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 41: Required Approvals and Consultations

(Added 4/3/06; revised 10/08, 01/09, 10/09, 04/10)

41.1 Required Approvals and/or Consultations

(Added 11/13)

Policy establishes basic statewide operating principles that define services and service limitations and support the highest possible compliance with federal and state law through

Management review, consultation, and, in some cases, approval are sometimes necessary to implement actions and/or decisions, including exceptions to established

Some exceptions must be implemented using specific procedures.

Policy must not create an immovable barrier to a consumer's rehabilitation. Counselors should seek waivers to policy where limitations create such a barrier. VR supervisors and field directors must provide input to possible alternatives.

The VR supervisor or field director may make an exception to any mandatory policy except to those that

In most cases, document approvals in a case note in the electronic case file. Copy and paste approvals received electronically, such as by email, into the electronic case file. File paper approvals in the paper case file. For all approvals, include a clear description of the basis for the approval.

For actions requiring VR supervisor or field director approval, include a case note or series of case notes entered by the approving source that describe the

41.2 General Guidelines for VR Purchasing Approval Levels

(Added 04/10; revised 11/13, 10/15)

Purchase costs per item Approval needed from…
0 to $7,500 Counselor
$7,501 to $10,000 Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) supervisor or field director
$10,001 to $15,000 Director or programs manager
$15,001+ Director of blind services

Proprietary or Sole Source Purchases

A proprietary or sole source purchase occurs when only one brand name (manufacturer) or provider, can meet DARS specifications for the product or service because distinctive features or characteristics are not available from competing companies, similar products, or comparable services.

A justification is required before making a proprietary or sole source purchase, if the above circumstance applies and:

To justify a sole source purchase, submit the following:

41.3 Common Situations and Guiding Policy

(Revised 04/10, 11/13, 10/15)

Situation Policy
After two changes in the major course of study, a consumer must submit written justification of the change. Further sponsorship in academic training is provided only with approval from the vocational rehabilitation (VR) supervisor or field director. 6.1.5
Approval from the VR supervisor or field director is required for sponsorship toward a graduate degree. 6.1.8
DBS may provide financial assistance to a private or out-of-state university after obtaining written supervisory approval up through the director of program management. 6.1.13
A request to increase the rate per credit hour for reader services requires approval from the VR supervisor or field director. 6.3.4
Academic training beyond the first bachelor's degree requires approval from the VR supervisor or field director. 6.10.4
For job coach services, the VR supervisor or field director may approve extensions of up to 100 hours if additional services are needed for a consumer to obtain job stability. 16.6
Maintenance payments greater than $200 require supervisory approval. 18.1
Approval for exceptional on the job training (OJT). 20.6
Personal assistance services are provided only while a consumer is actively involved in a program of other VR services. Services may be continued for 90 days after a consumer enters employment. Services may be extended one additional month with documented determination of need and with approval from the VR supervisor or field director. 23.9
Viable business ventures of $5,001 and above require approval from the VR supervisor or field director. 29.7
With supervisory approval, DBS considers reasonable costs to repair equipment for the first 12 months after receipt of the equipment, if the employer and consumer cannot cover the costs. 32.8
Technology for transition students requires approval from the VR supervisor or field director. 33.5.4
With the approval of the VR supervisor or field director, a transition consumer may occasionally be transferred to an adult caseload before he or she has become stable in postsecondary vocational training or employment. 33.10.3
Group skills training activities for transition consumers require negotiation with the VR supervisor or field director. 33.6.1
Multiregional group skills training must be approved by the host region's VR supervisor or field director. 33.6.4
Once a consumer's case has been closed two or more times unsuccessfully (status 28 or 30), the VR supervisor or field director must review the case before the counselor determines eligibility. 38.3
If the case folder contains discrepancies, the VR supervisor or field director (or a designee) must determine whether to retain and correct the folder or whether to contact the VR supervisor or field director about the transferring counselor to discuss who must correct the folder. 40.4.5
If a case is closed unsuccessfully (status 28) after initiation of an individualized plan for employment (IPE), the VR supervisor or field director must approve the phase adjustment if the case has been closed for one year or less. 40.5
If a case is mistakenly closed as successful (status 26), the VR supervisor or field director must approve the phase adjustment. 40.5
Emergency fund expenditures must be approved by the VR supervisor or field director. CPG 4.2.2 and CPG 4.2.4
Purchases of assistive technology that exceed $10,000 or more require supervisory approval. CPG 6.3.2
Most technology training modules are designed to take 8 to 12 hours to complete. If more technology training hours are needed, the counselor can authorize 10 additional hours per module. The VR supervisor or field director can authorize an additional 10 hours per module. ATG 1.5

Approval from the VR supervisor or field director is required, if the caseload carrying staff (CCS) member asks Procurement to request a search by the Department of Information Resources (a DIR search) for a consumer-related purchase of more than $250 and the purchase is not part of the approved standard package of assistive technology (for example, nonstandard computers, printers, and non-AT software and hardware).

Without approval from the VR supervisor or field director, the CCS member must complete the DIR search on any technology that is not assistive and costs up to $5,000. (All purchases over $5,000 must be processed by Procurement.)

32.3 and CPG 6.3.2