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Vocational Rehabilitation Agency To Be Restructured

After the discovery of overspending as early as fiscal year 2013, NH Vocational Rehabilitation will be reorganized in an effort to save money and programs.

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Education will be restructuring the state’s vocational rehabilitation bureau before the end of the fiscal year due to recently discovered overspending by the previous bureau’s leadership, dating back to at least 2012. Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut implemented an agency-wide fiscal review process which tracks grant spending quarterly. During this analysis, officials learned the bureau had spent millions more than it was taking in, relying on accumulated surplus funds.

Due to a number of factors – including a decrease in federal grant money, lower Social Security reimbursements, and the depletion of surplus funds – the bureau projects that without a restructuring, it will run a deficit that would seriously impact client services in fiscal year 2019. In order to balance its financial status while also preserving many of the important services delivered by counselors, other NH VR employees, and community partners, the bureau is right-sizing expenses.

In the coming weeks, the NH VR will implement an Order of Selection plan – prioritizing those eligible individuals with significant disabilities for needed services. Bureau employees and the NH DOE will also work with community partners, charitable organizations, and others to ensure that other customers of the bureau are assisted. The restructuring will also affect the NH VR which has seen a decline in its counselor to client ratio from 150 to 100, reflecting an organizational imbalance. Restructuring options include attrition for those employees who are vested and near or at retirement, a critical look at consolidating lease space, reducing community service referrals, transitioning employees to other agencies, and other options.

“These changes are necessary actions to meet our important client-service obligations and the fiduciary responsibilities we have to the state and federal government,” stated Edelblut. “The restructuring will better serve our constituents – who are some of our most vulnerable citizens – and also put the bureau on sound financial footing.”

Both Lisa Hinson-Hatz, the Vocational Rehabilitation state director, and Edelblut have already met with the leadership of the State Rehabilitation Council to work together for a smooth transition to financial stability.

“I am so proud of my team that has been working hard to help us through this difficult transition,” stated Hinson-Hatz, “and I know that the bureau and the commissioner are doing all that can be done to ensure that we meet the needs of our valued clients.”

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711