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

Alaska (DISABILITY LAW CENTER OF ALASKA) - H161A130061 - FY2013

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameAlaska State Department of Education
Address801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
Address Line 2
CityJuneau
StateAlaska
Zip Code99801-1894
E-mail Address
Website Address
Phone907-465-2875
TTY
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY
Fax907-465-3452

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Law Center of Alaska
Address3330 Arctic Blvd. 103
Address Line 2
CityAnchorage
Zip Code99503
E-mail Addressdfleurant@dlcak.org
Website Addresshttp://www.dlcak.org
Phone907-565-1002
TTY907-565-1002
Toll-free Phone800-478-1234
Toll-free TTY800-478-1234
Fax907-565-1000

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorDavid C. Fleurant
Person to contact regarding reportDave Berube
Contact Person Phone907-565-1002

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act16
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA16
3. Other information provided0
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)32
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)88

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)10
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year13
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)23
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. 10

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 favor4
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)3
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual3
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)3
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution2
7. Appeals were unsuccessful0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP0
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)

n/a - none of the reasons for closing were "other"

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual7
2. Application for services completed.0
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented2
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party3
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office2
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made0
10. Other1
11. Other (please explain)

Client withdrew request for advocacy before any results could be achieved.

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

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

1. 21 and under0
2. 22 - 408
3. 41 - 6415
4. 65 and over0
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)23

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female8
2. Male15
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)23

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race1
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American2
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White14
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)2
2. Other visual impairments0
3. Deafness3
4. Hard of hearing1
5. Deaf-blind2
6. Orthopedic impairments4
7. Absense of extremities2
8. Mental illness5
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation1
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)0
12. Neurological disorders0
13. Respiratory disorders0
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions0
15. Digestive disorders0
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)2
20. All other disabilities1
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)23

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program12
2. Clients of VR Program12
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 only21
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only0
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources2
4. Employer0

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor5
3. Conflict about services to be provided7
4. Related to application/eligibility process8
5. Related to IPE development/implementation3
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems2
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/referral0
2. Advisory/interpretational15
3. Negotiation0
4. Administrative/informal review0
5. Alternative dispute resolution0
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

DISABILITY LAW CENTER OF ALASKA CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FY13 FINAL REPORT

Fiscal Year 2013 was the second year that the Alaska Client Assistance Program was operated by the Disability Law Center of Alaska, the Protection & Advocacy agency (P&A). This section of the final report will summarize the program operations for the year, following the outline format suggested in the instructions for Form RSA-227.

A. Type of agency used to administer CAP: In Alaska, the type of agency used to administer the CAP would be classified as External — Protection & Advocacy (P&A). The Department of Education and Early Development is the designated agency to administer the CAP. They have entered into this contract with the Disability Law Center of Alaska, Inc. (P&A) as the operating agency. The Disability Law Center assumed responsibility for the Alaska CAP.

B. Source of funds expended: In Alaska, the CAP’s expenditures are funded solely by Federal funds.

Source of Funding Total Expenditures Spent on Individuals Federal Funds $88,158.47 State Funds $0.00 All Other Funds $0.00 Total From All Sources $88,158.47

C. Budget for current and following fiscal years:

Category Current Fiscal Year Next Fiscal Year Salaries $40,529.00 $46,747.00 Fringe Benefits $20,508.00 $20,663.00 Materials/Supplies $1,790.00 $2,133.00 Postage $247.00 $274.00 Telephone $1,482.00 $1,204.00 Rent $7,023.00 $7,714.00 Travel $1,729.00 $1,806.00 Copying $1,235.00 $1,368.00 Bonding/Insurance $544.00 $600.00 Equipment Rental/Purchase $0.00 $0.00 Legal Services $300.00 $150.00 Indirect Costs $19,879.00 $23,192.00 Miscellaneous $3,496.00 $5,191.00 Total Budget $98,762.00 $111,042.00

D. The number of person-years:

Type of position Full-time equivalent % of year position filled Person-years Professional Full-time 0.64 100% 0.84 Part-time Vacant 0.20 0% 0.20 Clerical Full-time Part-time Vacant

The Alaska CAP utilizes a number of attorney and non-attorney advocates in three offices in the state to achieve statewide coverage. The P&A’s staffing arrangement provides for 0.84 full-time equivalent employees, with 6 employees in Anchorage (.71 FTE), 1 employee in Fairbanks (.10 FTE), and 1 employee in Juneau (.03 FTE). The advocates in Juneau and Fairbanks respond to I&R requests, provide individual advocacy assistance, and conduct outreach in their communities. In the Anchorage office, an Intake Specialist takes the initial call, obtains information and/or paperwork, and passes the matter on to the CAP advocates for assessment. One of the CAP Advocates (.20 FTE) resigned just before the beginning of the federal fiscal year and the position was left vacant due to funding uncertainties caused by sequestration. Individuals seeking CAP services can do so by contacting any of the three offices or submit an email request. The Anchorage office also maintains a statewide toll-free 800 number for individuals outside of these three hub communities.

E. Summary of presentations made: A CAP staff continues to be a board member with the Alaska Brian Injury Network (ABIN) and continues to provide information to other board members and guests attending ABIN board meetings.

A presentation about the P&A CAP and other P&A programs and services was made by CAP advocates at the Full Lives Conferences in Bethel in September 2013. The conference as a whole in Bethel was attended by 80 people which were a very good turnout. Bethel is a city located near the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, 400 miles (640 km) west of Anchorage. Accessible only by air and river, Bethel is the main port on the Kuskokwim River and is an administrative and transportation hub for the 56 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. People coming into Bethel for this conference made an investment in time and commitment to learn and network. People attending the conference were parents, consumers, social workers, mental health providers and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR).

A CAP staff that had provided most of the outreach and presentations throughout the State was able to introduce the CAP program while providing training known as SSI/SSDI Outreach, Assess, and Recovery (SOAR). This SOAR training was provided in Fairbanks twice, once in October 2012 and again in May 2013. SOAR training was provided in Anchorage and Juneau in June 2013, where attendee’s at all four trainings were case managers and social service providers who, not only work with the homeless, but have case loads of clients who want to work and/or will be involved in the DVR or TVR programs. At each location the CAP staff distributed CAP brochures to each attendee.

In July 2013 the advocate was asked by the Stone Soup group (SSG) to provided information on the CAP program. The attendees were staff from the agency where they assist individuals and their families on transition services from special education to life after school. They have several individuals that are ready to work or will be graduating school next year and they are looking at what resources DLC has that could assist their consumers. SSG is a statewide nonprofit organization created in 1992 by parents of children and youth with disabilities, healthcare providers, and social workers who shared a common vision for interconnected, collaborative, family-driven assistance for other families of children and youth with special needs.

At the end of August the advocate and staff attorney were invited to South Central Foundation to provide a presentation on the CAP project and how this project could assist their consumers who are ready for or already working. Information from our tri-fold brochure was provided as well as a power point presentation. Attendees were social workers, program mangers and intake staff.

F. Involvement with advisory boards: One CAP advocate is a member of the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee (SVRC). This is the identified body for the state of Alaska that carries out the responsibilities of both the State Rehabilitation Council and the Assistive Technology Advisory Council. As a member of this Committee, the CAP advocate serves as the Chair of the Evaluation Sub-Committee and is also on the Executive Committee. The P&A Legal Director, who is partially funded by the CAP, serves as an ex-officio board member with the Alaska Brain Injury network (ABIN). Another CAP advocate serves as an ex-officio board member on the State Independent Living Council and as a voting board member of the Mental Health Consumer Web, Anchorage’s mental health drop in center. The DLC Executive Director is a voting board member on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities & Special Education. The Disability Law Center of Alaska also works with the Mental Health Trust Authority on various issues that impact people with disabilities in the state of Alaska, such as housing, employment, disability justice, etc. The P&A also has a staff member on the board of the Anchorage Police Citizen Academy Alumni Association. The APCAAA is a non-profit voluntary organization of interested Academy graduates who join to promote and improve community relations, provide continuing education, increase community involvement, and assist and support the Anchorage Police Department.

The P&A Intake Specialist is the Vice President of the Roosevelt Apartment Board which she has served on the board for approximately 3 years. The board monitored the process of getting the HUD Grant money to get the Roosevelt Apartment building built. It is now built and in its second year of operation. This board meets quarterly to follow up on the process of HUD completion and the financial over site of the building and its running. The apartment complex is for people with disabilities.

A new staff advocate as of July 2013 is a community member on both the Education and Early Intervention Committees for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education.

Several goals that the Education committee is working on consist of; promoting state and/or federal regulations regarding restraint and seclusion in schools, advocating for improved IEP transition services in rural areas, etc.

Goals for the Early Intervention Committee include; support the efforts to increase the recruitment and retention of highly qualified early childhood workforce, advocate for changes to expand the Infant Learning Program eligibility from 50-percent to 25-percent delay, and advise the State in policy and procedural change regarding early intervention services for young children that are deaf or hard of hearing.

G. Outreach to unserved/underserved populations: The CAP has sought to provide outreach to underserved and unserved individuals through the distribution of CAP brochures to the Native Health Clinics in most western Alaskan villages, the 12 Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, the 6 State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, and Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER).

Outreach also consisted of staffing the Alaska Brain Injury Network (ABIN) booth in October 2012 at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference held in Anchorage. The booth was very well attended and a lot of publications were taken regarding CAP information, the P&A and material about ABIN. People from all over Alaska attended the conference and came to the booth seeking information.

In May 2013 a DLC advocate staffed a booth on JBER at the Exceptional Families Resource Fair. The attendees came from the wounded warrior program and had been awarded Social Security benefits. They would come up to our booth and talked about working while on Social Security benefits and/or the need for further education/vocational services. A few of the warriors expressed their distrust and frustration with their own Veterans Affair vocational services and wanted to know more about the state DVR system. Two parents had children who were on Supplemental Security Income and wanted to know about transition services regarding school to work and other resources in the community. The advocate was out at JBER again in August at the same event staffing a booth and having vets collect publications and information. Each time CAP information was provided to individuals.

The CAP also works with the Mental Health Trust Authority on various issues that impact people with disabilities in the state of Alaska, such as housing, employment, disability justice, etc.

Relevant to outreach to veterans with disabilities, the Alaska P&A participated in an event geared specifically toward providing services and information to homeless veterans in Anchorage known as Stand Down. At this event, which staff from the P&A attends each year, we provided information and referral regarding disability-related questions.

The CAP for FY 13 has distributed 3,000 CAP tri-fold brochures. H. Alternative Dispute Resolutions: The Alaska State DVR’s policy on appeals offers individuals an opportunity to request a less formal Administrative Review prior to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or a Fair Hearing. The Administrative Review is conducted by someone at the administrative level that has not had any contact with the individual’s case up to that point and is to be completed within 15 days of the request.

There have been no cases that have gone to the Alternative Dispute Resolution or Fair Hearing during this reporting period with this CAP. All individuals were informed of their right to request ADR or a Fair Hearing prior to engaging in the less formal process.

I. Systemic Advocacy: During the course of delivering CAP services, the P&A identified two issues that, in our judgment, represent system-wide barriers to the receipt of services from DVR. At this time, there are no identified systemic advocacy issues related to the services provided by Tribal VR or the Independent Living Centers. Each DVR issue is discussed below.

• IPE’s need to be completed in a timely manner. DVR continues to have a hard time completing IPE’s within the 180 day time line. DVR is still working on having IPE’s complete with a goal of have 95% of IPE’s developed within 180 days.

• VR counselors informing Social Security beneficiaries they should not work. The P&A has received several calls from beneficiaries who are applicants of DVR saying that the counselor at orientation would tell them or alluded to them that they really need to think of what they could be losing if they work. One counselor mentioned to a beneficiary that she would lose her medical coverage and so would her kids since she is on SSDI and she would not be able to match the benefits she would lose and it was difficult to get back on benefits. There are several counselors from the complaints the P&A has received that seem to be playing arm chair Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWICs).

This issue has been brought up to the Chief of Services of DVR and the solution is to have the CAP team from the P&A provide training that explains the correct information and to make sure counselors reframe from such advice and have a CWIC perform the benefits analysis after application and eligibility have been established.

J. Interesting Cases One person wanted DVR in Alaska to help pay for his schooling and living expenses in Washington state at the Bates Tech college for his 3 year degree in TV/media production. He could not obtain the courses in the tech area at University of Anchorage Alaska (UAA) and his PELL grant could not continue since his family income became too high. He has autism and lives with his mom and has most of his basic course work been done through UAA. In January of 2013 he enrolled and was accepted at Bates for the fall semester. His mom decided to quit her job in Alaska and to support him in Washington by providing shelter and food so he can go to school full time. His IPE with the Alaska DVR office had only been to provide tutoring services since his books and tuition was provided by the PELL grant, and his case was closed in August 2011 since he had been working for more than 90 days.

In May 2013 he and his mom found out that his PELL would stop and they had already decided to move to Washington when they called the Alaska DVR to have them continue paying for his tuition where the PELL grant left off. When DVR found out they were moving out of state they directed the individual to file an application with the Washington DVR. He did not want to do that since he said he was moving back up to Alaska after his 3 year course work was done. He appealed to the Chief of Services who upheld the DVR counselor and Regional Manager’s decision. He then came to CAP at the end of August with his complaint. By this time, he was in Washington attending school and wanted answer from CAP very quickly. After obtaining a release of information, reviewing his file and email correspondence the information was presented to the CAP team. The team decided that he needed to apply with the DVR office in Washington State.

The second case was with an individual who wanted to switch counselors at one of the Anchorage offices. He lives in Juneau and cannot participate in the DVR Juneau office because his wife works for the DVR office in Juneau. He felt the counselor had not been doing enough to help him get a job.

He contacted the CAP in the spring of 2013 and he said he had volunteered 100 hours in office work and research as part of getting ready for paid work to show DVR he can work. However the counselor was not supportive and said to him that he is not medically fit to work. He had previously worked as a Systems Operations manager for the city and borough of Juneau. He suffered a stroke that has affected his left side and his vision on the same side and had been out of the workforce since 2007. DVR had set him up with two trail work experiences that failed and decided that he was not medically stable and were closing his case. He wants some type of part time job where he could make $35 an hour for 10 hours a week. He was also working with the VA vocational rehabilitation and not much was progressing there as well.

CAP reviewed his case and decided that he could work and that self-employment may be better for him if that is what he wanted. He had a background in working with radios since he did repair of radios in the military and he is a HAM operator. He also has started a hobby of consulting people on their gardens, locations to put the beds, what seeds work in the Juneau area, etc. By the end of spring the CAP left several phone messages with the individual however he never returned the phone calls. Contact was reestablished in August 2013.

CAP at the time offered to help him with a self-employment plan with DVR however by this time the individual had obtained his Social Security Disability Insurance which has taken some stress away from him. He agreed that self-employment is better for him and he has decided to go into the direction of being a consultant in gardening. In an email he sent the CAP advocate he states

“Working, even if just for myself and a limited clientele certainly improves my outlook on life and desire to live it to the fullest measure I can comfortably handle. Come Spring 2014 I may look at what can Vocational Rehabilitation help me do for myself to improve my quality of life. I hope you are still available and can assist me in seeking VR services at that time”.

So at this point his case is closed and will see if he needs assistance spring of next year.

K. On-line information/outreach: The Disability Law Center of Alaska has a website at www,dlcak.org. Once there, any person can open the page to the CAP program where contact information is present and who is eligible for CAP assistance and the services under CAP. There is also an email contact akpa@dlcak.org for individuals who prefer to email the CAP. This past year there were 68,841 visits to the website.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:16-Dec-13
Name of Designated Agency Official:Karen Tessandore
Title of Designated Agency Official:Development Coordinator