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What is considered a vital document?
Vital documents are information or documents that are critical for accessing federally
funded services or benefits, or are documents that are required by law. Documents that
require a signature are considered vital.

Vital documents include, but are not limited to:
• Consent and complaint forms.
• Intake forms with the potential for important consequences.
• Written notices of eligibility criteria, rights, denial, loss, or decreases in benefits or
services, actions affecting parental custody or child support, and other hearings.
• Notices advising LEP individuals of free language assistance.
• Written tests that do not assess English language competency, but test
competency for a particular license, job, or skill for which knowing English is not
• Applications to participate in a recipient's program or activity
• Applications to receive benefits or services.
• Business cards or short descriptions of department or service.

Non-vital written materials could include:
• Third party documents, forms, or pamphlets distributed by a recipient as a public
• For a non-governmental recipient, government documents and forms.
• Large documents such as enrollment handbooks (although vital information
contained in large documents may need to be translated).
• General information about the program intended for informational purposes only.

Limited English Proficiency

Show All Answers

1. Who is a Limited English Proficient (LEP) individual?
2. What are the relevant laws concerning language access for LEP individuals?
3. What is Executive Order 13166?
4. What is considered a vital document?
5. What is a recipient of federal funds?
6. What are recipients of federal funds and federal agencies required to do to meet LEP requirements?
7. What activities or programs are subject to LEP obligations?
8. Who will enforce the LEP rules?
9. What is the difference between a bilingual staff person and an interpreter or translator?
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