Chapter 111.

Aid to the Blind.

Article 1.

General Duties of Department of Health and Human Services.

§§ 111-1 through 111-3:  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c.  476, s. 143.

 

§ 111-4.  Register of State's blind.

(a)        The Department of Health and Human Services shall cause to be maintained a complete register of the blind in the State that shall describe the condition and cause of blindness of each and any other facts that may seem to the Department of Health and Human Services to be of value.

(b)        When, upon examination by a physician or optometrist, any person is found to be blind, the examiner shall report the results of the examination to the Department of Health and Human Services within 30 days after the examination is conducted. (1935, c. 53, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1975, c. 19, s. 35; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 1.)

 

§ 111-5:  Repealed by Session Laws 2000-121, s.  2.

 

§ 111-6.  Training schools and workshops; training outside State; sale of products; direct relief; matching of federal funds.

The Department of Health and Human Services may establish one or more training schools and workshops for employment of suitable blind and visually impaired persons, equip and maintain these schools and workshops, pay employees suitable wages, devise means for the sale and distribution of the products of these schools and workshops, and cooperate with shops already established. The Department of Health and Human Services may also pay for lodging, tuition, support and all necessary expenses for blind and visually impaired persons during their training or instruction in any suitable occupation, whether it be in industrial, commercial, professional, or any other establishments, schools or institutions, or through private instruction when in the judgment of the Department of Health and Human Services this instruction or training can be obtained and will contribute to the efficiency or self-support of the blind and visually impaired persons. When special educational opportunities cannot be had within the State, they may be arranged for, at the discretion of the Department of Health and Human Services, outside of the State. The Department of Health and Human Services may also aid individual blind and visually impaired persons or groups of blind and visually impaired persons to become self-supporting by furnishing material or equipment to them and by assisting them in the sale and distribution of their products. Any portion of the funds appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services under the provisions of this Chapter providing for the rehabilitation of the blind and visually impaired and the prevention of blindness may, when the Commission for the Blind deems wise, be given in direct money payments to the needy blind in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 111-13 through G.S. 111-26. Whenever possible such funds may be matched by funds provided by the federal Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 301, et seq., as amended. (1935, c. 53, s. 5; 1937, c. 124, s. 16; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 3.)

 

§ 111-6.1.  Rehabilitation center for the blind and visually impaired.

The Department of Health and Human Services shall establish and operate a rehabilitation center for the blind and visually impaired for the purpose of evaluating and providing instruction in specialized independent living, prevocational, and vocational skills to blind and visually impaired persons to prepare them for obtaining and maintaining employment.

The Commission shall make all rules necessary for this purpose and the Department of Health and Human Services may enter into any agreement or contract; to purchase or lease property, both real and personal, to accept grants and gifts of whatever nature, and to do all other things necessary to carry out the intent and purposes of this rehabilitation center.

The Department of Health and Human Services may receive grants-in-aid from the federal government for carrying out the provisions of this section, as well as for other related rehabilitation programs for blind and visually impaired persons under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. No. 93-112, 87 Stat. 355, 29 U.S.C. § 701, et seq., as amended. Blind and visually impaired persons as defined in G.S. 111-11, who are physically present in North Carolina may enjoy the benefits of this section or any other related rehabilitation benefits under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. (1945, c. 698; 1951, c. 319, s. 4; 1971, c. 1215, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 4.)

 

§ 111-7.  In-home services.

The Department of Health and Human Services may foster maximum independence of blind and visually impaired persons through the provision of in-home independent living, development of community-based support groups, and related services as it deems advisable. (1935, c. 53, s. 6; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 5.)

 

§ 111-8.  Investigations; eye examination and treatment.

The Department of Health and Human Services shall continue to make inquiries concerning the cause of blindness, to learn what proportion of these cases are preventable, and to inaugurate and cooperate in any measure for the State it deems advisable. The Department of Health and Human Services may arrange for the examination of the eyes of blind and visually impaired persons and may secure and pay for medical and surgical treatment for these persons whenever in the judgment of a qualified ophthalmologist or optometrist the eyes of this person may be benefited by the treatment. (1935, c. 53, s. 7; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 6.)

 

§ 111-8.1:  Repealed by Session Laws 2000-121, s.  7.

 

§§ 111-9 through 111-10.  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 476, s. 143.

 

§ 111-11.  Definitions.

For the purposes of this Chapter, the following definitions apply:

(1)        "Blind person" means a person who meets any of the following criteria:

a.         Is totally blind.

b.         Has central visual acuity that does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses.

c.         Has a visual field that subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees at its widest diameter.

(2)        "Visually impaired person" means a person whose vision with glasses is so limited as to prevent the performance of ordinary activity for which eyesight is essential. (1935, c. 53, s. 10; 1939, c. 124; 1971, c. 1215, s. 3; 2000-121, s. 8.)

 

§ 111-11.1.  Jurisdiction of certain Divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services.

For the purpose of providing rehabilitative services to people who are visually impaired, the Division of Services for the Blind and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services shall develop and enter into an agreement specifying which agency can most appropriately meet the specific needs of this client population. If the Divisions cannot reach an agreement, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall determine which Division can most appropriately meet the specific needs of this client population. (2000-121, s. 9.)

 

§ 111-12.  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 476, s. 143.

 

§ 111-12.1.  Acceptance of private contributions for particular facilities authorized.

In addition to other powers and duties granted it by law, the Department of Health and Human Services is hereby authorized to accept contributions of funds made by any private individual, agency or organization even though a condition of the contribution may be that the funds be utilized for the establishment of a particular public or private nonprofit workshop, rehabilitation center or other facility established for the purpose of providing training or employment for eligible blind persons. (1965, c. 906, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-12.2.  Contributions treated as State funds to match federal funds.

The Department of Health and Human Services is further authorized to treat any funds received in accordance with G.S. 111-12.1 as State funds for the purpose of accepting any funds made available under federal law on a matching basis for the establishment of such facilities. (1965, c. 906, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-12.3.  Rules and regulations as to receiving and expending contributions.

The Department of Health and Human Services shall make all rules and regulations necessary for the purpose of receiving and expending any funds mentioned in G.S. 111-12.1 to 111-12.3 which are consistent with the principle of obtaining maximum federal participation and in accordance with established budget procedures of the North Carolina Department of Administration. (1965, c. 906, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-12.4.  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 476, s. 143.

 

§ 111-12.5.  Reserve and operating capital fund.

Funds now held by the Bureau of Employment of the North Carolina State Commission for the Blind or its successor organization not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) shall be retained by the Department of Health and Human Services as a reserve and operating capital fund to be expended by the Department of Health and Human Services for its lawful purposes and objectives in accordance with this Chapter. (1967, c. 1214; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-12.6.  Disposition of funds deposited with or transferred to State Treasurer.

All funds required under this Article to be deposited with or which have been transferred to the State Treasurer by the Bureau of Employment of the Department of Health and Human Services, and all future net earnings and accumulations of the Bureau or its successor, other than the one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) reserve fund provided for in G.S. 111-12.5, from whatever source shall be periodically, but not less frequently than annually, paid over to and retained by the State Treasurer as a separate fund or account. The funds deposited with the State Treasurer shall be invested and the income from the corpus shall inure to the sole benefit of the Department of Health and Human Services. The income and corpus shall be expended for services to and for the benefit of blind and visually impaired persons in North Carolina upon recommendation of the Commission for the Blind, by and with the approval of the Governor as the Director of the Budget. (1967, c. 1214; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 10.)

 

 

Article 2.

Aid to the Blind.

§ 111-13.  Administration of assistance; objective standards for personnel; rules and regulations.

The Department of Health and Human Services shall be charged with the supervision of the administration of assistance to the needy blind under this Article, and said Department shall establish objective standards for personnel to be qualified for employment in the administration of this Article, and said Commission for the Blind shall make all rules and regulations as may be necessary for carrying out the provisions of this Article, which rules and regulations shall be binding on the boards of county commissioners and all agencies charged with the duties of administering this Article. (1937, c. 124, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-14.  Application for benefits under Article; investigation and award by county commissioners.

Any person claiming benefits under this Article shall file with the commissioners of the county in which he or she is residing an application in writing, in duplicate, upon forms prescribed by the Department of Health and Human Services. This application shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by a reputable physician licensed to practice medicine in the State who is actively engaged in the treatment of diseases of the human eye or by an optometrist, whichever the individual may select, stating that the applicant is blind. This application may be made on the behalf of any blind person by the Department of Health and Human Services or by any other person. The board of county commissioners shall cause an investigation to be made by a qualified person designated as its agent for this purpose and shall pass upon the application without delay, determine the eligibility of the applicant, and allow or disallow the relief sought. In passing upon the application, the board of county commissioners may take into consideration the facts set forth in the application and any other facts that are deemed necessary, and may at any time require an additional examination of the applicant's eyes by an ophthalmologist designated by the Department of Health and Human Services. When satisfied with the merits of the application, the board of county commissioners shall allow the application and grant to the applicant any proper relief according to the rules established by the Commission for the Blind. (1937, c. 124, s. 3; 1939, c. 124; 1951, c. 319, s. 1; 1957, c. 674; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 12.)

 

§ 111-15.  Eligibility for relief.

Blind persons having the following qualifications shall be eligible for relief under the provisions of this Article:

(1)        Repealed by Session Laws 2000-121, s. 13.

(2)        Who are unable to provide for themselves the necessities of life and who have insufficient means for their own support and who have no relative or relatives or other persons in this State able to provide for them who are legally responsible for their maintenance; and

(3)        Who, at the time his application is filed, is living in the State of North Carolina voluntarily with the intention of making his home in the State and not for a temporary purpose. [and]

(4)        Who are not inmates of any charitable or correctional institution of this State or of any county or city thereof: Provided, that an inmate of such charitable institution may be granted a benefit in order to enable such person to maintain himself or herself outside of an institution; and

(5)        Who are not, because of physical or mental condition, in need of continuing institutional care. Provided, that the State agency shall, in determining need, take into consideration any other income and resources of the individual claiming aid to the blind; except that, in making such determination, the State agency shall disregard such earned income as will enable said agency to receive the maximum grants from the federal government for such purpose. (1937, c. 124, s. 4; 1951, c. 319, s. 3; 1961, c. 666, s. 1; 1971, c. 1215, s. 1; 1981, c. 131; 2000-121, s. 13.)

 

§ 111-16.  Application for aid; notice of award; review.

Promptly after an application for aid is made to the board of county commissioners under this Article, the Department of Health and Human Services shall be notified of the application by mail by the county commissioners. One of the duplicate applications for aid made before the board of county commissioners shall be transmitted with this notice.

As soon as any award has been made or any application declined by the board of county commissioners, prompt notice in writing of the award or the declined application shall be forwarded by mail to the Department of Health and Human Services and to the applicant. This notice shall fully state the particulars of the award or the facts of denial. An applicant may appeal an award or denial pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. (1937, c. 124, s. 5; 1971, c. 603, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 14.)

 

§ 111-17.  Amount and payment of assistance; source of funds.

When the board of county commissioners is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to relief under the provisions of this Article, as provided in G.S. 111-14, they shall order necessary relief to be granted under the rules and regulations prescribed by the Commission for the Blind, to be paid from county, State and federal funds available, said relief to be paid in monthly payments from funds hereinafter mentioned.

At the time of fixing the annual budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1937, and annually thereafter, the board of county commissioners in each county shall, based upon such information as they are able to secure and with such information as may be furnished to them by the Department of Health and Human Services, estimate the number of needy blind persons in such county who shall be entitled to aid under the provisions of this Article and the total amount of such county's part thereof required to be paid by such county. Each county shall make appropriations for the purposes of this Article in an amount sufficient to cover its share of aid to the blind and may fund them by levy of property taxes pursuant to G.S. 153A-149 and by the allocation of other revenues whose use is not otherwise restricted by law. This provision is mandatory on each county in the State. Any court of competent jurisdiction is authorized by mandamus to enforce the foregoing provisions. No funds shall be allocated to any county by the Department of Health and Human Services until the provisions hereof have been fully complied with by such county.

In case such appropriation is exhausted within the year and is found to be insufficient to meet the county's part of the amount required for aid to the needy blind, such deficiency may be borrowed, if within constitutional limitations, at the lowest rate of interest obtainable, not exceeding six percent (6%), and provision for payment thereof shall be made in the next annual budget and tax levy.

The board of county commissioners in the several counties of the State shall cause to be transmitted to the State Treasurer their share of the total amount of relief granted to the blind applicants. Such remittances shall be made by the several counties in equal monthly installments on the first day of each month, beginning July 1, 1937. The State Treasurer shall deposit said funds and credit same to the account of the Department of Health and Human Services to be employed in carrying out the provisions of this Article.

Within the limitations of the State appropriation, the maximum payment for aid to the blind is to be such as will make possible maximum matching funds by the federal government. (1937, c. 124, s. 6; 1961, c. 666, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; c. 803, s. 11; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-18.  Payment of awards.

After an award to a blind person has been made by the board of county commissioners, and approved by the Department of Health and Human Services the Department of Health and Human Services shall thereafter pay to such person to whom such award is made the amount of said award in monthly payments, or in such manner and under such terms as the Department of Health and Human Services shall determine. Such payment shall be drawn upon such funds in the hands of the State Treasurer, at the instance and request and upon a proper voucher signed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and shall not be subject to the provisions of the Executive Budget Act as to approval of said expenditure.

It is intended that awards paid to recipients under this Article be for the purpose of assisting in defraying the recipient's day-to-day living expenses. To better achieve this purpose it is hereby provided that no moneys belonging to a recipient of aid to the blind under this Article identifiable as moneys paid pursuant to an aid to the blind award shall be subject to levy under execution, attachment or garnishment. (1937, c. 124, s. 7; 1971, c. 177; c. 603, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1993, c. 257, s. 8; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-18.1.  Award and assistance checks payable to decedents.

(a)        In the event of the death of a recipient of an award made pursuant to G.S. 111-18 during or after the first day of the month for which the award was authorized to be paid, any check or checks in payment of such award made payable to the deceased recipient and not endorsed prior to the payee's death shall be delivered to the clerk of the superior court and be by him administered under the provisions of G.S. 28A-25-6.

(b)        In the event of the death of a recipient of a cash payment service that was rendered as part of a program of public assistance for the blind or visually impaired, any check issued for the payment of that service made payable to that recipient, but not endorsed prior to the recipient's death, shall be returned to the issuing agency and made void. The issuing agency shall then issue a check payable to the provider of the service for the sum remaining due for this service, not to exceed the amount of the returned and voided check. (1979, c. 762, s. 2; 2000-121, s. 15.)

 

§ 111-19.  Intercounty transfer of recipients.

Any recipient of aid to the blind under this Article who moves to another county of this State shall be entitled to receive aid to the blind in the county to which he has moved and the board of county commissioners of such county, or its authorized agent, is hereby directed to make the appropriate aid to the blind grant to such recipient subject to the rules and regulations of the Commission for the Blind, beginning with the next payment period after such recipient has established settlement in the county to which he has moved by continuously maintaining a residence therein for a period of 90 days. The county from which a recipient moves shall continue to pay aid to such recipient until such time as the recipient becomes qualified to receive aid from the county to which he has moved. The county from which a recipient has moved shall forthwith transfer all necessary records relating to the recipient to the appropriate board of county commissioners, or its authorized agent, of the county to which the recipient has moved immediately upon the recipient becoming qualified to receive aid from such county. (1937, c. 124, s. 8; 1947, c. 374; 1965, c. 905; 1971, c. 190, ss. 1, 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 143.)

 

§ 111-20.  Awards subject to reopening upon change in condition.

All awards to needy blind persons made under the provisions of this Article shall be made subject to reopening and reconsideration at any time when there has been any change in the circumstances of any needy blind person or for any other reason. The Department of Health and Human Services and the board of county commissioners of each of the counties in which awards have been made shall at all times keep properly informed as to the circumstances and conditions of the persons to whom the awards are made, making reinvestigations annually, or more often, as may be found necessary. The Department of Health and Human Services may at any time present to the proper board of county commissioners any case in which, in their opinion, the changed circumstances of the case should be reconsidered. The board of county commissioners shall reconsider such cases and any and all other cases which, in the opinion of the board of county commissioners, deserve reconsideration. In all such cases notice of the hearing thereon shall be given to the person to whom the award has been made. Any person to whom an award has been made may apply for a reopening and reconsideration thereof. Upon such hearing, the board of county commissioners may make a new award increasing or decreasing the former award or leaving the same unchanged, or discontinuing the same, as it may find the circumstances of the case to warrant, such changes always to be within the limitations provided by this Article and in accordance with the terms hereof.

Any changes made in such award shall be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, and shall be subject to the right of appeal and review, as provided in G.S. 111-16. (1937, c. 124, s. 9; 1971, c. 160; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-21.  Disqualifications for relief.

No aid to needy blind persons shall be given under the provisions of this Article to any individual for any period with respect to which he is receiving aid under the laws of North Carolina providing Work First Family Assistance and/or relief for the aged, and/or aid for the permanently and totally disabled. (1937, c. 124, s. 10; 1951, c. 319, s. 2; 1997-443, s. 12.29.)

 

§ 111-22.  Beneficiaries not deemed paupers.

No blind person shall be deemed a pauper by reason of receiving relief under this Article. (1937, c. 124, s. 11.)

 

§ 111-23.  Misrepresentation or fraud in obtaining assistance.

Any person who shall obtain, or attempt to obtain, by means of a willful, false statement, or representation, or impersonation, or other fraudulent devices, assistance to which he is not entitled shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.  The superior court and the recorders' courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction in all prosecutions arising under this Article. (1937, c. 124, s. 12; 1993, c. 539, s. 825; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

§ 111-24.  Cooperation with federal departments or agencies; grants from federal government.

The Department of Health and Human Services is hereby empowered, authorized and directed to cooperate with the appropriate federal department or agency charged with the administration of the Social Security Act in any reasonable manner as may be necessary to qualify for federal aid for assistance to the needy blind and in conformity with the provisions of this Article, including the making of such reports in such form and containing such information as the appropriate federal department or agency may from time to time require, and the compliance with such regulations as the appropriate federal department or agency may from time to time find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports.

The Department of Health and Human Services is hereby further empowered and authorized to receive grants-in-aid from the United States government for assistance to the blind and grants made for payment of costs of administering the State plan for aid to the blind, and all such grants so received hereunder shall be paid into the State treasury and credited to the account of the Department of Health and Human Services in carrying out the provisions of the Article. (1937, c. 124, s. 13; 1971, c. 349, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-25.  Acceptance and use of federal aid.

The Department of Health and Human Services may expend under the provisions of the Executive Budget Act, such grants as shall be made to it for paying the cost of administering this Chapter by the appropriate federal department or agency under the Social Security Act. (1937, c. 124, s. 14; 1971, c. 349, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-26.  Termination of federal aid.

If for any reason there should be a termination of federal aid as anticipated in this Article, then and in that event this Article shall be ipso facto repealed and rendered null and void: Provided, however, such repeal shall not become effective or be in force unless and until the Governor of the State of North Carolina has issued a proclamation duly attested by the Secretary of the State of North Carolina to the effect that there has been a termination of such federal aid. In the event that this Article should be ipso facto repealed as herein provided, the State funds on hand shall be converted into the general fund of the State for such use as may be authorized by the Director of the Budget, and the county funds accumulated by the provisions of this Article in the respective counties of the State shall be converted into the general fund of such counties for such use as may be authorized by the county commissioners. (1937, c. 124, s. 15 1/2.)

 

§ 111-27.  Department of Health and Human Services to promote employment of blind persons; vending stands on public property.

For the purpose of assisting blind persons to become self-supporting, the Department of Health and Human Services may carry on activities to promote the employment of blind persons, including the licensing and establishment of blind persons as operators of vending stands in public buildings. The Department of Health and Human Services may cooperate with the federal government in the furtherance of the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act, 20 U.S.C. §§ 107-107f, as amended, providing for the licensing of blind persons to operate vending stands in federal buildings, or any other act of Congress that may be enacted.

The board of county commissioners of each county and the commissioners or officials in charge of various State and municipal buildings may permit the operation of vending stands by blind persons on the premises of any State, county or municipal property under their respective jurisdictions. These operators shall be first licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, no vending stands may be operated unless, in the opinion of the commissions or officials having control and custody of the property, the vending stands may be properly and satisfactorily operated on the premises without undue interference with the use and needs of the premises or property for public purposes. (1939, c. 123; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 16.)

 

§ 111-27.1.  Department of Health and Human Services authorized to conduct certain business operations.

For the purpose of assisting blind and visually impaired persons to become self-supporting the Department of Health and Human Services may carry on activities to promote the rehabilitation and employment of the blind and visually impaired, including employment in or the operation of various business enterprises suitable for the blind and visually impaired. The Executive Budget Act applies to the operation of these enterprises as to all appropriations made by the State to aid in the organization and the establishment of these businesses. Purchases and sales of merchandise or equipment, the payment of rents and wages to blind and visually impaired persons operating these businesses, and other expenses of these businesses from funds derived from local subscriptions and from the day-by-day operations are not subject to the provisions of law regulating purchases and contracts, or to the deposit and disbursement that apply to State funds but shall be supervised by the Department of Health and Human Services. All of the business operations under this law are subject to the oversight of the State Auditor pursuant to Article 5A of Chapter 147 of the General Statutes.

Randolph-Sheppard vendors are not State employees. Blind licensees operating vending facilities under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Services for the Blind, are independent contractors. (1945, c. 72, s. 2; 1971, c. 1025, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1983, c. 867, s. 1; 1993, c. 257, s. 9; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 17.)

 

§ 111-27.2.  Blind vending-stand operators; retirement benefits.

The Department of Health and Human Services is authorized and empowered to continue and maintain, in its discretion, any existing retirement system providing retirement benefits for blind vending-stand operators and to expend funds to provide necessary contributions to any existing retirement system for blind vending-stand operators to the extent that the Department determines such retirement system to be in the best interest of the blind vending-stand operators. (1969, c. 1255, s. 4; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-28.  Department of Health and Human Services authorized to receive grants for benefit of blind and visually impaired; use of information concerning blind persons.

The Department of Health and Human Services may receive grants-in-aid from the federal government or any State or federal agency for the purpose of rendering other services to the blind, visually impaired, and those in danger of becoming blind. All of these grants shall be paid into the State treasury and credited to the account of the Department of Health and Human Services, to be used in carrying out the provisions of this law.

The Commission for the Blind may adopt rules as may be required by the federal government or State or federal agency as a condition for receiving these federal funds, not inconsistent with the laws of this State.

The Department of Health and Human Services may enter into reciprocal agreements with public welfare agencies in other states regarding assistance and services to residents, nonresidents, or transients, and cooperate with other agencies of the State and federal governments in the provisions of assistance and services and in the study of the problems involved.

The Department of Health and Human Services may establish and enforce reasonable rules governing the custody, use and preservation of the records, papers, files, and communications of the Department.

It is unlawful, except for purposes directly connected with the administration of aid to the blind and visually impaired and in accordance with the rules of the Department of Health and Human Services, for any person to solicit, disclose, receive, make use of, or to authorize, knowingly permit, participate in, or acquiesce in the use of, any list of or name of, or any information concerning, persons applying for or receiving aid to the blind and visually impaired, directly or indirectly derived from the records, papers, files, or communications of the Department of Health and Human Services, the board of county commissioners, or the county social services department, or acquired in the course of the performance of official duties.

The Department of Health and Human Services may release to the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Transportation and to the North Carolina Department of Revenue the name and medical records of any person listed in the register of the blind in this State maintained under the provisions of G.S. 111-4. All information and documents released to the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Revenue shall be treated by them as confidential for their use only and shall not be released by them to any person for commercial or political purposes or for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of Chapters 20 and 105 of the General Statutes. The Department of Health and Human Services may also release to the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the name and address of any person listed in the register of the blind in this State maintained under the provisions of G.S. 111-4. All information released to the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped shall be treated as confidential for its use only and shall not be released to any person for commercial or political purposes or for any purpose not directly connected with providing information concerning services offered by the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  (1939, c. 124; 1941, c. 186; 1969, cc. 871, 982; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1989, c. 752, s. 141; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 18; 2015-241, s. 14.30(s).)

 

§ 111-28.1.  Department of Health and Human Services authorized to cooperate with federal government in rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired.

The Department of Health and Human Services may adopt the necessary rules to cooperate with the federal government in the furtherance of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. No. 93-112, 87 Stat. 355, 29 U.S.C. § 701, et seq., as amended, providing for the rehabilitation of the blind and visually impaired. (1945, c. 72, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 19.)

 

§ 111-29.  Expenditure of equalizing funds; grants affording maximum federal aid; lending North Carolina reports.

In addition to the powers and duties imposed upon the Department of Health and Human Services, the said Department shall be and hereby is charged with the powers and duties hereinafter enumerated; that is to say:

(1)        The Department of Health and Human Services is hereby authorized to expend such funds as are appropriated to it as an equalizing fund for aid to the needy blind for the purpose of equalizing the financial burden of providing relief to the needy blind in the several counties of the State, and equalizing the grants received by the needy blind recipients. Such amount shall be expended and disbursed solely for the use of the needy blind coming within the eligibility provisions outlined in Chapter 124 of the Public Laws of 1937. Said amount shall be distributed to the counties according to the needs therein in conformity with the rules and regulations adopted by the Commission for the Blind, producing as far as possible a just and fair distribution thereof.

(2)        The Department of Health and Human Services is hereby authorized to make such grants to the needy blind of the State as will enable said Department to receive the maximum grants from the federal government for such purpose.

(3)        The Department of Health and Human Services is hereby authorized to work out plans with the Secretary of State for lending to needy blind lawyers volumes of the North Carolina reports in his custody that are unused or have become damaged. The Secretary of State is hereby authorized to lend such reports to the Department of Health and Human Services for relending to needy blind lawyers. Such reports may be recalled at any time by the Secretary of State upon giving 15 days' written notice to the Department of Health and Human Services which shall remain responsible for said reports until they are returned. The Department shall relend such reports only to blind lawyers, who, after an investigation by the Department, are determined to have no income, or an income insufficient to purchase such reports. (1943, c. 600; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-30.  Personal representatives for certain recipients of aid to the blind.

If any otherwise qualified applicant for or recipient of aid to the blind is or shall become unable to manage the assistance payments, or otherwise fails so to manage, to the extent that deprivation or hazard to himself or others results, a petition may be filed by a relative of said blind person, or other interested person, or by the Secretary of Health and Human Services before the appropriate court under G.S. 111-31, in the form of a verified written application for the appointment of a personal representative for the purpose of receiving and managing public assistance payments for any such recipient, which application shall allege one or more of the above grounds for the legal appointment of such personal representative.

The court shall summarily order a hearing on the petition and shall cause the applicant or recipient to be notified at least five days in advance of the time and place for the hearing. Findings of fact shall be made by the court without a jury, and if the court shall find that the applicant for or recipient of aid to the blind is unable to manage the assistance payments, or otherwise fails so to manage, to the extent that deprivation or hazard to himself or others results, the court may thereupon enter an order embracing said findings and appointing some responsible person as personal representative of the applicant or recipient for the purposes set forth herein. The personal representative so appointed shall serve with or without bond, in the discretion of the court, and without compensation. He will be responsible for receiving the monthly assistance payment and using the proceeds of such payment for the benefit of the recipient of aid to the blind. Such personal representative shall be responsible to the court for the faithful discharge of the duties of his trust. The court may consider the recommendation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the selection of a suitable person for appointment as personal representative for the limited purposes of G.S. 111-30 to 111-33. The personal representative so appointed may be removed by the court, and the proceeding dismissed, or another suitable personal representative appointed. All costs of court with respect to any such proceedings shall be waived.

From the order of the court appointing or removing such personal representative, an appeal may be had to the judge of superior court who shall hear the matter de novo without a jury. (1945, c. 72, s. 4; 1953, c. 1000; 1961, c. 666, s. 2; 1971, c. 603, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-31.  Courts for purposes of §§ 111-30 to 111-33; records.

For the purposes of G.S. 111-30 to 111-33 the court may be either a domestic relations court established pursuant to Article 13, Chapter 7, General Statutes, or the clerk of the superior court in the county having responsibility for the administration of the particular aid to the blind payments. The court may, for the purposes of G.S. 111-30 to 111-33, direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to maintain records pertaining to all aspects of any personal representative proceeding, which the court may adopt as the court's record and in lieu of the maintenance of separate records by the court. (1961, c. 666, s. 2; 1971, c. 603, s. 4; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-32.  Findings under § 111-30 not competent as evidence in other proceedings.

The findings of fact under the provisions of G.S. 111-30 shall not be competent as evidence in any case or proceeding dealing with any subject matter other than provided in G.S. 111-30 to 111-33. (1961, c. 666, s. 2.)

 

§ 111-33.  Sections 111-30 to 111-33 are not to affect provisions for payments for minors.

Nothing in G.S. 111-30 to 111-33 is to be construed as affecting that portion of the State plan for aid to the blind which provides that payments for eligible blind minors should be made to the parent, legal guardian, relatives or other persons "in loco parentis" of the blind minor, and that payments may be made to the minor if he is emancipated. (1961, c. 666, s. 2.)

 

§ 111-34.  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 476, s. 143.

 

§ 111-35.  Authority of director of social services.

The respective boards of county commissioners of each county are hereby authorized to empower and confer upon the county director of social services for their respective counties the authority to perform any or all acts or functions which the previous sections of this Article direct or authorize the county boards of commissioners to perform. Any act or function performed by a county director of social services under the authority of this section shall be reported by him to the respective county board of commissioners for its review, and for alternative action or disposition where deemed appropriate by such board. Provided that the respective boards of county commissioners shall make no alternative or different disposition of a matter which the county director of social services is empowered to act upon which would prejudicially affect the status of any aid to the blind recipient without first affording such recipient reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard. (1971, c. 348, s. 1.)

 

§§ 111-36 through 111-40.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 3.

Operation of Vending Facilities on State Property.

§ 111-41.  Preference to blind persons in operation of vending facilities; responsibility of Department of Health and Human Services.

In order to promote the employment and the self-sufficiency of blind persons in North Carolina, State agencies shall upon the request of the Department of Health and Human Services give preference to blind persons in the operation of vending facilities on State property. The Department of Health and Human Services shall encourage and assist the operation of vending facilities by blind persons. (1973, c. 1280, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 20.)

 

§ 111-42.  Definitions as used in this Article.

(a)        "Regular vending facility" means a vending facility where food preparation or cooking is not done on the State property.

(b)        "State agency" means department, commission, agency or instrumentality of the State.

(c)        "State property or State building" means building and land owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the State, exclusive of schools, colleges and universities, the North Carolina State Fair, farmers markets and agricultural centers, the Legislative Office Building, and the State Legislative Building.

(d)       "Vending facility" includes a snack bar, cafeteria, restaurant, cafe, concession stand, vending stand, cart service, or other facilities at which food, drinks, novelties, newspapers, periodicals, confections, souvenirs, tobacco products or related items are regularly sold.

(e)        Repealed by Session Laws 2000-121, s. 21. (1973, c. 1280, s. 1; 2000-121, s. 21; 2001-41, s. 1; 2001-424, s. 17.4.)

 

§ 111-43.  Installation of coin-operated vending machines.

In locations where the Department of Health and Human Services determines that a vending facility may not be operated or should not continue to operate due to insufficient revenues to support a blind vendor or due to the lack of qualified blind applicants, the Department shall have the first opportunity to secure, by negotiation of a contract with one or more licensed commercial vendors, coin-operated vending machines for the location. Profits from coin-operated vending machines secured by the Department of Health and Human Services shall be used by the Department for the support of programs that enable blind and visually impaired people to live more independently, including medical, rehabilitation, independent living, and educational services offered by the Division of Services for the Blind. (1973, c. 1280, s. 1; 1991, c. 689, s. 221.4(a); 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 984, s. 1; 2000-121, s. 22.)

 

§ 111-44.  Location and services provided by State agency.

If the Department of Health and Human Services determines that a location is suitable for the operation of a vending facility by a blind person, the State agency with authority over the location shall provide proper space, plumbing, lighting, and electrical outlets for the vending facility in the original planning and construction, or in the alteration and renovation of the present location. The State agency shall provide necessary utilities, janitorial service, and garbage disposal for the operation of the vending facility. Space and services for the vending facilities shall be provided without charge. (1973, c. 1280, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 23.)

 

§ 111-45.  Duty of State agency to inform the Department of Health and Human Services.

It shall be the duty of the State agencies to inform the Department of Health and Human Services of existing and prospective locations for vending facilities and coin-operated vending machines and to adopt rules, upon request of the Department, to promote the successful operation of the vending facilities of the blind. (1973, c. 1280, s. 1; 2000-121, s. 24.)

 

§ 111-46.  Vending facilities operated by those other than blind persons.

Where vending facilities on State property are operated by those other than blind persons on the date of enactment of this Article, the contract of these vending facilities shall not be renewed or extended unless the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services is notified of the proposed renewal or extension and the Secretary determines within 30 days of this notification that the vending facilities are not, or cannot become, suited for operation by the blind. If the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services within 30 days of the date of this notification fails to provide for the operation of the vending facilities by the blind, the existing contract may be renewed or extended. (1973, c. 1280, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 25.)

 

§ 111-47.  Exclusions.

(a)        This Article is not intended to cover food services provided by hospitals or residential institutions as a direct service to patients, inmates, trainees, or otherwise institutionalized persons, nor to cover coin-operated vending machines located in State facilities operated under the authority of G.S. 122C.

(b)        This Article shall not prohibit the continued use of coin-operated vending machines currently the property of the Division of Services for the Blind of the Department of Health and Human Services and now part of the vending-stand program. (1973, c. 1280, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 984, s. 2; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-47.1.  Food service at North Carolina aquariums.

(a)       Notwithstanding this Article, the North Carolina Aquariums may operate or contract for the operation of food or vending services at the North Carolina Aquariums. Notwithstanding G.S. 111-43, the net proceeds of revenue generated by food and vending services that are provided at the North Carolina Aquariums and are operated by or whose operation is contracted for by the Division of North Carolina Aquariums shall be credited to the North Carolina Aquariums Fund.

(b)       This section shall not be construed to alter any contract for food or vending services at the North Carolina Aquariums that is in force on July 1, 1999.  (1999-237, s. 15.17(a), (b); 2014-115, s. 7(a).)

 

§ 111-47.2.  Food service at State parks, museums and historic sites operated by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Notwithstanding this Article, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources may operate or contract for the operation of food or vending services at State parks, museums and historic sites operated by the Department. Notwithstanding G.S. 111-43, the net proceeds of revenue generated by food and vending services operated by the Department or a vendor with whom the Department has contracted shall be credited to the appropriate fund of the Department where the funds were generated and shall be used for the operation of that State park, museum or historic site.  (2013-360, s. 19.3(a); 2014-115, s. 7(b); 2015-241, s. 14.30(s); 2016-94, s. 16.4(a).)

 

§ 111-47.3.  Food service at Department of State Treasurer.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, the Department of State Treasurer may operate or contract for the operation of food or vending services at Department of State Treasurer offices. The net proceeds of revenue generated by food and vending services that are provided at the Department of State Treasurer by the agency or a vendor with whom the agency has contracted shall be credited to the Division of Services for the Blind of the Department of Health and Human Services for the purposes specified in G.S. 111-43.  (2015-164, s. 2.)

 

§ 111-47.4.  Food service at North Carolina Zoological Park.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, the North Carolina Zoological Park may operate or contract for the operation of food or vending services at the North Carolina Zoological Park. Notwithstanding G.S. 111-43, the net proceeds of revenue generated by food and vending services operated by the North Carolina Zoological Park or a vendor with whom the North Carolina Zoological Park has contracted shall be credited to the North Carolina Zoo Fund.  (2017-57, s. 14.6(a).)

 

 

Article 4.

Operation of Highway Vending Facilities on North Carolina Highways.

§ 111-48.  Preference to blind persons in operation of highway vending facilities.

In order to provide support for programs for the blind and to further promote employment opportunities for blind persons, the Department of Health and Human Services may operate automatic vending machines on State property on North Carolina highways and shall give preference to blind persons in the operation of these facilities. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 984, s. 3; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 111-49.  Definitions as used in this Article.

(a)        "Automatic vending" means a coin, currency, token, ticket, or credit card operated machine that dispenses food, drinks, or sundries.

(b)        "Blind vendor" means a blind person who has been licensed by the Division of Services for the Blind to operate a vending stand in a public building.

(c)        "Highway vending facilities" means automatic vending operations located on North Carolina highways in Welcome Centers and rest areas designated by the State. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 984, s. 3; 2000-121, s. 26.)

 

§ 111-50.  Operations of highway vending.

(a)        In locations on North Carolina highways where the Department of Health and Human Services determines that automatic vending is suitable, the Department shall authorize the Division of Services for the Blind to contract with blind vendors in the operation of highway vending facilities. The contracts shall be reviewed and renegotiated by the Division every two years and shall be reviewed by the Transfer and Promotion Committee. The Commission for the Blind shall adopt rules necessary to govern the operations. The highway vending program shall be a part of the Business Enterprises Program operated under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, 20 U.S.C. § 107a.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2000, c. 121, s. 27.

(c)        The Commission for the Blind may adopt rules to establish applicable set-aside rates for the Business Enterprises Program. The Commission shall only develop rules authorized by this subsection with the active participation of the Elected Committee of Vendors. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 984, s. 3; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 27.)

 

§ 111-51.  Priority for specific blind vendors.

Blind vendors who were operating highway vending facilities as of July 31, 1991, and who continue to operate those facilities shall be given priority in renegotiating contracts under this Article to continue to operate those same facilities. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 984, s. 3.)

 

§ 111-52.  Profits from Highway Vending Fund.

Profits generated by highway vending locations as of June 30, 1992, and deposited in a special fund in accordance with the policies of the Office of the State Controller shall be reserved for the construction and maintenance of highway vending facility projects. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 984, s. 3; 2004-199, s. 2.)