In order to be eligible for a grant under Section 4 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended (AT Act), a state is required to establish an advisory council to provide consumer-responsive, consumer-driven advice to the state for the planning of, implementation of and evaluation of the activities carried out by its Statewide AT Program, including setting the state's measurable goals. Participants on the state's advisory council must reflect the diversity of the state, and a majority (not less than 51%) of those participants must be individuals with disabilities that use assistive technology or the family members or guardians of such individuals. Sections 4(c)(2)(B)(i)(II)-(V) of the AT Act require that, at a minimum, the advisory council include representatives from: the state vocational rehabilitation agency, and the state agency for individuals who are blind, if these agencies are separate; a state center for independent living; the state workforce investment board; and the state educational agency. Representatives from these organizations who are also individuals with disabilities cannot be counted toward the 51% majority of individuals with disabilities. States were required to establish these advisory councils no later than February 22, 2005.
The Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT Act) was amended on Oct. 25, 2005, and is administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The AT Act provides grants to states to maintain comprehensive, statewide programs (Statewide AT Programs) that are designed to increase access to assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. In addition, the AT Act provides grants to each state for protection and advocacy related to AT (PAAT).
For fiscal year 2005, the AT Act also provides grants for Alternative Financing Programs (AFPs) authorized under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as in effect prior to the 2004 amendments, to pay for the federal share of the cost of establishing or expanding financing mechanisms to allow individuals and their families to purchase AT devices and services. Currently, there are 56 Statewide AT Programs, 57 PAAT programs, and 31 AFPs.
Section 6 of the AT Act requires that RSA award, on a competitive basis, a grant, contract or cooperative agreement to an entity to provide training and technical assistance to entities funded under the AT Act and entities not funded under the act. The following Q&A is intended to provide information to interested parties and the general public about the upcoming competition to award a grant, contract or cooperative agreement to an entity to provide this training and technical assistance.
Section 4(c)(1)(A) of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended (AT Act) requires the governor of a state to designate a public agency as a "Lead Agency" responsible for:
- controlling and administering the funds made available through the Assistive Technology State Grant (ATSG) awarded to the state;
- submitting the application for the ATSG on behalf of the state, to ensure conformance with federal and state accounting requirements;
- preparing the application for the ATSG;
- carrying out the state activities described in the application for the ATSG, including making the necessary programmatic and resource allocation decisions to implement the state's comprehensive statewide program (Statewide AT Program);
- coordinating the activities of the Statewide AT Program among public and private entities, including coordinating efforts related to entering into interagency agreements, and maintaining and evaluating the program; and
- coordinating efforts related to the active, timely, and meaningful participation by individuals with disabilities and their family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives, and other appropriate individuals, with respect to activities carried out through the grant.
Section 4(c)(1)(B) of the AT Act allows the governor to designate an agency, office, or other entity different from the Lead Agency to carry out the Statewide AT Program. If such a designation is made, this "Implementing Entity" must carry out the Statewide AT Program through a subcontract or another administrative agreement with the Lead Agency.