Vocational rehabilitation services grants
Governing bodies of Indian tribes; amount; non-Federal share
The Commissioner, in accordance with the provisions of this part, may make grants to the governing bodies of Indian tribes located on Federal and State reservations (and consortia of such governing bodies) to pay 90 percent of the costs of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near such reservations (referred to in this section as “eligible individuals”), consistent with such eligible individuals’ strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice, so that such individuals may prepare for, and engage in, high-quality employment that will increase opportunities for economic self-sufficiency. The non-Federal share of such costs may be in cash or in kind, fairly valued, and the Commissioner may waive such non-Federal share requirement in order to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
Application; effective period; continuation of programs and services; separate service delivery systems
No grant may be made under this part for any fiscal year unless an application therefor has been submitted to and approved by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may not approve an application unless the application—
(A) is made at such time, in such manner, and contains such information as the Commissioner may require;
(B) contains assurances that the rehabilitation services provided under this part to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near a reservation in a State shall be, to the maximum extent feasible, comparable to rehabilitation services provided under this subchapter to other individuals with disabilities residing in the State and that, where appropriate, may include services traditionally used by Indian tribes;
(C) contains assurances that the application was developed in consultation with the designated State unit of the State; and
contains assurances that—
(i) all decisions affecting eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services, the nature and scope of available vocational rehabilitation services and the provision of such services will, consistent with this subchapter, be made by a representative of the tribal vocational rehabilitation program funded through the grant; and
(ii) such decisions will not be delegated to another agency or individual.
(2) The provisions of sections 5305, 5306, 5307, and 5321(a) of title 25 shall be applicable to any application submitted under this part. For purposes of this paragraph, any reference in any such provision to the Secretary of Education or to the Secretary of the Interior shall be considered to be a reference to the Commissioner.
(3) Any application approved under this part shall be effective for not more than 60 months, except as determined otherwise by the Commissioner pursuant to prescribed regulations. The State shall continue to provide vocational rehabilitation services under its State plan to American Indians residing on or near a reservation whenever such State includes any such American Indians in its State population under section 730(a)(1) of this title.
(4) In making grants under this part, the Secretary shall give priority consideration to applications for the continuation of programs which have been funded under this part.
(5) Nothing in this section may be construed to authorize a separate service delivery system for Indian residents of a State who reside in non-reservation areas.
Funds reserved for training and technical assistance
(1) From the funds appropriated and made available to carry out this part for any fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2015, the Commissioner shall first reserve not less than 1.8 percent and not more than 2 percent of the funds to provide training and technical assistance to governing bodies described in subsection (a) for such fiscal year.
(2) From the funds reserved under paragraph (1), the Commissioner shall make grants to, or enter into contracts or other cooperative agreements with, entities that have experience in the operation of vocational rehabilitation services programs under this section to provide such training and technical assistance with respect to developing, conducting, administering, and evaluating such programs.
(3) The Commissioner shall conduct a survey of the governing bodies regarding training and technical assistance needs in order to determine funding priorities for such grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements.
(4) To be eligible to receive a grant or enter into a contract or cooperative agreement under this section, such an entity shall submit an application to the Commissioner at such time, in such manner, and containing a proposal to provide such training and technical assistance, and containing such additional information as the Commissioner may require. The Commissioner shall provide for peer review of applications by panels that include persons who are not government employees and who have experience in the operation of vocational rehabilitation services programs under this section.
The term “reservation” includes Indian reservations, public domain Indian allotments, former Indian reservations in Oklahoma, and land held by incorporated Native groups, regional corporations, and village corporations under the provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act [43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.].
(Pub. L. 93–112, title I, § 121, as added Pub. L. 105–220, title IV, § 404, Aug. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1166; amended Pub. L. 105–277, div. A, § 101(f) [title VIII, § 402(b)(10)], Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–337, 2681–413; Pub. L. 113–128, title IV, § 423, July 22, 2014, 128 Stat. 1659.)