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SECTION 250: ELIGIBILITY FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES

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REVISED: 1/17/2012

ELIGIBILITY FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES

Persons who meet criteria in items I, II, and III below are eligible to receive independent living services funded by Social Services Block Grant through the Division of Services for the Blind. These eligibility criteria are based on:

ELIGIBILITY BASED ON VISION STATUS

A. LEGAL BLINDNESS

1. Visual acuity of 20/200 or less, best corrected, or a field of vision in the better eye to such a degree that its widest diameter subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees. [Reference: N.C. General Statutes: 105-249.]

B. VISUAL IMPAIRMENT

1. Visual acuity of 20/100 or less with best correction with a progressive eye condition or a 30 degree field limitation. A progressive eye condition, which is also called progressive eye pathology, is defined as any pathology of the eye diagnosed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist, which indicates vision deterioration or loss over a period of time. Examples: macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa; or

C. Additional Vision Requirement for In-Home Aide Services: Level I-Home Management

Vision eligibility for In-Home Aide Services: Level I - Home Management is based on the definition of legal blindness. See page 5 of this manual for definition. If there are uncertainties or questions regarding the consumer’s eligibility based on vision for In-Home Aide Services: Level I, the Social Worker for the Blind will send a copy of the eye report to the Chief of Independent Living Services in the State Office. This information will be forwarded to the State Consulting Ophthalmologist who will determine the consumer's vision eligibility for In-Home Aide Services: Level I.

D. Verification of Vision Status

When a person applies for independent living services, the Social Worker for the Blind must explain that documentation is needed to verify his/her current visual acuity. Proof of an applicant's current visual acuity will be based on a completed eye examination report.

The eye examination report must be dated and signed by a medical or eye care professional. After ILS eligibility has been determined, a copy of the eye report or written statement must remain in the consumer’s case record as proof of ILS eligibility based on vision. If the current eye report obtained to determine eligibility for In-Home Aide Services: Level I-Home Management indicates that the applicant has just had eye surgery that is expected to improve the vision, the provision of In-Home Level I would be authorized only for a few months to allow the vision to improve. It would be necessary for the SWB to have a system to remind himself/herself that a new eye report must be obtained to determine on-going eligibility for the service. It must not be assumed by the SWB that if the applicant/recipient was once eligible based on vision that he/she will continue to be eligible based on vision indefinitely. If the eye condition is one that is expected only to worsen and the eye doctor does not recommend annual exams, then the SWB should not require annual updates on the eye condition. However, a report on the A/R’s vision should be obtained at least every five years for recipients of In-Home Aide Services even if his/her eye condition is one that is not expected to improve. The receipt of up-dated reports on the recipient’s vision will not only determine continued eligibility based on vision but will also assist the SWB in counseling regarding vision loss and planning additional services that might assist the recipient.

1. Acceptable Forms of Documentation

E. Mandate to Inform Applicants of General Statutes

ELIGIBILITY BASED ON NEED FOR SERVICE

Those persons who meet the vision criteria for ILS eligibility are eligible for certain services solely on the basis of their need for the service and without regard to their income. The basis of need for a service is defined in the target population under service definition in the ILS Manual section for each respective service. These services are:

ELIGIBILITY BASED ON INCOME

Income is an eligibility criterion for only one ILS service, that of In-Home Aide Services: Level I-Home Management. The consumer must have family income of less than 150% of the state's Established Income. Refer to Appendix D for Established Income Levels by family size. Refer to page 64 for the definition of family and the detailed instructions in the computation and verification methods that are necessary to determine eligibility for this service.

SPECIAL PROCEDURES FOR DEAF/BLIND APPLICANTS AND/OR APPLICANTS WITH LANGUAGE PREFERENCE OTHER THAN ENGLISH WHO NEED INTERPRETER SERVICES DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Interpreter services may be purchased for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons who are making application for independent living services and who are unable to provide their own interpreter at the time of application. To locate an appropriate interpreter, refer to the Interpreting Services Vendor List (ISVL) which is updated at least monthly. Also, refer to the ILS Manual, Appendix C

A. Interpreter Services.

Interpreter services may also be purchased for applicants of independent living services whose language preference is one other than English. Sign language interpreting services may be purchased when it is determined that the SWB and/ or the Resource Specialist cannot communicate effectively with the applicant/ consumer during the application process and/ or service delivery. Such services are not subject to an individual's financial eligibility; however, comparable benefits from other agencies or organizations must be used first when available. Refer to ILS Manual, Appendix C: Interpreter Services, Foreign Language Interpreting Services.

The Social Worker for the Blind will open the case using DSB-7001 and enter appropriate data electronically. To authorize payment to interpreters for this service, refer to Appendix C: Interpreter Services. If the applicant is found to be ineligible for independent living services, the SWB will close the case in Status 08: Rejected.

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