Print out the entire Chapter 9 from here.Please Note:
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Printed on: 12/04/2022
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This document is only current up to the day it was printed.
Printed on: 12/04/2022
Please always refer to the online version for the most current up-to-date information.
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Chapter 9: Community Participation, Work, Day and Leisure Activities
(9.1) What does the Lanterman Act say about things like community participation, work, day activities, and leisure time?
The Lanterman Act:
- supports the integration of people with developmental disabilities,
- regardless of age or degree of disability,
- into the mainstream life of their community,
- to prevent their dislocation from those communities,
- and to enable them to live the most independent, productive, and normal lives as possible.[[Sections 4501 and 4502.]]
Services must protect the personal liberty of people with developmental disabilities. They must be provided with the least restrictive conditions necessary.[[Section 4502(b)(1).]] Least restrictive means getting services and supports close to your home community, in natural settings where people without disabilities get services.[[Section 4502(b)(2).]]
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives you similar rights, sometimes called the “integration mandate.” Public entities must provide services, programs, and activities in the “most integrated setting” to meet the needs of people with disabilities.[[Title 28, Code Fed. Regs. section 35.130(d).]] The most integrated setting allows a person with a disability to interact as much as possible with people without disabilities.[[Title 28, Code Fed. Regs. Part 35, Appendix B.]] Services that are segregated and isolated, with no to be, violate the Lanterman Act and the ADA.
The law says regional centers should make chances for people with developmental disabilities to integrate into their communities.[[Section 4688.]] Being integrated into your community means you live, work, and play in the same places and in the same ways as people without disabilities. It means you shop at local stores, join local clubs or groups, volunteer, and go to local doctors and dentists. It means you are physically in the community, have relationships with friends, neighbors, and coworkers, and belong to community organizations.
You may need extra help to fully participate in your community, live in a house or apartment, have a job and join groups, make choices about your life, and build relationships with people who are not paid to help or support you. This is where services from the regional center can help.
(9.2) What do I have a right to make choices and decisions about?
The law says you have the right to make choices in your life, including about:
- Daily routines,
- Relationships with people in the community,
- Where you want to live and with whom,
- Your personal future.
You have the right to socialize, exercise, and participate in community and recreational activities.[[Section 4502(b).]]
(9.3) What is the regional center’s role in helping me to be integrated into my community?
The regional center must help you participate in community life. This includes programs, services, jobs, businesses, and activities available for people without disabilities.[[Section 4648(a)(13)]] The legislature places high priority in people with developmental disabilities being “integrated into the mainstream life of their natural communities.”[[Section 4688(a). ]] The regional center must improve your community integration by:
- Training local agencies, businesses, and programs to include people with disabilities
- Giving you direct support to participate more fully in your community
- Developing a list of community resources
- Working with community support facilitators
- Giving you information to make informed choices about employment
- Helping service coordinators and family members find new ways to integrate you into the community
- Developing and supporting your natural support systems.[[Section 4688(b).]]
The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) website may also have helpful information on work incentive programs, how earning money affects your benefits, employment resources and protections, training opportunities, and taxpayer requirements. DDS must consult with regional centers to find out what training regional center staff need on employment issues and to develop training plans as their resources permit.[[Section 4639.75.]]
(9.4) If I know what kind of work I want to do and what activities I enjoy, how do I get the regional center to help me?
Once you decide what sorts of things you want to do in your community, contact your regional center and ask for an Individual Program Plan (IPP) meeting. You must use the IPP process to discuss and identify services and supports to meet your work, community, and leisure activity interests. You can wait for your next regularly scheduled IPP. Or, you can request an IPP meeting, and the regional center must hold your IPP meeting within 30 days after you ask for it.[[Section 4646.5(b)]]
You can bring anyone to the IPP meeting to help you. If you have a job coach, you can invite your job coach to the IPP meeting or ask the regional center to do so. You do not need to explain why you want someone to be at your IPP meeting. People who care about you are a big help at your IPP meeting. They understand what you like and do not like. They can give information about your life goals and things that can get in the way of you reaching your goals.
At the meeting, discuss your interests, what you want, and the supports you need. Talk about everything you need and want in your IPP. If you want to work and participate in activities with people without disabilities, talk about this at your IPP meeting. If you want day services, work, or other activities that are integrated into the community, talk about what is stopping you from reaching these goals and what you need to reach them. Your assessment and planning process should focus on how to do that.
Sometimes the problem is there are no programs or activity supports in your area. If your IPP includes services and supports that allow you to participate in integrated work or activities, your IPP team must make a plan to find or develop those services. Your IPP can include the supports you need to participate in your community and help you develop natural supports, such as friends, clubs, or community programs.
The regional center must provide services based on your wants and needs.[[Sections 4512(b), 4646 and 4646.5.]] But, your services and supports must be cost-effective and the regional center must purchase services from the least costly provider that still meets your needs as identified in your IPP.[[Section 4648(a)(6)(D).]] If the regional center tells you the services, work, or other daytime activities you want are not available, ask them to develop more choices.
(9.5) Must I use generic resources to get help with work or leisure activities before the regional center will help me get these?
Generic services are services from another agency that serves the general public.[[Section 4644(b).]] The law says that a regional center client must use generic services before it can pay for similar services.[[Sections 4648(a)(8) and 4659.]] Regional centers are the payers of last resort because consumers must use generic resources first. You have to use generic resources first if you get your regional center services the regular way, or if you are in the Self-Determination Program (SDP).[[Section 4685.8(d)(3)(B)]]
An example is the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). DOR is a generic agency for vocational and transportation services. DOR helps people with disabilities get and keep a job and live independently in their communities. This includes vocational rehabilitation services (discussed below). DOR can also provide educational and college training. If you are eligible to get services from DOR, the regional center cannot purchase similar services. The Lanterman Act also says the regional center must ensure there are no gaps in the provision of services and supports contained in your IPP.[[Sections 4501 and 4648(g).]] So, until the responsible generic agency agrees to cover the service, ask the regional center to pay. See Chapter 4 on the IPP development process.
(9.6) What types of day activities are there to choose from?
For work, options include:
- Competitive employment
- Supported employment
- Work activity programs
Other day activity options include:
- Adult development centers or day programs
- Activity centers
- Behavior management programs
- Social recreation programs, if you meet certain exceptions (see below)
- Other individualized day programs
(9.7) What is competitive employment?
Competitive employment is work done in the open job market without help from others (such as a job coach). Your natural supports may be enough for you to succeed in competitive employment. Natural supports are your personal relationships who are able and willing to support you in your job.[[Section 4512(e).]]
(9.8) What is supported employment?
Supported employment is paid work in the community with ongoing support services you need to keep your job.[[Section 4851(n) and (p).]] You can be hired by an employer directly, or through a supported employment program. If you contact your regional center for supported employment, they may refer you to the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).
Supported Employment Services can:
- Develop a job for you.
- Figure out the best kind of job for you.
- Supervise or train you on the job, or before you get a job.
- Give you more training and skills to adjust to your job and keep your job.
- Give your family counseling to make sure you have the support you need for your job.
- Advocate for you if there are problems with your employer.
- Give you ongoing support once you get a job.[[Section 4851(q)(1-7).]]
Supported Employment Services must be in your IPP or Individual Habilitation Support Plan (IHSP). (See below for information about IHSPs).
The services are paid for by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) (through the regional center) or the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).
(9.9) Could I be self-employed in my own business?
Self-Employment (also called micro-enterprise), is people with developmental disabilities who start their own businesses. More people with developmental disabilities are starting their own businesses. The regional center and your advocates can help you get started.
First, you need a team of people who can help you and advocate for you. Your team figures out what resources and money you can use to start your business. Think about what you are good at and what you like to do with your time. Set goals for your business. Then, write a business plan and make it happen! Examples self-employed small business owners include: being a personal assistant or consultant to someone else, entertaining people, designing jewelry or arts and crafts. You could do word processing, yard maintenance, or gift-wrapping. You can offer paper shredding or pet-sitting. You can own a vending machine business, a recycling business, or a card and stationary business.
To start your own business, you will first need a business design team. Your team does not have to be the same as your circle of support or IPP team. Have someone on your team with business experience. Follow these steps with your business team:
- Figure out what you love to do and how you can make money doing it. This is called a “person-centered” business plan. Decide how much money you need to get started.
- Study what product or service you want to provide to make sure enough people want it to keep you in business.
- Ask a benefits specialist to look at your benefits so you continue to get the benefits you need, when you have income from the business.
- Make a business plan that shows what your business will look like, how you will make money, and what help you need to run your business.
- Once you are ready, start your business.
- Monitor your business and support needs to make sure your business will continue to run smoothly.
Ask your regional center service coordinator if local providers or resources can help you start your business. Have an IPP meeting to talk about options. You can get money to start your business from private funds, generic services, special grants, or services paid for by the regional center. If the regional center cannot help you start your own business, contact Disability Rights California or OCRA for advocacy assistance.
(9.10) What are work activity programs?
Work activity programs provide services for adults with developmental disabilities to work. These include:
- Community-based work activity programs certified by the DOR or accredited by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities).[[Section 4851(e)(f) and (l).]]
- Sheltered workshops (these will not be an option by the year 2025)
- Work activity centers
Usually, sheltered workshops and work activity centers pay less than minimum wage. They may not be available because of new rules about paying people less money for the work they do. They will not be available at all starting in the year 2025. Either the regional center or the DOR pays for work activity programs.[[Section 4867.]] You do not have to work in an activity center or sheltered workshop before trying something like supported employment, competitive employment, or self-employment. Tell your regional center service coordinator what your employment goal is and have it written into your IPP. Your goal will help decide what support services you need. It will also help the regional center to connect you with the right provider who can help you.
(9.11) What are day programs?
Day programs is the general term used to describe a variety of programs for adults with developmental disabilities. These programs provide services on an hourly or daily basis but are not 24-hour programs. At a day program, you can learn how to interact with others, express what you need, and follow instructions. Types of day programs include:
- Adult development centers,
- Activity centers,
- Behavior management programs,
- Independent living skills programs, and
- Social recreation programs.[[Title 17, Cal. Code Regs. section 54302(a)(16).]]
Adult Development Centers are a type of day program. They focus on helping you develop and keep skills you need to advocate for yourself, integrate into the community, get a job, and care for yourself.[[Title 17, Cal. Code Regs. section 54302(a)(7).]] Some offer different activities every day like work, volunteering, education, recreation, and independent living skills. Your activities depend on what you need and want.
Activity Centers are day programs for people who:
- Already have basic self-care skills,
- Can interact with others a little,
- Can explain what they need, and
- Follow instructions.
These programs help you develop and keep the skills you need to advocate for yourself, be integrated in the community, and work.[[Title 17, Cal. Code Regs. section 54302(a)(2).]]
Behavior Management Programs are day programs for adults with severe behavioral disorders or both developmental and psychiatric disabilities. They serve adults who are not eligible for other day programs because of behavior problems.[[Title 17, Cal. Code Regs. section 54302(a)(12).]]
Social Recreation Programs are day programs that help you integrate in the community and advocate for yourself for recreation and leisure activities.[[Title 17 Cal. Code Regs. section 54302(a)(64).]] Regional centers are once again allowed to purchase social recreation services, as of July 2021.[[Section 4648.5(a) Regional center services suspended in 2009, are now restored as of July 1, 2021. The services include camp and related travel expenses, social recreation, educational services, and nonmedical therapies, like music therapy.]]
An exception can be made for regional centers to purchase social recreation activities if the regional center decides that the service is: “a primary or critical means for” improving the physical, cognitive or psychosocial effects of your developmental disability,” or the service is necessary to help you stay in your home and no other service can meet your needs.[[Section 4648.5(c).]]
(9.12) What other kinds of day and leisure activities are there for people with developmental disabilities?
Regional centers can pay for camp and related travel expenses. This was a service that was previously suspended, meaning the regional centers could not pay for it. But, as of July 2021, they can.[[Section 4648.5(a)]]
Two other options, Tailored Day Services and Vouchered Community-Based Training Services, allow you to choose and customize your day services. The type and duration of these services is decided through the IPP process and written into the IPP, including the type and amount of services and staffing needed to carry out your plan.
If you choose a Tailored Day Service, it must do two things.
- Have a service design developed through your IPP that makes the most of your own choices and needs. This is usually fewer hours or days than a traditional day program and is flexible to meet your individual needs.
- Give chances for you to get or keep a job, volunteer activities, or education, make the most of your services, and help you integrate in your community.[[Section 4688.21 (b)(1-7).]]
A Vouchered Community-Based Training Service (VCBT Service) must help you develop the skills needed for community employment or to participate in volunteer work or education. There are many rules for this customized program including:
- The Service must be provided in a natural environment in the community, but not in your own home;
- If you, your parent, or your conservator is vendored as a VCBT service, you must use a financial management service (FMS);
- Your parent or conservator cannot be your direct support worker;
- If you are vendored as a VCBT Service, you must also be eligible for a regional center-funded bus pass, if appropriate; and,
- A VCBT Service is limited to a maximum of 150 hours per quarter.[[Section 4688.21 (c)(1-12); see also Title 17, Cal. Code Regs. sections 58884-58888.]]
(9.13) What if the regional center no longer agrees with the day program or activities I am receiving under my IPP?
Your regional center may suggest changing your day program or activities. However, once you have programs or activities written in your IPP, the regional center can only ask to change your program in an IPP meeting. If you do not agree with the regional center after the meeting, the regional center must send you a written notice about the change, called a Notice of Action (NOA). The notice must tell you about your right to appeal.
You have the right to file for a hearing. If you file 10 days or less after you get the regional center’s notice, you can stay in the program while you appeal.[[Section 4701(n).]] If you do not file your appeal within 10 days, you can still challenge the regional center’s decision, as long as you file within 30 days. You cannot stay in the program during the appeal process.
(9.14) What can I do if my day program is not meeting my IPP goals?
If you believe your day program is not meeting your needs, request an IPP meeting to talk about changing your program or services. Your IPP process determines what is the best work or day program for you. You have the right to consider day programs that help you reach your IPP goals. No one can force you to go to a day program if you do not want to.
All day programs must have a grievance procedure.[[Section 4705(a)(2) and Title 17, Cal. Code Regs. section 56710(a).]] If you disagree with the program’s decision, you can ask to use the grievance procedure. If the day program violated your rights, you can file a “Section 4731 complaint.” (See Chapter 10).
If the program thinks you are a threat to the health and safety of others in the program, it can ask you to stay away from the program immediately. But, unless there is a prior written agreement, it must meet within three days with you and your service coordinator to discuss the problem and any program changes that may help solve the problem.[[Title 17, Cal. Code Regs. section 56718(g).]]
(9.15) What is a Self-Determination Program?
The Self-Determination Program (SDP) is a way to get your regional center services.[[Section 4685.8]] It is different from the traditional way, where the regional center purchases your services from its vendors. In the SDP, consumers and their families have more freedom, control, and responsibility in choosing services and supports to help them meet objectives in their Individual Program Plan (IPP). As of July 2021, the SDP is available to all eligible regional center consumers. Each regional center has a local advisory committee that meets to help plan the SDP in that area.
In the SDP, you:
- create a Person-Centered Plan to work toward your preferred future. During the process of creating a person-centered plan, you direct the conversation about your strengths, capabilities, preferences, lifestyle and cultural background. At the end of the process, you will have a written plan for your goals for recreation, transportation, friendships, therapies, home, employment, family relationships, and anything else you want.
- will have an Individual Budget, which is your money to buy your services and supports. Your IPP team determines your budget based on the money you used for services in the most recent 12 months. You will then make a spending plan to say how you will spend your budget on services.
- can have an Independent Facilitator to help you create a person-centered plan, make decisions about your budget and spending, find services, and advocate for you.
- must have Financial Management Services (FMS). You choose an FMS vendored by the regional center. FMS will help you manage your budget by paying bills and managing the pay for support workers.
- Find providers for your services and supports. They do not have to be regional center vendors, like they do in the traditional system. You can buy services that are approved by the federal government and listed in the SDP waiver. There are a lot of different services you can buy with your budget. There are some you cannot buy, like room and board (rent, food, utilities).
If you disagree with your IPP, individual budget, or other parts of your services under the SDP, you can appeal and ask for a fair hearing. Your appeal and hearing rights are the same in SDP as in the traditional regional center system. See chapter 10 for appeals, complaints, and timelines.
For more information about the SDP, visit the Department of Developmental Services SDP website here: https://www.dds.ca.gov/initiatives/sdp/. To enroll in SDP, talk to your regional center service coordinator. You must attend an orientation before you can begin the SDP. Orientations are available through the regional center or the local advisory committee in different languages. There may also be statewide orientations you can attend.
(9.16) How do I discuss my goals of getting a job with my regional center?
If you want to work, talk about it at your IPP meeting. Discuss:
- Your interests and abilities,
- The environment, hours, and location you prefer,
- Career opportunities and the activities you want to do,
- The accommodations and supports you need,
- Potential social relationships,
- Pay and benefits,
- Transportation, and
- How earning money may affect your disability-related benefits.
Sometimes your first job does not work out. You may have to try several jobs before you find one you like. This happens to people without disabilities, too. Many jobs available are programs where you earn little money. You may want to find something different that is closer to your work goals. The Lanterman Act says your services and supports should help you be independent, productive, and a member of the community. If you are over 18, this means working or volunteering in integrated community settings.[[Sections 4640.7(a) and 4501.]]
(9.17) Can I get a job in an integrated workplace?
Integrated work usually means you work in the community and interact with people without disabilities (not including your service providers). You should work with people with and without disabilities, as most employees do.[[Section 4851(o).]]
Competitive Employment and Supported Employment are integrated work (see above for more information).[[Section 4851(n).]] The main difference is that you do not get services and supports for Competitive Employment. But, employers must make “reasonable accommodations” so you can work.
If your IPP and Individual Habilitation Support Plan (IHSP) list services and supports you need beyond the accommodations your employer makes, the regional center must provide those services.[[Section 4861.]] The regional center pays for these services and supports as “habilitation services” or “vocational rehabilitation services.” Usually, case managers and providers talk about “supported employment” or “work activity centers.” They do not call them “habilitation services.” There are a lot of big words used to describe different programs. Just focus on what type of job or program you want and ask for that in your IPP.
(9.18) What are habilitation services?
Regional center programs like Supported Employment or Work Activity Programs are called “habilitation services” in the law. Many of the programs discussed above are habilitation services. They prepare you to work at the highest level possible, or prepare you for vocational rehabilitation services.[[Section 4851(a).]] DDS administers the Habilitation Services Program.[[Section 4850.1.]]
(9.19) Who is eligible for a habilitation services program?
You are eligible for a Habilitation Services Program if you are at least 18 years old, have a developmental disability, and have chosen these services through the IPP process.[[Section 4852.]] If you are eligible, the regional center will refer you to a habilitation services provider. When you start a work activity program, you get services for up to 90 days. During this time, the program looks at your work skills and writes a report (called a “work skills evaluation report”) for the regional center. Your IPP team reviews the report and decides if the placement is appropriate.[[Section 4853(c).]] The report will discuss:
- If you can behave appropriately in the work setting.
- If you can pay attention long enough to do paid work.
- If you can understand simple instructions in a reasonable amount of time.
- If you can communicate your basic needs and understand what others say.
- Your attendance.[[Section 4853(b)(1-5).]]
Your status in the program is reviewed at least once a year. The review says if you need vocational rehabilitation services, including supported employment.[[Section 4858.]] But, you can ask to change your work experience or placement anytime. If a program or placement is not working for you, call for an IPP meeting to talk about changes. Regional centers must monitor, evaluate, and audit habilitation service providers. They must make sure that the program is effective by looking at the quality of the services, the protections it offers you, and if it complies with required standards.[[Section 4856.]]
(9.20) What is an Individual Habilitation Service Plan (IHSP)?
Your habilitation service provider develops an Individual Habilitation Service Plan (IHSP) for you to meet the employment goals in your IPP.[[Section 4851(c).]] To develop your IHSP, your provider considers if you can:
- Keep up the paid work for a certain amount of time
- Maintain a certain workload
- Keep up your attendance level
- Behave appropriately at work[[Section 4854.]]
The regional center will keep paying for habilitation services in your IHSP if:
- You make enough progress toward your habilitation goals,
- The regional center determines that the services are necessary for you to stay at your highest level of “vocational functioning”, or
- The services prepare you for vocational rehabilitation services.[[Section 4857.]]
Your IPP team can review your IHSP to see if the services in your program are appropriate, and if your job is appropriate.[[Section 4854.1.]] If the regional center makes a decision that affects your habilitation services and you disagree, you can appeal. (See Chapter 10 about the appeal process.)
(9.21) What are Vocational Rehabilitation Services?
The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) provides vocational rehabilitation services to people who want to work in Supported Employment or Competitive Employment. Vocational rehabilitation services include:
- Counseling, guidance, and referral
- Training materials
- Placement in an appropriate environment
- Physical and mental restoration services
- Personal services, like note-takers, readers, interpreters, attendants, and drivers
- Assistive technology, like communication, sensory, and other devices
- Job coaching
- Services to your family members
- Post-employment services.[[Title 9, Cal. Code Regs. section 7149.]]
When you start your job, DOR pays for 100% of these services. When your job is stable, funding slowly decreases.[[Title 9, Cal. Code Regs. section 7021.5(b).]] For more information about DOR services, contact Disability Rights California or visit DOR website.
(9.22) Who is eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services?
You are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if:
- You are an “individual with a disability”, and
- You need the services to get a job.[[Title 9, Cal Code Regs. section 7062.]]
“Individual with a disability” means you have a physical or mental impairment that makes it much harder for you to get a job, and vocational rehabilitation services would help you get a job.[[Title 29, United States Code sections 19151 and 705(20); Title 9, Cal. Code Regs. section 7017.]] If you get SSI or SSDI, you are automatically eligible for services.[[Title 29 United States Code section 722.]]
(9.23) What is the difference between Habilitation Services and Vocational Rehabilitation Services?
Habilitation Services and Vocational Rehabilitation Services are from different public agencies and offer different services. DDS runs the Habilitation Services Program through regional centers. Habilitation services can be long-term. You can get them until you retire. DOR runs the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program. You can only get vocational rehabilitation services for a limited time.
After you decide you want to work, the regional center will find a provider to help you. Some providers use funding from DOR to help you find a job, then later transfer your supports to DDS. Other providers do not work with DOR. They receive funding from DDS to help you to find and keep a job. Both programs give you support for work and work-related activities.
(9.24) Do DOR and DDS (Regional Center) ever work together to help people with developmental disabilities?
Regional centers often refer people to DOR. To get a referral for vocational services, ask for an IPP meeting. Say you are interested in Supported or Competitive Employment. If you already work in a Work Activity Program, they review your progress every year and decides if vocational services are right for you. If your IPP team decides they will benefit you, it will refer you to DOR.[[Section 4858 (a)-(b).]]
DOR can deny you services if your disability is so severe that its services would not help you. DOR must prove vocational rehabilitation services won’t help you get a job because your disability is too severe.[[Title 29 United States Code section 722(a)(2)(A); see also Title 34 Code of Fed. Regulations section 361.42; Cal. Welfare & Institutions Code section 19103(b); Title 9, Cal Code Regs. section 7062(c).]]
You can get vocational rehabilitation services for up to 18 months. The services can end sooner if you are independent, or if your supports have helped you as much as possible. After 18 months, DOR transfers you to DDS. Then you can get services from the Habilitation Services Program. If you were referred to DOR and put on a waiting list, the regional center must give you the services you need until your DOR services begin.[[Section 4855.]]
(9.25) What are reverse integration programs?
Reverse integration is when people without disabilities are hired to work with people with disabilities. Some government contracts include reverse integration work or supported employment programs. To find out if there are any reverse integration programs in your area, contact the DOR or your regional center service coordinator.
(9.26) Can I get a job coach or job developer?
You can get help from a job coach or a job developer to meet your work-related interests.
A job coach trains and supports you, on or off the job, so you can have success at work. Sometimes, a job coach teaches your employer or other employees how to support you. This helps you learn the job and fit into the company culture. The job coach’s goal is to develop natural supports so you can work with as little help as possible, maybe even without a coach.
A job coach is different from a job developer. A job developer helps you find or develop a job specifically for you. Good job developers constantly build relationships with new employers, and they learn which companies can offer jobs to people with disabilities.
When you start your job, you can ask for one-on-one support services from a job coach. Your coach will work with you at the workplace or off-site, but coaching services decrease over time.[[§ 4851(s).]]
Or you can meet with other people at your workplace in a group setting to get coaching. The regional center or DOR will pay for one job coach for at least three consumers in a group, but not more than eight, including you.[[§ 4851(r).]] Make sure the initial or ongoing services you may need to help you keep your job are listed in your IPP or IHSP.
(9.27) Can I get reasonable accommodations at my job?
In the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “reasonable accommodations” are modifications or adjustments that let you perform the essential functions of your job. Accommodations can be:
- Time off for doctor appointments,
- A flexible work schedule so you can work more hours on “good days” and fewer hours when necessary,
- Removing functions that are not essential from your job description,
- Technological devices,
- Accessible restrooms, or
- Educating and informing your co-workers.
The ADA does not say that employers have to hire a certain number of people with disabilities. It says employers must give people with disabilities the same job chances as employees without disabilities. You must be able to perform the essential functions of your job, with or without reasonable accommodations, to be protected under the ADA. If you cannot perform the essential functions of your job, even with reasonable accommodations, an employer does not have to hire you or provide accommodations.
Even if your job support needs are greater than what the ADA requires an employer to provide, you may still be able to work there if regional center or DOR provides the supports.
For more information about reasonable accommodations and other questions about your job, contact Disability Rights California.
(9.28) Will my job income affect my disability benefits?
Maybe. You need to report your earned income if you are receiving certain benefits. If you get Social Security or Medi-Cal benefits, ask your habilitation or supported employment programs for help with benefits planning. The money you make may affect your benefits. Talk to your service coordinator or a public benefits planner before you begin working to talk about important benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Medi-Cal, Medicare, other health coverage, Section 8 housing, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), or food programs. Plan ahead so you do not lose your benefits.
For example, you can ask the regional center for help with qualifying for Social Security benefits based on your parent’s work history. You may need help from the regional center or your supported employment or habilitation program to document any work subsidy or special conditions. This is important if your earnings are above the Social Security Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, but should be offset by a subsidy or special conditions, so you will not lose (or not be able to get) these benefits.
(9.29) What kinds of leisure activities does a regional center help people with developmental disabilities enjoy?
The regional center must respect your choices and help you enjoy your leisure time.[[Section 4502.1.]] Leisure and recreation are an important part of life. You can do many things, like:
- Play or watch sports.
- Play sports with non-disabled people in an event or league.
- Play sports in the Special Olympics or other league for people with disabilities.
- Go to a concert or an amusement park or a restaurant.
- Go shopping or to a gym, park, or beach.
You know best what you need to enjoy your free time. Think about the things you want to do. Include them, with the supports you need, in your IPP.
The regional center does not have to pay for the activity you want. But, it does have to give you the supports you need to do the activity. For example, if you want to go to a baseball game, you need to buy your own ticket, food, and souvenirs. But the regional center can pay for someone to go with you, and for transportation, if needed for your leisure activities goal in your IPP.
If you need a reasonable accommodation, the regional center can help you get it from the person who organizes the activity. If the accommodation is too much of a burden, or if it changes the nature of the activity, the regional center can provide the accommodation. The regional center can also train and teach you social or mobility skills, or provide transportation services, so you can visit with friends.
(9.30) Are reasonable accommodations required to help me enjoy leisure and recreational activities?
You can get reasonable accommodations for recreation and leisure activities. But, you must first meet the “essential eligibility” requirements of the activity. This means that with the accommodation, you could participate in and benefit from the activity like people without disabilities can. Reasonable accommodations for recreation or leisure activities include:
- Changes in policies
- Extra staff
- A sign language interpreter or other aids if you are deaf or hard of hearing
- Braille or large print documents if you are blind or have vision problems
- Adapted equipment
The organizer or sponsor of the activity must provide the accommodations you need, unless they would be too expensive, too hard, or would change the “fundamental nature” of the activity. The activity organizer cannot charge you more for your activity because you need an accommodation.
(9.31) Can programs or activities refuse to include me because of how my disability affects me?
A program or activity cannot refuse you for being a liability risk. The program must evaluate to decide if you are a risk, considering your ability and experience. The evaluation must see if reasonable accommodations, like policy changes and adaptive equipment, would lower your risk enough for you to participate.
Even if your disability affects your behavior, a program can only exclude you from an activity if your behavior is a direct threat to others. Disruptive or annoying behavior does not threaten others physically. You must have an assessment before a program can exclude you for this. The assessment must consider if reasonable accommodations can lower the threat. Reasonable accommodations can be changing procedures or rules, training staff, adding more staff, or developing a behavior plan for handling problem behavior. The program must give you the accommodations you need unless it would be too expensive, too difficult, or would greatly change the activity or program.
(9.32) Can I get help in learning how to form and keep healthy relationships and even how to be a better parent?
You have the right to have relationships, get married, and have children and a family. To help you, the regional center can provide:
- Sexuality training
- Family counseling and support services
- Parenting skills training
- Protection from abuse and from allegations of abuse
- Help to reunite your family
- Supported living for you and your children, if you are a parent with a developmental disability.[[Section 4687.]]
(9.33) Can I get help with transportation?
If you need transportation services, include them in your IPP. Your regional center may help you get transportation support.[[Section 4512(b).]] For example, the regional center can help you use public transportation. The regional center can teach you to use transportation as independently as possible. This is called mobility training. You can learn how to use public buses or how to walk to school, a store, or other places. This should be included in your transportation access plan. While regional centers can help you with transportation, the Lanterman Act places restrictions on this service. See next question.
(9.34) What restrictions are there on transportation services from regional centers?
Regional centers cannot pay for private, specialized transportation for adults who can safely use available public transportation.[[Section 4648.35(a).]] If a regional center has been paying for private, specialized transportation for you to and from a day program or work, they must develop a transportation access plan if you can safely use public transportation and it is available.[[Section 4646.5(a)(7)(A).]] But the plan must include the services and supports you need to help you use public transportation.[[Section 4646.5(a)(7)(B).]]
Whether the regional center pays for private transportation or the supports you need to access public transportation, it can only pay for the least expensive service that meets your needs.[[Sections 4646.5(a)(7)(B) and 4648.35(b)&(c).]]
Also, the law says regional centers cannot purchase mobility training and related transportation services if you can get these services from your school district. You could get them from school if you are 18 to 22 years old, are eligible for special education and related services, and have not received a diploma or certificate of completion yet.[[Section 4648.55(a).]]
(9.35) How does the transition from school to adult services work?
A school district must start transition planning for students with developmental disabilities at age 16. Transition planning happens at Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and includes evaluations and goals related to training, further education, employment, and independent living skills.[[Cal. Education Code section 56345(a)(8).]] Your school district pays for these transition services for as long as you as you are a student, up to age 22.[[Cal Education Code sections 56026(c)(4) and 56026.]]
While regional centers do not typically pay for transition services in your IEP, they do participate in transition planning.[[Section 4648.55(a).]] See next question and answer (9.36). You can ask the school to invite your service coordinator to be part of your IEP team to help with transition planning. They can also invite the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) to discuss vocational options. The regional center can help you develop your IEP transition goals and choose services to help you reach those goals. The services you get depend on what you need and want. Your services can be community experiences, job development, and other goals for your life as an adult. You can get training in daily living skills and an evaluation to see what your strengths and abilities are (called a functional vocational evaluation).
(9.36) Can regional centers provide adult services before I have transitioned out of school?
If you are a special education student, the regional center will expect you to use the services offered by your local school district until you are 22, unless you have received a diploma or certificate of completion. Regional centers cannot purchase these services for you if you are 18-22, in special education, and have not received a diploma or certificate of completion:
- day programs
- vocational education
- work services
- independent living programs, and
- mobility training and related transportation.[[Section 4648.55(a).]]
However, the regional center may purchase these services if you meet any of the exceptions or exemptions below. You can get these services if:
- The IPP team determines that your needs cannot be met by the educational system;
- Your IPP team decides that the generic resources available to you through your school district are not appropriate to meet your needs (the “extraordinary circumstances” exception); or
- You are in a paid internship program, or you are in a competitive, integrated job that is an outcome of a paid internship.[[Section 4648.55(a)&(d).]]
If you are in a paid internship or competitive integrated employment, you can also continue to receive school services (if the services continue to meet your needs).[[Section 4648.55(d)(1).]] Paid internship programs provided by regional centers must meet these criteria:
- Payment to a person participating in a paid internship must not exceed $10,400 per year.
- Paid internships must be in a competitive, integrated work setting.
- Internships must help the person to develop skills to get paid employment.
- Regional centers must increase awareness of the opportunity for people to participate in paid internship programs through specific outreach and at IPP meetings.[[Section 4870.]]
(9.37) What if I am 18 to 22 years old but I am not attending school anymore?
If you are 18-22 and not attending school, call for an IPP meeting to discuss what services you need. You may want adult services from the regional center such as a day program, vocational training, or independent living skills training. If the IPP team decides the school can provide these services, then the regional center must first try to get them for you from the school. The IPP team should also discuss if you meet a competitive-work, paid-internship, or extraordinary-circumstance exemption.
Let’s say you got a high school diploma at age 20. This means you cannot get any more special education services, including transition services, from your school.[[Cal. Education Code sections 56026(c)(4) and 56026.1.]] The regional center, not the school district, is now responsible for giving or funding the disability-related services you need.
If you get a certificate of completion, you can still get special education and transition services from your school district because you have not received a regular diploma. You should still be able to get services (day programs, vocational education, work services, independent living services, and mobility training and related transportation services), because you have received a certificate of completion.[[Cal. Education Code sections 56026(c)(4) and 56026.1, and Lanterman Act section 4648.55(a).]]
If you quit school at age 18, but you are still not 22, you have a few choices. You could go back to school for more transition services, as long as you were an enrolled special education student before you turned 19.[[Cal. Education Code sections 56026(c)(4).]] You could find out if you were eligible for a Certificate of Completion from your school district and try to get one. This should remove obstacles from getting day program, vocational, and other services from the regional center.[[Section 4648.55(a).]] Or, you could ask your regional center to provide the adult services you need. Disability Rights California has found that some regional centers will serve adults between 18 and 22 who have left school without a diploma or certificate of completion and do not want to go back. Other regional centers, may insist you return to your school district for services.