Older Blind Services Policy Manual

OBS – Chapter 1

MISSION STATEMENT

The Older Blind Services (OBS) Program’s mission is to improve the quality of life for Missourians who are blind or visually impaired, are 55 years of age or older, and reside in the State of Missouri. Through the OBS Program, training is provided to individuals and groups in alternative techniques, skills, and the use of adaptive equipment in order to assist them in reaching their independent living goals.

We believe that the provision of such services can lead to self sufficiency, empower older clients to participate in home and community life, help them maintain, regain, or increase independence, and enable the clients and family members to create an independent environment.

We recognize that by providing outreach and education services, we will promote public awareness of the program and accommodations that can be made to improve the lives of older persons who are blind or visually impaired.

CHAPTER 1 – GENERAL POLICIES

DEFINITIONS

Adaptive equipment – an aid that can be used to compensate or accommodate for decreased capacity or loss of an ability to function independently as a result of a visual disability.

Client – A client is an individual with a visual disability who has been determined eligible for the OBS Program.

Designated State Unit – Rehabilitation Services for the Blind (RSB)is the designated state unit that is referred to in Title VII Chapter 2 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended 1998.

Legal Blindness – Any individual who has a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses, or central acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a field defect such that the peripheral diameter of central visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.

Electronic Visual Aids – Electronic visual aids (EVAs) are devices which magnify print and enlarge it electronically upon a screen so a person with some residual vision can access print materials visually.

Low Vision Aids – Low vision aids are optical devices that are stronger than regular eyeglasses which are used in conjunction with the prescribed corrective lenses. Low vision aids can help clients maximize their remaining vision by magnifying, filtering light, or increasing the usable field of vision.

Older Individual Who is Blind or Visually Impaired – individual age 55 or older whose significant visual impairment makes skills of independent living difficult to accomplish.

Sole State Agency – The Family Support Division is the sole state agency referred to in 13 CSR 40-91.020.

State Unit Director – The Deputy Director, FSD, RSB, is the state unit director referred to in Title VII Chapter 2 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended.

Visual Disability – means:

  1. That an individual is legally blind or;
  2. That an individual with a progressive eye disease has a central visual acuity of 20/70 or worse in the better eye with best correction, or has near vision that is decreased to the extent that the individual cannot read print that is smaller than Jaeger nine (J9) with best correction.

NON-DISCRIMINATION

The Missouri Family Support Division (FSD), Rehabilitation Services for the Blind (RSB), will assure that eligibility requirements are applied without regard to sex, race, age, disability, creed, color, or national origin of the individual applying for services. No upper age limit may be set which would result in a finding of ineligibility; however, persons receiving independent living services for older individuals who are blind or visually impaired must be at least 55 years of age. RSB does provide to its clients information in their native language and in the alternative format of their choice. This may include but is not limited to, Braille, recorded materials, disk, tactile, auditory and visual readout which are necessary to implement and provide RSB rehabilitation programs.

TIMELY PROVISION OF SERVICES

RSB staff shall process referrals and applications in a timely manner. Determination of eligibility or ineligibility for services must be completed within 60 days of application. If this is not possible, a letter must be sent to the client, prior to the 60 day expiration, explaining reason for delaying eligibility determination, with a copy placed in the case record. Services are provided in a timely and appropriate manner.

COST-EFFECTIVE SERVICE PROVISION

Services shall be provided in the most cost-effective manner in order to prepare the client for independent living that is consistent with his/her capacities and abilities.

TIMELY PROVISION OF SERVICES

RSB staff shall process referrals and applications in a timely manner. Determination of eligibility or ineligibility for services must be completed within 60 days of application. If this is not possible, a letter must be sent to the client, prior to the 60 day expiration, explaining reason for delaying eligibility determination, with a copy placed in the case record. Services are provided in a timely and appropriate manner.

COST-EFFECTIVE SERVICE PROVISION

Services shall be provided in the most cost-effective manner in order to prepare the client for independent living that is consistent with his/her capacities and abilities.

CASE FILE DOCUMENTATION

RSB staff shall maintain a case record for each client or applicant that will contain pertinent documentation of the following factors:

Note: Click on the following link for guidance on Good Practices in Case Narration.

  1. An application requesting OBS services.
  2. Documentation that supports the rehabilitation teacher’s determination of eligibility or ineligibility, i.e. an eye report from an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist, Snellen Chart test given by Rehabilitation Teacher, or self disclosure.
  3. A plan that will include the services to be provided agreed upon by the rehabilitation teacher and the client.
  4. Written/verbal documentation from a health care professional indicating the need for the purchase of equipment that is used for management of a secondary disability that have an impact on vision or visual disabilities, such as adapted blood pressure monitors, food and weight scales. These items will be purchased only if there are no comparable benefits available. If the secondary disability has no relationship to the client’s visual disability, RSB will provide resources or information regarding the purchase of products specific to their disability.
  5. Documentation at case closure indicating whether the client’s goals and objectives have been achieved
  6. Documentation and justification of all services and equipment provided
  7. On-going written narrative entries of case progress

EXCEPTIONS

The Deputy Director of RSB or his/her designee shall have the sole responsibility for any exceptions to this policy manual.