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Frequently Asked Questions


Early Childhood

How can one distinguish between assistive technology and personal items (e.g., wheelchairs, hearing aids, eyeglasses, crutches)?
How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
If a device is broken and is beyond repair, who replaces the broken device?
If a piece of assistive technology is no longer needed or relevant and the device was paid for by Medicaid or private insurance, can it be donated for someone else’s benefit?
Should an assistive technology device be insured?
What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
When is assistive technology appropriate?
When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources?
Who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of assistive devices?

Education

Are schools required to pay for assistive technology devices and services?
Are there other options for schools to consider in lieu of purchasing the assistive technology device?
Can an assistive technology device be used by more than one student?
Can an independent evaluation be requested to address assistive technology?
Can schools require the parents to pay for an assistive technology device or service identified in the student’s IEP or require the parents to use their own private health insurance to pay for the device or service?
Can the IEP Team refuse to consider assistive technology devices on the IEP?
Can the school district require a student to bring a personally owned assistive device, such as an augmentative communication system or laptop computer, to school in order to schoolwork?
Does Section 504 pay for assistive technology?
Does the student have access to assistive technology aids and services if they are eligible for extended school year services?
How and where do you include assistive technology be included in the IEP?
How can a staff member receive individualized training for a specific need?
How can assistive technology be provided from year to year with a degree of continuity?
How can one distinguish between assistive technology and personal items (e.g., wheelchairs, hearing aids, eyeglasses, crutches)?
How can school districts use Medicaid funds to purchase assistive technology devices?
How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
How does assistive technology get integrated into the curriculum?
How does assistive technology support placement in the least restrictive environment?
How does Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 relate to the use of assistive technology?
If a device is broken and is beyond repair, who replaces the broken device?
If a device is broken and sent off for repairs, must the school district supply a substitute device until the original device is returned?
If a device is broken, and is beyond repair, who replaces the broken device?
If a family moves from one school district to another, can a student’s assistive technology go along?
If a piece of assistive technology is no longer needed or relevant and the device was paid for by Medicaid or private insurance, can it be donated for someone else’s benefit?
If a student needs a computer, can a school owned computer be used in the lab or classroom?
Is a school district responsible for providing “state of the art” equipment for a student?
Is the school district obligated to train substitute teachers and aides to operate assistive technology devices?
Must school districts allow students to take assistive devices home on school night to do homework? Over weekends? During school vacations? Over the summer?
Should an assistive technology device be insured?
Should an assistive technology device be insured?
Under what circumstances may assistive technology be considered a related service?
What about the warranty for new equipment?
What happens to assistive technology devices when students leave the school system at graduation?
What is a product system?
What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
When a student moves from one level of schooling to another like elementary school to middle school, does the device follow the student?
When is assistive technology appropriate?
When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources?
Who is responsible for the customization, repair, maintenance and replacement of assistive devices?
Who owns the assistive technology equipment that is purchased for students?
Will the student become too dependent on technology and not learn to use the skills they have?

Employment

Are employers required to pay for assistive technology devices and services?
Are there any tax credits that can assist an employer with the costs assistive technology?
Are there any tax deductions that can assist an employer with the costs of making their business more accessible?
Are there certain things that are not considered reasonable accommodations and are therefore not required?
Are there limits on providing reasonable accommodations?
Are there programs specifically for Veterans to help purchase assistive technology for work?
Can the employer require an employee to bring a personally owned assistive device, such as an augmentative communication system or laptop computer, to work?
Does Social Security have any programs that could help pay for assistive technology devices needed for work?
Does Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) have any programs for individuals who are unable to work?
How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
How must an individual request a reasonable accommodation?
How quickly must an employer respond to a request for a reasonable accommodation?
I work for the Federal Government, are there programs to help with assistive technology?
Is assistive technology considered a reasonable/job accommodation?
May an employer ask whether a reasonable accommodation is needed when an employee with a disability has not asked for one?
May an employer tell other employees that someone is receiving a reasonable accommodation?
Must an employer provide the reasonable accommodation that the individual wants?
What are some specific examples of accommodations?
What can the state Vocational Rehabilitation agency (VR) can pay for?
What happens if I get hurt at work and need assistive technology to continue working?
What happens if I get hurt at work and need assistive technology to continue working?
What must an employer do after receiving a request for reasonable accommodation?
What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
What questions should I ask to clarify the reasonableness of a particular accommodation?
What should be considered in determining if a reasonable accommodation is appropriate?
When is assistive technology appropriate?
When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Will Medicaid purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Will Medicare purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Will private insurance purchase assistive technology for an employee?

Evaluations

What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
What should be included in an evaluation report?
What should happen during an evaluation?
What should I consider when evaluating an assistive technology device?
When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Where can a consumer get an evaluation?
Where can I find more information about specific assistive technology devices?
Who pays for an evaluation?
Who should be present during an evaluation?
Who should conduct an evaluation?
Why is it important to get a professional evaluation?

General

Are there other programs that could help me save money?
How can I find money to pay for computer equipment?
How can I get funding to pay for home modifications?
How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
How do I get funding to buy a modified van or to pay for modifications to a van?
If a piece of assistive technology is no longer needed or relevant to a student and the device was paid for by Medicaid or private insurance, can it be donated for another student’s benefit?
What criteria should be used as a guide for finding a vendor?
What is a product system?
What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
What professionals are considered qualified to provide an individual with an assistive technology device?
What should be considered in determining if a reasonable accommodation is appropriate?
When is assistive technology appropriate?
When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Where can I get funding for the purchase of a hearing aid?
Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources – the IEP Team or school administration?
Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources?
Who is responsible for the customization, repair, maintenance and replacement of assistive devices?
Who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of assistive devices?
Who owns the assistive technology equipment that is purchased for students?
Who will help pay for assistive technology for my elderly family member who has a disability?
Will Medicaid purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Will Medicare purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Will private insurance purchase assistive technology for an employee?

Private Insurance

What should a Letter of Medical Necessity include?
When I call my Insurance, what should I have ready?

Public Insurance

Are there other health care coverage options available through the state for my child(ren)?
Can Medicaid help with transportation to a medical appointment?
Do children and pregnant women have a co-pay while on Medicaid?
Do I continue to receive Medicaid?
How do I apply for Medicaid?
How do I know which dentists or eye doctors take Medicaid?
How soon after I submit a PAR to CFMC will I be notified of the outcome?
I have Medicaid coverage during my pregnancy. What happens when I have my baby?
If I have some health insurance but need more coverage, can Medicaid help?
If my child needs to see a specialist, do I need a referral from my child's doctor?
What do I do if I am out of the state and need Medicaid benefits?
What does EPSDT include?
What if I want to change the PCP or HMO listed on my Medicaid card?
What is a medical home?
What is Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT)?
What is the definition of Medical Necessity?
What is the difference between CFMC and ACS?
What should a Letter of Medical Necessity include?
When I call Medicaid, what should I have ready?
Where should I send a PAR that needs to be reviewed by CFMC?
Whom should I call when my child's doctor is not available?
Why are regular medical visits and preventative care so important?
Will my baby receive Medicaid?

Veterans

Are there programs specifically for Veterans to help purchase assistive technology for work?
How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
What paperwork do I need to get veterans benefits?
What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
What VA programs provide assistive technology?
What will the VA purchase?
When is assistive technology appropriate?
When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?

 


Early Childhood

Question: How can one distinguish between assistive technology and personal items (e.g., wheelchairs, hearing aids, eyeglasses, crutches)?
Answer: Currently, IDEA does not make a distinction between assistive technology devices and personal items. This stems in large part to IDEA’s broad definition of assistive technology. If a student with a disability needs a hearing aid to ensure FAPE, then the school district and parents need to work together to find fiscal resources to purchase the item.
Question: How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
Answer: First, identify all potential payment sources for which you are eligible, then apply. Understand that there is an order in which the sources must be tapped. For example, you exhaust private payment options before applying to Medicare or Medicaid for payment. For someone who is dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, you must apply to Medicare first.
Question: If a device is broken and is beyond repair, who replaces the broken device?
Answer: If an assistive device is necessary for the student’s IEP to be implemented, the school district will have to replace the broken device. If the device is broken at home through negligence, the parents could be held responsible for the repair costs.
Question: If a piece of assistive technology is no longer needed or relevant and the device was paid for by Medicaid or private insurance, can it be donated for someone else’s benefit?
Answer: Yes, it is a parental decision. The parent(s) could donate the device to the school for use by other students with disabilities.
Question: Should an assistive technology device be insured?
Answer: It is in the school district’s best interest to have insurance, however, cost of insurance versus the item(s)’ expense should be considered. Many insurance policies offer riders at a minimal expense that include assistive technology. Many school district liability policies will cover devices purchased by the district for student use. Devices purchased by other funding sources may or may not be covered while on school premises or involved in school activities. It is important for school staff to investigate the district’s property insurance to determine what the policy currently covers and whether the policy insures against loss or damage of assistive devices.
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: When is assistive technology appropriate?
Answer: When it: • Enables an individual to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means • Enables an individual to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards – a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means • Provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the individual on a routine basis • Enables an individual to concentrate on learning or employment tasks, rather than mechanical tasks • Provides greater access to information • Supports normal social interactions with peers and adults • Supports participation in the least restrictive educational environment
Question: When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation should be carried out as part of the original referral and evaluation process, as the individual’s needs change, or when external factors (such as changing medications and conditions) dictate changes in the type or uses of technology. In particular, individual’s should be considered for an assistive technology evaluation when it appears that they need help to communicate more effectively, sit, stand or move more independently, work more independently or efficiently, or play more independently.
Question: Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources?
Answer: Early Intervention programs both coordinate and provide services. If AT is identified to enhance your child’s development, that AT is to be included in the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Other services which may be identified in the IFSP include Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and language, and Vision Services.
Question: Who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of assistive devices?
Answer: • Assistive technology services such as customization, maintenance, repair and replacement are included as considerations in the acquisition of equipment or devices purchased/provided by the school. An exception to repair would be made if the student were negligent with the assistive technology device. • If family owned assistive technology is used by the school and is listed in the IEP as necessary for providing free appropriate public education, the school might also be responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement. Responsibilities for these services should be discussed at the IEP meeting and identified in the IEP notes or the IEP document.

Education

Question: Are schools required to pay for assistive technology devices and services?
Answer: It is the responsibility of the school district to provide the equipment, services, or programs identified in the IEP. The school district may pay for, the equipment, service, or programs itself, utilize other resources to provide and/or pay for the device and/or services, or cooperatively fund the device(s) and or services.
Question: Are there other options for schools to consider in lieu of purchasing the assistive technology device?
Answer: Yes, there are times when the outright purchase of equipment or devices is not necessary or even advisable. In instances such as these, school districts might consider rental or long-term lease/purchase options. Equipment rentals or long-term lease/purchase options are not intended to be less costly than purchase. There are certain advantages worth considering depending on the individual needs of the student. For example, renting equipment might be a reasonable strategy if the child’s condition is considered temporary; if the child’s condition is expected to improve or deteriorate; or, when it is necessary to try-out the equipment before purchase for a student. Long-term leasing or lease/purchase agreements also have potential benefits for schools which include: no obligation on behalf of the school to purchase the device; reduction of obsolete inventory; flexible leasing terms; use of equipment without a lump sum purchase; upgrading of equipment as more improved technology becomes available; and, upgrading of equipment as the student’s needs change.
Question: Can an assistive technology device be used by more than one student?
Answer: Yes, an assistive technology device may be shared if it is the property of the school and each student who requires use of the device has access to it as needed.
Question: Can an independent evaluation be requested to address assistive technology?
Answer: Yes. The school district is required to evaluate a student in all areas of suspected disability including, if appropriate, evaluating the student’s need for assistive technology. A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the school. However, the school may initiate a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate. If the evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense. Individuals conducting the evaluation must be knowledgeable and have experience in conducting these assessments. It the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at private expense, the results of the evaluation 1) must be considered by the public agency in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE to the student; and 2) may be presented as evidence at a hearing under this subpart regarding the student.
Question: Can schools require the parents to pay for an assistive technology device or service identified in the student’s IEP or require the parents to use their own private health insurance to pay for the device or service?
Answer: The “free” in “free appropriate public education” is extremely significant regarding students with disabilities who may require assistive technology devices or services. As stated in IDEA and its regulations, all special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP must be provided “at no cost to the parent.”
Question: Can the IEP Team refuse to consider assistive technology devices on the IEP?
Answer: IEP teams have the responsibility to determine a student’s need for assistive technology devices and services, and for specifying those devices and services. Therefore, it is important that IEP teams are informed of this requirement to determine if a student needs a device and the need for an assistive technology evaluation to assist in making the determination.
Question: Can the school district require a student to bring a personally owned assistive device, such as an augmentative communication system or laptop computer, to school in order to schoolwork?
Answer: No. However the family may wish the student to use his/her own equipment in school since he/she may be most familiar or comfortable with it. The IEP team should decide who is responsible for repair and maintenance of family-owned devices.
Question: Does Section 504 pay for assistive technology?
Answer: Section 504 requires public schools to provide students with disabilities with a free appropriate public education and, in addition ensures that students with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in school programs. For students with disabilities, this means that schools may need to make special arrangements so that these students have access to the full range of programs and activities offered. For example, a student who needs a wheelchair lift on a school bus to get to school must be provided with this technology. Other modifications which might be required under Section 504 include installing ramps into buildings and modifying bathrooms to provide access for individuals with physical disabilities. Even though required by the law, none of these types of modifications would be funded by Section 504.
Question: Does the student have access to assistive technology aids and services if they are eligible for extended school year services?
Answer: Yes, if the IEP team determines that the assistive technology is needed as part of the extended school year services, then the student needs access to the assistive technology.
Question: How and where do you include assistive technology be included in the IEP?
Answer: There are three places in the IEP where assistive technology may appear: • It may appear as part of the student’s annual goals or short term objectives. • It may appear in a list of specific accommodations which need to be made in order for the student to function in the least restrictive environment. • The IEP may specify that as a related service necessary for the student to benefit from his or her education, the student will receive training in the use of assistive equipment.
Question: How can a staff member receive individualized training for a specific need?
Answer: It is the school district’s responsibility to train appropriate staff members in proper use of the technology. Requests for this kind of specialized training should be made to the school principal, who is a member of the IEP team, and/or the school district special education director.
Question: How can assistive technology be provided from year to year with a degree of continuity?
Answer: Each student’s IEP must be reviewed no less than annually. At the review, the IEP team should discuss and identify personnel training needs as they relate to the student’s movement through the school program. This will help to provide continuity.
Question: How can one distinguish between assistive technology and personal items (e.g., wheelchairs, hearing aids, eyeglasses, crutches)?
Answer: Currently, IDEA does not make a distinction between assistive technology devices and personal items. This stems in large part to IDEA’s broad definition of assistive technology. If a student with a disability needs a hearing aid to ensure FAPE, then the school district and parents need to work together to find fiscal resources to purchase the item.
Question: How can school districts use Medicaid funds to purchase assistive technology devices?
Answer: A parent’s private insurance must be accessed before Medicaid can be used for assistive technology devices. However, the parent must give permission to access private insurance. Medicaid funds can be used according to Medicaid regulations.
Question: How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
Answer: First, identify all potential payment sources for which you are eligible, then apply. Understand that there is an order in which the sources must be tapped. For example, you exhaust private payment options before applying to Medicare or Medicaid for payment. For someone who is dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, you must apply to Medicare first.
Question: How does assistive technology get integrated into the curriculum?
Answer: The IEP team needs to discuss how the device will be used by the student and how it will be integrated into the curriculum. The IEP team should identify, in the IEP document, how the device will be used by the student in the classroom. This information should be shared with the general classroom teachers, who are members of the IEP team, so that they are aware of how it is to be used. Assistive technology should be used to help the student be involved in and progress from the general education curriculum.
Question: How does assistive technology support placement in the least restrictive environment?
Answer: The use of assistive technology devices may facilitate the student’s achievement in the least restrictive environment. By providing tools that help a student function either more independently and/or more successfully in the regular classroom, assistive technology can impact both curriculum and staff supports that a student requires. Supplementary aids and services include devices and services such as curriculum modification, support staff, computers and other assistive technology devices, peer support, speech, occupational, and physical therapies.
Question: How does Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 relate to the use of assistive technology?
Answer: • Programs subject to Section 504 must ensure that students with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in all academic and extracurricular school programs. Benefits and services provided to students with disabilities must be equal to, and as effective as, the benefits and services afforded to other students. • Schools may have to make special accommodations, including the provision of assistive technology devices and/or services, to allow students with disabilities to have access to the full range of programs and activities offered by the school.
Question: If a device is broken and is beyond repair, who replaces the broken device?
Answer: If an assistive device is necessary for the student’s IEP to be implemented, the school district will have to replace the broken device. If the device is broken at home through negligence, the parents could be held responsible for the repair costs.
Question: If a device is broken and sent off for repairs, must the school district supply a substitute device until the original device is returned?
Answer: If the assistive technology device is vital to the student’s daily special education program, it is not reasonable for the student to be without a device for long periods of time. If a device is going to be unavailable for more that a day or two, the district should provide a backup device which allows the student to continue working on IEP goals.
Question: If a device is broken, and is beyond repair, who replaces the broken device?
Answer: If an assistive device is necessary for the student’s IEP to be implemented, the school district will have to replace the broken device. If the device is broken at home through negligence, the parents could be held responsible for the repair costs.
Question: If a family moves from one school district to another, can a student’s assistive technology go along?
Answer: Devices bought by the school belong to the school, not the student who uses them. When a family moves from one school district to another, the equipment the student has been using does not automatically move to the new school. Assistive equipment can go with a student to a new school if the sending school district agrees to sell or give the device to the family or the new school district.
Question: If a piece of assistive technology is no longer needed or relevant and the device was paid for by Medicaid or private insurance, can it be donated for someone else’s benefit?
Answer: Yes, it is a parental decision. The parent(s) could donate the device to the school for use by other students with disabilities.
Question: If a student needs a computer, can a school owned computer be used in the lab or classroom?
Answer: Yes, if the student has access to the equipment as needed. If the student does not have the necessary access, then the appropriate equipment should be purchased for the student’s use. The IEP team will decide as a group the need and use of computers on a case-by-case basis.
Question: Is a school district responsible for providing “state of the art” equipment for a student?
Answer: No. However the school must provide appropriate technology for the student’s needs to ensure a free appropriate education. The decision regarding what type of assistive technology is appropriate should be based on the assistive technology evaluation recommendations and IEP team decision. If a less expensive device would accomplish the same goals, the IEP team is under no obligation to choose a more expensive option.
Question: Is the school district obligated to train substitute teachers and aides to operate assistive technology devices?
Answer: If the assistive technology device is vital to the student’s daily special education program, it is not reasonable for the student not to be able to use the device for long periods of time because a substitute is teaching the class. If the substitute is only going to be in the classroom for a day or two, it is probably not necessary to provide elaborate training. However, if the substitute is going to be in the classroom for an extended time, training should be provided.
Question: Must school districts allow students to take assistive devices home on school night to do homework? Over weekends? During school vacations? Over the summer?
Answer: Yes, if the IEP team determines that the student needs access to an assistive technology device at home to implement the educational program, the student may take it home.
Question: Should an assistive technology device be insured?
Answer: It is in the school district’s best interest to have insurance, however, cost of insurance versus the item(s)’ expense should be considered. Many insurance policies offer riders at a minimal expense that include assistive technology. Many school district liability policies will cover devices purchased by the district for student use. Devices purchased by other funding sources may or may not be covered while on school premises or involved in school activities. It is important for school staff to investigate the district’s property insurance to determine what the policy currently covers and whether the policy insures against loss or damage of assistive devices.
Question: Should an assistive technology device be insured?
Answer: It is in the school district’s best interest to have insurance, however, cost of insurance versus the item(s)’ expense should be considered. Many insurance policies offer riders at a minimal expense that include assistive technology. Many school district liability policies will cover devices purchased by the district for student use. Devices purchased by other funding sources may or may not be covered while on school premises or involved in school activities. It is important for school staff to investigate the district’s property insurance to determine what the policy currently covers and whether the policy insures against loss or damage of assistive devices.
Question: Under what circumstances may assistive technology be considered a related service?
Answer: Assistive technology can be a related service if the service is necessary for the student to benefit from his or her education. Training of staff, parents and the student would be an example of a related service benefiting the student.
Question: What about the warranty for new equipment?
Answer: The school should check the length of the warranty and find out exactly what is covered. One-year warranties are common. Extended warranties and service contracts will probably be available. For some devices, the manufacturer suggests annual maintenance. School districts should weigh the cost of warranties with the cost of the device.
Question: What happens to assistive technology devices when students leave the school system at graduation?
Answer: If the school district paid for the device, the school would need to make that decision. The Colorado Department of Education and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation have a Cooperative Services Agreement allowing for the sale or transfer of assistive technology devices from the Local Education Agency to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation under certain conditions.
Question: What is a product system?
Answer: A product system is more than one piece of equipment working together to produce a result. Examples: a FM system utilized in conjunction with a student’s hearing aid to provide amplification in the classroom or a computer with a voice synthesizer.
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: When a student moves from one level of schooling to another like elementary school to middle school, does the device follow the student?
Answer: If an assistive device is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the student’s IEP, such a device must be provided in the school the student attends. The same device may not necessarily follow the student from one school to another, but a comparable device that fulfills the IEP requirements will be needed in the new school.
Question: When is assistive technology appropriate?
Answer: When it: • Enables an individual to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means • Enables an individual to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards – a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means • Provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the individual on a routine basis • Enables an individual to concentrate on learning or employment tasks, rather than mechanical tasks • Provides greater access to information • Supports normal social interactions with peers and adults • Supports participation in the least restrictive educational environment
Question: When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation should be carried out as part of the original referral and evaluation process, as the individual’s needs change, or when external factors (such as changing medications and conditions) dictate changes in the type or uses of technology. In particular, individual’s should be considered for an assistive technology evaluation when it appears that they need help to communicate more effectively, sit, stand or move more independently, work more independently or efficiently, or play more independently.
Question: Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources?
Answer: Early Intervention programs both coordinate and provide services. If AT is identified to enhance your child’s development, that AT is to be included in the Once the IEP team makes the determination that assistive technology must be provided as part of the student’s IEP, it is the responsibility of school administration, with input from the IEP team, to determine how the assistive technology will be provided and with which funding resources.
Question: Who is responsible for the customization, repair, maintenance and replacement of assistive devices?
Answer: • Assistive technology services such as customization, maintenance, repair and replacement are included as considerations in the acquisition of equipment or devices purchased/provided by the school. An exception to repair would be made if the student were negligent with the assistive technology device. • If family owned assistive technology is used by the school and is listed in the IEP as necessary for providing free appropriate public education, the school might also be responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement. Responsibilities for these services should be discussed at the IEP meeting and identified in the IEP notes or the IEP document.
Question: Who owns the assistive technology equipment that is purchased for students?
Answer: If the school district purchases the equipment, the equipment belongs to the school. If the device is purchased using private insurance, then the device belongs to the parent and is meant for the exclusive use of the student. If the device was donated to the school, the IEP Team decides ownership.
Question: Will the student become too dependent on technology and not learn to use the skills they have?
Answer: Assistive technology should be used as support for access, learning, and performing daily tasks. If assistive technology is necessary for a student to have access to educational opportunities or to benefit from education, then it is a legitimate support. Some skills are too laborious or taxing to accomplish at a rate or with degree of proficiency to allow for participation in the least restrictive environment. With assistive technology, the student can participate more fully and more closely approximate the levels of achievement and interaction of his or her peers.

Employment

Question: Are employers required to pay for assistive technology devices and services?
Answer: • Employers are required to pay for assistive technology, equipment, and other accommodations, if the request meets the criteria for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Question: Are there any tax credits that can assist an employer with the costs assistive technology?
Answer: o ADA Small Business Tax Credit (Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, section 190): Businesses with 30 or fewer employees or $1,000,000 or less per year in total revenue can receive a tax credit for the cost of accommodations provided to an employee with a disability. This credit covers 50% of eligible expenditures up to $10,000 (maximum credit per year of $5,000). o WOTC & WtW Tax Credits: Although not directly connected to accommodations, any employer can use these tax credits to help offset costs of assistive technology, equipment, or accommodations for a person with a disability. ? Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) – is available to employers for hiring individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Employers can receive a tax credit of up to $2,400 per individual hired. Many people with disabilities meet the criteria for WOTC, including all recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and all clients of state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies. ? Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit – If a person with a disability is a recipient of Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) at the time of hire, the employer can receive a federal tax credit for up to $8,500 per individual hired.
Question: Are there any tax deductions that can assist an employer with the costs of making their business more accessible?
Answer: The IRS allows a deduction up to $15,000 per year for “qualified architectural and transportation barrier removal expenses.” Expenditures to make a facility or public transportation vehicle owned or leased in connection with a trade or business more accessible to, and usable by, individuals who are handicapped or elderly are eligible for the deduction. The definition of a “handicapped individual” is similar to the ADA definition of an “individual with a disability.” To be eligible for this deduction, modifications must meet the requirements of standards established by IRS regulations implementing Tax Deduction to Remove Architectural and Transportation Barriers to People with Disabilities and Elderly Individuals (Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, section 190).
Question: Are there certain things that are not considered reasonable accommodations and are therefore not required?
Answer: • An employer does not have to provide personal use items, such as a prosthetic limb, a wheelchair, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or similar devices. • Exceptions would be for employers to provide items that are customarily personal use items where the items are specifically designed or required to meet job-related needs. o An employer may have to provide an individual with a disabling visual impairment with eyeglasses specifically designed to enable the individual to use the office computer monitors, but that are not otherwise needed by the individual outside of the office.
Question: Are there limits on providing reasonable accommodations?
Answer: • An employer never has to provide any reasonable accommodation that causes undue hardship, meaning significant difficulty or expense. Undue hardship refers not only to financial difficulty, but to reasonable accommodations that are unduly extensive or disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. • Every request for reasonable accommodation should be evaluated separately to determine if it would impose an undue hardship, taking into account: o The nature and cost of the accommodation needed; o The overall financial resources of the business; the number of persons employed by the business; and the effect on expenses and resources of the business; o The impact of the accommodation on the business. • If cost is an issue, an employer should determine whether funding is available from an outside source, such as the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, to pay for all or part of the accommodation. In addition, the employer should determine whether it is eligible for certain tax credits or deductions to offset the cost of the accommodation. Also, to the extent that a portion of the cost of an accommodation causes undue hardship, the employer should ask the individual with a disability if s/he will pay the difference.
Question: Are there programs specifically for Veterans to help purchase assistive technology for work?
Answer: If an individual with a disability is a veteran, or a dependent of a veteran, they may be eligible for funding through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program from the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA is specifically authorized by law to pay for devices and assistive technology for people with disabilities.
Question: Can the employer require an employee to bring a personally owned assistive device, such as an augmentative communication system or laptop computer, to work?
Answer: • No. However the employee may wish to use his/her own equipment since s/he may be most familiar or comfortable with it. • It may also be a reasonable accommodation to permit an individual with a disability the opportunity to provide and utilize equipment, aids or services that employers are not required to provide as reasonable accommodations.
Question: Does Social Security have any programs that could help pay for assistive technology devices needed for work?
Answer: Social Security has Work Incentive programs that will purchase assistive technology. o IRWE – Individuals who receive Social Security disability benefits (Supplemental Security Income – SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance – SSDI) can use an Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE) to help offset the cost of assistive technology or work accommodation. o PASS – Individuals receiving SSI can use a Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) to offset the entire cost of assistive technology, equipment or accommodations. PASSs require an application process and typically take 30 to 60 days to be approved.
Question: Does Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) have any programs for individuals who are unable to work?
Answer: Services for the Older Blind assists individuals who are 55 years of age or older and because of their blindness or severe visual impairments, gainful employment would be extremely difficult to attain, but for whom independent living goals are feasible. o Vision rehabilitation specialists train people at home, on the job, and in the communities. o Specific services may include, but are not limited to: ? Assistive technology ? Diagnostic work-ups ? Necessary corrective treatment, hospitalization, and nursing services ? Adaptive aids, including those based on optical and non-optical technologies ? Orientation and mobility training ? Personal adjustment/daily living skills training ? Skills training services which may be provided in the client’s home and community, or at a training facility.
Question: How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
Answer: First, identify all potential payment sources for which you are eligible, then apply. Understand that there is an order in which the sources must be tapped. For example, you exhaust private payment options before applying to Medicare or Medicaid for payment. For someone who is dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, you must apply to Medicare first.
Question: How must an individual request a reasonable accommodation?
Answer: The individual must let the employer know that s/he needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. An individual may use “plain English” and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase “reasonable accommodation.” Requests for reasonable accommodations do not need to be in writing, though an employer may choose to write a memorandum or letter confirming the request.
Question: How quickly must an employer respond to a request for a reasonable accommodation?
Answer: An employer should respond promptly to a request for a reasonable accommodation. If the employer and the individual with a disability need to engage in an interactive process, this too should proceed as quickly as possible. Similarly, the employer should act promptly to provide the reasonable accommodation.
Question: I work for the Federal Government, are there programs to help with assistive technology?
Answer: • Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) – CAP provides assistive technology accommodations and services to persons with disabilities at the Department of Defense (DoD) and over 38 Federal agencies at no cost. o Sign Language Interpreters – CAP covers the costs of sign language interpreters for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing who must attend long-term DoD sponsored training classes. o Readers – To support training for individuals with visual impairments, CAP funds readers to assist during long-term DoD sponsored training sessions. o Personal Assistants – CAP provides financial resources for personal assistants to support training requirements of individuals with mobility impairments. Personal assistants are provided for DoD sponsored class/training session times only. o CART Services – CAP provides funding to cover the cost of CART services for training which last two full days or more for each training class, to ensure access to DoD sponsored training opportunities. o Relay Conference Captioning – Deaf and hard –of-hearing individuals can participate in meetings, videoconferences, and multi-party conference calls using real-time text streamed to an Internet-connected computer anywhere in the world. This service is provided by the same high-quality captioners who produce closed captioning on television. This is a free service provided by General Services Administration and Sprint Telecommunications. o Video Relay Services – Web camera, when used with the Internet, enable the use of Video Relay Service. VRS provides telecommunication relay services through the use of sign language. Video Relay Services allow a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability, to make a relay call to a standard telephone user by using sign language to communicate visually with an interpreter through the Internet. VRS requires the use of a web camera with the Internet to place a call. o CAPTEC – Located in the Pentagon, the CAP Technology Evaluation Center (CAPTEC) is a facility dedicated to the evaluation and demonstration of assistive technology. o Wounded Services Members – CAP works closely with service members across the nation to ensure they receive appropriate assistive technology for their needs. The use of assistive technology is introduced during recovery and rehabilitation at Military Treatment Facilities. Accommodations are available for Service members with injuries that have caused: ? Dexterity Impairments, including upper extremity amputees: • CAP provides various devices to assist service members who have sustained nerve damage, fractures, burns, and amputations to their upper extremities. • Accommodation options include: compact keyboards, alternative pointing devices, and voice recognition software with certified training. ? Vision Loss: • For service members with low vision, screen magnification software can reduce eye strain, blurry vision, and eye fatigue. Magnification software offers a wide range of features, enabling users to customize the application to their specific needs. Portable magnification devices are also available. • For complete vision loss, CAP provides scanners and screen reader software with certified training. ? Hearing Loss: • Assistive listening devices (ALD’s) are available for service members who have sustained hearing loss and damage, including tinnitus, hearing loss in one ear, and variable hearing loss. • ALDs can be used at an individual’s discretion, allowing the user to adjust the level of amplification to their needs and reduce unwanted background noise. ? Cognitive Injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) • For TBI anc closed-head injuries, CAP provides Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) to service members who struggle to remember appointments, medications, names, and phone numbers. • PDA options vary in complexity, from simple cueing aids to powerful computer-based applications that can aid an individual in activities of daily living. • If you are a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employee with a qualified disability, assistive technology accommodations may be provided for you at no cost to your agency. The U.S. Department of Agriculture established the Technology Accessible Resources Give Employment Today (TARGET) Center to support the Department with assistive technology and ergonomic solutions. o The USDA TARGET Center provides assistive technology assessments to employees with disabilities either in-person, over the phone, or through TARGET Web Connect. Employees or supervisors who feel there may be a need for assistive technology may contact the TARGET Center to schedule an assessment. o The USDA TARGET Center loans a variety of assistive technology and ergonomic equipment for evaluation purposes. ? USDA employees may borrow an item for a two-week period. • Some equipment, such as software is only available for demonstration purposes and cannot be transferred to another user. In many cases, this software is available as a demo download from the vendor’s website. ? TARGET will provide vendor information to interested customers. ? Much of TARGET’s assistive technology inventory is available at no cost to the agency or employee through the USDA/CAP Partnership. o USDA employees with temporary mobility issues may borrow a scooter for up to two months with a doctor’s note. Without a note, scooter loans are limited to four weeks. Scooters are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and will only be given to employees with a signed Scooter Policy. o USDA employees do not need to have a permanent disability to take advantage of the large inventory of assistive technology in the Center. For example, an employee with the use of only one hand due to an injury may borrow a one-handed keyboard during the recovery process. Most loans are limited to two weeks. • The Department of Transportation (DOT) – Disability Resource Center (DRC) is a one-stop shop to ensure that DOT employees with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of the Department’s work, programs and services. DRC provides reasonable accommodations, assessments, and assistive technology. • The Office of the Chief Information Officer’s Assistive Technology Team provides support services the U.S. Department of Education’s education managers and supervisors in determining how technology can be used to meet the reasonable accommodation needs of employees with disabilities and assists with implementation. o Services include: needs assessments, technical support of all assistive technology recommended, specialty equipment and software demonstration, guidance to application developers and vendors regarding EDsoftware design requirements, accessible web site design consultation, and participation committees on disability and access issues. o The Assistive Technology Team provides recommendations ensuring equal access to information, systems, and technologies; allowing increased productivity in an efficient and cost effective manner. ? Analyze user’s workstation and components for accessibility. ? Determine job requirements and assess current productivity. ? Provides a thorough, written Needs Assessment recommending current, tested technology. o Provides the Assistive Technology Demonstration Center showcasing various assistive technologies. • The Department of Commerce – Committee on Resources for Electronic Accessible Technology to End Users (CREATE) offers planning and coordination of activities that increase awareness of assistive technology for people with disabilities. • The Department of Energy – Disability Accommodation Program, Assistive Technologies Support Team is the primary point of contact for employees with disabilities at headquarters. The Team provides coordination, responsibility, and oversight for all support interfaces with individual employees with disabilities or impairments. • The Department of Housing and Urban Development – Housing Accessibility Resource Program (HARP) provides an opportunity for managers and employees to utilize the TARGET Center at the USDA to view and evaluate assistive technology. • The Department of Interior’s (DOI) Accessible Technology Program supports employees with disabilities by determining the appropriate assistive technology and ergonomic solutions for individuals. These accommodations enable employees with disabilities to equal access to information technology that is essential in today’s workplace. o The Accessible Technology Center has 5 workstations available for hands-on demonstrations and evaluations of assistive technologies. Each of the workstations is geared to the demonstration of products that provide accommodations for a particular category of disability. There is a station for sight, hearing, cognitive, mobility/dexterity impairments as well as a Section 508 web testing station. There are a variety of ergonomic keyboards, seating, monitors, “point and click” devices such as alternative mice and trackballs at each workstation. • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – The Microcomputer Training Program for Persons with Disabilities (MTPPD) provides cost-reimbursable assistive technology training for U.S. veterans. It also provides product assessment, demonstrations, and consultations • The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) – Disability Rights Office (DRO) works hard to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to telecommunications. The DRO, housed in the FCC’s Consumer Information Bureau, provides technical assistance to consumers, businesses, and government agencies on their rights and responsibilities to facilitate disability access in the foundations and frontiers of telecommunications. • The Internal Revenue Service – Information Resources Accessibility Program (IRAP) Office provides accessible electronic information technology to customers with disabilities. Associates offer consultation, technical support and demonstrations. IRAP also tests IRS systems and products to ensure accessibility to and compatibility with assistive technology. • The Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity (OCREO), provides adaptive devices to accommodate SSA’s employees with disabilities. SSA believes that having a centralized account to purchase adaptive devices encourages managers to hire more people with disabilities since they would not have to deplete local resources to purchase expensive adaptive equipment.
Question: Is assistive technology considered a reasonable/job accommodation?
Answer: • Assistive technology devices are often used as reasonable/job accommodations. It can be as simple as wooden blocks placed under table legs to raise table height to accommodate a wheelchair or as complex as a computer with speech output for individuals who are blind. • For employees who are blind or have low vision, a reasonable accommodation would also be to provide access to printed work-related materials in accessible formats. o Accessible formats include materials in large print, Braille, electronic files or media and/or accessible web pages. • The type of reasonable/job accommodation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing will vary according to the person and the specific situation. o Sign Language Interpreters: are trained professionals who provide the necessary communication link between hearing and deaf or hard of hearing individuals. Interpreters assist by: ? Interpreting the signed message into spoken English for the hearing individual. ? Interpreting the spoken message for the individual who is deaf or hard of hearing. ? Conveying the intent, feeling and content of the message to both parties involved. ? Keeping all information confidential and never interjecting personal opinions. o Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) – With real-time captioning, a stenographer with special training records everything that is said. Simultaneously, the person who is deaf or hard of hearing reads the words delivered from the speaker on a laptop computer, a television monitor or a projection screen. o Video Relay Service (VRS) – Video Relay service allows a person who uses sign language to place a relay call to a hearing person by communicating through a certified sign language interpreter. VRS requires the use of a high-speech Internet connection and a web camera to place a call. A VRS call may be initiated by a person who uses sign language or by a hearing person to a sign language user. The interpreter will relay the conversation between the parties. Video relay service is provided by telecommunication companies such as AT&T and Sprint.
Question: May an employer ask whether a reasonable accommodation is needed when an employee with a disability has not asked for one?
Answer: If an employer knows that an employee has a disability, they may ask whether s/he needs a reasonable accommodation when they reasonably believe that the employee may need an accommodation. An employer also may ask an employee with a disability who is having performance or conduct problems if s/he needs reasonable accommodation.
Question: May an employer tell other employees that someone is receiving a reasonable accommodation?
Answer: No, because this usually amounts to a disclosure that the individual has a disability. The ADA specifically prohibits the disclosure of medical information except in certain limited situations, which do not include disclosure to coworkers.
Question: Must an employer provide the reasonable accommodation that the individual wants?
Answer: The employer may choose among reasonable accommodations as long as the chosen accommodation is effective (i.e., it removes the workplace barrier at issue). The employer may offer alternative suggestions for reasonable accommodations to remove the workplace barrier in question. If there are two possible reasonable accommodations, and one costs more or is more difficult to provide, the employer may choose the one that is less expensive or easier to provide, as long as it is effective.
Question: What are some specific examples of accommodations?
Answer: • Access: o Physical accessibility of parking facilities, entrances, restrooms o Elevators, workstations o Proper heights for elevator controls, drinking fountains, fire alarms o Appropriate labeling Braille elevator controls for blind and/or visually impaired individuals • Provision Of Assistive Devices: o Headsets and speaker phones o Text telephones (TTYs/TDDs) o Alternative keyboards o Assistive listening devices o Braille printers • Workstation Modification: o Ergonomics o Customized hand tools o Special jigs and fixtures o Modified equipment o Specialized workstation turntable • Environmental Changes: o Changes in lighting o Noise abatement o ventilation • Work Related Personal Care Assistance: o Readers o Drivers
Question: What can the state Vocational Rehabilitation agency (VR) can pay for?
Answer: VR can pay for assistive technology, equipment or other accommodations for individuals who qualify for VR services. o You must have a physical or mental disability that is a substantial impediment to employment; and you require VR services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment. o VR can help obtain an evaluation to see if AT could help you while you are training for a job, looking for a job, or working at a job. This evaluation is sometimes called a ‘rehabilitative engineering’ evaluation. o If the evaluation recommends that you use AT, VR can help you get the AT device that you need. VR can also help you obtain any training you need in order to learn to use the AT device. o VR can help pay for AT services and devices like: ? Telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices: Adaptive equipment to aid communications and mobility; home modifications to include those which make one aware of and to be able to control one’s environment; work site accommodations and others ? Physical and mental restoration services: Those services necessary to correct or substantially modify a physical or mental condition, which is stable or slowly progressing. ? Eyeglasses and visual services, including visual training: Any assistive technology device or service which will aid an individual in seeing or reading. ? Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, or hearing therapy: Sources of assistive technology devices and services.
Question: What happens if I get hurt at work and need assistive technology to continue working?
Answer: If a disability was acquired through a work-related accident or illness, you may seek funding through the employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance carrier. It is advisable not be too hasty in settling the claim. When there is permanent disability involved, workers’ compensation carriers generally want to settle the claim as soon as possible. Let the disability maximize in order to know what kind of assistive devices or equipment will be needed and for how long. Let the insurance personnel know that you will not settle the claim or sign any waivers or release forms until there is ample medical evidence that the disability is permanent and unchanging. If there is an attorney involved, make sure she or he understands why the client may need certain assistive devices and the terminology associated with them. Be sure they know how the workers’ compensation benefits are structured.
Question: What happens if I get hurt at work and need assistive technology to continue working?
Answer: If a disability was acquired through a work-related accident or illness, you may seek funding through the employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance carrier. It is advisable not be too hasty in settling the claim. When there is permanent disability involved, workers’ compensation carriers generally want to settle the claim as soon as possible. Let the disability maximize in order to know what kind of assistive devices or equipment will be needed and for how long. Let the insurance personnel know that you will not settle the claim or sign any waivers or release forms until there is ample medical evidence that the disability is permanent and unchanging. If there is an attorney involved, make sure she or he understands why the client may need certain assistive devices and the terminology associated with them. Be sure they know how the workers’ compensation benefits are structured.
Question: What must an employer do after receiving a request for reasonable accommodation?
Answer: • When the disability and/or the need for accommodation is not obvious, the employer may ask the individual for reasonable documentation about his/her disability and functional limitation. • The employer and the individual with a disability should engage in an informal process to clarify what the individual needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation. The employer may ask the individual questions that will enable it to make an informed decision about the request. This includes asking what type of reasonable accommodation is needed. • There are extensive public and private resources to help employers and individuals with disabilities that are not familiar with possible accommodations.
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: What questions should I ask to clarify the reasonableness of a particular accommodation?
Answer: • Is the accommodation necessary for the performance of essential job duties? • What effect will the accommodation have on the office’s operation and the employee’s job performance • To what extent does the accommodation compensate for the limitations of an employee with a disability? • Will the accommodation give the employee the opportunity to function, participate, or compete on a more equal basis with co-workers? • Are there alternatives that would accomplish the same purpose?
Question: What should be considered in determining if a reasonable accommodation is appropriate?
Answer: • Determine if the request is reasonable. The reasonableness of the proposed accommodation means that the accommodation “seems reasonable on its face, i.e., ordinarily or in the run of cases,” “plausible,” or “feasible,” as defined by the Supreme Court. • The accommodation must also be effective. An accommodation is effective if it meets the needs of the individual. • When providing auxiliary aids (e.g., assistive technology ergonomic equipment, TTY, interpreter), preference should be given to the item requested by the individual, unless that which was requested constitutes an undue hardship.
Question: When is assistive technology appropriate?
Answer: When it: • Enables an individual to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means • Enables an individual to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards – a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means • Provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the individual on a routine basis • Enables an individual to concentrate on learning or employment tasks, rather than mechanical tasks • Provides greater access to information • Supports normal social interactions with peers and adults • Supports participation in the least restrictive educational environment
Question: When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation should be carried out as part of the original referral and evaluation process, as the individual’s needs change, or when external factors (such as changing medications and conditions) dictate changes in the type or uses of technology. In particular, individual’s should be considered for an assistive technology evaluation when it appears that they need help to communicate more effectively, sit, stand or move more independently, work more independently or efficiently, or play more independently.
Question: Will Medicaid purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Answer: Medicaid may pay for a piece of equipment or modification if it is deemed medically necessary for a Medicaid recipient.
Question: Will Medicare purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Answer: Medicare may pay for a piece of equipment or assistive technology for insured individual, if the equipment is deemed medically necessary.
Question: Will private insurance purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Answer: Private health insurance may cover the cost of assistive technology or equipment. Individuals should review their insurance policies and contact their insurance company to see if such devices are covered.

Evaluations

Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: What should be included in an evaluation report?
Answer: • Procedures used to evaluate the individual • Instruments employed in the evaluation, assuring that a range of levels of technologies has been considered • Results of evaluations, including both qualitative and quantitative measures • Recommendations for levels of technology appropriate to the student’s capabilities and potentials, and • Implications for both individual technology needs and recommended environmental and instructional modifications.
Question: What should happen during an evaluation?
Answer: • The assistive technology evaluation must be tailored to the unique needs of the individual. • Questions to consider during an evaluation or assessment include: o What tasks does the individual need to perform that they cannot perform? o Is there a low tech device which will address the individual’s needs satisfactorily? o What types of high tech assistive devices may help the individual in performing the task? o Will assistive technology help the student to perform the task in the least restrictive environment? o Is the device being considered suited to the individual’s needs and abilities? o Will the assistive technology device remain suitable over time? • Identify training needs for the user, family members and caregivers and other professionals working with the individual.
Question: What should I consider when evaluating an assistive technology device?
Answer: • Performance o Does it work efficiently and effectively? o Is it easy to learn to use this device? o Is it compatible with other devices? o Does this device serve only one purpose or is it flexible? • Simplicity of design o Does this device represent the simplest, most efficient way to accomplish the task? o Or is this device too elaborate, too complicated to be worthwhile? • Ergonomics o Does it fit the individual? o Is it convenient to use in the environment o Is the equipment portable enough to go where the user goes? o Are different devices needed in different environments? • Reliability o What is the manufacturer’s reputation for reliability? o Does it stand up well to normal use? o Is it durable? • Safety o Is it safe to use? o What is the power source for the device? Is it safe? o Is a margin built in for foreseeable misuse? • Practicality o Do company sales people seem knowledgeable and helpful? o Are the company’s service people knowledgeable and helpful? o Does the device have a warranty? How long is the device guaranteed to function? o How available are repair services? At what cost? o Can this device be leased? o Is this device available for a trial period before purchase? o Will this device soon be outdated? Is something better on the horizon? o Will the company update the device? o Does the manufacturer provide training in using the device? • Aesthetics o Is this device attractive to the eye? o Does the device fit well into the user’s lifestyle? • Normalization o Does the device assist the user with more normalized living? o Can the use operate the device independently or with a minimum of assistance? o Does the device “stick out” too much and advertise the disability of the user? o Does the equipment minimize difference or exaggerate difference? o Does the device have the potential to increase the quantity and quality of time spent with nondisabled peers? Or does the device separate the user from others? • Cost effectiveness o Do the benefits the device provides justify the cost? o Are there less expensive devices or models that serve the purpose as well? • Personal acceptance o Is this device the user’s own choice? o Does the potential user like this device and want to use it? o Does the potential user view this device as life-enhancing? o Would the user have preferred some other device or means to perform the task? o Will using the device always be a chore or can using it become a habit?
Question: When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation should be carried out as part of the original referral and evaluation process, as the individual’s needs change, or when external factors (such as changing medications and conditions) dictate changes in the type or uses of technology. In particular, individual’s should be considered for an assistive technology evaluation when it appears that they need help to communicate more effectively, sit, stand or move more independently, work more independently or efficiently, or play more independentl
Question: Where can a consumer get an evaluation?
Answer: Many times, the third party payer drives this choice. The occupational/physical/speech therapist, rehabilitation engineers, rehabilitation facility, etc., often must be an approved or certified provider of the payer. Evaluation professionals may be in private practice or employed by a hospital or rehabilitation facility. Generally, a prescription for the evaluation must be obtained from the consumer’s physician. The physician may refer the consumer to a particular individual, often a therapist for an AT evaluation.
Question: Where can I find more information about specific assistive technology devices?
Answer: • Vendors – will provide good basic information about the product through brochures, product specifications, price lists and other written information. • Product reviews in trade magazines • Other consumers who are already using the product. Ask them about the pros and cons of using the device. • Try the device out for a month to six weeks to make sure that it performs as advertised and fits well with your lifestyle. o Identify training needs for the user, family members and caregivers and other professionals working with the individual. o Test the device in several settings to determine its portability and flexibility.
Question: Who pays for an evaluation?
Answer: Payers include private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, vocational rehabilitation agencies and other agencies serving the needs of persons with disabilities. Evaluation is an ongoing process that may be required again and again as the consumer’s needs change and as new technologies emerge. Consumers who understand the importance of a thorough evaluation are more likely to get the most effective device.
Question: Who should be present during an evaluation?
Answer: • For children in school, the formal evaluation must be multi-disciplinary, involving educators and therapists who are knowledgeable about the school curriculum and the particular types of impairments that the student being assessed may have. • Some evaluations might require the additional services of an adaptive physical education teacher, a rehabilitation counselor, or speech and language pathologist with specialized training in augmentative communication. • Some evaluations may be conducted by a single individual
Question: Who should conduct an evaluation?
Answer: • Individuals conducting an assistive technology evaluation should: o Be knowledgeable of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses: ? Medical needs ? Mobility ? Fine and gross motor skills ? Cognitive ability ? Communication abilities ? Vocational potential ? Self help needs sensory abilities ? Level of academic achievement, and ? Area(s) of disability o Have knowledge of and access to an array of assistive technology devices o Be familiar with the individual’s environments and needs o Be able to communicate effectively with consumers, family members and caregivers, and professionals
Question: Why is it important to get a professional evaluation?
Answer: Evaluation of assistive technology devices is vital to ensure that the consumer’s needs, requirements and choices are fully met. The professional evaluator can, in partnership with the consumer and other service providers, establish a team to determine which device works best. The team can determine the: • Effectiveness – How well does the AT allow the user to achieve the goals they wish to achieve? • Efficiency – How quickly can those goals be achieved using the chosen device? • Learnability – How easy is it to learn how to use the AT? • Flexibility – Does the AT work in the consumer’s customary environment? • Satisfaction – How satisfied is the consumer with the final device choice?

General

Question: Are there other programs that could help me save money?
Answer: • The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) provides assistance for some heating costs for qualified low income households. • Persons who are currently receiving Old Age Pension (OAP), Aid to the Needs Disabled (AND), Aid to the Blind (AB), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may qualify for a reduced rate on basic telephone service through the Telephone Assistance Program. • The Colorado Indigent Care Program provides medical care for persons who do not have health insurance.
Question: How can I find money to pay for computer equipment?
Answer: • Private and public health insurance policies typically do not cover the purchase of computer equipment. • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) will consider payment of computer if an individual meets DVR eligibility criteria and the equipment is necessary for work. • Beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can retain eligibility while setting aside money to pay for computer equipment under the Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE) and Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS). The computer equipment must be connected to an employment goal. • The National Federation of the Blind offers low-interest loans to blind or visually impaired persons for the purchase of computers and related information processing technology. • The Association of Blind Citizens offers grants to legally blind persons. Each grant pays for half of an individual’s requested computer equipment.
Question: How can I get funding to pay for home modifications?
Answer: • Private and public health insurance policies usually do not cover home modifications. The typical sources of funds for home modifications are either federal and state agencies or nonprofit organizations. Each source has a limited supply of funds and its own eligibility rules. • The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) provides funds for veterans with disabilities under Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) grants. • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides loans to low-income residents of rural counties. • The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has partnered with the Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) to offer access loans to pay for home modifications for individuals with a disability. • Beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can retain eligibility while setting aside money to pay for home modifications under the Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE) and Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS). The desired home modifications must be connected to an employment goal.
Question: How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
Answer: First, identify all potential payment sources for which you are eligible, then apply. Understand that there is an order in which the sources must be tapped. For example, you exhaust private payment options before applying to Medicare or Medicaid for payment. For someone who is dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, you must apply to Medicare first.
Question: How do I get funding to buy a modified van or to pay for modifications to a van?
Answer: • Private and public health insurance policies typically do not cover the purchase of or modifications to a van. • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) will consider payment for modifications to a van if an individual meets DVR eligibility criteria. • The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) provides a one-time only grant for persons whose disability is service connected. • Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) is another potential source of payment for van modifications, but not van purchases. • The Muscular Dystrophy Association offers grants for van lifts to individuals with any of the neuromuscular diseases in the Association’s program. • Beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can retain eligibility while setting aside money to pay for a modified van or modification to a van under the Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE) and Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS). The van and/or modifications must be connected to an employment goal. • The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has partnered with the Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) to offer mobility vehicle loans to pay for modified vans, cars and modifications for individuals with a disability. • Several auto manufacturers have a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail customer, for the purchase and installation of qualifying adaptive equipment. • Several vendors have established partnerships with auto manufacturers to offer extended terms for up to 10 years and other flexible financing terms.
Question: If a piece of assistive technology is no longer needed or relevant to a student and the device was paid for by Medicaid or private insurance, can it be donated for another student’s benefit?
Answer: Yes, it is a parental decision. The parent(s) could donate the device to the school for use by other students with disabilities.
Question: What criteria should be used as a guide for finding a vendor?
Answer: • Is the vendor an approved provider of your insurance carrier? • Will they file a claim with the insurance carrier? • Will they provide a written statement of how much the consumer will have to pay out of pocket and does this have to be paid before delivery? • Does the vendor carry a variety of products and will he explain the differences? • Does the vendor fully explain how to use and care for the device? • Does he provide a try out or trial period? • Does the vendor have loaner equipment if the equipment breaks down? • Do they pick up and deliver? • Does the vendor have qualified repair staff? • What are the usual repair charges (excluding parts). • Do they offer repairs in my home? • Do they return phone calls promptly? • Does the vendor carry professional liability insurance? • Does the consumer feel comfortable discussing with the staff the personal disability issues relating to the device?
Question: What is a product system?
Answer: A product system is more than one piece of equipment working together to produce a result. Examples: a FM system utilized in conjunction with a student’s hearing aid to provide amplification in the classroom or a computer with a voice synthesizer.
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through RESNA as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to provide an individual with an assistive technology device?
Answer: • Individuals may be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Supplier (ATS) – someone who is involved with the sale and service of rehabilitation equipment or commercially available assistive technology products or devices for consumers with disabilities. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as a Rehabilitation Engineering Technologist (RET) – someone who applies engineering principles to the design, modification, customization and/or fabrication of assistive technology persons with disabilities. • Individuals may be registered through the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) as a Rehabilitation Technology Supplier (RRTS) - someone who provides enabling technology in the areas of wheeled mobility, seating and alternative positioning, ambulation assistance, environmental control and activities of daily living. • Individuals may also be certified through the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) as a Certified Rehabilitation Technology Supplier (CRTS) - someone who has been registered with NRRTS for 2 years and passed the RESNA ATS exam. To maintain this certification, the registrant must obtain 1 CEU (continuing education units) per year. o Families should also know that a certified rehabilitation technology supplier knows the equipment. This means knowing how the equipment can best meet the needs of the individual and the goals of the individual and therapist. In many cases, the knowledge of a CRTS assists the therapist in making equipment recommendations for the family from among the options available.
Question: What should be considered in determining if a reasonable accommodation is appropriate?
Answer: • Determine if the request is reasonable. The reasonableness of the proposed accommodation means that the accommodation “seems reasonable on its face, i.e., ordinarily or in the run of cases,” “plausible,” or “feasible,” as defined by the Supreme Court. • The accommodation must also be effective. An accommodation is effective if it meets the needs of the individual. • When providing auxiliary aids (e.g., assistive technology ergonomic equipment, TTY, interpreter), preference should be given to the item requested by the individual, unless that which was requested constitutes an undue hardship.
Question: When is assistive technology appropriate?
Answer: When it: • Enables an individual to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means • Enables an individual to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards – a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means • Provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the individual on a routine basis • Enables an individual to concentrate on learning or employment tasks, rather than mechanical tasks • Provides greater access to information • Supports normal social interactions with peers and adults • Supports participation in the least restrictive educational environment
Question: When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation should be carried out as part of the original referral and evaluation process, as the individual’s needs change, or when external factors (such as changing medications and conditions) dictate changes in the type or uses of technology. In particular, individual’s should be considered for an assistive technology evaluation when it appears that they need help to communicate more effectively, sit, stand or move more independently, work more independently or efficiently, or play more independently.
Question: When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation should be carried out as part of the original referral and evaluation process, as the individual’s needs change, or when external factors (such as changing medications and conditions) dictate changes in the type or uses of technology. In particular, individual’s should be considered for an assistive technology evaluation when it appears that they need help to communicate more effectively, sit, stand or move more independently, work more independently or efficiently, or play more independently.
Question: Where can I get funding for the purchase of a hearing aid?
Answer: • Private and public health insurance policies typically do not cover the purchase of hearing aids. • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) will consider payment hearing aids if an individual meets DVR eligibility criteria. • Hear Now – a national non-profit agency that provides hearing aids to low income persons. Only applications which include supporting information from a health care provider and a $35 non-refundable fee will be considered.
Question: Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources – the IEP Team or school administration?
Answer: Once the IEP team makes the determination that assistive technology must be provided as part of the student’s IEP, it is the responsibility of school administration, with input from the IEP team, to determine how the assistive technology will be provided and with which funding resources.
Question: Who determines how assistive technology will be purchased and with what available funding resources?
Answer: Early Intervention programs both coordinate and provide services. If AT is identified to enhance your child’s development, that AT is to be included in the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Other services which may be identified in the IFSP include Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and language, and Vision Services.
Question: Who is responsible for the customization, repair, maintenance and replacement of assistive devices?
Answer: • Assistive technology services such as customization, maintenance, repair and replacement are included as considerations in the acquisition of equipment or devices purchased/provided by the school. An exception to repair would be made if the student were negligent with the assistive technology device. • If family owned assistive technology is used by the school and is listed in the IEP as necessary for providing free appropriate public education, the school might also be responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement. Responsibilities for these services should be discussed at the IEP meeting and identified in the IEP notes or the IEP document.
Question: Who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of assistive devices?
Answer: • Assistive technology services such as customization, maintenance, repair and replacement are included as considerations in the acquisition of equipment or devices purchased/provided by the school. An exception to repair would be made if the student were negligent with the assistive technology device. • If family owned assistive technology is used by the school and is listed in the IEP as necessary for providing free appropriate public education, the school might also be responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement. Responsibilities for these services should be discussed at the IEP meeting and identified in the IEP notes or the IEP document.
Question: Who owns the assistive technology equipment that is purchased for students?
Answer: If the school district purchases the equipment, the equipment belongs to the school. If the device is purchased using private insurance, then the device belongs to the parent and is meant for the exclusive use of the student. If the device was donated to the school, the IEP Team decides ownership.
Question: Who will help pay for assistive technology for my elderly family member who has a disability?
Answer: • Right now, no single private insurance plan or public program will pay all types of assistive technology under any circumstances. However, Medicare Part B will cover up to 80 percent of the cost of assistive technology if the items being purchased meet the definition of “durable Medical equipment.” This is defined as devices that are “primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose, and generally are not useful to a person in the absence of illness or injury.” To find out if Medicare will cover the cost of a particular piece of assistive technology, call 800-633-4227, TTY/TDD 877-486-2048. You can also find answers to your questions by visiting the website at www.medicare.gov. • Medicaid may pay for some assistive technology. Keep in mind, though, that even when Medicaid does cover part of the cost, the benefits usually do no provide the amount of financial aid needed to buy an expensive piece of equipment, such as a power wheelchair. • Seniors who are eligible for veterans’ benefits should definitely look into whether they can receive assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Many people consider the DVA to have a model payment system for assistive technology because the agency has a structure in place to pay for the large volume of equipment that it buys. The DVA also invests in training people in how to use assistive devices. For more information about DVA benefits for assistive technology, call the VA Health Benefits Service Center at 877-222-8387 or visit the department’s website at: www.va.gov/health_benefits/ • Private health insurance and out-of-pocket payment are two other options for purchasing assistive technology. Out-of-pocket payment is just that; you buy the assistive technology yourself. This is affordable for small, simple items, such as modified eating utensils, but most seniors find that they need financial aid for more costly equipment. The problem is that private health insurance often does not cover the full price of expensive devices, such as power wheelchairs and electric scooters. • Subsidy programs provide some types of assistive technology at a reduced cost or for free. Many businesses and not-for-profit groups have set subsidy programs that include discounts, grants, or rebates to get consumers to try a specific product. The idea is that by offering this benefit, the program sponsors can encourage seniors and people with disabilities to use an item that they otherwise might not consider. Obviously, elderly people should careful about participating in subsidy programs that are run by businesses with commercial interests in the product or service because of the potential for fraud.
Question: Will Medicaid purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Answer: Medicaid may pay for a piece of equipment or modification if it is deemed medically necessary for a Medicaid recipient.
Question: Will Medicare purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Answer: Medicare may pay for a piece of equipment or assistive technology for insured individual, if the equipment is deemed medically necessary.
Question: Will private insurance purchase assistive technology for an employee?
Answer: Private health insurance may cover the cost of assistive technology or equipment. Individuals should review their insurance policies and contact their insurance company to see if such devices are covered.

Private Insurance

Question: What should a Letter of Medical Necessity include?
Answer: • Name of child and names of parents (parents and child may have different names) • All ID Numbers, contacts, insurance information • Date of birth of child • Insurance plan name (there may be more than one plan) • Contact information for the plan • ALL relevant diagnoses (codes are helpful only if they are accurate!) • Item/service requested • Why item/service is medically necessary (refer to the plans’ definition) • What positive/negative impacts the item/service will result in (include financial) • Scope and duration of treatment • Supplemental documents (letters from other providers, research articles, product information, PAR, EPSDT Screen) • Funding streams NOT able to help or denied item
Question: When I call my Insurance, what should I have ready?
Answer: • Have the PAR, denial or problem documents in front of you when you call • Full name • ID#, other subscriber data • Date of birth • Write down the day and time of call • Ask for the name of who you speak to, their phone number and extension • Ask for their response in writing if it is about benefits….it did NOT happen if it is not in writing

Public Insurance

Question: Are there other health care coverage options available through the state for my child(ren)?
Answer: Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) is a low-cost health insurance program for uninsured Colorado Children ages 18 and under whose familes earn too much to qulaify for Medicaid but cnnot afford private insurance. CHP+ also offers benefits to pregnant women. The CHP+ Prenatal Care Program offers low-cost health insurance to uninsured Colorado pregnant women who live in households that meet certain income requirements.For more information about CHP+, call 800-359-1991 or visit www.CHPplus.org
Question: Can Medicaid help with transportation to a medical appointment?
Answer: Yes. medicaid provides medical transportation to and/or from non-emergency, pre-planned medical treatment. Please contact Logisticare at 800-390-3182 for more information.n
Question: Do children and pregnant women have a co-pay while on Medicaid?
Answer: No. Children under the age of 19 are co-pay exempt for any services, and pregnant women of any age are co-pay exempt during the pregnancy.
Question: Do I continue to receive Medicaid?
Answer: A pregnant woman receiving Medicaid will continue to be covered for 60 days after the birth of her child. Women on Emergency Medicaid are not covered beyond labor and delivery.
Question: How do I apply for Medicaid?
Answer: Contact your local Social/Human Services office to determine Medicaid eligibility or visit the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing website http://www.colorado.gov/hcpf to download a joint Medicaid/CHP+ application.
Question: How do I know which dentists or eye doctors take Medicaid?
Answer: You can call your local EPSDT outreach specialist for a listing of providers in your area. It is important to note that additional documentation and/or letters of medical necessity are sometimes needed to assist Medicaid in approving the request for a benefit or service.
Question: How soon after I submit a PAR to CFMC will I be notified of the outcome?
Answer: By contract, CFMC has ten business days after the receipt of all information to review a PAR and submit it to the fiscal agent (ACS). Once the PAR is received at ACS, they then have an additional ten business days to complete the process.
Question: I have Medicaid coverage during my pregnancy. What happens when I have my baby?
Answer: You need to report the birth to your Medicaid eligibility technician or your EPSDT out reach specialist. When reporting a girth, the following information is needed: Your name, Your state ID # or Social Security #, Your baby's full name (first, middle, and last), Your baby's date of birth (DOB), and Your baby's gender (sex).
Question: If I have some health insurance but need more coverage, can Medicaid help?
Answer: Having health insurance coverage DOES NOT exclude anyone from being Medicaid eligible. Any person who meets the Medicaid eligibility guidelines can receive Medicaid, but you must report your other insurance coverage. This is referred to as third-party insurance. Medicaid will pick up the costs of services not fully covered by your third-party insurance, as long as the medical services are a medicaid benefit and you follow the rules of your third-party insurance.
Question: If my child needs to see a specialist, do I need a referral from my child's doctor?
Answer: Medicaid requires that some services must first be approved before receiving them. This process is called prior authorization and starts with the primary care provider (PCP) or child's doctor completing a form and sending it to Medicaid. This document allows Medicaid to decide the service is medically necessary and if they will pay for that specific service or item. A referral is never needed from your physician to see a dentist, eye doctor, a Medicaid mental or behavioral health provider, family health planning, or hearing services.
Question: What do I do if I am out of the state and need Medicaid benefits?
Answer: If you are temporarily out of the state but are still a resident of Colorado, you may receive some medicaid benefits under certain conditions: if is a medical emergency, or your health would be endangered if you were required to return to Colorado for the medical care/treatment. The doctor/hospital that treats you must enroll in the Colorado Medicaid Program. Please have that doctor work with our Medicaid fiscal agent so that reimburse is guaranteed.
Question: What does EPSDT include?
Answer: • Periodic Screening: comprehensive wee-care checkups and screening based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Periodicity Schedule. http://www.chcpf..state.co.us/HCPF/EPSDT/EPSDT_Final_page2.asp • Inter-periodic visit: ANY other visit other than the periodic screening exam
Question: What if I want to change the PCP or HMO listed on my Medicaid card?
Answer: You will need to contact Health Colorado, Medicaid's enrollment broker, at 303-839-2120. If you just show up at a doctor's office, you will not be seen, nor will Medicaid pay for that visit.
Question: What is a medical home?
Answer: A medical home is not a building or house, but a way that your child can receive ongoing, coordinated comprehensive care. This care is by a team of health care providers that know your child and will work within the priorities of your family. Through your medical home, you should be able to access the medical and non-medical services you need.
Question: What is Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT)?
Answer: • Synonymous with all medically necessary medical, dental and behavioral benefits for children ages birth through 20 years. There are two components: o Periodic screening exam and o Inter-periodic visits (all other health care visits).
Question: What is the definition of Medical Necessity?
Answer: • Medically necessary, or medical necessity, shall be defined as a Medicaid service that will, or is reasonably expected to prevent, diagnose, cure, correct, reduce or ameliorate the pain and suffering, or the physical, mental, cognitive or developmental effects of an illness, injury or disability; and for which there is no other equally effective or substantially less costly course of treatment suitable for the child’s needs. – EPSDT 8.280-8.281.01(B)
Question: What is the difference between CFMC and ACS?
Answer: Colorado Foundation for Medical Care (CFMC) is the Quality Improvement Organization for the state of Colorado, and has a contract with CDHCPF (CO Medicaid) to review Prior Authorization Requests (PARs) for medical necessity. CFMC provides this review for the following: Certain surgical procedures, including transplants Certain durable medical equipment (DME), including power wheelchairs and scooters, augmentative communication devices, respiratory devices, and certain prosthetic and orthotic equipment Physical and occupational therapy Substance use disorder and mental health treatment Certain non-emergency transportation services EPSDT home health services Out-of-state elective hospital admissions Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) is the fiscal agent for Colorado Medicaid. ACS performs the following, among other services: Long Term Home Health PARS for clients age 18 and over should be sent to the Single Entry Point (SEP) agency in the client’s county of residence. Long Term Home Health PARs for clients under 18 years of age should be sent to the fiscal agent (ACS) at: ACS PO Box 30 Denver, CO 80201-0030 Review of PARs for other types of services (such as manual wheelchairs and repairs for equipment) Data entry of PARs into the database Sending notification of approval or denial of services to clients and providers Claims processing
Question: What should a Letter of Medical Necessity include?
Answer: • Name of child and names of parents (parents and child may have different names) • All ID Numbers, contacts, insurance information • Date of birth of child • Insurance plan name (there may be more than one plan) • Contact information for the plan • ALL relevant diagnoses (codes are helpful only if they are accurate!) • Item/service requested • Why item/service is medically necessary (refer to the plans’ definition) • What positive/negative impacts the item/service will result in (include financial) • Scope and duration of treatment • Supplemental documents (letters from other providers, research articles, product information, PAR, EPSDT Screen) • Funding streams NOT able to help or denied item
Question: When I call Medicaid, what should I have ready?
Answer: • Have the PAR, denial or problem documents in front of you when you call • Full name • ID#, other subscriber data • Date of birth • Write down the day and time of call • Ask for the name of who you speak to, their phone number and extension • Ask for their response in writing if it is about benefits….it did NOT happen if it is not in writing
Question: Where should I send a PAR that needs to be reviewed by CFMC?
Answer: You may fax the PAR form and additional information (including the physician’s prescription, progress notes, and any required questionnaire to support medical necessity of the request) to: 303.790.4643. You may also mail the information to: staff is available during regular business hours from Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST Colorado Foundation for Medical Care 23 Inverness Way East, Suite 100 Englewood, CO 80112-5708 CFMC Medicaid Review Services 24 hour toll free number 1-800-333-2362 or locally at 303-695-3300 x3129. Contact Nancy Borgstadt, RN, MS, CNS, director of review services at 800.950.8250 ext. 3153, or e-mail Nancy at nborgstadt@cfmc.org
Question: Whom should I call when my child's doctor is not available?
Answer: Medicaid clients have a register nurse (RN) available to advise them about their children's health and what to do. Contact FirstHelp Nurse Triage Line at 800-283-3221.
Question: Why are regular medical visits and preventative care so important?
Answer: Health problems may be hidden. The earlier health problems are found, the easier it is to correct or stop them from becoming serious. Some health problems can lead to permanent disability if left untreated.
Question: Will my baby receive Medicaid?
Answer: Yes, your baby is eligible for all medically necessary Medicaid benefits until his/her first birthday as long as the baby stays with you and you don't move out of state.

Veterans

Question: Are there programs specifically for Veterans to help purchase assistive technology for work?
Answer: If an individual with a disability is a veteran, or a dependent of a veteran, they may be eligible for funding through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program from the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA is specifically authorized by law to pay for devices and assistive technology for people with disabilities.
Question: How do I get assistive technology devices and services when I’m covered under several different health insurance policies?
Answer: First, identify all potential payment sources for which you are eligible, then apply. Understand that there is an order in which the sources must be tapped. For example, you exhaust private payment options before applying to Medicare or Medicaid for payment. For someone who is dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, you must apply to Medicare first.
Question: What paperwork do I need to get veterans benefits?
Answer: Veterans seeking a VA benefit for the first time must submit a copy of their service discharge form (DD-214, DD-215, or for World War II veterans, a WD form), which documents service dates and type of discharge, or give their full name, military service number, and branch and dates of service.
Question: What professionals are considered qualified to assess an individual in the area of assistive technology?
Answer: • Generally speaking, individuals with professional licenses as occupational and physical therapists, special educators, speech pathologists, or rehabilitative counselors MAY have the expertise to conduct an assistive technology evaluation. • Individuals may also be certified through the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) – someone who analyzes the needs of consumers with disabilities, assists in selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and provides training in the use of the selected device(s).
Question: What VA programs provide assistive technology?
Answer: VA Medical Programs o Prosthetic and Sensory Aids ? Veterans receiving VA care for any condition may receive VA prosthetic appliances, equipment and services, such as home respiratory therapy, artificial limbs, orthopedic braces and therapeutic shoes, wheelchairs, powered mobility, crutches, canes, walkers, and other durable medical equipment and supplies. ? VA will provide hearing aids and eyeglasses to veterans who receive increased pension based on the need for regular aid and attendance or being permanently housebound, receive compensation for a service-connected disability or are former POWs. Otherwise, hearing aids and eyeglasses are provided only in special circumstances, and not for normally occurring hearing or vision loss. o Home Improvements and Structural Alterations ? VA provides up to $4,100 for service-connected veterans and up to $1,200 for non-service-connected veterans to make home improvements necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. o Services for Blind Veterans ? Blind and visually impaired veterans may be eligible for services at a VA medical center or for admission to a VA blind rehabilitation center. In addition, blind veterans enrolled in the VA health care system may receive: 1. A total health and benefits review 2. Adjustment to blindness training and counseling 3. Home improvements and structural alterations 4. Specially adapted housing and adaptations. 5. Automobile grant 6. Low-vision devices and training in their use 7. electronic and mechanical aids for the blind, including adaptive computers and computer-assisted devices such as reading machines and electronic travel aids 8. Guide dogs, including cost of training for the veteran to learn to work with the dog 9. Talking books, tapes and Braille literature. ? Eligible visually impaired veterans (who are not blind) enrolled in the VA health care system may receive: 1. A total health and benefits review 2. Adjustment to vision loss counseling and training 3. Low-vision devices and training in their use. 4. Electronic and mechanical aids for the visually impaired, including adaptive computers and computer-assisted devices such as reading machines and electronic travel aids, and training in their use. • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment – The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program assists veterans who have service-connected disabilities with obtaining and maintaining suitable employment. Independent living services are also available for severely disabled veterans who are not currently ready to seek employment. o Eligibility: A veteran must have a VA service-connected disability rated at least 20 percent with an employment handicap, or rated 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, and be discharged or released from military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Service members pending medical separation from active duty may also apply if their disabilities are reasonable expected to be rated at least 20 percent following their discharge. o Entitlement: A VA Counselor must decide if the individual has an employment handicap based upon the results of a comprehensive evaluation. After an entitlement decision is made, the individual and counselor will work together to develop a rehabilitation plan. The rehabilitation plan will specify the rehabilitation services to be provided. o Services: Rehabilitation services provided to participants in the VR&E program are under one of five tracks. VA pays the cost of all approved training programs. Subsistence allowance may also be provided. The five tracks are: ? Reemployment with Previous Employer: For individuals who are separating from active duty or in the National Guard or Reserves and are returning to work for their previous employer. ? Rapid Access to Employment: For individuals who either wish to obtain employment soon after separation or who already have the necessary skills to be competitive in the job market in an appropriate occupation. ? Self-Employment: For individuals who have limited access to traditional employment, need flexible work schedules, or who require more accommodation in the work environment due to their disabling conditions or other life circumstances. ? Employment Through Long-Term Services: For individuals who need specialized training and/or education to obtain and maintain suitable employment ? Independent Living Services: For veterans who are not currently able to work and need rehabilitation services to live more independently. • Specially Adapted Housing Grants o Certain veterans and service members with service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant from VA to help build a new specially adapted house, to adapt a home they already own, or buy a house and modify it to meet their disability-related requirements. Eligible veterans or service members may now receive up to three grants, with the total dollar amount of the grants not to exceed the maximum allowable. o Eligible veterans who are temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member may also receive a grant to help the veteran adapt the family member’s home to meet his or her special needs. Those eligible for a $50,000 grant would be permitted to use up to $14,000 and those eligible for a $10,000 grant would be permitted to use up to $2,000. • Adapting an Automobile – Veterans and service members may be eligible for a one-time payment of not more than $11,000 toward the purchase of an automobile or other conveyance if they have service-connected loss or permanent loss of use of one or both hands or feet, permanent impairment of vision of both eyes to a certain degree, or ankylosis (immobility) of one or both knees or one or both hips. They may also be eligible for adaptive equipment, and for repair, replacement, or reinstallation required because of disability or for the safe operation of a vehicle purchased with VA assistance. • Clothing Allowance – Any veteran who is service-connected for a disability for which he or she uses prosthetic or orthopedic appliances may receive an annual clothing allowance. This allowance also is available to any veteran whose service-connected skin condition requires prescribed medication that irreparable damages outer garments.
Question: What will the VA purchase?
Answer: • The VA can provide rehabilitation services to help train or prepare for a job. These services are available to all veterans with service-connected disabilities, and currently to some veterans whose disabilities are not service-connected. • Veterans with service-connected specific mobility impairments or blindness can receive funds to help pay for specially adapted housing. • The VA can help purchase a van or automobile and adapt the vehicle if you have one of several service-connected disabilities affecting your mobility or vision. The VA can also repair or replace adaptive equipment for the van or can, if it breaks down. • All kinds of assistive technology devices may be purchased by the VA, as prosthetics, sensory aids or rehabilitative aids. The VA can purchase hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial limbs or orthopedic shoes. If you have a service-connected disability, you can get services if they are recommended as part of your outpatient care. If you do not have a service-connected disability, the VA may fund these devices if you need them for inpatient or follow-up outpatient care or in other limited circumstances. • Adaptive equipment including equipment for guide dogs may also be provided for blind veterans entitled to disability income benefits. The VA Can help pay for the cost of maintenance and medical care for a guide dog.
Question: When is assistive technology appropriate?
Answer: When it: • Enables an individual to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means • Enables an individual to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards – a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means • Provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the individual on a routine basis • Enables an individual to concentrate on learning or employment tasks, rather than mechanical tasks • Provides greater access to information • Supports normal social interactions with peers and adults • Supports participation in the least restrictive educational environment
Question: When should I get an assistive technology evaluation?
Answer: An evaluation should be carried out as part of the original referral and evaluation process, as the individual’s needs change, or when external factors (such as changing medications and conditions) dictate changes in the type or uses of technology. In particular, individual’s should be considered for an assistive technology evaluation when it appears that they need help to communicate more effectively, sit, stand or move more independently, work more independently or efficiently, or play more independently.

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