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

Louisiana (Advocacy Center) - H161A110019 - FY2011

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameAdvocacy Center
Address8325 Oak Street
Address Line 2
CityNew Orleans
StateLouisiana
Zip Code70118
E-mail Addressdgallegos@advocacyla.org
Website Addresshttp://www.advocacyla.org
Phone504-522-2337
TTY 855-861-3577
Toll-free Phone800-960-7705
Toll-free TTY855-861-3577
Fax504-522-5507

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameAdvocacy Center
Address8325 Oak Street
Address Line 2
CityNew Orleans
Zip Code70118
E-mail Addressdgallegos@advocacyla.org
Website Addresshttp://www.advocacyla.org
Phone504-522-2337
TTY855-861-3577
Toll-free Phone800-960-7705
Toll-free TTY855-861-3577
Fax504-522-5507

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorGallegos David
Person to contact regarding reportDavid Gallegos
Contact Person Phone504-522-2337

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act13
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
3. Other information provided4
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)17
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)0

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)24
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year82
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)106
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.)0

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 20

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 favor41
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)9
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual3
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)7
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution12
7. Appeals were unsuccessful2
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP12
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 individual36
2. Application for services completed.0
3. Eligibility determination expedited3
4. Individual participated in evaluation2
5. IPE developed/implemented7
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party14
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual6
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made2
10. Other15
11. Other (please explain)

E. Results achieved for individuals (Choose one primary outcome for each closed case file. As stated in Section D, there may be more case files than the total number of individuals served.)

10. Other (Please explain) 15

12 clients did not respond to contacts by CAP. 2 clients received information about rights. 1 client incarcerated.

Total: 15

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

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

1. 21 and under43
2. 22 - 4060
3. 41 - 640
4. 65 and over3
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)106

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female50
2. Male56
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)106

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race1
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian2
4. Black or African American50
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White49
7. Two or more races3
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)2
2. Other visual impairments4
3. Deafness4
4. Hard of hearing2
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments35
7. Absense of extremities1
8. Mental illness0
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation26
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)8
12. Neurological disorders8
13. Respiratory disorders2
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions7
15. Digestive disorders3
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)4
20. All other disabilities0
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)106

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program25
2. Clients of VR Program81
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program0
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 only68
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only0
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources38
4. Employer0

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information7
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor17
3. Conflict about services to be provided69
4. Related to application/eligibility process7
5. Related to IPE development/implementation6
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
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/referral27
2. Advisory/interpretational45
3. Negotiation1
4. Administrative/informal review2
5. Alternative dispute resolution9
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing2
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

4. PART III. NARRATIVE (Attach separate sheets.)

According to Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR Part 80, each CAP agency shall submit a written performance report that includes, but is not limited to, the following information. Be sure to include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of CAP activities this fiscal year. Please limit the narrative report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

a. Type of agency used to administer CAP:

The Louisiana Client Assistance Program (CAP) is one of many programs administered by the Advocacy Center (AC), Louisiana’s Protection and Advocacy System. The AC is a statewide, non-profit agency providing legal and advocacy services to seniors and persons with disabilities. The CAP provides free assistance to persons seeking services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through individual and systems advocacy, outreach and training.

The CAP made a transition to a new Director effective October 1, 2011. David Gallegos comes to CAP with 20 years of experience as a former disability job training director, and Center for Independent Living Program Director. He is the Advocacy Center’s Employment Rehabilitation Unit Program Director. He attended the initial CAP orientation training provided by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and actively pursues CAP and other employment training. Mr. Gallegos supervises one FTE CAP Advocate.

b. Sources of funds expended: Specify the total expenditure of funds used in providing services to CAP-eligible individuals according to the source of funding. Provide this information even if the agency’s only source of funding is the Federal formula grant. The following chart is recommended:

Source of funding Total expenditures spent on individuals Federal funds $143,974.70 State funds $0 All other funds $0 Total from all sources $143,974.70

The "all other" category is broad and includes funds from local governments, earned income (e.g., legal fees), charitable contributions, and other grants or contracts. This category does not include in-kind donations. However, it is hoped that CAP agencies will collect this information separately if appropriate.

c. Budget for current and following fiscal years: Be sure to outline the budget for the current and subsequent fiscal years. This item should include a breakdown of dollars expended/allotted for administrative costs (e.g., salaries for personnel, equipment, etc.); and services to individuals and other expenses (e.g., training of staff, travel, etc.). The following chart is recommended:

Category Current Fiscal Year Next Fiscal Year Wages & Salaries $ 125,921 $ 107,809 Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) $ 31,213 $ 25,248 Materials/Supplies $ 3,237 $ 2,607 Postage $ 1,155 $ 1,104 Telephone $ 3,836 $ 2,292 Rent $ 9,824 $ 7,779 Travel $ 5,865 $ 6,243 Copying $ 981 $ 953 Bonding/Insurance $ 419 $ 395 Equipment Rental/Purchase $ 714 $ 1,318 Legal Services 0 0 Indirect Costs 0 0 Miscellaneous $ 5,814 $ 4,158 Total Budget $ 188,979 $ 159,906

d. Number of person-years: "Person-years" refer to the actual time that positions (both professional and clerical) were filled during the period covered by this annual report. If a position was filled throughout the year, it counts as one person-year. Positions filled for any fraction of the fiscal year should be expressed in "full-time equivalents.” Person-years should be reported for all CAP personnel whose salaries are paid totally or partially by Section 112 funds. Identify the number of person-years staffing CAP this fiscal year. Be sure to include an explanation of the number of full-time, part-time, and vacant positions. Enter the full-time equivalent for all part-time positions. The following chart is recommended:

Type of Full-time % of year Person-years position equivalent position filled Professional 2.3438 100% 9 Full-time 1.3431 100% 7 Part-time 1.0007 2 Vacant Clerical 0.0867 100% 6 Full-time 0.0643 100% 4 Part-time 0.0224 2 Vacant

e. Summary of presentations made:

During FY ’11, the CAP conducted five trainings to approximately 200 sheltered employment participants, staff and family members. CAP also collaborated with the Developmental Disabilities Council to train transition students and families in S.E. Louisiana about vocational rehabilitation services and transition from “school to work”. CAP reached approximately 185 transition students and families.

CAP participated in the development of Louisiana’s nine statewide October Job Fairs and Work Incentives Seminar (WISE) events. Doing so allowed CAP to partner with Louisiana’s Work Incentives Planning & Assistance (WIPA) program to educate WISE attendees about VR and CAP services. CAP flyers were provided to approximately 300 WISE event participants statewide. Both the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC) and the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) distribute CAP brochures at all meetings and other events. The CAP booklets, "Knowing The Road" and "On Your Own Behalf" are provided to clients and to stakeholders. These booklets provide an overview of LRS services and LRS appeal procedures.

f. Involvement with advisory boards:

CAP participates on the following advisory boards: Work Pays Coalition, Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC), and the Medicaid Purchase Advisory Council. The CAP Director was elected to serve on the National Disability Rights Network CAP Advisory Council. He is awaiting approval to serve as the designee on the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and the Consortia of Administrators For Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR).

g. Outreach to unserved/underserved populations:

During FY ’11, the CAP reached underserved populations through its affiliation with various minority-focused community organizations such as the Latino Forum, Puentes New Orleans, Queen of Vietnam Youth Leadership Forum, and by collaborating with the Houma Nation Vocational Rehabilitation agency. CAP staff attended outreach events including health fairs, community forums and Louisiana Brain Injury conference. The AC also provides dedicated voice mailboxes for those who speak Spanish and Vietnamese. The CAP Director is fluent in Spanish. The CAP is racially and culturally diverse and is represented by African American and Hispanic/Native American staff members.

h. Alternative dispute resolutions:

The CAP seeks to resolve issues at the lowest level possible. Doing so allows CAP to resolve the majority of issues without seeking formal legal intervention. During the latter part of FY ’11, CAP met with the new VR Director to discuss the role and responsibilities of CAP and to reinforce the need for CAP to be involved in current and future policy/procedures recommendations. The meeting resulted in CAP and VR re-establishing a commitment to work on issues through the lowest level of advocacy necessary, with an understanding that a more formal approach including legal remedies will result “only” as necessary and if all other forms of dispute resolution are exhausted. Below is a breakdown of the dispute resolutions results during FY ’11:

1. Information/referral 27 2. Advisory/interpretational 45 3. Negotiation 1 4. Administrative/informal review 2 5. Alternative dispute resolution 9 6. Formal appeal/fair hearing 2 Total: 86

i. Systemic advocacy:

Systems advocacy is integral to the CAP. During FY ’11 CAP engaged in the following systems advocacy efforts:

1. CAP sought to increase the number of group home residents who have access to competitive employment by conducting a series of training sessions in collaboration with AC’s Employment/Rehabilitation Unit. The CAP trained group home Ombudsmen about VR, CAP and services/training available by VR, emphasizing that the Ombudsmen can play a critical role in helping group home residents to transition out of sheltered workshops and into competitive employment. The CAP also provided training directly to people working in sheltered employment.

2. The CAP sought to Identify and analyze rehabilitation service system issues and to make recommendations to improve or facilitate access to services through participation on the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC) and Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). Doing so allows CAP to engage in and provide input on system discussions and policy issues.

3. In FY ’11 CAP successfully advocated for an increase in Louisiana’s VR client gasoline reimbursement from $2.15 to $2.75.

4. The CAP Director also worked with VR to take the next step in the Partnership Plus initiative. Under Partnership Plus, SSA reimburses VR for money spent to assist Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities (SSI and SSDI beneficiaries) in entering or re-entering the workforce and maintaining continuous employment over 9- months within a 12-month period. In an effort to serve more people, VR agreed to become a Partnership Plus vendor. This will allow VR to serve more clients and also receive reimbursement for those services from SSA. Partnership Plus seeks to increase and enhance services to VR participants by:

• Strengthening partnerships between VR agencies and ENs to expand the scope of services and supports available to assist beneficiaries in entering and re-entering the workforce. • Establishing procedures and improving the coordination of services provided by VR agencies and ENs. • Assisting beneficiaries through the provision of vocational rehabilitation and support services to obtain employment resulting in earnings above the applicable SGA levels and enabling them to become self-sufficient for sustained periods of time.

• Providing funding to support ongoing services and supports for beneficiaries in Supported Employment programs. • Maintaining and expanding best practices, ethical standards, and support for consumer rights and choices.

• Maximizing CR payments for VR agencies and Ticket payments for ENs. Minimizing the administrative tasks associated with CR and Ticket payments.

• Ensuring that the intent and requirements of the public VR program are achieved. Ensuring that beneficiaries understand their options and choices under the TTW program and how work can affect their benefits.

The CAP Director, in collaboration with a national Partnership Plus associate, trained VR Regional Managers on Partnership Plus.

5. The CAP will continue to address systems issues that impact services to clients. The new VR Director agreed to work with CAP and the LRC to improve transparency on individual and systems related issues. He is an active member of the LRC and provides regular updates on proposed and current policy recommendations.

j. Interesting cases:

Case 1-

Mr. Smith is a long-standing CAP client who completed training as a paralegal and secured his bachelor’s degree. He requested VR help him secure a job and provide dental restoration and mental health services prior to starting a job. VR agreed to approve restorative services with the condition he enter and complete on the job training (O.J.T.) with the law firm interested in hiring him. Mr. Smith was unable to complete the O.J.T. due to chronic fatigue and dental pain. Both of these issues were identified as barriers to employment by the OJT/law firm. VR did not provide the restorative services. CAP assisted Mr. Smith file an appeal and represented him during the administrative review which resulted in Mr. Smith being approved again for restorative services with the same condition he enter another O.J.T.

Mr. Smith declined VR’s offer to receive restorative services with the condition he complete an O.J.T. CAP agreed to investigate the policy/procedures regarding restorative services. Additionally, CAP received input from NDRN’s CAP attorney who concluded VR cannot require Mr. Smith enter an O.J.T. to receive restorative services. According to the definition of CFR 361.5 (b)(40)), “the goal of restorative services is to eliminate impediments to employment.” The needed dental and mental health services are impediments to employment. There are no “conditions” required to receive restorative services other than the dental services be seen as an “impediment to employment”.

CAP is optimistic Mr. Smith has a good case and will represent him at a fair hearing scheduled for early January 2012. In the meantime, Mr. Smith is seeking alternate medical services to address his chronic dental pain and is seeking free mental health services.

Case 2-

Mr. Jones has a long history with VR. Due to mental health issues, securing employment is a challenge for Mr. Jones. In an effort to evaluate Mr. Jones, VR placed him in an extended evaluation. Mr. Jones’ biggest challenge is finding a job that has a flexible work schedule and an employer who is willing to allow him to flex his work schedule when his mental illness intensifies. VR recommended that Mr. Jones participate in an extended evaluation program for one year, which Mr. Jones agreed to. However during that year, Mr. Jones received no contact from VR and no feedback on his progress. He called CAP for advocacy assistance.

CAP reviewed Mr. Jones’s case file which revealed that there was no documentation of contact with Mr. Jones, thereby putting VR in violation of the Rehab Act Section 361.42 (f) which states that during the extended evaluation period, VR must develop an Individualized plan for employment (IPE) for providing services. Mr. Jones did not have a written IPE outlining the benchmarks, guidance and counseling services needed for him to achieve his employment goals. CAP requested an IPE be developed and implemented. VR acknowledged its failure in not following policy and immediately developed the I.P.E.

Mr. Jones has now completed his extended evaluation and is now in competitive employment and doing well. His case remains open with VR for post employment evaluation.

k. On-line information/outreach:

The AC/CAP has a dynamic website that provides clients information on CAP, employment publications including CAP flyer, Knowing the Road and On Your Own Behalf booklets. Advocacy Center also hosts the Work Pays website that provides additional employment-related information to job seekers and the community. AC/CAP promotes social networking sites Disaboom and Facebook and shares CAP success stories with AC staff. In FY ’11 AC’s website had 42,641 website hits.

5. End of form:

Transmittal: The RSA-227 reports should be sent within 90 days of the end of the fiscal year covered. Please submit report to RSA using one of the methods set forth below.

A. Electronic Mail addresses via INTERNET--

Specific instructions for key entry/on-line editing of data directly into the RSA MIS can be obtained by contacting RSA, or by going to the following URL for information and the forms needed to access the RSA MIS: http://rsamis.ed.gov/choose.cfm.

The RSA E-mail address for the RSA-227 is: Jim.Doyle@ed.gov.

For information about completion of the RSA-227, please use the same Internet E-mail address.

B. US Mail and Facsimile--

The RSA fax is (202) 245-7592; and the US postal address is: U.S. Department of Education ATTN: Jim Doyle Rehabilitation Services Administration 550 12th St, SW, PCP Room 5096 Washington, D.C. 20202-2800

Signature and title of CAP program director: The director of the CAP agency should sign the form to certify that it is complete and correct.

Date: Enter the month, day and year in which the form is sent to RSA.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:22-Dec-11
Name of Designated Agency Official:Lois V. Simpson
Title of Designated Agency Official:Executive Director