RSA-227 - Annual Client Assistance Program (CAP) Report

Georgia (GEORGIA CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CAP)) - H161A110060 - FY2011

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameMartin & Jones
Address123 N. McDonough St.
Address Line 2123 N. McDonough Street
CityDecatur
StateGeorgia
Zip Code30030
E-mail Addressgacapdirector@georgiacap.com
Website Addresshttp://www.georgiacap.com
Phone404-373-2040
TTY 404-373-2040
Toll-free Phone800-822-9727
Toll-free TTY800-822-9727
Fax404-373-4110

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameMartin & Jones
Address123 N. McDonough St.
Address Line 2123 N. McDonough Street
CityDecatur
Zip Code30030
E-mail Addressgacapdirector@georgiacap.com
Website Addresshttp://www.georgiacap.com
Phone404-373-2040
TTY404-373-2040
Toll-free Phone800-822-9727
Toll-free TTY800-822-9727
Fax404-373-4110

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorCharles Martin
Person to contact regarding reportCharles Martin
Contact Person Phone404-373-3116

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act1,813
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA3
3. Other information provided177
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)1,993
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)63

B. Individuals served

An individual is counted only once during a fiscal year. Multiple counts are not permitted for Lines B1-B3.

1. Individuals who are still being served as of October 1 (carryover from prior year)39
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year95
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)134
4. Individuals (from Line B3) who had multiple case files opened/closed this year. (In unusual situations, an individual may have more than one case file opened/closed during a fiscal year. This number is not added to the total in Line B3 above.)2

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 67

D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files

Choose one primary reason for closing each case file. There may be more case files than the total number of individuals served to account for those unusual situations, referred to in Line I.B4, when an individual had multiple case files closed during the year.

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor30
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)7
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual17
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)6
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution7
7. Appeals were unsuccessful0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.2
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP0
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual3
2. Application for services completed.0
3. Eligibility determination expedited2
4. Individual participated in evaluation2
5. IPE developed/implemented21
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party33
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office0
8. Alternative resources identified for individual7
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made0
10. Other0
11. Other (please explain)

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

As of the beginning of the fiscal year. Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. 21 and under28
2. 22 - 4035
3. 41 - 6470
4. 65 and over1
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)134

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female73
2. Male61
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)134

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race1
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian3
4. Black or African American63
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White67
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)30
2. Other visual impairments6
3. Deafness9
4. Hard of hearing0
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments24
7. Absense of extremities2
8. Mental illness19
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation5
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)10
12. Neurological disorders17
13. Respiratory disorders2
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions0
15. Digestive disorders1
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)6
20. All other disabilities3
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)134

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program131
2. Clients of VR Program133
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program1
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act0

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only128
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only0
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources6
4. Employer1

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information97
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor130
3. Conflict about services to be provided127
4. Related to application/eligibility process12
5. Related to IPE development/implementation21
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems3
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related0
8. Related to Title I of the ADA0

H. Types of CAP services provided

Choose one primary CAP service provided for each case file/service record.

1. Information/referral1
2. Advisory/interpretational1
3. Negotiation67
4. Administrative/informal review0
5. Alternative dispute resolution0
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

CLIENT ASSISTANT PROGRAM ANNUAL REPORT, FY 2010 Part III. Narrative.

The Georgia Client Assistance Program

The Georgia Client Assistance Program is a division of the Law Offices of Martin and Jones, a commercial enterprise, which was designated by the Governor of the State of Georgia on July 1, 2001, to provide CAP services for the State of Georgia.

1. A brief history Georgia’s Vocational Rehabilitation program received an initial grant from RSA to provide a CAP for a three-year period, September 1, 1978 through October 31, 1981. Its purpose was to assist VR clients/applicants in metro Atlanta with their relationships with the VR Program, to identify systemic problems, and to provide recommendations for improving client services. A need for a statewide advocacy program soon became evident, and the plan was to extend CAP services statewide. After the expiration of the federal grant, the state VR director appointed a task force to study the contributions of the CAP. The task force concluded that the CAP had fulfilled the Congressional intent of benefiting both clients/applicants and VR staff. The task force also found that CAP contributed significantly in developing, revising, and implementing several DRS forms, among other contributions, and recommended that CAP be continued with state funding. The VR agency adopted the recommendations and continued the CAP program after the federal grant expired on November 1, 1981. The 1984 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, (PL 98-221), mandated CAP for states receiving a VR grant. Each state was required to have a CAP by October 1, 1984, to receive its federal matching funds. CAP was required to be independent of the VR agency except in states which had continued to provide a CAP with only state funding between 1981-1984. Georgia’s CAP met this criteria and remained within the VR agency until 1997. In 1995, as part of the Governor’s initiative to privatize state services, the VR agency published a request for proposals for a private vendor to operate CAP. After studying the proposals submitted, the VR agency selected the Law Offices of Charles L. Martin as the contractor to provide CAP services. From August 1, 1997 to June 30, 2001, the Law Offices of Charles L. Martin, provided CAP services as a contractor for the VR agency. In 2001, a reorganization transferring the VR program to a different state agency removed Georgia’s exemption from the requirement that CAP be provided by an entity independent of the VR program. On July 1, 2001, the Governor provided an independent CAP when he designated the law offices of Martin and Jones to provide CAP services. CAP has continued to function independently since that time, and clients have frequently reported that they value this independence.

2. Philosophy of the Georgia CAP The Georgia CAP’s primary responsibility is to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities that are applying for or receiving services from Georgia DVR. The Georgia CAP values the client’s right to informed choice and acknowledges the role of the VR counselor as the vocational rehabilitation professional who is best qualified to help clients achieve their vocational goals. We believe that clients are usually best served by preserving and improving the professional relationship between the client and counselor.

We further believe that clients, when empowered with knowledge about the VR program services, are better able to actively participate as responsible partners in their rehabilitation programs. We further believe that individuals with disabilities are entitled to timely provision of quality services and allowed fair opportunities for success.

The role of CAP is to assist clients in their efforts to access the services provided under the Rehabilitation Act through information & referral, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, supporting client self-advocacy, and providing or pointing clients to other legal remedies. It is the policy of the Georgia CAP to attempt to resolve issues that prevent clients from obtaining needed services in the least antagonistic manner that will preserve and/or strengthen the relationship between the client and the rehabilitation counselor. In order to accomplish this, CAP attempts to empower clients through the provision of information & referral resources that will allow them to be an effective self-advocate. If the client is unable to resolve the issue, CAP will assist to resolve it using the least intrusive methodology. In most cases, this involves using various intervention techniques to re-establish a productive professional relationship between the client and the rehabilitation counselor. Where problems remain after attempting to re-establish this rapport, CAP will utilize a variety of alternative dispute resolution techniques before resorting to legal remedies. Negotiation will be used if possible, followed by mediation if applicable / available. If all other efforts fail, fair hearing and any other necessary legal appeals can be pursued with a view to serving the best interest of the client. CAP also attempts, through systemic advocacy, to avoid problems before they happen. The Georgia CAP collects and evaluates data related to problems with VR service provision, and makes necessary recommendations on system wide improvements of the service delivery system. 3. CAP finances and personnel Source of Funding—Federal Funds Only—Total expenditure $330,812. Budget A. Personal services Salaries $153,710 Fringes 17,742 Other (payroll tax) 13,802 B. Supplies & Materials 7,702 C. Repairs & Maintenance 0 D. Insurance and Bonding 5,212 E. Postage 5,039 F. Telecommunications 9,034 G. Equipment 0 Purchase 0 Rental 0 H. Per Diem Fees & Contracts (Legal serv.) 40,000 I. Other Expense (Specify) Accounting 5,462 Dues & education 5,921 Misc 897 Rent 9,286 Travel 14,498 J. Administrative Cost & profit 42,507 Total $330,812

Number of Person Years—2 and l/2 professional, and l/2 clerical.

The Georgia CAP staff consists of the Director, Assistant Director, a Counselor/Advocate, and a part-time administrative assistant. The Georgia CAP has available legal representation. Charles Martin, previously the CAP attorney, has served as the CAP Director since 1997. The Assistant Director, Ashley Carraway, was previously an attorney and litigation manager. The Counselor/Advocate, Jennifer Page was a vocational rehabilitation counselor before becoming a CAP counselor. 4. CAP services CAP assists Georgians with disabilities getting or seeking vocational rehabilitation services by: • Advising them about their rights and responsibilities • Explaining rights to benefits under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. • Helping improve communication and relationships with projects, programs, rehabilitation counselors, supervisors, and community rehabilitation providers • Identifying problems in the delivery of rehabilitation services • Developing strategies to resolve disagreements through mediation and negotiation

• Advocating for clients during administrative appeals • Providing legal representation for meritorious hearings and court appeals • Giving information about and referral to other public and private agencies who may help clients

Through these services, CAP strives to assure that people with disabilities are allowed to make informed choices throughout the vocational rehabilitation and independent living processes and are treated with dignity and respect.

5. Involvement with advisory boards • CAP staff regularly attended quarterly SILC Board meetings, usually giving a presentation about CAP. Among the issues discussed were transportation problems for individuals with disabilities, the state Independent Living plan, the Independent Living budget, the need for additional IL centers, and resources for the blind/deaf community. • CAP staff regularly attended quarterly State Rehabilitation Council meetings, giving a presentation about CAP from time to time (as when there were new Council members), and making the Council aware of any VR issues needing Council attention.

6. Outreach to unserved/under-served populations • CAP provided CAP brochures and information to organizations representing minorities that do not focus on vocational rehabilitation clients, in order to make them aware of CAP and the services provided by VR. • CAP continues to monitor for any VR underrepresentation, for example, based on ethnicity or type of disability.

7. Alternative dispute resolution • CAP represented a client who had been on the VR caseload for several years as a small business owner, and now needed VR to purchase AWT equipment and assist him with learning how to use the equipment, so its use could aid his efforts to become successful. CAP requested an ADR meeting with the counselor and regional director, because the case had come to a standstill. CAP assistance was important in effecting the change that moved the case forward. The client was able to receive his equipment, as well as training for the equipment. Client’s case is progressing smoothly. • A CAP client needed VR assistance in order to attend a university for the hearing impaired. The client felt that VR did not want to assist him, so the client called CAP. CAP contacted the VR Policy Unit in the client’s behalf, and the client was given full services to attend the desired university out-of-state. • CAP helped a client obtain a new counselor where friction had developed between the original counselor and client. Of interest was the fact that the client-counselor dissonance was due to the negative influence of a third party. • Following CAP’s ADR efforts, personal attendant care services were restored to a client following a care conference at which we represented the client; and during the process, damaged client-counselor relations were healed. • Client noted discrepancies between what VR paid for post-secondary and what was actually spent. CAP investigation revealed that there was a misunderstanding which CAP was able to mediate and resolve. As a result, an agreement on correct amounts was ultimately achieved. • CAP had an ADR meeting with VR, the client and a client family member. Client has significant developmental disability. As a result of the meeting, a plan was worked out, including a path by which client could return to Goodwill. • CAP met with VR and client because client was refusing a particular VR service. A pre-meeting with client revealed that there was no argument in support of client’s position. Therefore, CAP’s role involved explaining in private the consequences of the client’s decision, and his options. After the private client meeting, client agreed to the requested service, and his case moved forward. 8. Systemic advocacy • CAP met periodically with VR Policy staff to discuss systemic issues, and communicated informally throughout the year. No substantial systemic problems arose during the fiscal year. • CAP took brochures to Georgia State University’s Disability Coordinator’s Office, to a gathering of blind students, and others. Although VR clients are to receive CAP information when they become clients of VR, students (and others) need to know that CAP is easily accessible.

9. Work with other organizations • CAP staff attended the TASC conference in Baltimore, MD. • CAP staff made a presentation at the annual orientation program for CAP staff that the National Disability Rights Network sponsors. People attended from around the country and from one of the territories. The subject of the CAP presentation was collaboration with VR. The presentation was followed by a comparable talk by an Atlanta area VR representative; and then she and the CAP representative took questions from the audience. • CAP staff made a presentation to the Georgia Association of Blind Students about what CAP could do for them, which was followed by a question-and-answer session. • CAP staff made a presentation to the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta, GA. The attendees were clients of Vocational Rehabilitation and received training through CVI in order to become gainfully employed. The mission of CAP and the services provided were discussed, with clients asking questions throughout presentation. CAP large print brochures were distributed. • CAP staff regularly attending meetings of the SILC and State Rehabilitation Council, making presentations about CAP as appropriate / requested.

10. Information and referral CAP staff utilizes mobile phones and 3G internet technology to have prompt contact with clients and the ability to gain access to text, email and voicemail messages while traveling. CAP can thus communicate with clients and the VR agency faster and more efficiently. CAP often answers information requests about the services available from CAP. Not infrequently CAP refers the caller to the closest VR office or Department of Labor career center. Other callers have been referred to the P&A organization, Department of Family and Children Services, the Social Security Administration, Atlanta Legal Aid, Georgia Legal Services Program, and the Atlanta Housing Authority. CAP also responded to calls about VR from VR clients and VR personnel.

11. Summary of presentations made • CAP presented whenever permitted at the quarterly meetings of the SILC and the SRC. • CAP made a talk at the annual orientation program for CAP staff that the National Disability Rights Network sponsors. People attended from around the country and from one of the territories. The subject of the talk was collaboration with the agency. The presentation was followed by a comparable talk by an Atlanta area VR representative, and then we both took questions from the audience. • CAP made a presentation to the Georgia Association of Blind Students on CAP which was followed by a question-and-answer session. • CAP was invited to present at the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta. The attendees are clients of Vocational Rehabilitation and receive training through CVI so they can become gainfully employed. The mission of CAP and the services provided were discussed and clients asked questions throughout presentation. CAP large print brochures were distributed.

12. Demographic view of CAP clients

13. Interesting Cases The following case summaries are cases handled by CAP during this fiscal year which have been selected to illustrate interesting approaches CAP has taken to its diverse caseload. Client has hearing loss that is severe but that he is unwilling to acknowledge to his peers. His family situation presents a huge challenge for him. Lack of education is also an impediment to his obtaining employment. Out of this situation the client acted or failed to act in ways that indicated to his VR counselor that he was non-compliant. CAP was able to explain the client’s family and living situation to the counselor and improve the relationship. Client then participated in the VR process, leading, among other things, to his VR counselor recommending that client receive hearing aids, which he has now received. Client had contacted CAP because she had received a Notice of Change (“NOC”) closing her case for lack of impairment. VR told the client that she would have to reapply. CAP became involved, and explained the disability to the counselor. After that, the NOC was withdrawn, so that the VR process was able to continue. CAP client was certain that VR had underpaid regarding her post-secondary education. We investigated a complex situation in depth, involving, among other things, interpretations of Board of Regents schedules, etc. It turned out VR was correct. CAP explained the law to the client, and closed the file. CAP Client had received a NOC from new VR counselor revoking maintenance payments that had been promised client by her former VR counselor. In reliance on that prior counselor’s assurances, client had entered into an apartment lease near the college she was attending. CAP assisted the client in the IAR process and the NOC was withdrawn. Personal attendant care services had been denied to a client to the extent the client insisted on the use of a particular attendant. That counselor had concerns about this particular provider which client said were not related to this provider’s qualifications. CAP involvement carried through to a care conference during which the personal attendant care issues were resolved. After the mere delivery to client’s counselor of CAP’s request for the client’s VR file, the problem of lack of client-counselor communication and the problem of delay were immediately resolved. CAP then withdrew its request for the client’s VR file promptly before any copying occurred, and closed the CAP file. Client complained of absence of communication to / from counselor, inability to obtain a copy of the work plan he had signed, and lack of counselor guidance. Through CAP’s intervention, all of those issues were resolved favorably to client. Client was not receiving the transportation he needed to and from a VR-provided service, and had been unable to reach counselor to discuss problem. After CAP intervention, the transportation and communication problems were resolved. Client, who is visually impaired, was having trouble receiving the assistive technology that she needed to attend college. After CAP’s intervention, the client received the needed assistive technology. CAP assisted a hearing-impaired client in bringing his counselor into an understanding of the impact the disability was having on the client and on his efforts to comply with VR requirements, as well as on his efforts to seek employment. Thereafter, client obtained employment through VR efforts. CAP was able to obtain new counselor for a client who experienced communication difficulties with his former counselor. Client needed CAP intervention because she was moving from another state and VR told her she would not be able to receive services until she moved to GA. Client stated she would be in Georgia in a timely manner, but once she got here she would need to be put on the caseload immediately so she could receive an out-of-state tuition waiver. Client was not requesting tuition, etc., but only mobility training. CAP was able to get client a timely appointment and the commitment of the RUM that the waiver would not be an issue. Client called CAP because she wanted to receive post-secondary training out-of-state, but VR had made no decision whether to support her out-of-state college attendance. In the meantime, client enrolled and moved to the school. CAP was able to get VR Policy to look at the case, after which VR was willing to pay for all the services the client needed to have a successful outcome in her training. Client called CAP because VR wanted to stop paying for client’s personal care attendant in another state while he was in college. Client was not in compliance with his post-secondary agreement or work plan according to the agency. CAP intervened on his behalf and his services were continued pending client’s planned enrollment in a Georgia college — in Georgia, Medicaid waiver pays for that service. This CAP client had been a VR client on three prior occasions, the outcome being that client got jobs but was fired from them all because of no call / no show. In this case, CAP was called because, given this history, VR was unwilling to take an application from this client. CAP intervention via the VR Policy Unit resulted in the application being taken. Client’s case was being delayed for unknown reasons, so the client called CAP for assistance. CAP called the RUM to gain information about the case. CAP was told that the counselor had been on leave. Once counselor returned, the client’s case was addressed. Client has since been given services and is satisfied with her counselor and VR. Client called CAP because she wanted her case to be transferred, but her request was not being acknowledged. CAP addressed the issue with a VR policy advisor; the case was transferred within 30 days; and the client was given a new counselor and services begun. Client was not receiving communication from her VR counselor, and so she called CAP. CAP in turn contacted VR, and was told that a letter had been sent out informing the client that she would receive services from CVI. VR was apologetic that this client’s calls had not been returned in a timely manner. Client was satisfied with the result of CAP intervention, and her work plan was put into action. This client was a client of VR because of his problems with addiction. In the past there had been negative reports from his treatment facility. His VR counselor wanted to slow down the forward movement of his case, perhaps concerned about relapse. However, CAP showed that client had been free of his addictive behavior for the requisite period of time according to VR Policy; and thereby got his case moving forward more rapidly. 14. Online information / outreach The Georgia CAP maintains a web page providing information about the Georgia CAP at http://wwwGeorgiaCAP.com. The web site provides a description of the CAP program, the services CAP provides, and information about how to contact CAP. This serves as one of the means by which the Georgia CAP provides information in alternative formats. Information found in the CAP brochure is also available on the Georgia CAP website. With the ability of assistive technology to access electronic mail and the growing number of people with disabilities with access to the Internet or phones with texting capacity, CAP uses e-mail and texting, as well as more traditional means in CAP’s efforts to communicate quickly and effectively with clients and potential clients. 15. Other information While CAP tries to avoid the need for legal remedies by attempting to resolve issues at the earliest possible opportunity, there are times when using legal remedies cannot be avoided. However, there was no need during this fiscal year to resort to such remedies.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:30-Dec-11
Name of Designated Agency Official:Charles Martin
Title of Designated Agency Official:CAP Director