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Proposed Changes to Department of Rehabilitation Services Policy Relating to Client Services
Each year DRS proposes changes to their policies which will affect client services, and they conduct public meetings in Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa to gather feedback on those policies before actually adopting the policies. Under 612:10-3-5 the agency is lowering the income a client can have before having a co-pay for services. This would affect clients and potential clients of the agency who had over 200% of federal poverty guidelines. That figure has fluctuated up to 400% and now is going back down to its original level. Policy 612:10-7-2.3 provides for DRS to engage the business community to promote the hiring of people with disabilities. This has the potential of expanding job prospects for clients of DRS.
DRS continues to encourage competitive employment for people with disabilities making at least minimum wage. Individuals working in workshops making less than minimum wage must be counseled about other opportunities according to 612:10-7-2.4. DRS clients with a mental health diagnosis must be compliant with prescribed medications (612:10-7-3). 612:10-7-24.1 carries this further requiring individuals with a mental health diagnosis to be in an active treatment plan for their disability. Documentation of employment must be provided by a DRS client going to work, preferably by a pay stub although other documentation may be accepted (612:10-7-56). Policy 612:10-7-58 is similar to the previous stipulating that for a DRS case to be closed successfully, there must be documentation to verify employment—again ideally being a pay stub. DRS cases closed after having been in service status require supervisory approval according to 612:10-7-87. In 612:10-7-130 DRS agrees to pay room and board to a student attending an educational institution only if that institution is over 40 miles from the individual client’s home. When the agency does pay room and board, they agree to pay only on campus at the lowest rate. Exceptions require supervisory approval.
Policy 612:10-7-152 is similar that the agency directs clients to a community college within 40 miles of the student’s residence for the first 60 hours of college credit. If a student chooses another college, DRS will only reimburse at the community college rate of tuition. For the last two years of college credit when the individual begins to study a specific field, DRS will sponsor education at the nearest school which offers training towards the individual’s employment outcome. Policy 612:10-7-240 encourages transition services for students leaving public school and considering life skills for their future. Students exiting the public school to begin work at a workshop making sub-minimum wage must be identified while still in school (612:10-7-241). DRS can work with individuals or groups in schools to encourage a work outcome in their future.
This is a paraphrase of some proposed changes to DRS policy in 2019 made by an author who does not speak for DRS. For more information about proposed changes, contact Tina Calloway at the DRS state office in Oklahoma City, 405-951-3552 or TCalloway@okdrs.gov. Go to https://go.gov/xEr8e for a listing of all proposed changes to DRS policy. You will have an opportunity to make comments at DRS public meetings in Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa held February 4,5 and 6.
ODC serves as a resource, to people with disabilities, who want to present their views and recommendations to the Governor, the State Legislature and State agencies.ODC supports two important committees: