United Houma Nation

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06 Jul

Department of Education Seeks Comments on Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program Eligibility

Posted by United Houma Nation on Sunday, July 06, 2014

The United Houma Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program first came about funding in October 2000.  In that time period hundreds of UHN tribal citizens with disabilities have sought assistance with getting or keeping employment.  The Vocational Rehabilitation Program is a unique disability program that focuses on the abilities, skills and interests of the clients as opposed to only focusing on the person's limitations.  The program is intended to help individuals, families and the community achieve self-sufficiency by gaining living wages for individuals with disabilities thus reducing their dependence on social programs.

In 2011, the Government Accountability Office questioned the Department of Education's interpretation of who is eligible to apply and recommended that the Department adopt a very narrow view requiring eligible tribes to live and reside exclusively on reservations.  Such an action would mean the UHN would no longer be eligible to apply as well as 4 other existing programs as well as hundreds of other potential tribes nationally.

Please help us ensure our tribal citizens with disabilities still have access to this program and services.  Assist us by supporting the Department of Education's proposed rule making that officially expands the eligibility criteria to their proposed Alternative "A", which includes "a defined area of land recognized by a Federal or State Government where there is a concentration of tribal members and on which the Tribe is providing structured activities and services."

Comments are needed to be submitted to the Department of Education by August 22, 2014.  Comments can be submitted through the online portal HERE.  Please consider cutting and pasting the following comment:

I am a citizen of the United Houma Nation and support the Department of Education's Alternative A definition.  Please ensure our tribal citizens with disabilities continue to receive tribal vocational rehabilitation services.

You can choose to put your name which is preferred or leave it blank and your submission will be registered as Anonymous.  You will select "Individual" under the required Category option then select Continue.  You will be asked to review your information and check that you have read and understand the statement above.  Then you are ready to SUBMIT COMMENT.

Thank you in advance for those of you who have taken the time to advocate for our tribal citizens with disabilities and ensure they are able to continue to receive tribally appropriate vocational rehabilitation services!