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Question about Independent Living Services for Individuals under 55 years old

Some states provide Independent Living services to individuals who are under 55 years old. If anyone would like to share, We would like find out what types of services that are provided to this demographic and what resource stream does the state use to fund these services?

Comments

Bill Tomlin's picture

Historically our state agency in CT, DORS-Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB) has been able to fund independent living services for clients under 55 (as well as many clients over 55) using State funding for salaries and purchases of assistive technology and services. In past years we also used a small portion of Part B funding ($5000) plus state matching funds as a component of our CT State Plan of Independent Living (SPIL). However, as a result of reduced funding at the state level three years ago, DORS-BESB no longer uses a portion of the SILS Part B funding for our clients under 55 in order help the CILs. We still provide state matching funds to the DSE to be integrated into the State contracts for the CILs. Our state funding for purchase of adaptive equipment, assistive technology, etc. has been greatly reduced and thus, makes us more reliant on donated items for all of our clients, regardless of age. In addition when we lose IL staff due to retirements, etc., we are having difficulty replacing these positions in a timely manner. One bright note—our agency has been fortunate to be able to utilize CT’s Social Security Block Grant funding for eligible low income clients to pay for IL services.
Bill Tomlin's picture

Pennsylvania has a state-funded program, Specialized Services-Adult for those under 55 who are not able to work. VRT and O&M services are provided for health and safety.
Bill Tomlin's picture

NJ uses state appropriations. We provide IL services to those individuals from birth to 54 years of age. O&M, VRT, Eye Health Nursing, Low Vision, deaf-blind and assistive technology services are provided all through itinerant instruction from our agency.
Bill Tomlin's picture

In Colorado, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation provides personal adjustment services for individuals who are blind/vision impaired and who are also under an Individualized Plan for Employment. These individuals need to be working toward a competitive employment goal. For those individuals who are not a client of DVR, but who do desire independence skills training for blindness and vision impairment, many of our 9 Certified Independent Living Centers provide a range of services for those under age 55, depending on the program goals and expertise of IL staff. Since 4 of our IL centers are also providers of OIB services to individuals 55 or older, these providers have expanded their blindness/vision impairment services to consumers under age 55 using state IL funds as well as Part C and Part B funds, following the IL guidelines. The many challenges the IL centers face include inability to provide orientation and mobility services for consumers due to the lack of certified OM professionals and lack of adequate funding to pay these professionals a competitive fee. Like most states, Colorado has been struggling to replace the personal adjustment/independent living skills training we were once able to provide by using “Independent Homemaker” as an allowable IPE goal. Not all consumers under the age 55 who are blind/vision impaired want to be competitively employed, especially parents of small children who are trying to balance the cost of child care and family services with the benefit of competitive employment.
Bill Tomlin's picture

Because our state sub-grants to a Center for Independent Living, if services are provided to an individual under 55, they use Independent Living (Title VII) Part C and/or Part B funds. They provide similar services such as magnifiers if needed. A partner agency also provides services for birth to death. I think they have state general funds for this.
Bill Tomlin's picture

Through our Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), Washington State provides IL services to individuals who are under 55 years old. We use Part B funds and state match dollars. We call this program the Younger Adult Blind program. In this program, individuals who cannot work or do not want to work or go to school can receive the same services they’d receive if they were 55 or older. These clients quite often have experienced sudden and traumatic vision loss, so the idea of going to work doesn’t even seem possible for them. Sometimes this program is a stepping stone to VR services. Clients under age 24 must first be evaluated for transition services through the DSB’s VR program. The program is identical to the Older Blind program: the eligibility requirements are the same, the same services are provided by the same people, and the data collected is nearly identical. In our state, both Younger Adult Blind and the Older Blind programs are provided through contractors. All contractors provide services for both programs, so clients don’t notice anything different about the two programs. If a client is 54, they are opened as a Younger Adult Blind case. This case remains open until services are completed, regardless of whether the client turns 55 during the course of the case. Please let me know if you have questions about how Washington State administers the Part B program.
Bill Tomlin's picture

The MA Commission for the Blind provides services birth through death to all of our legally blind consumers. State funding for SR (Social Rehabilitation) is used for people under 55, if they are NOT in the VR Program.
Bill Tomlin's picture

Nebraska’s IL, Under 55 program is solely state funded. We do not receive any federal dollars for this program. We advocated at the unicameral for the unmet needs of the IL under 55 population, and they gave us a small amount of funds to provide basic services. We are limited to 4 visits. If the individual is interested in cane travel we get a free cane through the NFB. We can do basic cane travel, mark dials, get them referred to TBBS or other programs, and whatever basic skill training we can do without purchasing anything. When we have used magnifiers we can give those out. Deanna Jesse, MS Ed, CVRCB Program Specialist for Older Blind Services NCBVI - Kearney
Bill Tomlin's picture

I think we are going to partner with the NFB to seek additional state dollars for this population. We went from serving about 50 consumers in 2010 to where we finished this year at, 307. We also get no dollars at all for this service, so we are taking money from our state Senior program funds to make up the difference. Ed Lecher
Bill Tomlin's picture

We provide comparable services for individuals who are under age 55 as we provide to our OIB program consumers. Additionally, we provide some services specific to youth or children such as our Mini Centers/Daily Living Skills Classes tailored to those age groups. Our funding source for under 55 services is state funds. These services are available in all of NC’s 100 counties.
Bill Tomlin's picture

In Arizona, we provide services to both populations. We do have a very small funding, about $50,000 a year that we use to serve this population and it comes from general state funding. With this limited funding, we purchase some low cost technology and our internal teachers typically are the ones who provide the instruction. Our teachers dedicate 10% of their time in weekly basis to work with this population. The services we provide are identical to the services provided under the OIB program that includes rehabilitation teaching, orientation and mobility and assistive technology training. Adjustment to disability is provided as part of the RT/O&M services and if individual counseling is needed, it is limited to 6 hours. The type of technology we provided is very basic compare to the one we provide to our OIB clients. If we have clients in need of video magnifiers, we keep a bank of donated/returned CCTVs from desist clients and we provide this equipment to this population if the item fits the client’s needs. The 54 and under population is under our Younger Individuals who are Blind YIB and it is approximately 5% of the total population we serve.
Bill Tomlin's picture

Good afternoon everyone and happy holidays! The Commonwealth of Virginia has long provided instructional rehabilitation teaching services to individuals of all ages by using state general funds to pay the salaries of the 22 rehabilitation teachers and the 11 mobility instructors. Approximately 24 years ago when the older blind grant first became available, we incorporated our rehabilitation teaching services program into the grant as the services called for by the Older Blind Grant (OBG) federal program were almost identical to the services Virginia offered through the rehab teaching program. The best difference, of course, was that the OBG came with funding to purchase tangible goods and services for the seniors. Over the years we have continued to provide rehabilitation teaching and independent living (RT/IL) services to seniors using federal grant funding, as well as to legally blind individuals under the age of 55 using general funds. Approximately 78% of the RT/IL caseloads are senior individuals who benefit from the grant.