Workforce Development Division, has determined that for each year of the first five years the repeals are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the proposed repeals will be to comply with statutory requirements, unify and clarify rule language, update terminology, and improve consistency within the CCRC and ILS-OIB programs.

TWC hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within TWC's legal authority to adopt.

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

In the development of the proposal of these repeals for publication and public comment, TWC sought the involvement of Texas' 28 Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards). TWC provided the concept paper regarding the proposed repeal to the Boards for consideration and review on January 1, 2018. TWC also conducted a conference call with Board executive directors and Board staff on July 19, 2018, to discuss the concept paper. During the rulemaking process, TWC considered all information gathered in order to propose the repeal.

Comments on the proposed repeal may be submitted to TWC Policy Comments, Workforce Policy and Service Delivery, attn: Workforce Editing, 101 East 15th Street, Room 459T, Austin, Texas 78778; faxed to (512) 475-3577; or e-mailed to TWCPolicyComments@twc.state.tx.us. Comments must be received or postmarked no later than 30 days from the date this proposal is published in the Texas Register.

SUBCHAPTER A. CRISS COLE REHABILITATION CENTER

40 TAC §§854.1 - 854.7

The repeals are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeals affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.1.Purpose.

§854.2.Legal Authority.

§854.3.Definitions.

§854.4.Eligibility.

§854.5.Services.

§854.6.Consumer Participation and Comparable Services and Benefits.

§854.7.Payment of Shift Differentials.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801684

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


DIVISION 1. GENERAL RULES

40 TAC §§854.110 - 854.112

The repeals are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeals affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.110.Purpose.

§854.111.Legal Authority.

§854.112.Definitions.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801685

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


DIVISION 2. ALLOCATION OF FUNDS

40 TAC §854.120

The repeal is proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeal affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.120.Allocation of Funds.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801686

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


DIVISION 3. INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES FOR OLDER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BLIND

40 TAC §§854.130 - 854.134

The repeals are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeals affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.130.Purpose.

§854.131.Eligibility.

§854.132.Independent Living Plan.

§854.133.Waiting List.

§854.134.Scope of Services.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801687

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


DIVISION 4. CONSUMER PARTICIPATION

40 TAC §§854.140 - 854.142

The repeals are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeals affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.140.Consumer Participation System.

§854.141.Fee Schedule Amount.

§854.142.Insurance Payments.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801688

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


DIVISION 5. CONSUMER RIGHTS

40 TAC §854.150, §854.151

The repeals are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeals affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.150.Rights of Consumers.

§854.151.Complaint Process.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801689

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


DIVISION 6. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING

40 TAC §854.160

The repeal is proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeal affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.160.Administering Agency's Role in Providing Technical Assistance.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801690

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


DIVISION 7. REFERRALS

40 TAC §854.170

The repeal is proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed repeal affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§854.170.Expectations of Administering Agency's Employees.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801691

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


CHAPTER 856. VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) proposes the following new sections to Chapter 856, relating to the Division for Rehabilitation Services:

Subchapter C. Provision of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, §856.57

Subchapter G. Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, §§856.83 - 856.88

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

The purpose of the proposed Chapter 856 rule change is to comply with Texas Labor Code §352.101. Section 352.101 required TWC to integrate the two Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs--VR for individuals with visual impairments (Blind Services) and VR for individuals with other disabilities (Rehabilitation Services)--into a single VR program. Consistent with §352.101, on October 1, 2017, the VR programs for individuals with visual impairments and for individuals with other disabilities became integrated into a single VR program. The rules to support this integration were effective November 6, 2017.

Currently, TWC's Chapter 852, Purchase of Medical Goods and Services by the Texas Workforce Commission - Vocational Rehabilitation Services, contains a single rule, §851.1, Alternative Purchasing Methods--Rates for Medical Services. To align this purchasing rule with other TWC VR procurement and programmatic operations, this chapter should be repealed. Section 852.1 is proposed to be adopted as a rule in Chapter 856 and updated to reflect statutory changes.

Currently, VR program rules for the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) are in Chapter 854, Subchapter A. CCRC is a comprehensive rehabilitation facility in Austin and is operated by TWC. CCRC provides evaluation, training, and related services in a residential and community setting to help customers who are blind or Deafblind accomplish their employment and independent living goals. CCRC is a VR service and should be in Chapter 856 with the remainder of the VR program rules. TWC proposes new rules to Chapter 856, Subchapter G, to contain all rules for the CCRC program. In a separate but concurrent rulemaking, TWC proposes the repeal of Chapter 854, Subchapter A.

Additionally, with the transfer of VR services from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to TWC, Chapter 856 is no longer consistent with state law. For example, Chapter 856 contains many references to DARS and its organizational structure, and it incorporates DARS' terminology, such as referring to individuals receiving services as "consumers." TWC proposes amendments to replace the outdated agency and division names and position titles, as well as references to state statutes and rules in Chapter 856. TWC also proposes amendments to replace the word "consumer" with "customer" to be consistent with TWC terminology.

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS

(Note: Minor editorial changes are made that do not change the meaning of the rules and therefore are not discussed in the Explanation of Individual Provisions.)

SUBCHAPTER C. PROVISION OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES

TWC proposes the following new rule to Subchapter C:

§856.57. Alternative Purchasing Methods--Rates for Medical Services

New §856.57, formerly §852.1, is moved from Chapter 852 and updates its provisions to align with TWC procurement and programmatic operations.

SUBCHAPTER G. CRISS COLE REHABILITATION CENTER

TWC proposes the following new rules to Subchapter G:

§856.83. Definitions

New §856.83, formerly §854.3, is moved from Chapter 854 and updates its provisions to add the definition of "Deafblind" and provides the requirements to be considered an individual who is Deafblind for purposes of eligibility for CCRC services. The definition of Deafblind replicates the wording of 29 USC Chapter 21, §1905, relating to Definitions. Additionally, the term "consumer" has been changed to "customer," consistent with TWC's terminology, with no change to the underlying definition.

§856.84. Initial Eligibility

New §856.84 replaces repealed §854.4 and updates its provisions to add the initial eligibility criteria to reflect the requirements for acceptance into CCRC for VR services. The eligibility requirements are similar to the requirements previously found in TWC Division of Blind Services rule §854.4. Only current VR customers are eligible for VR services, and they must be referred by a VR counselor for admission. Each customer must have a computerized criminal history check as part of the initial eligibility process. A risk evaluation must be completed if the criminal history check identifies a criminal history. To properly manage this residential program and ensure that all eligibility criteria are met, TWC is amending this section to clarify that all eligibility criteria other than Texas residency still apply to non-Texas residents seeking admission to the CCRC VR Training Program. Furthermore, because TWC has an integrated VR program, there is no need for priority to be given to customers; therefore, §854.4(b) is proposed to be repealed. Additionally, the term "consumers" has been changed to "customers," consistent with TWC's terminology, with no change to the definition.

§856.85. Continuing Eligibility

New §856.85 is added to specify that a customer must maintain eligibility to continue receiving services. Services may be discontinued if the customer is not in compliance with the requirements.

§856.86. Services

New §856.86 replaces repealed §854.5 and updates its provisions to provide a list of current services that TWC provides. Services such as communication systems and tools are added to address the Deafblind customer population. The amendment also updates the division name, replaces the word "consumer" with "customer," and ties the services that a customer receives to the individualized plan for employment.

§856.87. Customer Participation and Comparable Services and Benefits

New §856.87 replaces repealed §854.6 and updates the statutory references and replaces the word "consumer" with "customer."

§856.88. Payment of Shift Differentials

New §856.88 replaces repealed §854.7 and updates its provisions to correlate with TWC's employment business practices.

PART III. IMPACT STATEMENTS

Randy Townsend, Chief Financial Officer, has determined that for each year of the first five years that the rules will be in effect, the following statements will apply:

There are no additional estimated costs to the state and to local governments expected as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no estimated cost reductions to the state and to local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no estimated losses or increases in revenue to the state or to local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenue of the state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

There are no anticipated economic costs to individuals required to comply with the rules.

There is no anticipated adverse economic impact on small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

Based on the analyses required by Texas Government Code §2001.024, TWC has determined that the requirement to repeal or amend a rule, codified at Texas Government Code §2001.0045, does not apply to this rulemaking. Additionally, Texas Labor Code §352.101 requires TWC's three-member Commission to adopt rules necessary to integrate the VR programs, including recommending adopting rules to implement the integration. Therefore, the exception identified in §2001.0045(c)(9) also applies.

Government Growth Impact Statement

TWC has determined that during the first five years the rule will be in effect:

--the proposed rule will not create or eliminate a government program;

--implementation of the proposed rule will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions;

--implementation of the proposed rule will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to TWC;

--the proposed rule will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to TWC;

--the proposed rule will not create a new regulation;

--the proposed rule will not expand, limit, or eliminate an existing regulation;

--the proposed rule will not change the number of individuals subject to the rule; and

--the proposed rule will not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

Economic Impact Statement and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

TWC has determined that the proposed rules will not have an adverse economic impact on small businesses or rural communities, as these proposed rules place no requirements on small businesses or rural communities.

Doyle Fuchs, Director of Labor Market and Career Information, has determined that there is no significant negative impact upon employment conditions in the state as a result of the rules.

Courtney Arbour, Director, Workforce Development Division, has determined that for each year of the first five years the rules are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the proposed rules will be to comply with statutory requirements, unify and clarify rule language, update terminology, and improve consistency within the VR program.

TWC hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within TWC's legal authority to adopt.

PART IV. COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

In the development of these rules for publication and public comment, TWC sought the involvement of Texas' 28 Boards and the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT). TWC provided the concept paper regarding these rule amendments to the Boards and RCT's Policy Committee for consideration and review on January 16, 2018. TWC also conducted a conference call with Board executive directors and Board staff on January 19, 2018, to discuss the concept paper. During the rulemaking process, TWC considered all information gathered in order to develop rules that provide clear and concise direction to all parties involved.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to TWC Policy Comments, Workforce Policy and Service Delivery, Attn: Workforce Editing, 101 East 15th Street, Room 459T, Austin, Texas 78778; faxed to (512) 475-3577; or e-mailed to TWCPolicyComments@twc.state.tx.us. Comments must be received or postmarked no later than 30 days from the date this proposal is published in the Texas Register.

SUBCHAPTER C. PROVISION OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES

40 TAC §856.57

The rule is proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed rule affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§856.57.Alternative Purchasing Methods - Rates for Medical Services.

Under Texas Labor Code §352.054, this rule adopts standards governing the determination of rates paid for medical services provided by the Agency. The rates determined under these standards are reevaluated annually:

(1) Rates shall be established based on Medicare and Medicaid schedules for current procedural terminology. Where Medicare and Medicaid schedules are not applicable, rates that represent best value shall be established based on factors that include reasonable and customary industry standards for each specific service.

(2) Rates shall be established at a level adequate to ensure that enough qualified providers are available to provide assessment and treatment within a geographic distribution that reflects customer or claimant distribution.

(3) Exceptions to established rates may be made on a case-by-case basis by the Agency's medical director or optometric consultant.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801692

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER G. CRISS COLE REHABILITATION CENTER

40 TAC §§856.83 - 856.88

The rules are proposed under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide TWC with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of TWC services and activities.

The proposed rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 81, 301, and 302.

§856.83.Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) Blind--An individual whose visual acuity with best correction is 20/200 or less in the better eye; or an individual with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees, which means a visual field of no greater than 20 degrees in the better eye.

(2) Customer--An individual with a disability who has applied for or who is receiving VR services.

(3) Deafblind--An individual:

(A) who has a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses, or a field defect such that the peripheral diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees, or a progressive visual loss having a prognosis leading to one or both of these conditions;

(B) who has a chronic hearing impairment so severe that most speech cannot be understood with optimum amplification, or a progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to this condition; and

(C) for whom the combination of impairments described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation;

(D) who, despite the inability to be measured accurately for hearing and vision loss due to cognitive or behavioral constraints, or both, can be determined through functional and performance assessment to have severe hearing and visual disabilities that cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining vocational objectives; or

(E) who meets such other requirements as the Secretary of Education may prescribe by regulation.

§856.84.Initial Eligibility.

(a) To be eligible for VR services at CCRC, an individual must be:

(1) at least 18 years of age;

(2) legally blind or Deafblind;

(3) a Texas resident;

(4) a current VR customer; and

(5) referred by a VR counselor for services at CCRC.

(b) Any individual described in subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to a computerized criminal history (CCH) check, and the results of the CCH will be evaluated as to the individual's eligibility for VR services at CCRC. A risk evaluation must be completed if the CCH check identifies a criminal history. TWC will perform a risk evaluation to include the following factors, but not be limited to the:

(1) severity of the offense;

(2) time frame of the offense;

(3) rehabilitation of the customer; and

(4) parole and community supervision terms.

(c) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(3) of this section, a non-Texas resident who is receiving services from an entity in another state and who otherwise meets the requirements set out in subsections (a) and (b) of this section may be considered for admission and training on a space-available basis, subject to an agreement between the out-of-state entity and the Agency on payment of cost of services provided to the individual.

§856.85.Continuing Eligibility.

(a) To maintain eligibility while receiving CCRC services, the customer (student) must comply with:

(1) the Student Handbook; and

(2) relevant state and federal laws.

(b) Upon finding that the customer no longer complies with subsection (a) of this section, continuing eligibility for services may be revoked and CCRC services discontinued.

§856.86.Services.

(a) CCRC may provide services such as:

(1) assessment;

(2) individualized and small-group training;

(3) home and personal-management training;

(4) orientation and mobility training;

(5) braille training;

(6) low-vision assessment and training;

(7) recreation activities;

(8) social skills training;

(9) communication systems and tools;

(10) technology; and

(11) career guidance.

(b) This list should not be interpreted as comprehensive; ancillary services may also be available.

(c) Services are provided in accordance with VR as listed on the customer's individualized plan for employment.

§856.87.Customer Participation and Comparable Services and Benefits.

For information about customer participation and comparable benefits, refer to §856.59, relating to Purpose of Customer Participation, and §856.71, relating to Comparable Services and Benefits.

§856.88.Payment of Shift Differentials.

(a) The Agency's VR Division (VRD) director is authorized to pay a shift differential to eligible VR employees. The shift differential is paid in addition to the employee's regular base pay, exclusive of longevity and benefit replacement pay.

(b) The VRD director is authorized to determine the VR positions that are eligible to receive shift differential payments. The rate of payment is a percentage of the employee's monthly regular base pay, not to exceed the maximum allowed by state law, in relation to the number of hours the employee regularly works outside the work hours of Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

(c) This section does not apply to employees whose work hours have been adjusted according to Agency policies that concern staggered work hours.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on April 18, 2018.

TRD-201801693

Jason Vaden

Director, Workforce Program Policy

Texas Workforce Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: June 3, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829