(a)General provision. The State plan must assure that applicants and eligible individuals or, as appropriate, their representatives are provided information and support services to assist applicants and eligible individuals in exercising informed choice throughout the rehabilitation process consistent with the provisions of section 102(d) of the Act and the requirements of this section.
(b)Written policies and procedures. The designated State unit, in consultation with its State Rehabilitation Council, if it has a Council, must develop and implement written policies and procedures that enable an applicant or eligible individual to exercise informed choice throughout the vocational rehabilitation process. These policies and procedures must provide for—
(1) Informing each applicant and eligible individual (including students with disabilities who are making the transition from programs under the responsibility of an educational agency to programs under the responsibility of the designated State unit), through appropriate modes of communication, about the availability of and opportunities to exercise informed choice, including the availability of support services for individuals with cognitive or other disabilities who require assistance in exercising informed choice throughout the vocational rehabilitation process;
(2) Assisting applicants and eligible individuals in exercising informed choice in decisions related to the provision of assessment services;
(3) Developing and implementing flexible procurement policies and methods that facilitate the provision of vocational rehabilitation services and that afford eligible individuals meaningful choices among the methods used to procure vocational rehabilitation services;
(4) Assisting eligible individuals or, as appropriate, the individuals' representatives in acquiring information that enables them to exercise informed choice in the development of their IPEs with respect to the selection of the—
(i) Employment outcome;
(ii) Specific vocational rehabilitation services needed to achieve the employment outcome;
(iii) Entity that will provide the services;
(iv) Employment setting and the settings in which the services will be provided; and
(v) Methods available for procuring the services; and
(5) Ensuring that the availability and scope of informed choice is consistent with the obligations of the designated State agency under this part.
(c)Information and assistance in the selection of vocational rehabilitation services and service providers. In assisting an applicant and eligible individual in exercising informed choice during the assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs and during development of the IPE, the designated State unit must provide the individual or the individual's representative, or assist the individual or the individual's representative in acquiring, information necessary to make an informed choice about the specific vocational rehabilitation services, including the providers of those services, that are needed to achieve the individual's employment outcome. This information must include, at a minimum, information relating to the—
(1) Cost, accessibility, and duration of potential services;
(2) Consumer satisfaction with those services to the extent that information relating to consumer satisfaction is available;
(3) Qualifications of potential service providers;
(4) Types of services offered by the potential providers;
(5) Degree to which services are provided in integrated settings; and
(6) Outcomes achieved by individuals working with service providers, to the extent that such information is available.
(d)Methods or sources of information. In providing or assisting the individual or the individual's representative in acquiring the information required under paragraph (c) of this section, the State unit may use, but is not limited to, the following methods or sources of information:
(1) Lists of services and service providers.
(2) Periodic consumer satisfaction surveys and reports.
(3) Referrals to other consumers, consumer groups, or disability advisory councils qualified to discuss the services or service providers.
(4) Relevant accreditation, certification, or other information relating to the qualifications of service providers.
(5) Opportunities for individuals to visit or experience various work and service provider settings.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1820-0500)
(Authority: Sections 12(c), 101(a)(19); 102(b)(2)(B) and 102(d) of the Act; 29 U.S.C. 709(c), 721(a)(19); 722(b)(2)(B) and 722(d))