Chapter 2: Definitions

Revision 19-1, Effective March 1, 2019


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 the consumer is able to 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 an individual 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 greater 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 individuals 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 individuals 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.) §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 consumer and are commensurate in quality and nature to the services that the consumer 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 (whether oral, written, or 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 of the following:

  • Consumer 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 – An individual who has applied for or is receiving the independent living services that are referred to under the Independent Living Services Standards – Part A.

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

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

Consumer representative – Any person chosen by a consumer, including the consumer’s parent, guardian, other family member, or advocate. If a court has appointed a guardian or representative, that person is the consumer’s representative. Unless documentation is provided showing otherwise, a parent or court-appointed guardian is presumed to be the consumer representative for a minor who is:

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

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. §9902(2).

Fee – A percentage of the full cost for a purchased service that a consumer 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 – A written plan in which the consumer and service provider have collaboratively identified the services that are needed to achieve the consumer’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 a consumer who applies for services.

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

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 an individual's ability to function independently in the family or community and for which 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 consumer may be required to pay for receiving independent living services. The scale is based on the federal poverty level guidelines.

Transition services – Services that:

  • facilitate the transition of individuals with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences, with the requisite supports and services;
  • provide assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals may remain in the community; and
  • facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals 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 consumers.

Waived independent living plan – A written plan in which the service provider identifies on the behalf of 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.