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COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND

 

DIVISION 10

SERVICES FOR ELIGIBLE BLIND CLIENTS

585-010-0015

Business Enterprise Rules and Regulations Handbook

The Commission adopts and incorporates by reference the provisions of its Business Enterprise Program Rules and Regulations that were adopted by the Commission on February 2, 2001. The Commission shall make copies of the Rules and Regulations available for inspection by interested parties.

[Publications: The publication(s) referenced in this rule is available from the agency.]

Stat. Auth.: ORS 346.150 & ORS 183.341
Stats. Implemented: ORS 346.150 - ORS 346.570
Hist.: 2BC 1, f. 12-15-59; 2BC 16, f. 2-8-72, ef. 2-15-72; 2BC 22, f. 6-10-74, ef. 7-11-74; 2BC 24, f. 11-22-74, ef. 12-25-74; 2BC 27, f. & ef. 9-16-77; 2BC 2-1978, f. & ef. 9-16-78; 2BC 2-1985, f. & ef. 10-22-85; BLC 1-1987, f. & ef. 11-9-87; CFTB 1-2001(Temp), f. 2-7-01, cert. ef. 2-9-01 thru 8-8-01; CFTB 2-2001, f. & cert. ef. 6-12-01

585-010-0020

Definition of Blindness for Vocational Rehabilitation

For purposes of vocational rehabilitation, a person shall be considered blind who has been diagnosed by a qualified physician to have a medical condition that is:

(1) Congenital or organic in nature; and

(2) Results in loss of sight to the extent that the person's central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with best correction; or

(3) The person's central visual acuity exceeds 20/200 but is accompanied by limitation of the visual field to such a degree that its widest diameter subtends an angle of no greater than 20 degrees. A person is not considered blind who has a functional disorder that does not have a known organic or structural cause.

Stat. Auth.: 346.150
Stats. Implemented: 346.150
Hist: 2BC 3, f. 4-27-60; CFTB 1-2004, f. & cert. ef. 10-8-04

585-010-0030

Disclosure and Use of Records Limited

Except for the purposes directly connected with the administration of the programs of services to blind persons as provided for in ORS 346.060, 346.160 346.290, 346.310 346.360, and 346.510 346.570, no person shall solicit, disclose, receive, make use of, or authorize, knowingly permit, participate in, or acquiesce in the use of, any list of or names of or any information concerning persons that may become known to the Commission either by application for services, for purposes of the Register of the Blind or for any other purpose directly or indirectly derived from the records, papers, files, communications of the state, or subdivision or agencies thereof or acquired in the course of performance of official duties.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 15, f. 2-10-71, ef. 3-11-71

Reader's Service for Blind Students

585-010-0100

What This Rule Does

This rule establishes the procedure for payment of reader's service for those blind students undergoing training through the Commission for the Blind under an agreed upon vocational rehabilitation plan.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented: ORS 346.150
Hist.: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; CFTB 3-1999, f. & cert. ef. 7-8-99

585-010-0105

Statutory Authority and Procedure

This rule carries out and is authorized by ORS 346.150 and 346.180. Public Notice of Rule Making was given by the Commision in Oregon Administrative Rules Bulletin of November 1, 1973. The rule was adopted November 21, 1973, and filed December 3, 1973, effective December 26, 1973.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0110

Effective Date

This rule applies to all payments for reader's service authorized after December 26, 1973.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0115

Hours of Reader's Service Authorized

(1) The number of hours of Reader's Service authorized will be based on the individual circumstances of the student, their specific course of study, and their overall individualized plan for employment. The following is a reasonable standard for the number of hours to be authorized for reader's services:

(a) An undergraduate student carrying a course load of at least 12 hours will likely need about 70 hours of reader's service per month. A proportionate share can be authorized where the course load is less than 12 hours.

(b) A graduate student carrying a course load of at least nine hours will likely need about 70 hours of reader's service per month. This amount can be reduced proportionately for those graduate students carrying a course load of less than nine hours.

(c) Exceptions may be made if the student demonstrates to the Commission that he/she is engaged in a special project or is conducting special research which is approved by the institution where he/she is matriculating or that he/she is writing a thesis for a degree at the master's level or above.

(2) Each student will make an effort to utilize alternate formats of materials in lieu of hiring readers and must be able to demonstrate such effort upon request.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 3-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0120

Restrictions on the Hourly Rate of Payment

The hourly rate of payment for reader's service is a matter to be agreed upon between the student and the reader, however, the rate should not exceed the prevailing state minimum wage. Exceptions to this limitation may be granted under unusual circumstances. Requests for such exceptions must be submitted in writing to the student's counselor at the Commission and the exceptional rate must be approved prior to authorizing any payments.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0125

Invoices for Blind Student Reader's Service

The Commission will supply each student with invoices, which the student will provide to each of his/her readers. These forms are to be completed by each reader and shall indicate the number of hours of service to the student, the hourly rate of payment agreed upon between the student and the reader, the social security number and address of the reader, and must be signed by the reader. The student will sign each invoice, thus certifying as to its accuracy. The student is responsible for forwarding copies 1 and 2 of each invoice to the Commission at least monthly. The student will return copy 3 of each completed and signed invoice to the reader. Each student is responsible for informing his/her readers that the service they are providing are services to the student and not to the Commission for the Blind, and further, that the readers are not employees of the Commission for the Blind. By signing and submitting the invoice, the student is verifying that the reader is able to demonstrate an adequate level of reading skills to efficiently read the required subject matter.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 3-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84; BLC 3-1987, f. & ef. 11-18-87; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0130

Maintenance of Record of Certified Invoices

Each student shall maintain an itemized record of the dates and times when readers are used which should match the invoice statements that are submitted. The student should be able to provide these records when requested to do so.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 3-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0135

Withdrawal from Training

In the event that a student intends to withdraw completely from the institution and/or training program where his/her attendance has been approved, the student is responsible for notifying his/her counselor at the Commission of his/her intended termination and the projected termination date.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 3-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84

585-010-0140

Submission of Grade Reports

Each student shall submit a copy of an official institution or training program record of his/her grades to his/her counselor at the Commission for each completed term or training period, not later than 30 days following the completion of each term or training period.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & ORS 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 3-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84

585-010-0145

Availability of Funds

The provision for payment of reader's service is contingent upon the availability of adequate funds to the Commission for the Blind for this purpose.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0150

Distribution of Copies of This Rule

The Commission will provide each student with a copy of this rule. Violation of this rule may result in discontinuance of payment for reader's service.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 19, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 3-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84 ; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

College Training for Blind Persons

585-010-0200

What This Rule Does

This rule establishes the conditions under which financial support for college training will be provided by the Commission for the Blind.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 346
Stats. Implemented: ORS 346.150
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; CFTB 3-1999, f. & cert. ef. 7-8-99

585-010-0205

Statutory Authority and Procedure

This rule carries out and is authorized by ORS 346.150 and 346.180. Public Notice of Rule Making was given by the Commission in Oregon Administrative Rules Bulletin of November 1, 1973. The rule was adopted November 21, 1973, filed December 3, 1973, effective December 26, 1973.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0210

Effective Date

This rule is effective December 26, 1973, for those students entering college. The policies established by this rule will be utilized in evaluating continued support for those students presently in college.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0215

Basic Criteria

(1) The planned training at an institution of higher education must be part of an approved Individualized Plan for Employment.

(2) The extent of the financial support provided will be conditioned by the following:

(a) The client must present documentary evidence to indicate that a reasonable effort has been made to obtain cash grant assistance or non-merit scholarships from other sources to pay for the planned training, in whole or in part;

(b) Where cash grant assistance or scholarships are obtained to partially fund training costs, the client must submit copies of the relevant correspondence to identify the extent that training costs will be funded from other sources including family resources. Awards and scholarships based on merit are not considered a comparable benefit.

(c) Where denial of cash grant assistance or scholarships is based on the availability of family resources, the client will be expected to utilize such family resources to fund that part of the planned training expenses involving tuition, books, and supplies;

(d) Financial support will be provided where client is determined to be eligible by the institution(s) but denial of cash grant assistance or scholarships is based solely on the non-availability of funds to the applicable institution(s). The client should secure a "No Funds" letter and submit it to his or her counselor at the Commission promptly.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 23, f. 8-2-74, ef. 8-25-74; 2BC 2-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0220

Comprehensive Evaluation Required

Except as provided for in OAR 585-010-0225, financial support will be provided to a blind person to attend college only after he/she has completed a comprehensive evaluation program. The evaluation must indicate that the client has an acceptable level of functioning in the following areas:

(1) Orientation and Mobility;

(2) Communication Skills;

(3) Personal Management, i.e., techniques of daily living, personal grooming, and social competency;

(4) Use of the written language on a college level;

(5) Understanding of career alternatives and availability of jobs in the future labor market;

(6) Psychological adjustment to blindness;

(7) Study skills which will insure effective use of time and resources while in an academic program. The Commission is prepared to provide a structured and objective evaluation of each client. The evaluation will be accomplished at the Orientation and Career Center for the Blind, or on an individual basis by the professional staff of the Commission or by a means approved by the client's vocational rehabilitation counselor.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 2-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0225

Alternative to Comprehensive Evaluation

Except as provided for in OAR 585-010-0215, financial support will be provided for those clients who have demonstrated capacity for college training by successfully completing one academic year, of 3 quarters of 12 hours each or equivalent, financed by personal or other resources.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 23, f. 8-2-74, ef. 8-25-74

585-010-0230

Remedial Training

Where evaluation results indicate that a client is not ready for college, remedial training will be made available, if a potential for college training is present. When training progress indicates that the client is ready for a college, financial support may be provided.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05

585-010-0235

Continuation of Financial Support

Continued financial support will be dependent upon the client's maintaining a satisfactory academic record, as determined by the educational institution. Each client's progress will be reviewed at least annually to determine the appropriateness of continued support, any required redirection of the client's program, or to resolve any existing problems.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0240

Submission of Grade Reports

Each student shall submit a copy of an official institution record of his/her grades to his/her counselor at the Commission not later than 30 days following the completion of each term.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 2-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84

585-010-0245

Support for Attendance Outside the State of Oregon or at Private Institutions

Except where the required training is not available at a public institution within the State of Oregon, financial support for attendance at a private institution within the State of Oregon or an institution outside the State of Oregon will be provided only to the extent normally provided to clients in public institutions within the State of Oregon.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0250

Termination

Financial support will be terminated when the client qualifies at the entry level in the occupational field or profession for which he/she is training.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183 & 346
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73; 2BC 2-1984, f. & ef. 5-24-84

585-010-0260

Advanced Study

At least one year's work experience is required between completion of training at the baccalaureate level and the support of any advanced study. Requests for exceptions to this policy will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0265

Availability of Funds

The provision for financial support of college training is contingent upon the availability of adequate funds to the Commission for the Blind for this purpose.

Stat. Auth.:
Stats. Implemented:
Hist.: 2BC 20, f. 12-4-73, ef. 12-26-73

585-010-0300 [Renumbered to 585-001-0006]

Financial Support for Funding Business Ventures

585-010-0310

Business Policy

(l) What This Rule Does. This rule establishes the conditions under which financial support for funding business ventures will be provided by the Commission for the Blind. Clients who are entering into the Business Enterprise Program do not meet the federal definition of self-employment under the Rehabilitation Act and are not subject to the requirements of this rule.

(2) Statutory Authority. This rule is authorized by ORS l83.34l and ORS 346.l50.

(3) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this rule:

(a) "Agency" means the Commission for the Blind;

(b) "IPE" means Individualized Plan for Employment;

(c) "SBA" means the U. S. Small Business Administration;

(d) "SSA" means the U. S. Social Security Administration;

(e) "Counselor" means the client's assigned Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who is a staff member of the Agency.

(4) Effective Date. This rule is effective upon publication for clients requesting assistance in becoming involved in a business venture.

(5) Basic Criteria:

(a) Intent to establish or run a business is to help an individual become financially independent. Agency involvement will be available to establish or run a business that can reasonably be expected to provide income to the client commensurate with the individual's strengths, abilities, capabilities and interests. The agency will not fund "hobby" businesses;

(b) If a client is involved with a business partnership or corporation, s/he must present written evidence of being the controlling partner or controlling shareholder of the corporation. Provision must be made in the Partnership Agreement for the client to settle all debts should the business not succeed. The agency will assume no financial liability for debts;

(c) Speculative or high-risk business ventures will not be considered. These include those which present a risk beyond the control of the business owner or those which are so subject to economic whims as to have an unpredictable future;

(d) The client must present documentary evidence to indicate that a reasonable effort has been made to obtain comparable benefits, when available. If financial support from another source(s) is identified to fund the business in part or in whole, a request to obtain financial support from that source(s) should be made before requesting agency assistance. If the request was denied because of an insufficient business plan, the client must revise the plan and resubmit it to the funding source. When no comparable benefits and services are available, the agency may fund reasonable and necessary start-up costs for a business as part of a client’s Individualized Plan for Employment. In order for a plan to be viable, other funding sources may be necessary to cover costs identified in the business plan that would not be covered by the agency;

(e) Where partial support is obtained elsewhere, the client must submit copies of the relevant documentation to identify the extent of that financial assistance;

(f) Where denial of financial support outside this agency is based on the availability of personal or family resources, the client will be expected to utilize those resources before requesting agency funding support;

(g) The client may seek assistance in developing a business plan from outside sources such as the Small Business Administration or the Small Business Development Centers at community colleges.

(6) Comprehensive Assessment:

(a) Financial support will be provided to a client to become involved in a business only after the client has satisfied a comprehensive assessment. As a part of this, the agency is prepared to provide or arrange for an assessment by agency staff or competent business persons outside the agency to assess the business skills, background, and potential of the client seeking financial assistance. Portions of the assessment may be conducted by business persons such as a representative of the Oregon Small Business Development Center;

(b) The comprehensive assessment will cover the following:

(A) Evaluation of previous work experience, especially in the same or a similar industry to the proposed business or in other self-employment;

(B) Understanding of other career options and availability of jobs in the present and future job market;

(C) Communications skills necessary in the proposed business (written and verbal skills, along with capability to maintain and interpret financial records for the business);

(D) Factors such as willingness to make personal financial investment in the business, ability to make appropriate decisions, dependability, follow-through, organizational ability, adequate travel skills as demonstrated by interaction with agency personnel and former business colleagues;

(E) Alternative skills of blindness adequate to function in the business; knowledge of technology, adaptive technology and software applications currently being used in the management of similar businesses;

(F) Demonstration of money/resource management skills consistent with running a viable small business.

(G) Background or training in financial management skills required for managing a self-owned business.

(7) Comprehensive Business Plan:

(a) The client must prepare a well-researched and written comprehensive business plan such as that required by a bank or the Small Business Administration.

(b) The plan must include an itemized list of equipment or business-related expenses, which the client requests the agency to provide. The client must make a formal presentation of the plan to the agency. If the plan is accepted, the decisions made will lead to the development or amendment of the IPE. Any agency support must be a part of an agreed upon IPE.

(c) If the total request for financial assistance and technical assistance is less than $3,500 the counselor may not require a formal business plan. However, in providing assistance less than $3,500, there still should be sufficient evidence that the business is viable.

(d) Requests for an existing business, which exclusively involve adaptive equipment, may require documentation of the viability of the business rather than a formal business plan.

(8) Training. Where assessment results indicate that a client lacks some of the skills necessary for successful business management, the agency may make available and require training in those specific skill areas, especially the alternative skills dealing with blindness and financial management skills.

(9) Availability of Funds:

(a) Financial support for any service provided under an IPE is contingent upon the availability of funds to the agency;

(b) Financial assistance should not place a burden on agency resources to the extent that the agency would be unable to provide services to other clients.

(10) Financial Support:

(a) Client will provide timely financial statements and other documentation as requested by the Commission showing progress toward becoming self-sufficient.

(b) Agency support is designed to assist in the initial startup of a business; it is not to be considered an on-going resource, and in no case will losses be reimbursed by the agency;

(c) The client and Counselor will jointly determine the limits of agency financial involvement and time limits. Development of a comprehensive business plan is expected to adequately capitalize the business and limit the need for ongoing financial support by the agency.

(11) Equipment:

(a) Any equipment for the business must be purchased in accordance with agency policy; i.e., preauthorized, with appropriate bids, where necessary, obtained by the client;

(b) Under the criteria in ORS 346.2l0, ownership of equipment may be transferred to the client. The Counselor will determine appropriateness of this action. Regardless of ownership, the client is responsible for adequately maintaining the equipment;

(c) Any equipment whose title is not passed to the client will be returned to the agency when it is no longer required for the purpose for which it was procured.

Stat. Auth.: ORS l83 & 346
Stats. Implemented: ORS 346.150
Hist: 2BC 1-1985, f. & ef. 1-31-85; CFTB 3-1999, f. & cert. ef. 7-8-99; CFTB 1-2004, f. & cert. ef. 10-8-04; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05; CFTB 1-2009, f. & cert. ef. 4-13-09; CFTB 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 8-9-12

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