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

District of Columbia (UNIVERSITY LEGAL SERVICES, INC.) - H161A130062 - FY2013

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameUniversity Legal Services, Inc.
Address220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
Address Line 2
CityWashington
StateDistrict of Columbia
Zip Code20002
E-mail Addressjcooney@uls-dc.org
Website Addresshttp://www.uls.dc.org
Phone202 547-4747
TTY 202-547-2657
Toll-free Phone877-221-4638
Toll-free TTY
Fax202-547-2662

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameUniversity Legal Services, Inc.
Address220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
Address Line 2
CityWashington
Zip Code20002
E-mail Addressjcooney@uls-dc.org
Website Addresshttp://www.uls.dc.org
Phone202 547-4747
TTY202-547-2657
Toll-free Phone877-221-4638
Toll-free TTY
Fax202-547-2662

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJoseph R. Cooney
Person to contact regarding reportJoseph R. Cooney
Contact Person Phone202 547-0198

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act24
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA1
3. Other information provided10
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)35
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)8
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year33
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)41
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. 2

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 favor24
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)5
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual2
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)2
5. Individual chose alternative representation1
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution4
7. Appeals were unsuccessful1
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)

Nonw - Not applicable

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual10
2. Application for services completed.2
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation1
5. IPE developed/implemented20
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party2
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual2
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 under8
2. 22 - 4011
3. 41 - 6419
4. 65 and over3
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)41

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female16
2. Male25
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)41

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American29
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White8
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)6
2. Other visual impairments0
3. Deafness0
4. Hard of hearing0
5. Deaf-blind1
6. Orthopedic impairments4
7. Absense of extremities2
8. Mental illness6
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)3
10. Mental retardation1
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)13
12. Neurological disorders0
13. Respiratory disorders0
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions1
15. Digestive disorders0
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments1
18. AIDS/HIV positive2
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)1
20. All other disabilities0
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)41

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program9
2. Clients of VR Program30
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program0
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act2

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only31
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only3
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources5
4. Employer2

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information1
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor12
3. Conflict about services to be provided24
4. Related to application/eligibility process5
5. Related to IPE development/implementation11
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related1
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. Negotiation19
4. Administrative/informal review2
5. Alternative dispute resolution0
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing3
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

NARRATIVE 227 FOR FY13

SUMMARY

The principal focus of the Client Assistance Program - University Legal Services ("CAP-ULS") in FY 2013 has been to (1) assist the VR Agency meet its obligation to maintain a working State Rehabilitation Council ("SRC"); (2) promote the development of client friendly rules and policies for the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services in D.C.; (2) represent individual clients denied the reasonable and prompt delivery of services; and (3) maintain and advocate for outreach efforts to individuals and communities related to vocational rehabilitation and independent living services.

a. Type of Agency:

University Legal Services, Inc. ("ULS”) is a nonprofit organization which administers the Client Assistance Program in the District of Columbia pursuant to the designation by Mayor Vincent C. Gray on February 1, 2011. The target population covers individuals present in the District of Columbia who have varying degrees of physical and/or mental disabilities who are applicants or clients of the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration (“DCRSA" or “Agency”). This group includes, but is not limited to, the blind, deaf, mobility impaired, persons who are mentally challenged, persons with developmental disabilities, and persons who have a history of mental illness, or multiple disabilities.

b. Sources of funds expended:

Source of Funding Total expenditures spent on individual Federal funds 117,709.00 State 0 All other funds 0 Total (from all sources) - 117,709.00

c. Budget for current and following fiscal years: Category Current Fiscal Year Next Fiscal Year Wages/salaries 68761.62 77040 Fringe benefits 20628.49 23112 Materials/supplies 4768.32 3955 Postage/Other Direct 5356.46 3595 Telephone/Communications 1100.15 1791 Rent/occupancy 14223.83 13117 Travel 767.27 375 Copying 0.00 0 Bonding/insurance 0.00 0 Equipment(rental/purchase) 0.00 515 Legal services/Client Cost 0.00 62 Indirect costs 253.85 770 Miscellaneous/Consultant 1849.01 356 Total Budget 117709.00 124688

d. Number of person years

Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-year Professional Full-time Part-time 1 100% 1 Vacant Clerical Full-time Part-time 0 100% 0 Vacant

e. Presentations:

1. Oversight Hearing by City Council on DCRSA CAP testified at the oversight hearing conducted on March 7, 2013 by the D.C. City Council regarding the DC Rehabilitation Services Administration. The testimony stated the need of DCRSA to acknowledge and remedy the defective policies and regulations that it inherited from previous administrations. That legacy fostered a mindset that produced inconsistent and arbitrary procedures. CAP testified that because the Agency failed to timely authorize a state-wide comprehensive needs assessment, the necessary data to prepare a State Plan was lacking. Finally, CAP testified that while improvements had been made in the delivery of transition services, other service areas such as independent living services, supported employment services, self-employment services, and assistive technology had not been so fortunate.

2. Public hearing on State Plan

On June 18, 2013, CAP testified at the public hearing that the State Plan for FY2014 was promising in that it acknowledged Agency mistakes of the past. The Agency State Plan seems to accept the State Rehabilitation Council as a source of community wisdom that can help guide the administration of the program. It stated it is striving to fill all vocational rehabilitation counselor positions. The plan sets out a project to review and revise the Agency’s regulations. The Agency promised to adopt a written application form and make it available on its website; and that it will develop a comprehensive outreach plan to inform and connect individuals with low literacy skill or LEP with opportunities to acquire basic literacy skills. Steps to fulfill these plans have been halting. Written application forms are still not widely available at the date of end of the fiscal year.

3. Testimony before the City Council Oversight Committee

CAP testified before the City Council and explained that the administrative hearing system was essential to the effective delivery of vocational rehabilitation services in the District by DCRSA

f. Involvement with the SRC and SILC

1. State Rehabilitation Council: The CAP Director attended all the SRC board meetings and most of the committee meetings during the year. There was no quorum at the fall 2013 quarterly meeting.

2. State Independent Living Council: The SILC continued to have difficulties meeting a quorum.

g. Outreach to unserved and underserved populations

1. CAP organized a public forum in October 2012 to hear from clients regarding their experiences when receiving post-secondary educational and vocational services from DCRSA. The forum sought the clients’ views on what has, and what has not been working. Witnesses testified specifically on the negative impact that the DCRSA’s regulations were having on transition services and transportation services. With more than 50 persons in attendance, the testimony extended beyond the allotted three hours until after 6:00 P.M. The Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) which was utilized to facilitate communication accessibility during the forum. A written copy of the CART transcript was given to DCRSA.

2. CAP attended various meetings and conference to communicate the role of CAP. These included, among others, the Mayor’s 2012 Expo on Disability; the National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention; and meetings at the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

3. CAP’s role in the Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Only two bids were received from contractors to conduct the long overdue State-wide Comprehensive Needs Assessment. CAP assisted in the crash planning and implementation of Assessment in a brief period during the spring of 2013. CAP identified and recruited participants for three focus groups sessions that were held at the CAP office. Former applicants and clients and potential applicants for DCRSA vocational rehabilitation services shared information and expressed their opinions about the vocational rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities and how best to meet those needs.

h. Alternate dispute resolutions

1. The CAP policy routinely seeks to negotiate with counselors and supervisors prior to initiating a complaint. Furthermore, we were able to resolve several disputes after an informal process had begun and before other litigation steps had occurred.

2. Even after a fair hearing petition has been filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings, CAP routinely continues efforts to negotiate a resolution. Such efforts have been fruitful in previous years. It is also the CAP practice to continue the negotiations with Agency throughout the entire administrative appeal process.

i. Systemic Advocacy: A goal of CAP’s efforts over many years was reached in the spring of 2013 when a State-wide Comprehensive Needs Assessment was conducted by San Diego State University.

During February 2013, the United States Dept. of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration Division conducted a review of DCRSA. CAP participated in several meetings of the review and was able to communicate information from the clients perspective.

CAP’s comments on the FY2013 State Plan prompted the Agency to promise to adopt an application form as a means to speed-up the intake process and as a means to reach the unserved and underserved. Although the Agency announced in January 2013 that it was drafting a form, it did not implement it during FY2013. The Agency did include in the State Plan for FY2014 the adoption of an application form that would be made available on the Agency website. CAP has proposed the wide distribution of an application form as one of the most effective method and cost efficient means to reach the unserved and underserved.

The project of revising the Agency regulations and policy was begun in FY13. CAP advocates that the making the regulations more client friendly should be a guiding standard of the reviewing project. Review of the regulations post-secondary education services, self employment and cost participation are to have the highest priority. CAP advocated simplification and clarity be the guiding principles throughout the revision project.

3. The sustainability of the SRC throughout the year remained a problem. Substantial reasons for the drop-off of interest by the members of the SRC appear to be (a) the Agency’s failure to genuinely include the SRC in the decision-making process regarding the administration of DCRSA program and (b) the failure to provide the SRC with a staff of its own and control over its financial resources.

j. Interesting cases

1. A deaf-blind client seeking assistive devices from the Agency had to prosecute an appeal all the way to a formal fair hearing petition before the Agency took her requests seriously. Then through negotiation, the client received what was necessary and proper: Kursweil 1000 Version 13 software with scanner; RUBY Handheld Portable CCTV/Video Magnifier: VictorReader Stream; talking phone; device for identifying clothing; money identifier; check guide; talking caller ID; shaking bed alarm; and a door alarm.

2. In this case, the Agency and client disagreed on the need for the client to have single room in off-campus housing. Client, without contacting CAP, filed and participated in an informal meeting that resulted in an unfavorable decision. The client then contacted CAP. After studying the facts, CAP filed a due process petition seeking an IPE for the fall of 2013 academic year. Agency filed a motion for a summary adjudication motion. The ALJ denied the motion and set a date for an evidentiary hearing on the limited issue of off-campus. After both parties submitted lists of exhibits and witnesses, Agency consented to client’s request. Advising the court that it was drafting an IPE which granted all the client’s requests, the Agency sought dismissal of the petition. The ALJ refused to dismiss and informed the Agency it would do so after the IPE was signed and implemented.

3. In this case, although the client and her community services counselor had many meetings with the Agency counselor, no IPE was developed. The counselor of the community service provider became so frustrated that she sought help from CAP. CAP filed a petition for failure to untimely develop an IPE. Negotiations conducted prior to litigation, the Agency developed an IPE to provide supported employment services including a job coach, transportation expenses, ongoing assessments, and work clothing.

4. In this example, the development of a college junior’s IPE for the 2013 the Academic year stumbled into late fall over the issue of room and board at the college and the amount of tuition support. A formal petition was filed. After the client re-documented the client’s unique needs requiring on-campus room and board, the Agency conceded on the R&B but continued to deny the full tuition amount. The parties agreed to sign an IPE for all the issues other than the amount of tuition support. The remaining issue, having been fully briefed, was left to be decided by the ALJ.

k. On-line information/outreach

Information on CAP-ULS is published at www.uls-dc.org. - the website of University Legal Services, Inc. This site explains what the CAP program is and what CAP can do to help resolve problems for applicants and clients of the D.C. vocational rehabilitation agency. During FY2013, there were approximately 74,000 hits on the entire ULS website which includes CAP as a division along with the Protection and Advocacy Program.

l. Other written outreach

(a) CAP-ULS distributes a brochure in English and Spanish. The brochure is in flyer format and gives general information. Approximately, two hundred (250) brochures have been distributed.

(b) The revision of the CAP-ULS booklet, Vocational Rehabilitation and You, was postponed in light of the revision of policies and procedures in process during FY2014. The booklet will give detailed information on the vocational rehabilitation process used by DCRSA.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:13-Dec-13
Name of Designated Agency Official:Joseph R. Cooney
Title of Designated Agency Official:CAP Director