The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 33: Human Services
Chapter 005: DEPARTMENT OF DISABILITIES, AGING, AND INDEPENDENT LIVING
§ 501. Disabilities, aging, and independent living policy
(a) It is the policy of the State of Vermont that all older Vermonters and Vermonters with disabilities should:
(1) be able to live as independently as they choose and as their personal circumstances permit;
(2) be able to receive services and benefits that they need and to which they are entitled by law;
(3) be able to be full and active participants in the life of their communities, including competitive employment consistent with their abilities and interests; and
(4) be protected against unlawful and unnecessary restriction.
(b) The programs of the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living shall be administered in a manner consistent with this policy.
(c) The laws pertaining to the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living and its programs shall be construed liberally to carry out the policies stated in this section. (Added 1989, No. 219 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 79.)
§ 502. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Adult foster care” means provision of 24-hour home care services for one or two adult persons with a disability in the residence of the person providing the home care services.
(2) “Americans with Disabilities Act” means the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and regulations promulgated under the Act, as amended at any time.
(3) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.
(4) “Department” means the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.
(5) “Home care services” include room, board, safety services, household services, and any specialized services to meet the unique needs of the individual.
(6) “Older Americans Act” means the federal Older Americans Act of 1965 and regulations promulgated under the Act, as amended at any time.
(7) “Older persons” means individuals who have attained the age of 60 years.
(8) “Persons with disabilities” means individual Vermonters who have functional limitations by virtue of physical, psychiatric, cognitive, or psychological conditions.
(9) “Rehabilitation Act” means the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and regulations promulgated under the Act, as amended at any time.
(10) “Social Security Act” means the federal Social Security Act and regulations promulgated under the Act, as amended at any time. (Added 1989, No. 219 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 79; 2007, No. 37, § 1; 2013, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. May 20, 2014; 2021, No. 20, § 279.)
§ 503. Composition of Department
The Department, created pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 3085a, shall consist of the Commissioner of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living, the Advisory Board established under section 505 of this title, and all divisions and units of the Department, including the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. (Added 1989, No. 219 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 79.)
§ 504. Duties of Department
(a) The Department shall administer all laws and programs specifically assigned to it for administration, including:
(1) Federally funded services for older persons in accordance with the Older Americans Act.
(2) Federally funded vocational rehabilitation and independent living services for persons with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation may contract with clients at up to $51.00 per year per employee, or may charge up to $70.00 per hour, for services rendered by the Employee Assistance Program. The Division shall charge $160.00 for each injured worker screening defined in the Department of Labor rules. For activities outside the scope of services funded by the Federal Assistive Technology Act, the Division may charge up to $100.00 per hour for assistive technology services rendered, including assistive technology consultations, assistive technology evaluations, individual assistive technology training, and assistive technology topic training. The Division may charge fees at the rate of up to $100.00 per month for specialized assistive technology equipment leasing. The Division may charge these fees to service providers, State agencies, schools, and individuals. The Division shall continue to provide the following services at no charge: information and assistance, State financing activities, equipment demonstration, short-term device loans, public outreach, technical assistance, and equipment reutilization. Fees shall be retained by the Division.
(3) Federally required survey and certification of health care facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid, as provided by Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act.
(4) Special services, including vocational rehabilitation, for Vermonters who are blind or have a visual impairment and for Vermonters who are deaf or hard of hearing.
(5) The duties, responsibilities, and authority of the Division of Licensing and Protection pertaining to level IV facilities presently granted under the authority of chapter 71 of this title and any other provision of law.
(6) All of the duties, responsibilities, and authority of the Division of Licensing and Protection to level I and level II nursing homes and level III residential care homes, hospitals, and home health services granted under the authority of chapter 71 of this title and any other provision of law.
(7) The duties, responsibilities, and authority of the former Developmental Services Division of the former Department of Developmental and Mental Health Services, and the personal care and hi-tech programs in the former Department of Prevention, Assistance, Transition, and Health Access.
(b) The Department shall ensure coordination of government and private services directed at providing assistance to and analyzing issues affecting older persons and persons with disabilities.
(c) In addition to the powers vested in it by law, the Department may:
(1) cooperate with, and contract with, with the approval of the Governor, the federal government and appropriate federal agencies that fund programs that the Department administers;
(2) notwithstanding the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 13, enter into an agreement with the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College to continue the Rural and Farm Family Rehabilitation Program; and
(3) take and hold in trust for the State any grant or devise of land or donation or bequest of money, or other personal property, to be applied to the maintenance of persons with developmental disabilities. (Added 1989, No. 219 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 1995, No. 47, § 16, eff. April 20, 1995; 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 79, 79a; 2007, No. 76, § 22a; 2011, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 200.)
§ 505. Advisory Board
(a) An advisory board to the Department is created for the purpose of advising the Commissioner with respect to programs and issues affecting older persons and persons with disabilities.
(b) The Board shall be composed of no fewer than 19 and no more than 24 members appointed by the Governor for terms of three years. Of these members, no fewer than 14 shall be individuals who are older persons or persons with disabilities, of which at least seven shall be selected for their familiarity with and interest in programs and issues affecting the interests of older persons, and seven shall be selected for their familiarity with and interest in programs and issues affecting the interests of persons with disabilities. Five members shall be selected to represent the interests of each of the five regions of the State. Persons who are paid providers of services to older persons and persons with disabilities shall not be appointed except as representatives of one of the five regions of the State or because they otherwise qualify for membership. The Advisory Board and Commissioner shall seek the advice and recommendations of paid service providers on an organized and regular basis.
(c) The Governor shall designate the chair of the Board.
(d) Members shall not be entitled to compensation but shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in connection with their duties as members of the Board.
(e) A vacancy shall be filled in the manner provided for the original appointment for the unexpired portion of that term.
(f) The Board shall advise the Commissioner on matters related to the interests of older persons and persons with disabilities. It shall be guided generally by reference to the statements of objectives and policy found in the Older Americans Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
(g) The Board may establish committees to facilitate its work and to ensure it pays adequate and appropriate attention to the range of issues for which the Department is responsible. The Board may also create ad hoc committees to address discrete issues as they arise.
(h) The Commissioner shall ensure that the Advisory Board and its committees receive sufficient staff support to meet their responsibilities. (Added 1989, No. 219 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)