Categorized In: Case Services - General Case Management Policies
Approved Date: April 09, 2019
Owner: Carla Lasley
Nebraska VR will obtain appropriate signatures on agency forms and documents. The determination of who will sign on behalf of individuals who are students, those who have court appointed representation, and others, is outlined in procedure and staff will seek the identified required signatures on VR forms and documents.
Also see Decision Tree attached as a form to this chapter for a pictorial representation of this process.
DETERMINING WHO MUST SIGN VR DOCUMENTS
Process to be used for students 21 and under receiving SPED services:
This process applies in the signing of forms by or on behalf of all students 21 and under who are receiving Special Education (SPED) services for ALL VR documents related to Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) or any other VR service.
1) Parent(s) retain(s) educational rights until the conclusion of K-12 SPED services when the student is 19-21 years of age. In such cases, the parent signs VR forms.
NOTE: If the parent holding educational rights is absent, the student does not receive financial or material support from their parent, there is no appointed guardian, and the student is financially responsible for him- or herself, an Emancipated Minor Form may be used after consultation with the Office Director who approves its use. (See Emancipated Minor Form, and considerations for determining whether a youth is an emancipated minor in the Background and Training section of this chapter.) Retain a copy of the signed form in the file and document discussion and correspondence in a task note.
2) If there is a court-appointed guardian, that individual signs VR forms. (Exception Note: does not apply to guardianship of a state ward by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS), as that agency does not have educational rights in such cases.)
3) In a case where the parent or guardian has delegated decision-making powers under a Power of Attorney (POA), VR forms are signed by the person named as POA. Under Nebraska law, (30-2604 R.R.S.), such POA is limited to six months in duration.
4) A surrogate parent who has been appointed by the school or the court signs VR forms.
5) When the authority to sign on behalf of a youth in transition who is receiving SPED services under an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is unclear, discuss with the Office Director, who may consult with Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) Legal for advice on who should sign VR forms.
Process to be used for students under age 19 NOT receiving SPED
1) Guardianship is held by the parent(s) until the age of majority in NE (age 19) and the parent signs VR forms.
2) If parental guardianship has been revoked by the court, and a guardian has been appointed, the court-appointed guardian signs VR forms.
Process to be used for all others who have reached the age of 19:
1) Ask the person if they have a court-appointed guardian.
2) If yes, obtain a copy of the guardianship papers (letters of guardianship.) You may be able to get a copy of the guardianship papers from the DD Service Coordinator, if applicable, or from the person. NDE Legal Services may also be able to assist if the guardianship was ordered by a Nebraska court. Send the full name of the client and appointed guardian to NDE Legal to seek assistance. After obtaining the guardianship papers, see Determining whether a court-appointed guardian has the power to sign documents, below.
3) If no, the person can sign VR documents for him- or herself, or can have an authorized representative sign, in accordance with Rule 72, as cited in the Background section of this chapter. In the event the client is unable to sign, a parent, other family member, or advocate may be an appropriate authorized representative, as chosen by the client. Anyone with a potential conflict of interest cannot sign VR documents. An example of someone with a potential conflict of interest is an employee of a service provider agency or a service coordinator.
4) If a VR Specialist is concerned about the person’s ability to provide informed consent, and no authorized representative is identified, consult with the Office Director to discuss a course of action.
Determining whether a court-appointed guardian has the power to sign documents
1) Review the document to determine if the guardianship is Full or Limited.
2) If the court has granted any of the powers in the list that are in bold type above, the guardian will need to sign VR documents on behalf of the person.
3) If the guardian is not granted any of the powers listed in bold type above, the person may sign VR forms for him- or herself.
4) Retain a copy of guardianship papers in the file.
Relevant regulatory background and Definitions:
Title 92 NAC 72 002.01 defines an applicant as: an individual who has completed, signed, and submitted an application form to participate in the program. If appropriate, the applicant may have a parent, family member, guardian, advocate, or other authorized representative sign the application. All VR documents requiring signatures include a signature line for an ‘authorized representative’ to sign, when applicable.
The Code of Federal Regulations (34 CFR 361.5 (31)) defines the individual’s representative as “any representative chosen by the applicant or eligible individual, as appropriate, including a parent, guardian, other family member, or advocate, unless a representative has been appointed by a court to represent the individual, in which case the court-appointed representative is the individual’s representative.”
Emancipated Minor Form instructions and best practices for determining status:
Best practice in determining whether a student is considered an emancipated minor begins with collecting information from an individual or student, and others. The process below helps to determine whether a student may be considered an emancipated minor. Their signature on the Emancipated Minor form certifies he or she has rights and responsibilities of an adult. Corroborating evidence may be sought by:
- Contacting parents. If a student does not live with or have contact with a parent but does have knowledge of the parent's whereabouts, Nebraska VR may send a letter or contact them by telephone to confirm that they (1) are not providing economic or material support and (2) do not wish to have any information or participation in the minor client’s Vocational Rehabilitation process.
- Asking the student, parents and others the following questions:
- How long has the minor been out of the parent's home?
- Does the parent agree with the minor being out of the family home or did he or she leave or run away?
- How does the minor support himself/herself?
- Who is financially responsible to provide shelter, food and other life necessities for the minor?
- Is the minor covered by anyone’s insurance (health, auto, etc)?
- Is a parent receiving child support or government support on behalf of the minor?
- Does anyone claim the minor as a dependent for income tax purposes?
- Does the parent plan to stay involved in the minor’s rehabilitation program?
- Who provides the minor with transportation?
- Is there any possibility that the minor will move back into the family home?