Frequently Asked Questions About Designated State Entities (DSEs)

1. What is the effective Date of the ACL Guidance issued on June 5, 2015?

A: The ACL guidance was effective the date it was issued. ILA PI-15-01 Selection of the DSE was effective June 5th, 2015.

2. What is the IL Network?
A: For the purpose of ACL and its guidance, the Independent Living Network or “IL Network” in each state includes: SILC, Part B and Part C CILs, and the DSE. In some States, there may be more than one DSE, if there is a separate agency for the blind.

3. ACL encouraged SILCs to involve the DSE in the SPIL process. What does that mean?
A: The guidance encourages communication between the parties who are developing the SPIL and the DSE. The chairperson of the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and directors of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) jointly develop the SPIL, consistent with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), collaborating with IL consumers and the public. While the law removes the requirement that the DSE participate in the development of the SPIL, the DSE is one of the parties required to sign the SPIL. To put it another way, the DSE must sign in order to meet the requirements for an approvable plan. The DSE will continue to be responsible for administering Part B funds that they receive and disburse based on the SPIL, as required by law. Therefore, given the DSE’s role in signing the SPIL, and carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the SILC should involve the DSE to promote the effective and efficient administration of the IL program.

4. Did WIOA change the duties of the DSE?
A: Yes, the DSE no longer has a responsibility to develop the SPIL. Though WIOA eliminates the director of the DSE from the SPIL development process, the DSE continues to be the agency that acts as the grantee on behalf of the State for Title VII Part B Independent Living Services programs authorized under Section 713 of the Act and the Part C programs administered by the State under Section 723 of the Act. The general responsibilities of the DSE as required in the statute include:

  • Receive, account for, and disburse funds received by the State based on the SPIL;
  • Provide administrative support services;
  • Keep such records and afford such access to such records as ACL finds to be necessary with respect to the programs;
  • Submit additional information or provide assurances as ACL may require with respect to the programs; and
  • Retain not more than 5% of the Part B funds received by the State for any fiscal year, as required to perform the responsibilities above.

The DSE must also sign the SPIL.

5. Who selects the DSE?
A: The DSE is a governmental State entity that carries out the functions described in Q & A number 4 on behalf of the State. If the DSE does not carry out those functions, the State is legally responsible. Therefore, the State decides which governmental entity will serve as the DSE. To the extent that the SILC and CILs may engage in the DSE selection process under State and federal law, they may provide input to the State concerning the DSE. Such input may include a reminder to the State that the selection of a new DSE is a significant change to the SPIL. If the change in the DSE occurs during an active approved SPIL cycle, the SPIL amendment process must be followed to change the DSE. If the change coincides with the regular SPIL development cycle, the SPIL development process must be followed, and the SPIL must identify the new DSE. Both the SPIL amendment process and the SPIL development process require public hearings conducted by the SILC. The new DSE must be included in an approvable SPIL that is submitted in a timely manner in order for the State to receive funding.

6. Who should I contact regarding ideas for our IL Network in my State?
A: First, collaborate with the SILC members and Center directors. If you have further questions, including tips on collaborating with fellow ACL community partners and other stakeholders in your State, please contact your ILA point of contact for your State available on the ILRU website .