Chapter 2, Definitions

Revision 23-1, Effective Nov. 13, 2023

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.


Ability to pay – The determination that a person can contribute financially toward the cost of independent living services.

Accessible format – An alternative way of providing to people with disabilities the same information, functionality, and services provided to people without disabilities. Examples of accessible formats include braille, ASCII text, large print, American Sign Language and recorded audio.

Act – The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Adjusted income – The dollar amount that is equal to a household’s annual gross income, minus allowable deductions.

Allotment – Funds distributed to a service provider by HHSC to provide services under the Independent Living Services Standards.

Allowable deductions – Certain unreimbursed household expenses that are subtracted from a household’s annual gross income to calculate the adjusted income.

Attendant care – A personal assistance service provided to help a person with significant disabilities perform essential personal tasks, such as bathing, communicating, cooking, dressing, eating, homemaking, toileting and transportation.


Blind – A condition of having no more than 20/200 visual acuity in the better eye with correcting lenses or having visual acuity more than 20/200 but with a field of vision in which the widest diameter subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.


Center for Independent Living (CIL) – A private nonprofit agency for people with significant disabilities regardless of age or income that is:

  • not residential; 
  • is consumer-controlled; 
  • is community-based; 
  • takes a cross-disability approach; 
  • is designed and operated within a local community by people with disabilities; and 
  • provides an array of independent living services, including, at a minimum, independent living core services as they are defined in 29 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 705(17).

Comparable services or benefits – Services and benefits that: are provided or paid for, in whole or part, by:

  • other federal, state or local public programs;
  • by health insurance, third-party payers, or other private sources; or 
  • by the employee benefits that are available to the person and are commensurate in quality and nature to the services that the person would otherwise receive from service providers.

Complaint - An allegation of a violation of these standards or a service provider’s policies and procedures related to these standards.

Confidential information – Any communication or record including oral, written, electronically stored or transmitted, or any other form of communication or record, provided to or made available to the service provider or that the service provider may create, receive, maintain, use, disclose, or have access to on behalf of HHSC that consists of or includes any or all the following:

  • Case-related Information
  • Protected Health Information in any form, including without limitation, electronic protected health information or unsecured protected health information
  • Sensitive personal information defined by Texas Business and Commerce Code Chapter 521
  • Federal tax information
  • Personally identifiable information
  • Social Security Administration data, including, without limitation, Medicaid information
  • All privileged work products
  • All information designated as confidential under the constitution and laws of the State of Texas and of the United States, including the Texas Health and Safety Code and the Texas Public Information Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 552

Consumer – See Person.

Consumer participation – The financial contribution that a person may be required to pay for receiving independent living services.

Consumer participation system – The system for determining and collecting the financial contribution that a person may be required to pay for receiving independent living services.


Federal poverty level guidelines – The poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. Section 9902(2).

Fee – A percentage of the full cost for a purchased service that a person pays. The percentage is based on the HHSC fee schedule, and the fee does not exceed the maximum amount prescribed.


HHSC – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission


Independent living plan (ILP) – A written plan in which the person and their service provider have collaboratively identified the services that are needed to achieve the person’s goal of living independently.


Nonprofit – An agency, organization, or institution that is owned and operated by one or more corporations or associations whose net earnings do not and cannot lawfully benefit a private shareholder or entity.

NVRA – The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 is a federal law that requires states to offer voter registration services to person who applies for services.


Person – A person who has requested, applied for or is receiving purchased services through the Independent Living Services Program. Previously referred to as “Consumer” in older versions of the standards but changed to reflect person-centered language. Any remaining references to “Consumer” are either referring to groups of people, such as consumer participation or consumer satisfaction survey, or consumer was the wording originally used in the Act.

Private – An agency, organization, or institution that is not under federal or public supervision or control.


Representative – Anyone chosen by a person served in the ILS program, including their parent, guardian, other family member, or advocate. If a court has appointed a guardian or representative, that person is the representative. Unless documentation is provided showing otherwise, a parent or court-appointed guardian is presumed to be the representative for a minor who is:

  • younger than 18 years old; and
  • not emancipated or married.

Rural – Any population or territory with fewer than 2,500 people, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Service provider – A center for independent living, nonprofit organization, organization, or other person contracted or subcontracted to provide independent living services.

Severe visual impairment – A condition of having a visual acuity with best correction of 20/70 or less in the better eye, a visual field of 30 degrees or less in the better eye, or having a combination of both.

Significant disability – A severe physical, mental, cognitive, or sensory impairment that substantially limits a person’s ability to function independently in the family or community, where the delivery of IL services would improve the ability to function, continue functioning, or move toward functioning independently in the family, community or in an employment setting.

Sliding fee scale – The fee scale HHSC uses to determine the maximum financial contribution that a person may be required to pay for receiving independent living services. The scale is based on the federal poverty level guidelines.

Support services – Accommodations provided to a person to help them at an ILS-related appointment with the service provider or vendor. Examples include translators, interpreters, braille, large print, and transportation. Consumer participation may not be collected for support services.


Transition services – Services that:

  • facilitate the transition of people with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences, with the requisite supports and services;
  • help people with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the people may remain in the community; and
  • facilitate the transition of youth with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school, to postsecondary life.


Vendor – A person or organization that a service provider contracts with to deliver services or provide goods to people who have applied and been determined eligible to receive services.


Waived independent living plan – A written plan  which the service provider identifies for the consumer, the services that are needed to achieve the consumer’s goal of living independently. The service provider writes the plan because the consumer has signed a waiver giving up the consumer’s right to participate in the development of such a written plan.