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Division Policy 6.12

SUBJECT

Maintenance

EFFECTIVE DATE

August 6, 2010

REVIEW DATE

January 18, 2013

EXPIRATION DATE

This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed.

PURPOSE

To ensure that maintenance is provided using the same policy for the state.

AUTHORITY

34 CFR 361.5 (35) and FS 413

POLICY

Definition

Maintenance is monetary support provided to a client that is necessitated by the client’s participation in a program for vocational rehabilitation services. Maintenance also includes monetary support for a client receiving extended evaluation services for those expenses such as food, shelter, and clothing that are in excess of the normal living expenses of the individual.

Work experience stipends are available at a designated rate-per-hour to cover costs incurred by the client through participating in the work experience.

General Policy

Prior to providing maintenance services, the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) shall (a) conduct a thorough assessment of a client’s needs and resources, utilizing the adopted Financial Needs Assessment Form; this form is used solely to assist counselor in determining the amount of maintenance a client maybe needing, not to determine whether a client is eligible for maintenance (b) determine whether comparable services and benefits exist under any other program; (c) determine whether those services and benefits are available to the client and document the client’s electronic file; and (d) re-evaluate the client’s needs and resources every six months unless enrolled in post secondary education, which requires reviews prior to each term to determine the level of support to be provided. (SSI and SSDI income can not be included when determining maintenance.); and (e) determination should be completed within 60 days of client’s request and documented in the electronic file.

Such determination, however, shall not be required:

  • If it would delay the provision of such services to any client at extreme medical risk; or
  • An immediate job placement would be lost due to a delay in the provision of such comparable benefits.

All need for maintenance must be tied to a client’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Maintenance checks may be provided directly to the client or be provided by paying the bill directly. This should be part of the client’s IPE. Maintenance checks with expenses incurred due to training as related to their IPE plans cannot exceed the economic need guidelines for the family size when combined with any other sources of monthly income, excluding social security benefits. (See Policy 8.7 Participation of Individual in cost of services based on financial need) Exceptions to this must be approved by the Bureau Chief. (See policy 2.25 Exceptions to Policies)

*Note: See College Handbook for specifics on maintenance related to individuals attending college.

Spending Guidelines

A. Comparable Services and Benefits

Comparable services and benefits must always be used, as applicable.

The case record must show how the provision of maintenance is related to the client’s participation in his/her program of vocational rehabilitation services.

In the case of students, there must be evidence that they applied for the Pell Grant even if they did not receive any funding through this program.

B. Room, Meals, and Housing Expenses

Housing deposits, such as one-time costs of utilities and rent, may be provided. Provision of housing expenses must be limited to situations in which the client must relocate or would otherwise be precluded from participating in an IPE or taking a job. (This includes college students who must relocate to participate in a college program as nothing is available in their home area) When possible, deposits should be refunded to the Division rather than to the client at the end of a specific time period or event. The Rehabilitation Specialist must develop a written agreement which reference’s the client’s responsibility to reimburse the agency.

Short-term room and/or meal costs (normally reserved for travel necessitating overnight in a hotel) may be provided. Room rates must be reasonable and agreed upon by the counselor.

Cost of meals cannot exceed the amount reimbursable to a state employee for the same meal.

C. Travel

Provision of travel should be based on state statutes and purchasing rules for state employees. Cost of travel will not exceed the amount reimbursable to a state employee.

D. Clothing

A person in a rehabilitation program may require clothing suitable for participating in the program. Clothing needs should be assessed and may be provided when:

  • The client is at a facility which requires special clothing or uniforms either by dress code or by weather;
  • Special safety clothing is needed to begin a job and is not provided by the employer;
  • The client is ready for employment and needs clothing for job interviews or to begin a job. The cost should not exceed $300 for all clothing needs.

E. Standards for Exceptions to Spending Guidelines

Exceptions to the spending guidelines include the following two items:

  • All clients attending the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Daytona for training purposes should receive a monthly maintenance check for socialization regardless of income. The Center will notify counselors of the amount.
  • Maintenance checks will not be provided if a client already receives work experience stipends as it is duplicative.

F. Emergency Maintenance

  • There may be times when a client needs a maintenance check or work experience stipend quickly to meet an emergency (e.g., risk of homelessness, clothing for an immediate job interview, etc.). Details documenting the need for this emergency maintenance must be placed in the client’s electronic file. A second party vendor may provide such a check with the approval of the Bureau Chief of Client Services or the Program Consultant for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The counselor must issue an authorization for the service at that time.
  • If a client receives an emergency maintenance or work experience check from a second party, the counselor should receive documentation that the check was received, and should then reimburse the second-party vendor using the electronic file. Such documentation should be noted in the client’s record of service and copies should be kept in the client’s paper file.

Original signed by Joyce Hildreth, Director on March 14, 2011.