Assistive Technology

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Frequently Asked Questions

Lead Agencies and Implementing Entities in the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended.

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:

  1. controlling and administering the funds made available through the Assistive Technology State Grant (ATSG) awarded to the state;
  2. submitting the application for the ATSG on behalf of the state, to ensure conformance with federal and state accounting requirements;
  3. preparing the application for the ATSG;
  4. 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);
  5. 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
  6. 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.

The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about the Lead Agencies and Implementing Entities.

Q: Is a state required to designate a new Lead Agency or Implementing Entity now that the AT Act has been reauthorized?
A:   No. Section 4(c)(1)(C)(ii) of the AT Act clearly states that the governor of a state is not required to change the Lead Agency or Implementing Entity. However, section 4(c)(1)(C)(i) of the AT Act also makes it clear that changing the Lead Agency or Implementing Entity is not prohibited if the governor can show good cause for the change.
Q: How does a state obtain approval to change its Lead Agency or Implementing Entity if the state chooses to do so?
A:   If a state chooses to change Lead Agencies or Implementing entities, section 4(c)(1)(C)(i) of the AT Act requires them to show good cause why that agency or entity should be changed. This showing must be made in the application that the state submits to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for the ATSG. RSA anticipates making these applications available to states in summer 2005.
Q: May a state use a competitive process in order to choose the Lead Agency or Implementing Entity?
A:   Yes. If a state has good cause to change the Lead Agency or Implementing Entity, it can make this change using any process that is fair, appropriate and typical for awarding grants and contracts in that state. Regardless of the process by which the state chooses its Lead Agency or Implementing Entity, the agency or entity chosen must have the capacity to implement the Statewide AT Program in accordance with the requirements of the ATSG.
Q: Should a state change its Lead Agency to the state agency for vocational rehabilitation now that the AT Act is being administered by RSA rather than the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)?
A:   It is not required or expected that ATSGs will be administered by state agencies for vocational rehabilitation. The Lead Agency or Implementing Entity should be chosen based on its capacity to implement a Statewide AT Program that is equally available to all individuals with disabilities residing in the state, regardless of their type of disability, age, income level, location of residence in the state or the type of assistive technology device or assistive technology service required.

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Last Modified: 08/22/2006