OKLAHOMA CITY - Proposed rule changes potentially affecting several programs for Oklahomans with disabilities will be the focus of a public hearing held by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council.

The public is encouraged to attend the meetings in Oklahoma City on Feb. 4, Tulsa on Feb. 5 and Lawton on Feb. 6.

Programs affected by the proposed new rules are administered by DRS and include vocational rehabilitation and employment services for Oklahomans with all types of disabilities.

DRS provides a variety of services that help individuals with disabilities achieve employment, personal independence and self-sufficiency. The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council advises DRS on development of policies and plans for rehabilitation services.

Proposed administrative rule revisions effect the following chapters: Chapter 1 - Administrative Operations, Chapter 10 - Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services and Chapter 25 - Business Enterprise Program.

The revisions include updating staff supervised by the Director and Chief of Staff and lowering the family income level which a VR client will be required to participate in the cost of services. New rules implemented for applications for employees or family member(s) of employees, applications for friends or family member(s) of friends, services for employers, annual outreach and review services, subminimum wage for youth with disabilities and pre-employment transition services. Additional revisions include updating rules to reflect Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act changes. Read all the 2019 Proposed Administrative Rules at https://go.usa.gov/xEr8e

Public hearing dates and locations are:

·         Oklahoma City – Monday, Feb. 4, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., Department of Rehabilitation Services State Office, 2nd floor conference room, 3535 NW 58th St., Okla. City;

·         Tulsa – Tuesday, Feb. 5, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., Total Source for Hearing-loss and Access, Conference Room, 8740 E. 11th, Tulsa;

·         Lawton – Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., Great Plains Technical Center, Bldg. 700, Room 701, 4500 S.W. Lee Blvd., Lawton.

If you would like to comment but are unable to attend, written comments may be sent to the attention of Tina Calloway, Policy Development, Department of Rehabilitation Services, 3535 N.W. 58th, suite 500, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112.  Written comments must be received no later than February 6, 2019.

Copies of the proposed rules may be obtained from the DRS web site at www.okdrs.gov, by e-mail policycomment@okdrs.gov, or by letter to the Policy Development Unit, attention Tina Calloway, Department of Rehabilitation Services, 3535 N.W. 58th, Suite 500, Oklahoma City, OK 73112 or by calling (405) 951-3552 – Toll free 1-800-845-8476.