Rights & Guardianship

Spirit Lake Vocational Rehabilitation Project is guided by the principles of consumer-centered care. The tribal member with a disability is to receive services consistent with his or her vocational goal.

An applicant or eligible individual, regardless of any custody, guardianship, or power or attorney assignments, must be present for all VR related meetings, sign all required documents, and be available to participate in VR services.


When VR Staff or VR Contractors are notified that a representative has been granted legal rights (e.g. guardianship, custody, power of attorney) over an individual or the individual has been emancipated, VR Staff shall request a copy of the legal documentation establishing these rights. This is not applicable if the individual is a minor (i.e. under the age of 18) and the representative is a parent unless the parents are divorced and there is a question about who has authority to sign with or for the minor. In this case, VR Staff or VR Contractors shall request a copy of the divorce decree which will specify parental rights.

 Once the legal documentation is obtained VR Staff  shall proceed as detailed below.

  • Review the documentation and if there are questions regarding the extent of rights awarded, written clarification shall be requested from the issuing entity.
  • Follow all limitations in the documentation with regards to custody, guardianship or power of attorney.
    • Courtesies beyond what is granted in the order are not permitted. For example, if the document grants power of attorney for medical care, this does not give the person with POA authority to view educational records or have access to the named individual’s bank statements.

If appropriate legal documentation cannot be provided, the individual must continue to sign all documentation and SLVR Staff shall not recognize any person as having any rights over the individual.

The individual may complete and sign a “Release of Information” form allow VR Staff  to share information with an authorized representative. These forms are available from the Spirit Lake VR website or can be obtained from the Spirit Lake VR office
At any point in the case that legal documentation is provided, VR Staff or VR Contractor shall follow requirements as outlined in the documentation.
Legal documentation shall not be considered retroactive, therefore forms prior to the receipt of the legal document are not required to be re-signed.


Even with appropriate legal documentation for custody, the custodial representative has no legal right to exercise control over the individual and therefore he/she must continue to sign all documentation (e.g. VR application, forms).


 If appropriate legal documentation is provided for a POA, a representative has been granted the right to represent the individual. However, the individual must still participate in the vocational rehabilitation (VR) process.

A POA does not supersede the requirements for the individual to sign all documents and be present at all meetings.

 If the individual consumer of VR services provides different guidance than the POA, efforts should be taken to work with both parties to determine the intended vocational goal and desired services. A POA has authority to make decisions for the participant as specified in the POA until a revocation occurs.