Older Blind Services Policy Manual

OBS – Chapter 3

ELIGIBILITY

An individual’s eligibility for the OBS Program is based on the following criteria:

  1. The individual meets the definition of visual disability as outlined in Chapter One;
  2. The individual must be 55 years of age or older, and reside in the state of Missouri;
  3. The individual must require substantial agency services in order to achieve their independent living goals.

The case record must document the eligibility criteria.

  1. To the degree possible, RSB staff will use existing information to determine eligibility. A diagnostic eye examination may be required for an applicant specifically for the purpose of determining eligibility for OBS services only if available information is not complete, relevant, or current.

The following proofs of eye condition will be accepted for determination of eligibility:

  1. A written or verbal report from a health care professional or their representative that indicates that the client’s eye condition meets the OBS Program’s visual disability requirements;
  2. The use of a near or distance vision chart (consistent with standards reflected in the Snellen chart) used by the rehabilitation teacher;
  3. A statement in the narrative section of the case record that, due to age or severity of the disability, the examiner is unable to obtain visual acuities for inclusion with the required eye reports, and that the staff member considers the individual eligible for services based on the functional limitations caused by the visual condition, if the functional limitations are consistent with the best corrected acuities/fields expressed in the definition of visual disability in Chapter 1.

B. The individual is age 55 or older.

C. The individual resides in the State of Missouri and is available in the state to receive services from RSB.

D. If a case has been closed as rehabilitated within the past 12 (twelve) months, the district supervisor must approve reopening the case.

NOTE: The circumstances listed below may be used as a guide when considering the reopening of an OBS case.

  1. Continued vision loss, after case closure, that significantly impacts functioning, i.e. the need for a stronger magnifier, talking watch versus a low vision watch, Braille versus large print.
  2. Client’s need for substantial services due to change of attitude regarding adjustment to blindness or vision loss, i.e. Orientation and Mobility training.
  3. A change in a household that impacts the client’s functioning, i.e. death of spouse, change of living situation, now living alone.
  4. A case may be reopened only if the service need is visually related. Cases may not be reopened if the services requested are specific to the management of a secondary disability.

An email must be copied to the OBS Program Manager when the district supervisor has approved the reopening of an OBS case. The email shall provide the name of the client, case number, name and load number of the rehabilitation teacher, the justification for reopening the case and district supervisor’s approval. A copy of the email must also be placed in the client’s case file at the district level.

E. There must be a written notification of eligibility provided to the client acknowledging that the basic eligibility requirements have been met. This notification must be signed and dated by the appropriate RSB staff member.