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

Georgia (GEORGIA CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CAP)) - H161A140060 - FY2014

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameMartin & Jones
Address123 N. McDonough St.
Address Line 2
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)

Name
Address
Address Line 2
City
Zip Code
E-mail Address
Website Address
Phone
TTY
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY
Fax

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorCharles L. Martin
Person to contact regarding reportCharles L. 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 Act1,422
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA3
3. Other information provided97
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)1,522
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)1,522

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)63
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year97
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)160
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.)5

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 57

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 favor57
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 individual3
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)3
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution15
7. Appeals were unsuccessful0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.2
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP1
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)

There is no "other" category as the web page is displayed to me, and we would have entered zero if there had been.

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual47
2. Application for services completed.4
3. Eligibility determination expedited2
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented23
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party10
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
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 under82
2. 22 - 4036
3. 41 - 6441
4. 65 and over1
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)160

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female92
2. Male68
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)160

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
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 Islander1
6. White85
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown6

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)17
2. Other visual impairments6
3. Deafness10
4. Hard of hearing3
5. Deaf-blind2
6. Orthopedic impairments10
7. Absense of extremities1
8. Mental illness21
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)1
10. Mental retardation1
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)31
12. Neurological disorders27
13. Respiratory disorders1
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions4
15. Digestive disorders2
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive2
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)0
20. All other disabilities1
21. Disabilities not known20
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)160

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program10
2. Clients of VR Program150
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program0
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act5

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only147
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only2
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources2
4. Employer0

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information31
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor39
3. Conflict about services to be provided123
4. Related to application/eligibility process3
5. Related to IPE development/implementation45
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems11
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related0
8. Related to Title I of the ADA5

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral23
2. Advisory/interpretational51
3. Negotiation12
4. Administrative/informal review0
5. Alternative dispute resolution1
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.

A brief history Georgia’s Vocational Rehabilitation program received an initial grant from RSA to provide for 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) required that states receiving a VR grant must have a CAP program in place. 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.

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 that they are to be 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 sources of, 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.

CAP sources of funding Source of funding Total expenditures spent on individuals Federal funds $320,332.83 State funds $00.00 All other funds $00.00 Total from all sources $320,332.83 Budget A. Personal services Salaries $165,299 Fringes 10,950 Other (payroll tax) 14,584 B. Supplies & Materials 7,431 C. Repairs & Maintenance 0 D. Insurance and Bonding 7,562 E. Postage 4,544 F. Telecommunications 8,189 G. Equipment 0 Purchase 0 Rental 0 H. Per Diem Fees & Contracts (Legal serv.) 40,000 I. Other Expense (Specify) Accounting 4,792 Dues & education 6,338 Misc 277 Rent 9,286 Travel 18,421 J. Administrative Cost & profit 18,087 Total $320,332

CAP staffing 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. 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.

Involvement with advisory boards • CAP staff has 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 when time permitted.

Outreach to unserved/under-served populations • CAP continues to make CAP brochures and information available to organizations representing minorities to make them aware of CAP and the services provided by VR.

Alternative dispute resolution No information this year.

Systemic advocacy • CAP met periodically with VR Policy staff to discuss systemic issues, and communicated informally throughout the year. As one example, self-employment case handling methods and procedures have been the subject of discussion between CAP and VR. As another example, Policy cite 446.1.22 effectively precludes some clients from completing post-secondary, because it limits part-time attendance. VR has articulated its reasons for the policy, and CAP has argued that these reasons pale in significance compared to the result of clients likely being denied post-secondary degrees, solely because their disability prevents full-time attendance. Expectably, systemic approaches have not always succeeded, leaving CAP to deal with a particular issue through individual cases.

Work with other organizations • CAP staff attended several trainings during the year, and well as attending meetings of the SILC and State Rehabilitation Council

Information and referral • CAP staff utilizes mobile phones and the latest internet technology to have prompt contact with clients and the ability to gain access to text, email and voicemail messages while traveling. CAP can now communicate with clients and the VR agency quickly and efficiently, regardless of where the CAP representative is physically located throughout the state of Georgia. 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. We refer many other callers to the P&A organization, Department of Family and Children Services, 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. CAP?s information and referral calls increased this year, both in volume of calls and range of referrals made. • Last year CAP modified the way it classifies work that mostly involves information and referral to more closely reflect RSA policy regarding when services should be counted as a “case” even if the main service provided was information and referral.

Summary of presentations made • CAP presented as often as permitted at quarterly meetings of the SILC and the SRC, and at one VR regional meeting.

Demographic view of CAP clients

Interesting Cases 1. CAP met with the unit manager, the client, and his client’s father and this meeting led to a resolution of all issues. This case was interesting in that client’s father had held an important position in VR. 2. A member of the non-attorney staff of CAP was able to resolve a case that was already well along in the appeal process — the parties were just waiting for a court date. CAP followed up with a meeting to ensure that the case would proceed as it should. 3. CAP met with client, counselor, RUM, and representatives of a Goodwill-type agency (we are intentionally not saying which one), because client, who has a psychological disability, was complaining about the treatment he was receiving. CAP first met with counselor. Then all concerned met to discuss client’s complaints. In a post-meeting conversation with the counselor, we both agreed that this client should not be sent to that organization again, and other plans were made to achieve the necessary objective. 4. Client had been trying to get a self-employment plan implemented, but was getting nowhere. In November, CAP had a conference call with client, VRC and RUM in which misunderstandings were cleared up and the VRC promised to do an amended work plan getting things back on track. 5. According to client, the client-VRC relationship had become extremely poor, to the extent that client had asked RUM for a new VRC. The request seemed to the client to have been ignored. RUM, client and CAP then had a conference call, and RUM agreed to assign a new VRC. 6. Client was attending post-secondary institution in another state. VR counselor was willing to help but faced certain limitations that would not impede a counselor in that other state. CAP, enclosing the applicable RSA letter, explained the two-state option, which client and counselor and a third out-of-state counselor utilized, working in close coordination with each other. 7. Client called CAP with a problem that appeared readily resolvable. CAP for the first time utilized the services of VR’s internal problem-resolution group, and followed up to ascertain that the problem was resolved to the client’s satisfaction. Also the client did not have to submit an NOR, and the resolution process was simplified in several other similar ways. 8. CAP had several clients within this fiscal year who were being denied post-secondary because they could not attend class on a full-time basis (full-time being defined by the particular school). The sole reason these clients could not attend full-time was their disability; and each had gone part-time for the maximum number of semesters/quarters. While there may be good reasons for this policy, how could these CAP clients ever entirely accept the fact that he or she is being denied an education readily provided to other VR clients, solely because of the limitations their disabilities place on their lives? 9. Client lived in a rural area. All VR RES efforts to help client find employment were unsuccessful: beyond the barriers caused by her disability, there just was not much opportunity with her geographic range. There may have been communication issues with the VRC as well. Therefore, the client simply moved, got a job on her own, and is now working with a new VRC who serves the area where she now lives. 10. At the beginning of this fiscal year, several clients reported issues with payment in circumstances where the VRC or RUM has requested payment, but the paying entity at VR appeared to be the source of the problem. Then, since the March implementation of GRACIE to replace GROW, payment requests can now originate from the office serving the client. However, there seem to have been problems with this system, resulting in payment complaints to CAP subsequent to the new system install. CAP understands that these payment issues are currently being addressed by VR. 11. Client sought help finding a job. However, she was told that VR had no one available to help her, and to look for jobs on her own. CAP inquired, and was told that indeed the rural office was without access to the services of an RES, but the VRC promised to do more to help. 12. Client’s mother contended that VRC had promised her daughter would start college, and testing / evaluation supported this decision. Then VRC said no such promise was made and in fact daughter was not college material. CAP arranged a meeting with all involved, which resulted in CL getting a new VRC and starting college. 13. Client has a chronic and serious medical condition. His VRC apparently thought that his disability limited the amount of time he could work; because in fact the client was only sent to part-time jobs. Client wanted full-time work. Client’s situation dragged on, and as it did, his attitude became worse to the point of making client his own worst enemy in the job-getting effort. CAP met with counselor and RUM (after a pre-meeting with client to explain the effect of his attitude on his working relationship with VR). Thereafter, and gradually over time, the attitude improved. Client has received some job offers, although he thinks he can do better, and has turned down all offers so far. It is not CAP’s role to try to force a client to accept a particular job, but as a result of client’s hyper-selectivity, he is now homeless. This situation can be seen as all the more tragic because the client has ability and education well beyond average. 14. Client wanted to obtain an employment situation to earn enough to begin self employment. CAP attended the meeting to draw up the WP. At that meeting, VRC took the position that there could only be one work goal, either regular employment or self-employment - but not both. CAP explained that CAP had been involved in WPs that had initial and ultimate goals, and argued that such was entirely appropriate in this case. Ultimately the VRC agreed to the two-phase WP. 15. As part of the process of fulfilling client’s work goal, VR provided the assistance of a person whose first language was not English. Indeed, that person’s English was so bad that the client could not understand what the VR person was saying, to such an extent that this VR employee was unable to accomplish the purpose she was supposed to accomplish. Because there were also some problems with the VRC, the case was reassigned to a new VRC and the problem was resolved. 16. Client has an extreme case of PTSD. Her disability was preventing her from performing adequately in job interviews. The VRC kept sending job leads. CAP suggested counseling, not knowing whether PTSD can improve with counseling. The VRC thought counseling would be the only hope. Unfortunately, the client refused to seek counseling, saying “I’m not crazy”. Shortly afterwards, she asked that her case be closed. She continued to call her CAP representative; but she never obtained employment and would not agree with CAP’s suggestion that she return to VR. 17. Client had the vocational goal of becoming a religious leader in a religious group that was quite unique in its beliefs. That goal required attendance at a seminary in a Western state. The VRC was most accommodating (and in every respect carried out her duties in a most excellent way). This client is currently enrolled in that school. 18. Client needed assistance with attending post secondary training. She received a letter that her parent’s income would disqualify her for VR assistance. Client was able to be classified as independent of her parents, which qualified her for VR assistance. 19. Client needed CAP intervention for her self-employment case. Client had the challenge of changing counselors, because of communication problems and not receiving services. After working diligently with VR, CAP was able to provide client with the assistance she needed to be successful. 20. Client went to VR to gain work skills, but a work evaluation had to be completed for placement purposes. Client had difficulties during that process, and she was sent a Notice of Change letter (“NOC”) closing her case. After CAP intervention, the NOC letter was rescinded and her case has moved forward. 21. The client called CAP because of misinformation given by the VR counselor. Client hoped for employment making more money, but felt no progress was being made in the case. CAP helped reestablish communication, so that the appropriate services could be provided. Client now has a basis to hope that an opportunity will become available. 22. CAP was called because the client believed the employment specialist was not being responsive to his calls and was unwilling to work on his case. After working with VR, CAP determined that the client’s work skills were not transferable and he need further training. CAP and VR continues to work on his case to do what is necessary for client to achieve his work goal. 23. Client needed CAP assistance because she received a letter that she owed VR reimbursement of funding she had received. She was advised that her case would be closed otherwise. Client admitted she owed the money and was willing to repay it, and wanted the case to remain open. VR was willing to continue working with the client. 24. CAP assisted a client who wanted to become a chef. Client had completed training, but had not become employed. Client was hoping to pursue self-employment with the assistance of VR. CAP and VR had a meeting to work on the issues of the case. The client is happy with the way her case moved forward after that meeting. 25. Client is attending an out-of-state post-secondary institution. She received a letter to decrease the amount of her VR assistance, because she wanted to continue her studies at a different institution. Client wanted CAP advice before she decided what she would do. Client was, as a result of CAP advice, able to make the decision that was best for her. 26. Client needed CAP advice and help because her VR case was not progressing. After getting information, CAP discovered that the client’s doctor was unwilling to release the client to go back to work for several months; but VR was persuaded not to close her case because of this hiatus, as VR had intended to do. 27. Client, who was receiving professional counseling, contacted CAP when she was informed that her VR case could not move forward until she was stable on her medication. CAP called the counselor for clarification on this issue. The counselor was unaware the client had been told this, but confirmed that the client could currently be considered for employment. 28. Client did not have an open case with VR, but contacted CAP to gain access to a psychological evaluation done many years ago. The client is now in another country. Client did not know which VR office had served him or the counselor, so CAP was unable to assist. Therefore, CAP referred client to VR constituent services which presumably was able to provide the requested access. 29. Client wanted to attend post secondary, but was denied VR assistance. CAP became involved, and learned the client had not applied or been accepted to a school. CAP advised him to apply and be accepted before he asked his counselor to assist him with funding. Client agreed this would better his chances of meeting his goal, although he had initially wanted prior assurance of VR funding before he would apply to a school. 30. Client called CAP to represent her in an OSAH hearing after her appeals had not been decided in her favor. The client was not successful in her primary goal, but wanted a secondary service to continue. CAP advised the client that a primary service was needed in order to receive a secondary service. CAP agreed to assist her as she worked with her counselor to find a different primary service that would support receipt of the secondary services that client felt she needed. 31. CAP was contacted because of communication issues between the counselor and the client. CAP called the counselor to assist the client. It turned out that counselor had been out of the office on leave and was responding to clients as quickly as possible. Counselor and client communicated successfully thereafter.

Online information / outreach The Georgia CAP maintains a web page providing information about the Georgia CAP at http://www.georgiacap.com. The web site provides a description of the CAP program, the services CAP provides, and information about how to contact CAP. This is one of the ways that 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 allow access to electronic mail, and the growing number of people with disabilities who have 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. 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, CAP’s efforts succeed this year, and CAP represented no VR clients at a fair hearing, nor initiated any new court appeals

The Georgia Client Assistance Program is a program for Vocational Rehabilitation clients and client-applicants who are seeking or receiving services from any project, program, or facility funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:23-Dec-14
Name of Designated Agency Official:Charles L. Martin
Title of Designated Agency Official:CAP Director