​Chapter 8.13 Contents:

[REVISED: 9/15/22]

  1. Definition.
    Personal assistance services (PAS) means (per Public Law 114-18 and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5 (c)(39)) a range of services provided by one or more persons, designed to assist a VR client perform daily living activities (on or off the job site), that the individual would typically perform without assistance if the individual did not have a disability. Such services shall be designed to increase client control in life and ability to perform everyday activities on or off the job. Everyday activities are: tasks bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, eating/feeding, preparing meals, housekeeping, doing laundry, managing money, driving or transportation, shopping, using phone, maintaining the home, functioning and learning in the VR school training classroom and doing homework at home, and functioning and working in the workplace.

  2. PAS program options.
    Under the consumer-directed VR PAS option, the client directs the PAS and employs the personal attendant(s). The client (or custodial parent or legal guardian) must have the capacity and willingness to perform the tasks associated with directing their PAS and hiring and managing their personal attendant. Under agency-managed VR PAS option, the client and counselor select a vendor (such as a commercial home health care agency) that directs the PAS and employs the personal attendant(s).   Attendant hours and activities may be more restricted than under consumer-directed VR PAS option. Agency-managed VR PAS may be the more appropriate option when the client needs PAS services for a short time and requires extensive PAS orientation training, or needs medical services such as skilled nursing care, or needs PAS for eligibility determination process and setting up the consumer-directed option would delay the eligibility determination decision, etc.

  3. Not a stand-alone service. 
    PAS shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5 (c) (39)) be provided only while the client is receiving other vocational rehabilitation services; at a minimum, DRS requires vocational counseling and guidance.  PAS may (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.42 (d) (1) and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.45 (b) (1) and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.48 (a)) be provided in Application status and higher when needed to determine eligibility, assign Order of Selection priority category, develop the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), or achieve the IPE employment goal.  

  4. PAS application and needs assessment.
    Before providing PAS, the case record shall document all PAS application and assessment requirements in Chapter 6.02, PAS ASSESSMENT, Policy 2 have been met.  PAS shall not be used to provide supervision or companionship to a client who has the physical ability to perform routine activities of daily living for himself or herself.

  5. OOS.
    For PAS in Delayed status, see Chapter 2.2, ORDER, Policy 2.

  6. PAS as PES.
    PAS may be provided for up to 12 months as a post-employment service (PES). Every 90 days, the counselor shall verify and document the client employment status and continued need for PAS hours and share the results with the VR PAS Coordinator.

  7. Maximum hours.
    The maximum PAS hours shall be determined case-by-case based on the required PAS Assessment (see Chapter 6.02, PAS ASSESSMENT, Policy 2 ) and annual PAS screening (see Chapter 6.02, PAS ASSESSMENT, Policy 3).

  8. Consumer financial participation.
    PAS shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54) be exempt from consumer financial participation. However, under agency-managed PAS option, if the home health care agency fee exceeds the DRS maximum hourly rate, the client shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54 (b)(2)) pay the difference, regardless of the Client Financial Statement (RS-13 form) results and the counselor must add a statement on the Authorization instructing the vendor to bill the client for the cost over the authorized amount.  The consumer-directed VR PAS maximum hourly rate is published in the DRS Services Reference Manual, Nursing, Attendant Care and Personal Assistance Services category. The maximum hourly rate for agency-managed VR PAS shall be the same as the consumer-directed VR PAS option.  

  9. Payment.
    For payment processing, See Policy 3: Section A of this chapter.

  10. PAS attendant list.
    DARS has no responsibility for a registry of personal attendants maintained by other entities.

  11. Services interrupted.
    If the client must interrupt the Trial Work Experiences Plan, Extended Evaluation Plan, or Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) due to client (not others) illness or emergency, the counselor may continue to authorize PAS for a maximum of four (4) weeks and must document justification in an AWARE case note and notify the VR PAS Coordinator when VR services are interrupted and later reinstated. The counselor may exceed four (4) weeks only when the counselor documents: i) expectation that the client will resume VR, and ii) supervisor written pre-approval, and iii) counselor consultation with the VR PAS Coordinator.

  12. Comparable benefits.
    DRS shall use comparable benefits before using VR dollars and may authorize additional PAS needed for client vocational rehabilitation. Having a co-pay or consumer financial participation for a comparable benefit does not constitute unavailability of, or ineligibility for, the comparable benefit. If the client has DARS state-funded PAS, the VR PAS shall be coordinated with it and shall not replace it. If the client is on a waiting list for the comparable benefit, the counselor may provide VR PAS until the comparable benefit becomes available, and must document client eligibility for the comparable benefit, ranking of placement on the waiting list, and anticipated date of availability. Some comparable benefits include, but are not limited to: Medicaid-Waivers, Medicare, companion/chore/home care services from Department of Social Services or Health Department or Area Agency on Aging, Veterans Disability Benefits, payment by the Department of Education for PAS which could be included in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and employer reasonable accommodation with job tasks but not personal care services.

  13. Client responsibilities.
    The client shall comply with client responsibilities as defined in the DARS PAS Policy Manual.

  14. Encumbering funds.
    Client-initiated contract for PAS before the counselor authorizes the vendor in writing to provide the service (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.50 (e)) does not obligate DRS to pay for PAS.
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[REVISED: 9/15/22]

  1. To plan consumer-directed PAS:
    1. Counselor shall assist the client to apply for comparable benefits (for comparable benefits examples, See Policy 1: Section A of this chapter and see Chapter 6.02, PAS ASSESSMENT, Policy 1).

    2. Counselor shall enter in AWARE the planned service and the Vendor ID number of the Independent Bookkeeping Contractor. The Service/Item (S/I) Code is XO920S (counselors in Northern Virginia region must use the S/I code X0920N). See DRS Services Reference Manual, Diagnostics Medical Services category.

    3. Counselor shall notify PAS Program staff via e-mail of the client name, case number, effective date, and service line number.

    4. Upon notification, the PAS Program Coordinator shall:

      1. Set up a Central Office PAS file for the client. As of March 3, 2008, the file shall include time sheets and verification that the personal attendants meet worker criteria; the authorization and payment requests and cancelations are saved in AWARE, and

      2. Send an acceptance letter to the client that includes an explanation of the payment process, necessary materials (start-up packet, time sheets, etc.) for payment processing, and The Consumer & Personal Assistant Handbook, and

      3. Arrange client PAS orientation.

    5. Client shall participate in PAS orientation before hiring a personal attendant.

    6. For qualified vendors, See Policy 2 of this chapter. To establish the personal attendant as a PAS vendor, client and attendant shall submit employment paper work required in PAS Policy Manual.

    7. PAS Program Coordinator shall administer PAS attendant vendor approval process.

    8. For authorization procedure, See Policy 3: Section A of this chapter.

  2. To plan and authorize agency-managed PAS:

    1. Client and counselor shall select a DRS-approved vendor (see the DRS Training and Facilities Manual for DRS-approved vendors).

    2.  Counselor shall enter the planned service into AWARE. The Service/Item (S/I) code is XO910. See DRS Services Reference Manual, Diagnostics Medical Services category.

    3. Counselor shall contact the vendor to arrange PAS and shall send written authorization to the vendor.

  1. At least every 90 days the counselor shall document in AWARE case notes communication with the VR PAS Program staff concerning anticipated, planned, and actual changes that may affect the need for PAS hours or eligibility for PAS. For example, loss of comparable benefit, case moves into Service – J status or Employed status, notice of pending case closure, time period allowed for PAS in post-employment is ending, etc.

  2. Counselor shall document in AWARE case notes any and all contacts with VR PAS Program staff.

  3. At least 30 days before VR case closure, counselor shall notify the VR PAS Coordinator regarding case closure and the discontinuation of PAS .

  4. PAS Program staff shall provide PAS consultation and technical assistance as needed to DRS staff.

  5. If necessary, PAS Program staff shall serve as a liaison between the counselor and local CIL and other agencies and organizations regarding PAS issues, including helping the counselor to resolve disagreements regarding a PAS Assessment or other related issues. PAS Program staff shall perform other responsibilities as defined in the PAS Policy Manual.
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[REVISED: 11/1/13]

The personal attendant shall be:

  1. Age 18 or older (unless special circumstances warrant and work permit is issued), and

  2. Not the spouse of the VR client, and

  3. Not the parent/guardian of a VR client claimed on the parent/guardian most recent tax return, and

  4. Eligible to work in the United States (under consumer-directed PAS option, the client is responsible for completing Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification), and

  5. In compliance with program requirements as specified in The Consumer & Personal Assistant Handbook.

  6. For agency-managed PAS, the client and counselor select a DRS-approved vendor (such as a commercial home health care agency) that provides the personal attendant.  See the DARS Training and Facilities Manual and Chapter 14.4, VENDORS, Policy 2.

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[REVISED: 11/1/13]

  1. The personal attendant cannot be paid for hours worked before the date the client and personal attendant submitted the paperwork required in the PAS Policy Manual.

  2. The client shall submit a PAS time sheet signed by the client and personal attendant to the PAS Program staff in the DARS Central Office.

  3. PAS Program staff shall handle payment, withholding taxes, and related issues. Upon receipt of the signed time sheet, the PAS Program fiscal technician shall:
    1. Compare the time sheet to the AWARE screen to verify approved PAS and availability of approved hours, and

    2. Complete a payment request in AWARE, and 

    3. Issue an Authorization using the PAS fund code, and

    4. Process payments in accordance with established fiscal policy (see Chapter 14.4, VENDORS, Policy 3).Back to Chapter Index

[REVISED: 11/1/13]

See Chapter 14.4, VENDORS, Policy 3.

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Links to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are currently unavailable while we await federal changes to the vocational rehabilitation program. Upon promulgation of the final regulations the links will be updated and activated.