RSA extends a special welcome to new state vocational rehabilitation (VR) directors. This orientation is provided to support you in the important work of administering federal programs within your state funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, including the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program, the Supported Employment Program, the State Independent Living Services Program, and the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals who are Blind Program. RSA developed this guide to provide quick and efficient access to information and technical assistance resources related to the administration of these programs. We hope that you find this information useful and encourage you to contact your RSA state liaison for assistance in locating other resources, or for responses to questions pertaining to the administration of any of these programs.
The RSA web site is a primary source for locating pertinent information described below related to RSA’s formula and discretionary grant programs, including current policy guidance, on-line training and technical assistance tools and resources, state and national data, grant-related reporting forms, VR and IL State Plans, and other state-specific information. Links to this information are included below for ready access.
To access the most current information and notifications from RSA, VR directors can subscribe for email updates
The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is a key partner with the VR agency in the administration of the VR program. RSA developed training for State Rehabilitation Council members that may be helpful to you in learning more about the role and function of the SRC. The training is a self-paced on-line tutorial, consisting of a series of topical modules designed to enhance the knowledge of SRCs, thus, enabling them to carry out their functions more effectively.
The modules address the following topics:
- history of the VR program;
- overview of the Rehabilitation Act;
- role and functions of the SRC related to the conduct of the statewide needs assessment;
- development of state goals and priorities;
- analysis of consumer satisfaction; and
- development and operationalization of the VR State Plan.
More recent modules address performance evaluation and quality assurance of the VR program. We invite you to access this on-line training program.
The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and the Designated State Unit (DSU) are partners in the joint development of the State Plan for Independent Living, with input from the statewide network of Centers for Independent Living (CILs). The SILC and the DSU, together with the statewide network, work to fulfill the purpose of the Independent Living Program. SILC duties and authorized activities are described in sections 705(c), (d) and (e) of the Rehabilitation Act.
Additional guidance on the role and duties of the SILC can be found in RSA’s Responses to NCIL’s Questions Regarding SILC Roles and Responsibilities.
RSA, through its Independent Living Training and Technical Assistance center, developed an on-line training resource for SILCs that addresses issues pertinent to the operation and performance of the SILC.
An important component of the VR/SE State Plan is Attachment 4.11(a), which includes the results of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) that describes the needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, in accordance with the requirements in section 101(a)(15)(A)(i) of the Rehabilitation Act.
As a resource to VR agencies and SRCs in conducting the CSNA, RSA developed a Vocational Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Guide.
In addition, RSA developed a subsequent module to the SRC on-line training series focused on program evaluation and quality assurance.
Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires the commissioner of RSA to conduct annual reviews and periodic on-site monitoring of programs authorized under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act to determine whether a vocational rehabilitation agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its VR State Plan under section 101 of the Rehabilitation Act and with the Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators established under section 106. To fulfill this requirement, RSA developed the VR Monitoring and Technical Assistance Guide (MTAG) through which it assesses the performance of the VR agencies in the operation of the program and their compliance with pertinent federal programmatic and fiscal requirements.
It is important to note that the VR MTAG may be revised or updated from year-to-year. Therefore, we recommend that you return to this site periodically to access RSA’s most current VR MTAG.
During the monitoring process, RSA works closely with the VR agency, the State Rehabilitation Council, and stakeholders to identify emerging practices to help promote communities of practice and increase awareness of a variety of approaches that could provide a foundation for research and lead to the development of evidence-based practices.
RSA developed the FY 2012 Independent Living Monitoring and Technical Assistance Guide (IL/MTAG) through which it assesses the performance and compliance of the Designated State Agency and/or Designated State Unit with pertinent programmatic and fiscal requirements in the administration of the two IL formula grant programs authorized under Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, including the State Independent Living Services Program and the IL Services for Older Individuals who are Blind Program.
To assist states with the fiscal administration of the program, RSA developed a number of fiscal resources including policy directives and training materials on specific areas of fiscal policy and program administration. In addition, RSA posted training materials from the FY 2011 National Financial Management Conference, conducted August 23-26, 2011, as a resource in this area.
The materials address a number of topics including:
- Allowable and Allocable Costs;
- Contract Development and Administration;
- Establishment Projects;
- Indirect Cost and Cost Allocation Plan;
- Integration of Program and Fiscal Info/Data Planning;
- Internal and External Fiscal Control;
- Maintenance of Effort;
- Management of Funding Streams Cash Management & Drawdown;
- Personnel Cost Allocation;
- Sources of Match; Third-Party Cooperative Arrangements; and
- Supporting Documentation.
RSA developed calculators to assist VR agencies in finding the amount of match needed to fulfill the non-federal share of a grant award, and the formula grant process for the basic VR state grants program.
RSA has conducted webinars on a number of topics to provide technical assistance (TA) such as VR/SE State Plan submission and reporting requirements. The webinars are available at the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials. TA webinars conducted from November 2008 through the spring of 2012 have been archived, along with supporting documents relative to each specific webinar.