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Federal Definition

Transportation services is travel and related expenses that are necessary to enable an applicant or eligible individual to participate in a vocational rehabilitation service.

Scope of Services

Transportation is considered a supportive service and can only be provided to enable a consumer to receive or participate in another VR service. Transportation services which may be provided to enable a consumer to participate in another VR services include:

1. actual fares/travel costs for the consumer to use public or private conveyances.

2. actual fares/travel costs for an individual escorting the consumer when the consumer is not able to travel independently to a service or when the total cost of this method of transportation is less than other options.

3. mileage reimbursement at the state rate when another individual provides transportation for the consumer using a personal vehicle.

4. relocation or moving expenses in accordance with the guidelines on pages 8.04.04 - 8.04.05.

5. hourly costs for a travel aide when required due to the severity of the consumer's disability or the lack of other transportation options.

Counselor Responsibility

In order to minimize the cost of transportation services, "no cost" or "low cost" options which meet the consumer's particular needs should be explored with the consumer from the beginning of the rehabilitation process. Every effort should be made to have the consumer travel independently using public transportation (when they are able to safely and comfortably use this option) or to use transportation services available at no cost to NYSCB. For those consumers who use public transportation, counselors should ensure that consumers are aware of reduced fare cards.

Transportation Options

During intake process, counselors should discuss the following options (listed in priority order based on cost to NYSCB) with consumers to determine the method(s) to be used by the consumer to travel to other rehabilitation services:

1. Transportation by a family member or friend using either a personal vehicle or accompanying the consumer using public transportation.

2. Transportation paid by Medicaid (i.e. taxi service to medical appointments).

3. Volunteer providers

4. Public transportation when the individual is able to safely and comfortably use public transportation.

5. Paratransit systems, local office for the aging transportation services, where available or other community resources available to older individuals or individuals with disabilities other than blindness

6. Group van service

7. Individual car service or taxi cab service

Selection of Transportation Providers

When selecting among the alternatives listed above, in addition to the cost of the services, the counselor and consumer should also take into account the availability and the appropriateness of the selected option.

Payment for Travel Aides

When necessary due to the severity of the consumer's disability or the lack of other transportation options, NYSCB may pay an individual to provide travel aide services for a consumer. Travel aides will be paid at the minimum wage level. This rate can only be exceeded with senior counselor approval and case documentation indicating that a travel aide cannot be secured at minimum wage. A member of the consumer's family who customarily provides travel assistance or an individual already receiving payment by NYSCB or a comparable benefit to provide personal assistance services cannot be paid to provide travel aide services.

Transportation Services During Assessment Services

NYSCB may pay the actual fare and travel costs to use public or private conveyances for consumers participating in assessment services.

Transportation Services During Training

NYSCB may pay the actual costs of public transportation costs (or when appropriate, mileage reimbursement) for:

1. travel to training at the beginning and end of the program.

2. travel to and from training at a community rehabilitation program or other training site (except a college or university campus) during any break that is four or more days between when the program ends and begins again. (See Section 8.32 for guidelines for transportation services for college students.)

3. emergency leave from training due to the death or sudden hospitalization of a member of the consumer's immediate family. (See page 8.06.01 for the definition of family member.)

4. daily travel to and from training for commuting consumers

Transportation services will not be paid for overnight or weekend travel unless required by the training program.

Transportation Services During a Job Search

The actual fares and travel costs to use public or private conveyances may be paid for consumers to attend job clubs, conduct a job search and travel to job interviews, when planned by the counselor and consumer. Travel receipts must be submitted to the counselor in order to receive payment.

Transportation Services When Relocating for Employment

Allowable relocation expenses may be paid by NYSCB for the permanent relocation of a consumer (or a consumer and his/her family), when relocation is necessary in order for the consumer to obtain employment, employment has been secured and the consumer met economic need prior to obtaining the employment.

Allowable Relocation Expenses

Individuals who meet the criteria for reimbursement for relocation expenses can be reimbursed their actual costs up to a maximum of $1,000 for either an in-state move or an out-of-state move.

Allowable relocation expenses include:

1. actual cost of moving household goods by commercial carrier or rental truck/trailer.

2. actual cost of packing and unpacking if performed by vendor and not included in the costs in #1 above.

3. cost of meals and lodging (for the consumer only) during transit in accordance with established per diem rates (See Section 8.03 - Maintenance).

4. cost of tolls and mileage at the State approved rate for automobile travel, rental truck/trailer, or the fare of a common carrier if not using a private automobile (if not included in the costs in #1 above).

Receipts for meals, lodging and tolls must be submitted to the counselor in order to receive payment.

Transportation Services During Post-Employment Status

Transportation services may be provided as a post-employment service to enable an individual to participate in other rehabilitation services. Services are to be provided in accordance with the economic need guidelines on page 8.04.05.

Economic Need

The provision of transportation services is not contingent upon the consumer's economic need status when provided in support of assessment services, including extended evaluation; when provided in support of other services which are not contingent upon economic need; and when provided to enable the consumer to attend an initial review, administrative review or administrative hearing.

The provision of all other transportation services is contingent upon the consumer's economic need status.

Comparable Benefits

When providing transportation services comparable benefits should be explored and fully utilized when available.

Payment of Transportation Services

Transportation services can be paid directly to the vendor or service provider using a DSS-335 or directly to a consumer using a DSS-1016.

When payment is advanced to a contract agency, the agency should provide the consumer with transportation money only for days in attendance and bill NYSCB accordingly.

When payment is advanced directly to a consumer, the counselor should inform the consumer that she/he is required to reimburse NYSCB for transportation costs for days not in attendance at the program.

For relocation expenses, when the actual costs are not known in advance, the consumer can receive reimbursement for allowable costs upon submittal of receipts to the counselor.