A Single Federal Authority Is Needed for Establishing or Constructing Rehabilitation Facilities

HRD-79-84: Published: Aug 23, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1979.

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The vocational rehabilitation program administered by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is to prepare the handicapped for employment. Legislation authorizes different Federal funding rates for State construction and establishment of rehabilitation facilities for the handicapped. This report discusses problems with using rehabilitation program funds for such facilities.

Overlapping criteria have resulted in problems and inconsistencies with project funding. Although the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) has issued policy interpretations for issues raised by State agencies, officials are not always aware of all of them since they are not routinely distributed. GAO found that State agencies stretched or ignored guidelines to approve projects for establishment funding, thus enabling them to obtain increased Federal funding. State rehabilitation agencies reviewed had not developed effective administrative procedures for controlling funds. The lack of adequate fiscal controls by some State agencies often resulted in expenditures not being accurately reported to HEW, and improper or questionable expenditures being made by the rehabilitation facilities.

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