Policies and Laws
Federal Policies and Laws
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal legislation passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It is often referred to as the civil rights law for people with disabilities.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law overseeing special education for students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21 (or high school graduation) in the United States. The law ensures a free, appropriate public education for all students that meets their learning needs.
The federal Medicaid program can provide states with waivers that allows them greater flexibility and choice in health care spending. Of the multiple waivers that exist, the 1915(c) Home and Community Based Service waivers are some of the most important. These waivers provide funds that allow individuals to receive long-term support services in their community or home rather than in an institution.
The Rehabilitation Act is the federal law that authorizes vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, independent living, and client assistance programs in the United States.
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act specifically prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminations against people with disabilities in employment. Changes were made to this regulation recently; review the Department of Labor’s Section 503 updates.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly cash assistance program provided to eligible individuals with disabilities to help meet basic needs.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays monthly benefits to workers who are unable to work anymore due to a significant illness or impairment expected to last at least a year or result in death. The benefits are a percentage of previous earned income.
Tennessee Policies and Laws
This manual provides comprehensive information on procedural safeguards provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Tennessee laws and regulations. Topics covered in the manual include confidentiality and consent, administrative complaint procedures, due process procedures, and hearing rights.
The Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Human Services, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Tennessee Department of Correction signed an interagency agreement that provides clear procedures on coordinating services for children and youth covered under IDEA.
The VR Policy manual outlines the policies and procedures for Tennessee’s vocational rehabilitation program. Topics covered in the manual include confidentiality, referrals and applications, trial work experience, eligibility, order of selection, informed choice, comparable benefits, Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), financial participation, transition, supported employment, self-employment, case closure, post-employment services, and due process.
Each year, the VR state plan is updated to describe how Tennessee is providing VR services that meet the standards of the federal Rehabilitation Act. The plan outlines VR priorities, goals, and strategies for the upcoming fiscal year while ensuring accountability to the public.
The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) administers the Medicaid waivers in Tennessee. The Statewide Waiver provides long-term supports for Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities, including residential, day, therapy, respite, personal assistance, and other services for eligible individuals who would be put in an institution otherwise.
The Self-Determination Waiver provides cost-effective supports to Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities who have moderate service needs. These services are designed to be complementary to other home and community supports the individual receives. In order to be eligible, the individual must have adequate caregiver support.
Like the Self-Determination Waiver, the Arlington Waiver provides cost-effective supports to Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities who have moderate service needs and other supports in the home and community. In order to be eligible, individuals need to be class members certified in United States vs State of Tennessee, et al. (Arlington Developmental Center).
The Family Support Program is designed to assist individuals with severe disabilities to remain with their family in their home and community. Services provided include respite care, home modifications, day care services, equipment, supplies, personal assistance, transportation, nursing, and counseling.
The Tennessee Human Rights Commission is the enforcing agency for the Tennessee Disabilities Act.