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: Maintenance Services

(Revised 04/17)

18.1 Overview

(Revised 10/15, 07/16)

TWS-VR may authorize and pay maintenance to a customer in accordance with the definition of maintenance within the Code of Federal Regulations, 361,5(c)(34):

"Maintenance means monetary support provided to an individual for expenses, such as food, shelter, and clothing, that are in excess of the normal expenses of the individual and that are necessitated by the individual's participation in an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs or the individual's receipt of vocational rehabilitation services under an individualized plan for employment."

(Authority: Sections 12(c) and 103(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; 29 USC 709(c) and 723(a)(7))

TWS-VR may authorize and pay maintenance only for expenses that are in excess of the normal expenses of the individual and that are necessary for participation in:

Normal living expenses include such items as housing, food, clothing, and transportation, and whatever additional expenses would be considered necessary to those broad categories (not directly associated with the receipt of VR services), such as utility costs and vehicle insurance.

CFR 361.5(c)(34) states, "the following are examples of expenses that would meet the definition of maintenance. The examples are illustrative, do not address all possible circumstances, and are not intended to substitute for individual counselor judgment.

Example 1: The cost of a uniform or other suitable clothing that is required for an individual's job placement or job-seeking activities.

Example 2: The cost of short-term shelter that is required in order for an individual to participate in assessment activities or vocational training at a site that is not within commuting distance of an individual's home.

Example 3: The initial one-time costs, such as a security deposit or charges for the initiation of utilities that are required in order for an individual to relocate for a job placement."

TWS-VR uses three categories of maintenance:

All approved maintenance expenditures must be necessary and reasonable under the circumstances prevailing at the time a decision is made and must be clearly documented in the case file.

Decision making factors to consider include but are not limited to:

  1. individual rehabilitation needs consistent with each individual’s informed choice;
  2. market rates or limitations specified by TWC policy;
  3. availability of cost-effective alternatives; and
  4. all other established policies and procedures, including policies and procedures for customer participation in cost of services, also known as basic living requirements (BLR). Refer to Chapter 2: Intake, 2.3 Consumer Participation in Cost of Services for more information.

Maintenance cannot be used for costs directly associated with transportation, such as mileage or driver services. For more information about transportation as a supplemental service, refer to Chapter 34: Transportation.

18.2 Recurring Maintenance

Recurring maintenance (also referred to as "weekly maintenance" in ReHabWorks (RHW)) is used for expenses that are incurred on a recurring basis as a direct result of participation in VR services.

Recurring maintenance is:

Manager review and approval are required for recurring maintenance service authorizations that exceed four consecutive weeks or a total of six cumulative weeks; approvals can be for no more than 12 weeks per approval.

Documentation of Use of VR Funds

The customer must be informed that they are required to maintain logs to verify that the maintenance funds are being used for their intended purpose. These logs must be turned in and reviewed by the counselor monthly. Customers should maintain copies of receipts to verify the content of the logs for audit purposes, but these receipts do not need to be turned in to TWS-VR with the logs.

If a log for recurring maintenance is not turned in in a timely manner or if it is determined that the funds were not used for their intended purpose, no additional maintenance payments can be authorized. Manager review and approval will be required before recurring maintenance is reinstated.

Manager review and approval must be completed and documented in RHW before the service authorization is issued.

18.3 Non-Recurring Maintenance

Non-recurring maintenance (also referred to as "one-time maintenance" in RHW) is used for one-time expenses that are incurred as a direct result of participation in VR services.

Non-recurring maintenance may also be used to purchase:

Documentation of Use of VR funds

The customer must provide a receipt that shows proof of purchase from the vendor to verify that funds were used for their intended purpose before any additional maintenance funds are released to the customer for any purpose. 

If a receipt for non-recurring maintenance is not turned in or if it is determined that the funds were not used for their intended purpose, authorization of any additional maintenance funds for any purpose will require manager review and approval.

Manager review and approval are required for all non-recurring maintenance that is equal to or greater than $200.

Manager review and approval is required before maintenance can be paid to the customer to purchase goods or services that have more specific purchasing processes and/or specifications available in RHW.

Manager review and approval must be completed and documented in RHW before the service authorization is issued.

18.4 Short-term Housing Maintenance

Short-term housing maintenance is used only for short-term housing expenses that are incurred as a direct result of participation in VR assessments or services. It may not be used to pay a customer's mortgage payment or the customer's usual and customary rent for housing, which are considered normal living expenses.

When it is expected that short-term housing maintenance (in excess of normal living expenses) will exceed a total of three months (cumulatively or consecutively), the TWS-VR team must initiate the process to set up the landlord and/or lessor as a provider for "room and board" during the first month for which short-term housing maintenance is authorized. Refer to Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers, 43.17.3 Setting Up and Paying Providers for more information on this process. If the landlord or lessor refuses to be set up as a provider for any reason, alternate housing must be explored. If no other acceptable options are available, justification for paying the customer directly for ongoing room and board must be clearly documented in a case note and reviewed for management approval.

Once the landlord or lessor is set up as a provider, short-term housing expenses should be paid as "room and board." Refer to Chapter 6: Academic, Vocational, and Technical Training, 6.8.1 Room and Board and Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers, 43.17.2 Paying in Advance for more information about paying room and board.

Documentation of Use of VR Funds

The customer must provide a receipt that shows proof of payment to the provider to verify that funds were used for their intended purpose before any additional maintenance funds are released to the customer for any purpose. If a receipt is not turned in or if it is determined that the funds were not used for their intended purpose, authorization of any additional maintenance funds for any purpose will require manager review and approval.

Manager review and approval is required for all short-term housing maintenance and is limited to three-month increments (cumulatively or consecutively). For example, a manager may approve the initial three months of short-term housing maintenance; if additional short-term housing maintenance is needed beyond the initial three months for any reason, then additional manager review and approval is required for each three-month period.

Manager review and approval must be completed and documented in RHW before the service authorization is issued.

18.5 When TWS-VR Does Not Authorize the Use of Maintenance

Do not use any form of maintenance for:

Short-term housing maintenance cannot be used to support training, activities, or assessments that occur in the same town as the customer’s residence.

Exceptions require review and approval by TWC-VRS state office management.

18.6 Processing Maintenance Payments

Maintenance may be authorized and paid in advance.

Maintenance checks, or warrants, are mailed:

See Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers for more information about processing payments.

18.7 State Law Prohibitions on Warrants for Individuals

*State law prohibits the state comptroller from issuing a maintenance warrant to a person who owes the state or federal government delinquent taxes or a defaulted debt (for example, a Texas Guaranteed Student Loan).*

*Based on Texas Education Code Sections 57.48, 57.482; Texas Family Code Section 231.007(a)–(k); Texas Government Code Sections 403.055(a)–(l), 403.0551, 403.0552, 2107.008, 2252.903(a)–(d)