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

Massachusetts (MASSACHUSETTS OFFICE OF DISABILITIES -- CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM) - H161A130022 - FY2013

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameMassachusetts Office on Disability
AddressOne Ashburton Place 1305
Address Line 2
CityBoston
StateMassachusetts
Zip Code02108
E-mail Addressnaomi.goldberg@state.ma.us
Website Addresshttp://www.mass.gov/mod
Phone617-727-7440
TTY 617-727-7440
Toll-free Phone800-322-2020
Toll-free TTY800-322-2020
Fax617-727-0965

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameMassachusetts Office on Disability
AddressOne Ashburton Place 1305
Address Line 2
CityBoston
Zip Code02108
E-mail Addressnaomi.goldberg@state.ma.us
Website Addresshttp://www.mass.gov/mod
Phone617-727-7440
TTY617-727-7440
Toll-free Phone800-322-2020
Toll-free TTY800-322-2020
Fax617-727-0965

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorNaomi Goldberg
Person to contact regarding reportNaomi Goldberg
Contact Person Phone617-727-7440

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act2,481
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA678
3. Other information provided2,523
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)5,682
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)3,972

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)13
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year102
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)115
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.)8

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 11

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 favor91
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 individual9
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)0
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution10
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

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual68
2. Application for services completed.0
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented3
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party12
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office6
8. Alternative resources identified for individual24
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 under16
2. 22 - 4032
3. 41 - 6466
4. 65 and over1
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)115

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female67
2. Male48
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)115

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race5
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native1
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American31
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White76
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)6
2. Other visual impairments1
3. Deafness2
4. Hard of hearing3
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments10
7. Absense of extremities1
8. Mental illness32
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)2
10. Mental retardation2
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)23
12. Neurological disorders8
13. Respiratory disorders0
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions1
15. Digestive disorders0
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)10
20. All other disabilities10
21. Disabilities not known4
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)115

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program14
2. Clients of VR Program101
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 only115
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only0
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources0
4. Employer0

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information17
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor83
3. Conflict about services to be provided77
4. Related to application/eligibility process28
5. Related to IPE development/implementation34
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems2
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related5
8. Related to Title I of the ADA2

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral0
2. Advisory/interpretational63
3. Negotiation47
4. Administrative/informal review5
5. Alternative dispute resolution0
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

Part III. Narrative

a. Type of Agency Used to Administer CAP:

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) administers the Massachusetts Client Assistance Program (CAP). MOD, as an independent state agency statutorily accountable only to the Governor of the Commonwealth, is an external public agency for RSA purposes. The Governor designated MOD to administer the CAP at the program’s inception in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 1985 and has retained that designation in each subsequent year. MOD is also separate from and external to the state vocational rehabilitation grantees and all other Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) grantees within the Commonwealth as well as the Commonwealth’s Protection and Advocacy Systems grantees.

b. Sources of funds expended:

Source of funding Total Expenditures spent on individuals
Federal funds223,460
State funds6,371
All other funds0
Total from all sources229,831

c. Budget for current and following fiscal years:

Category Current Fiscal Year 2013 Next Fiscal Year 2014
Wages & Salary146,752149,500
Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.)40,02041,382
Materials/Supplies1,1161,200
Postage1,5961,804
Telephone1,0011,057
Rent00
Travel1,3341,625
Copying390650
Bonding/Insurance00
Equipment Rental/Purchase9341,192
Legal Services00
Indirect Costs36,68838,990
Miscellaneous00
Total Budget229,831237,850

d. Number of person-years

Type of Position Full-time equivalent % of year position filled Person-year
Professional
Full-time21002
Part-time11001
Vacant
Clerical
Full-time
Part-time
Vacant

e. Summarize Presentations Made:

Client Assistance Program (CAP) informational brochures are distributed by the VR agencies and the Independent Living Centers in Massachusetts to all new applicants for services. Mass Office on Disability (MOD)/CAP staff presents information about CAP and other rehabilitation programs and projects at all community meetings they attend and all trainings at which they present. In FFY13 there were 173 such meetings with approximately 4,000 attendees that were either eligible for RSA services or associated with individuals that are eligible. Staff conducted 137 trainings across the state with 3900 individuals attending. Sixteen of the trainings were specifically focused on Title I of the ADA. CAP presented at the annual consumer conference for VR clients. The subject matter of the presentation included both CAP/VR and Title I. CAP performs outreach about its services and other rehabilitation programs and projects on an ongoing basis.

CAP cast a wide net in its outreach efforts, contacting state VR agencies, independent living centers, multi-cultural organizations, institutes of higher education, and various disability specific non-profit organizations to provide information on CAP services and to offer in-service presentations on CAP and how it assists clients/consumers that receive vocational rehabilitation/independent living services.

CAP’s plan for FFY13 was to perform targeted outreach students in transition and individuals with developmental disabilities. While CAP made contact with a large number of educational institutions and self-advocacy organizations as part of this effort, it was not able to conduct as many presentations to these populations as planned due to a CAP staff member’s unexpected retirement. This individual was replaced at the end of the fiscal year and CAP is committed to increasing its outreach efforts to these populations in FFY14.

Despite staffing challenges CAP did continue to follow its outreach plan from the previous year targeting institutions within the state’s public higher education system. CAP conducted information sessions on CAP and VR at two state universities. At one institution they provided separate presentations to students and members of the administration. In the other instance they presented to a 300 member audience made up of both students and the administration. During FFY13 CAP performed presentations at nine vocational rehabilitation offices, one independent living center, one consumer working group sponsored by VR, and began its outreach to youth in transition by conducting a presentation to students in transition attending a public high school.

f. Involvement with Advisory Boards:

CAP staff continues to be represented on both vocational rehabilitation agencies’ consumer councils and the Statewide Independent Living Council. CAP serves as a member of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s Regulations Subcommittee and a member of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind’s Education and Employment Subcommittee. MOD/CAP has been a major contributor to the Massachusetts Model Employer program, an initiative aimed at improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities inside state government. This initiative was used by the National Governor’s Association in developing its Better Bottom Line initiative for employing people with disabilities. MOD/CAP also works with the Employment Now Coalition, a cross-disability organization seeking to increase competitive employment of people with disabilities in Massachusetts. MOD/CAP plays a major role in ensuring that state government is compliant with Title I of the ADA. As a member Human Resource Division’s (HRD) Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Department of Revenue’s Accessibility Task force, MOD/CAP has made sure that information technology systems used by state employees are accessible to employees with disabilities. MOD/CAP also administers the Reasonable Accommodation Capital Reserve Account (RACRA) which provides funding to executive branch agencies to provide reasonable accommodations to employees.

g. Outreach to Unserved/Underserved Populations:

MOD/CAP has regular working relationships with, makes presentations to, and receives referrals from agencies throughout the state that work with various underserved populations. CAP has worked closely with the Commonwealth’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity as well as the Governor’s Diversity Council which specifically seeks to improve employment opportunities for underserved populations.

In FFY13 CAP did a presentation for students and staff at a community college that serves a multi-cultural student population and a presentation at an independent living center that serves a multi-cultural consumer population. Following up on outreach plans from FFY12, CAP contacted organizations that identify as multi-cultural and offered information on CAP and requested the opportunity to provide in-service presentations to them.

h. Alternative Dispute Resolution:

It is MOD’s policy to encourage alternative dispute resolution in all possible situations. CAP consumers are routinely alerted to the possibility of various alternative dispute resolution methods. In FY2013 no cases were mediated. Even with the availability of mediation, negotiations are still the most often successful means of alternative dispute resolution for the consumer at all levels of CAP advocacy. Negotiation resulted in settlement in all but a handful of our cases prior to more formal appeals. Sharing a belief that VR dollars are better spent on services than on process CAP staff make every effort to resolve disputes informally therefore avoiding the more costly means of resolving disputes (mediation, informal/formal hearing).

i. Systemic Advocacy:

CAP monitors its cases on an ongoing basis to identify patterns that reveal systemic problems within the vocational rehabilitation system and the independent living program in Massachusetts. In FFY2013 CAP did not identify any specific systemic problems that impacted clients/consumers of the vocational rehabilitation agencies or the independent living centers. .

j. Interesting cases

A student/VR client with learning disabilities and receiving SSI sought a tuition waiver to attend a private college out of state that specialized in teaching individuals with her particular limitations. The VR agency would only agree to pay a small portion of her tuition and referenced that she had only requested funding for that amount. The student alleged that the VR agency initially instructed her to write down that specific figure without telling her the reason and that they were now claiming that they could only fund that amount because it was the amount that she requested. The VR agency was only agreeing to pay a small amount towards her tuition but the student maintained that she needed funding for room and board because it was not possible for her to commute out of state. CAP became involved and negotiated with multiple individuals within the VR agency including the VR counselor, the unit supervisor, and the area director before finally resolving the issue. Ultimately the VR agency agreed to amend the IPE and funded a larger portion of the tuition, contributed substantially to the student’s room and board, and assigned her a new counselor. .

A community college student/VR client on SSI contacted CAP because the VR agency was not providing funding consistent with his IPE. As a result, he had to pay for books and transportation out of pocket and was in danger of having to drop out of school. When CAP approached the counselor they maintained that the student was getting the same funding as their other clients and suggested that their transportation subsidy through the regional transit authority should be enough to sustain them. CAP subsequently compiled evidence of the student’s expenditures and his resources and presented it to the counselor and management. Ultimately the VR agency agreed to provide funding for all of the client’s books and for a transportation pass. Consequently he was able to remain in school.

A student/VR client with dyslexia was attending college and having academic difficulty. He and the school were aware that he needed academic accommodations but the last neuropsychological exam that he had was when he was in elementary school and it did not indicate what accommodations he needed. Consequently the disability office at the school could not authorize accommodations and recommended that the student/client obtain a neuropsychological evaluation. Since the student’s/client’s insurance would not cover the cost of the evaluation and he could not afford it he requested that the VR agency fund it. CAP became involved because the VR agency initially refused maintaining that they only fund such testing for eligibility determinations or vocational evaluations. Further they maintained that in those instances they would only authorize it if they could not otherwise get the information from psychological or other medical reports. They further stated that in this instance their psychologist maintained that it was not necessary for this individual to have one. CAP maintained that the evaluation was necessary for the student/client to achieve his vocational goal. In negotiations with the counselor and management over time they pointed out that the client was on academic probation, that he could not improve his standing without accommodations, that the school was recommending the evaluation so that they could provide appropriate accommodations, and that having accommodation would allow him to succeed in school. The VR agency ultimately agreed to fund the evaluation and the client proceeded to obtain accommodations from the college.

A client who lives in a rural area was in the process of drafting his IPE when he received notification that his case was closing for failing to participate in the vocational rehabilitation process. More specifically he had missed appointments and therapy sessions which he previously agreed to attend as part of his plan. The client had lost his vehicle for financial reasons, did not live in an area where public transportation was available, and had only missed appointments in instances in which he could not obtain a ride. CAP was unsuccessful in its effort to get the agency to meet with him in the community and did not agree with their alternative suggestion to put the case on hold until the client could obtain his own transportation again. Ultimately, alternative transportation resources were identified. The client was eligible for Medicaid funded transportation for therapy appointments and another transportation service within the Secretariat in which the VR agency is situated was made available to the client through an agreement with that agency. It was determined that going forward this transportation resource could be similarly used by other VR clients in the area with the same transportation difficulties. The client’s case remained opened and he was able to continue with the vocational rehabilitation process.

K. On-Line Information/Outreach

MOD has a website at http://www.state.ma.us/mod. It includes information about disability- related legal rights and services available in Massachusetts. The Client Assistance Program has

a page within that site at http://www.state.ma.us/mod/ClientAssistance.html. The MassachusettsClient Assistance Program page contains information about services available from CAP and

explains how to request those services. Visitors to the website have access to a general mailbox and are invited to ask questions. The questions are promptly answered by CAP advocates and other staff that operate the agency’s information hotline. In FFY 2013 the website received 215,000.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:27-Dec-13
Name of Designated Agency Official:Naomi Goldberg
Title of Designated Agency Official:CAP Director