29 U.S.C. § 721 - State plans

Cite as:29 U.S.C. § 721
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-21 (6/12/2019)
 
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(a) Plan requirements

(1) In general

(A) Submission

To be eligible to receive funds under this subchapter for a fiscal year, a State shall submit, and have approved by the Secretary and the Secretary of Labor, a unified State plan in accordance with section 102, or a combined State plan in accordance with section 103, of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [ 29 U.S.C. 3112, 3113 ]. The unified or combined State plan shall include, in the portion of the plan described in section 102(b)(2)(D) of such Act [ 29 U.S.C. 3112(b)(2)(D) ] (referred to in this subsection as the "vocational rehabilitation services portion"), the provisions of a State plan for vocational rehabilitation services, described in this subsection.

(B) Nonduplication

The State shall not be required to submit, as part of the vocational rehabilitation services portion of the unified or combined State plan submitted in accordance with subparagraph (A), policies, procedures, or descriptions required under this subchapter that have been previously submitted to the Commissioner and that demonstrate that such State meets the requirements of this subchapter, including any policies, procedures, or descriptions submitted under this subchapter as in effect on the day before the effective date of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

(C) Duration

The vocational rehabilitation services portion of the unified or combined State plan submitted in accordance with subparagraph (A) shall remain in effect until the State submits and receives approval of a new State plan in accordance with subparagraph (A), or until the submission of such modifications as the State determines to be necessary or as the Commissioner may require based on a change in State policy, a change in Federal law (including regulations), an interpretation of this chapter by a Federal court or the highest court of the State, or a finding by the Commissioner of State noncompliance with the requirements of this chapter.

(2) Designated State agency; designated State unit

(A) Designated State agency

The State plan for vocational rehabilitation services shall designate a State agency as the sole State agency to administer the plan, or to supervise the administration of the plan by a local agency, except that-

(i) where, under State law, the State agency for individuals who are blind or another agency that provides assistance or services to adults who are blind is authorized to provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind, that agency may be designated as the sole State agency to administer the part of the plan under which vocational rehabilitation services are provided for individuals who are blind (or to supervise the administration of such part by a local agency) and a separate State agency may be designated as the sole State agency to administer or supervise the administration of the rest of the State plan;

(ii) the Commissioner, on the request of a State, may authorize the designated State agency to share funding and administrative responsibility with another agency of the State or with a local agency in order to permit the agencies to carry out a joint program to provide services to individuals with disabilities, and may waive compliance, with respect to vocational rehabilitation services furnished under the joint program, with the requirement of paragraph (4) that the plan be in effect in all political subdivisions of the State; and

(iii) in the case of American Samoa, the appropriate State agency shall be the Governor of American Samoa.

(B) Designated State unit

The State agency designated under subparagraph (A) shall be-

(i) a State agency primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation, or vocational and other rehabilitation, of individuals with disabilities; or

(ii) if not such an agency, the State agency (or each State agency if 2 are so designated) shall include a vocational rehabilitation bureau, division, or other organizational unit that-

(I) is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation, or vocational and other rehabilitation, of individuals with disabilities, and is responsible for the vocational rehabilitation program of the designated State agency;

(II) has a full-time director who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the vocational rehabilitation program;

(III) has a staff employed on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit all or substantially all of whom are employed full time on such work;

(IV) is located at an organizational level and has an organizational status within the designated State agency comparable to that of other major organizational units of the designated State agency; and

(V) has the sole authority and responsibility within the designated State agency described in subparagraph (A) to expend funds made available under this subchapter in a manner that is consistent with the purposes of this subchapter.

(C) Responsibility for services for the blind

If the State has designated only 1 State agency pursuant to subparagraph (A), the State may assign responsibility for the part of the plan under which vocational rehabilitation services are provided for individuals who are blind to an organizational unit of the designated State agency and assign responsibility for the rest of the plan to another organizational unit of the designated State agency, with the provisions of subparagraph (B) applying separately to each of the designated State units.

(3) Non-Federal share

The State plan shall provide for financial participation by the State, or if the State so elects, by the State and local agencies, to provide the amount of the non-Federal share of the cost of carrying out part B.

(4) Statewideness

The State plan shall provide that the plan shall be in effect in all political subdivisions of the State, except that-

(A) in the case of any activity that, in the judgment of the Commissioner, is likely to assist in promoting the vocational rehabilitation of substantially larger numbers of individuals with disabilities or groups of individuals with disabilities, the Commissioner may waive compliance with the requirement that the plan be in effect in all political subdivisions of the State to the extent and for such period as may be provided in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commissioner, but only if the non-Federal share of the cost of the vocational rehabilitation services involved is met from funds made available by a local agency (including funds contributed to such agency by a private agency, organization, or individual); and

(B) in a case in which earmarked funds are used toward the non-Federal share and such funds are earmarked for particular geographic areas within the State, the earmarked funds may be used in such areas if the State notifies the Commissioner that the State cannot provide the full non-Federal share without such funds.

(5) Order of selection for vocational rehabilitation services

In the event that vocational rehabilitation services cannot be provided to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the State who apply for the services, the State plan shall-

(A) show the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;

(B) provide the justification for the order of selection;

(C) include an assurance that, in accordance with criteria established by the State for the order of selection, individuals with the most significant disabilities will be selected first for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services;

(D) notwithstanding subparagraph (C), permit the State, in its discretion, to elect to serve eligible individuals (whether or not receiving vocational rehabilitation services) who require specific services or equipment to maintain employment; and

(E) provide that eligible individuals, who do not meet the order of selection criteria, shall have access to services provided through the information and referral system implemented under paragraph (20).

(6) Methods for administration

(A) In general

The State plan shall provide for such methods of administration as are found by the Commissioner to be necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the plan.

(B) Employment of individuals with disabilities

The State plan shall provide that the designated State agency, and entities carrying out community rehabilitation programs in the State, who are in receipt of assistance under this subchapter shall take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities covered under, and on the same terms and conditions as set forth in, section 793 of this title.

(C) Facilities

The State plan shall provide that facilities used in connection with the delivery of services assisted under the State plan shall comply with the Act entitled "An Act to insure that certain buildings financed with Federal funds are so designed and constructed as to be accessible to the physically handicapped", approved on August 12, 1968 (commonly known as the "Architectural Barriers Act of 1968") [ 42 U.S.C. 4151 et seq.], with section 794 of this title, and with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [ 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.].

(7) Comprehensive system of personnel development

The State plan shall-

(A) include a description (consistent with the purposes of this chapter) of a comprehensive system of personnel development, which shall include-

(i) a description of the procedures and activities the designated State agency will undertake to ensure an adequate supply of qualified State rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessionals for the designated State unit, including the development and maintenance of a system for determining, on an annual basis-

(I) the number and type of personnel that are employed by the designated State unit in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, including ratios of qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors to clients; and

(II) the number and type of personnel needed by the State, and a projection of the numbers of such personnel that will be needed in 5 years, based on projections of the number of individuals to be served, the number of such personnel who are expected to retire or leave the vocational rehabilitation field, and other relevant factors;

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