As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 18: Consumer Rights and Legal Issues

See Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 21: DARS Standard Consumer Services.

18.1 Overview

DRS places the highest priority on maintaining the consumer's rights while he or she participates in the rehabilitation process. The consumer should know that DRS counselors and staff vigilantly secure the consumer's personal

Systems to monitor service delivery include explicit and implicit processes for maintaining a safe and secure environment within which the consumer progresses toward goals. When you and the consumer do not agree about furnishing or denying services, systems exist to safeguard the consumer's

Maintaining these rights supports key values of DARS and DRS.

18.2 The Confidentiality and Use of Consumer Records and Information

DRS may use a consumer's personal information only for purposes directly connected with administering the rehabilitation program, unless the consumer authorizes its release.

DRS may not share information with advisory or other bodies that do not have official responsibility for administering the program.

See Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 20: Confidentiality and Use of Consumer Records and Information for DARS policy on releasing consumer information.

18.3 Appeal and Mediation Procedures

(Revised 11/08)

See Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 21: DARS Standard Consumer Services, 21.2.1 Appeal and Mediation Procedures.

18.4 The Due-Process Hearing

(Revised 11/08)

See Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 21: DARS Standard Consumer Services, 21.2.2 The Due-Process Hearing.

18.5 Mediation

(Revised 11/08)

See Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 21: DARS Standard Consumer Services, 21.2.3 Mediation.

18.6 Subrogation

(Revised 08/14)

18.6.1 Overview

Subrogation is the process of recovering claims for medical and rehabilitation service costs by DRS against a person's right of recovery. DRS's statutory authority for subrogation is Section 111.059 of DRS's Enabling Act (Title 7, Human Resources Code, Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated).

DRS usually does not purchase goods or services for consumers when there are other sources to cover these expenses. However, *DRS funds can be used before a settlement or judgment is reached in a workers' compensation or liability case when funds are not available at the time needed to ensure that the consumer's progress toward the employment goal is not delayed.*

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.53(a).

When DRS funds are expended on behalf of a consumer who has filed litigation or other legal claims, DRS helps recover those funds.

18.6.2 Types of Subrogation

DRS pursues recovery of expenditures in the following two types of cases:

  1. Workers' compensation cases where DRS encumbrances have been made for medical or medically related expenditures, usually while the case is in litigation, and the insurance carrier refuses to pay for medical expenses; and
  2. Liability insurance cases, usually involving a lawsuit or claim between the drivers of two vehicles, the driver of a vehicle and a passenger in the vehicle, or the driver of a vehicle and a passenger in another vehicle. Medical and training services may be subrogated in liability cases.

18.6.3 Responsibilities

(Revised 06/14)

Counselor

Ask the consumer if he or she has retained an attorney or is pursuing a claim related to his or her disability

If the consumer has retained an attorney or is pursuing a claim related to his or her disability,

Subrogation Coordinator
Legal Services, also known as the Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
4800 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 300 MC1419
Austin, TX 78756-3178

DRS field staff members are not required to track a subrogated case until it is resolved.

Legal Services

Legal Services provides all legal support and representation regarding subrogation, including legal intervention in lawsuits. In addition, the office acts as a liaison with the Office of the Attorney General. Within Legal Services, the subrogation coordinator

When to Use DARS3500

Use DARS3500, Subrogation Report when the

Upon receiving notification of a subrogation case, the subrogation coordinator begins efforts to recover costs.

18.6.4 When DRS Recovery Begins

DRS recovery begins when

18.6.5 The Recovery Process

(Added 08/14)

When Legal Services finalizes a settlement of a subrogation claim, the consumer's attorney often will submit a request for a waiver of all or part of the DRS subrogation lien. When this happens, the Subrogation Coordinator

The counselor of record (or unit manager)

When all necessary documents, including the counselor's assessment responses, are received, Legal Services will use the information provided to negotiate an appropriate settlement amount for the subrogation claim, if warranted.

The final settlement amount may range from 0 percent to 100 percent of the total lien amount claimed by DRS.

18.7 Civil Rights Compliance

(Revised 06/09)

18.7.1 Overview

In compliance with Health and Human Services policy, DRS does not exclude, deny benefits, limit participation, or otherwise discriminate against any person in the administration of services on the basis of

18.7.2 Implementing the Policy

DRS management takes necessary steps to ensure that commitment to civil rights is reflected in both words and actions.

Civil Rights Complaints

Any discrimination complaint DRS receives, either directly from a consumer or through an external compliance agency, must be forwarded to the HHSC Civil Rights Office within 10 calendar days of receipt by the DRS staff member receiving the complaint.

Detailed information about policies, services, and procedures may be found at the HHSC Civil Rights Employee Policies and Services Web site.

18.8 Unusual Incidents, Including Abuse, Exploitation, or Neglect of People with Disabilities

(Revised 05/08, 07/13)

See the Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 36: Incident Reporting, 36.7.3 Allegations of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation for procedures.