TEXAS REHABILITATION COMMISSION
TEXAS REHABILITATION COMMISSION. The Texas Rehabilitation Commission began as the State Board of Vocational Education, which was established by the Texas Vocational Rehabilitation Act in 1929. In its first year it had a budget of $12,500 and a staff of two; in 1939 the board, with an increased staff of ten and a budget of $150,000, helped to rehabilitate more than 400 people with physical disabilities. A 1943 amendment to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act made people with "hidden handicaps," such as mental illness and retardation, eligible to receive services as well. In 1949 the board became part of the Texas Education Agency as the Division of Vocational Education and Disability Determination. In 1966 the division began operating a corrections program, established by joint agreement with the Texas Department of Corrections (see TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE), to provide rehabilitation opportunities to inmates; the emphasis of this program, however, soon shifted to the counseling of parolees. The Texas Commission for Rehabilitation was established as a separate state agency in 1969 and was soon renamed the Texas Rehabilitation Commission. In addition to vocational training, the commission provided counseling, financial assistance, and job placement. Alcoholism and drug abuse were added to the list of disabilities eligible for services in 1967 and 1970, respectively. In 1980 the commission offered two basic types of service: vocational rehabilitation and disability determination. During the decade that followed several programs were developed to deal with cases that fell between these categories. These programs included extended rehabilitation, transition planning, personal attendant services, independent living, comprehensive rehabilitation, and deaf-blind multihandicapped. The commission also provides administrative support to the Texas Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities, to the Texas Advisory Board of Occupational Therapy, and to the Governor's Committee for Disabled Persons. In 1991 the Texas Rehabilitation Commission had more than 2,300 employees and operated on a budget, including both state and federal funds, of more than $214 million. It had 142 offices around the state and processed 230,000 claims. The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed by Congress in 1992, increased the commission's potential to further improve its service to Texans with disabilities.