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

New Mexico (Disability Rights New Mexico) - H161A140032 - FY2014

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights New Mexico
Address1720 Louisiana Blvd. NE Suite 204
Address Line 2
StateNew Mexico
Zip Code87110
Website Address
TTY 505-256-3100
Toll-free Phone800-432-4682
Toll-free TTY800-432-4682

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

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

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorBernadine Chavez
Person to contact regarding reportBernadine Chavez
Contact Person Phone505-256-3100

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act40
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA10
3. Other information provided13
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)63
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)280

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)7
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year20
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)27
4. Individuals (from Line B3) who had multiple case files opened/closed this year. (In unusual situations, an individual may have more than one case file opened/closed during a fiscal year. This number is not added to the total in Line B3 above.)0

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 7

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 favor13
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)2
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual1
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)0
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution2
7. Appeals were unsuccessful1
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP1
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)


E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual1
2. Application for services completed.0
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented10
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party2
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office0
8. Alternative resources identified for individual5
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made0
10. Other2
11. Other (please explain)

2 = Lack of response from Client

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

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

1. 21 and under3
2. 22 - 409
3. 41 - 6413
4. 65 and over2
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)27

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female16
2. Male11
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)27

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race13
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American1
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White10
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)1
2. Other visual impairments1
3. Deafness4
4. Hard of hearing1
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments4
7. Absense of extremities0
8. Mental illness6
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation0
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)4
12. Neurological disorders2
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)3
20. All other disabilities1
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)27

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program16
2. Clients of VR Program10
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 only24
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only0
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources3
4. Employer0

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor14
3. Conflict about services to be provided13
4. Related to application/eligibility process0
5. Related to IPE development/implementation0
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related0
8. Related to Title I of the ADA0

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral2
2. Advisory/interpretational0
3. Negotiation11
4. Administrative/informal review6
5. Alternative dispute resolution0
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy1
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative


a. Type of agency administering CAP: 1) External: P&A

b. Source of funds expended Source of funding Total expenditures spent on individuals Federal funds $100,804 State funds 0 All other funds 0 Total from all sources $100,804

c. Budget for current and following years Category FY2014 Actual / Next FY2015 Budget Wages & Salaries $60,287 / $77,322 Fringe Benefits $16,562 / $20,668 (FICA, unemployment, etc.) Materials/Supplies $625 / $985 Postage $236 / $275 Telephone $929 / $907 Rent $5,950 / $7,053 Travel $2,679 / $3,573 Copying $1,347 / $1,246 Bonding/Insurance (covered in indirect) Equipment Rental/Purchase 0 0 Legal Services 0 0 Indirect Costs $8,594 / $10,295 Misc.- Other $3,593 / $3,431 Total Expense/Budget $100,804 / $125,756

d. Number of person-years Type of position FTE % of yr. filled Person-years Professional Full-time 0.98 100% 0.98 Part-time 0.27 100% 0.27 Vacant 0 0 Clerical Full-time 0.21 100% 0.21 Part-time 0 0 Vacant 0 0 Total CAP Staff 1.46 100% 1.46 Full-time professional staff in the CAP program include outreach, training and intake staff, case advocacy staff, attorneys and supervisory staff.

e. Summary of Presentations: P&A provided two trainings to 34 new staff persons working for the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, and the Section 121 Native American Vocational Rehabilitation programs at the Rehabilitation Academy. The training topics included the CAP, PABSS, and PAAT programs at DRNM, and an overview of ADA provisions related to employment. DRNM also provided training to Native American families at the EPICS (Educating Parents of Indian Children) conference in Albuquerque. The topics covered were the Rehabilitation Act, VR services, and transition services under the Section 121 programs and state vocational programs including DVR and the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. There were 32 participants in the session. We provided the same training to a group of 22 Native American school counselors/social workers from various Pueblos, and also discussed disability awareness, physical access, program access, and community services. This was an event sponsored by the Native American program at UNM. ** Staff provided training on CAP and employment rights to clients of the job club that meets quarterly at the Belen office of DVR (in central New Mexico); the club is sponsored by Desert Bloom Rehabilitation. There are 8 to 10 participants each quarter. ** DRNM provided training to Transition Specialists for the Albuquerque Public School system, which is the state’s largest school district. The training focused on transition of youth with severe developmental disabilities, rights, self-determination, and vocational programs available to those students to assist with the transition process. We discussed CAP services and how CAP could facilitate VR and transition services. There were 28 Transition Specialists at this event. CAP staff provided training on transition and VR services, as well as client rights, to participants of the ARC Leadership conference in southern New Mexico. The training focused on ‘informed choice”, self-determination and self-advocacy, and was provided in both Spanish and English. We also covered the implementation of Order of Selection. This was part of our outreach to underserved and rural areas. CAP staff met with the VR staff from the Rio Rancho, Las Vegas, and Las Cruces offices of DVR to train on ADA, CAP and self advocacy. There were 58 participants. Our goal is to provide training to each area office for NMDVR and the NM Commission for the Blind. We will continue with this goal in the coming year. DRNM provided training to the Department of Labor Workforce staff on the Rehabilitation Act, VR services, “Disability Awareness”, and also training on ADA and Title I. There were three sessions and 20 participants at each session for a total of 60 participants. In summary, CAP staff at DRNM conducted a total of 10 trainings with a total of 280 participants. DRNM/CAP also participated in 14 informational fairs in which we distributed CAP brochures and provided information to participants. Of the 14 fairs, 6 were targeted outreach to minorities and underserved populations. **Underserved and minority populations. f. Involvement with Advisory Boards: There is no separate advisory board or committee for the CAP program, but CAP staff work closely with various consumer, family and advocacy organizations interested in training and employment for persons with disabilities. The CAP Coordinator currently serves as the Chairperson of the State Rehabilitation Council for both general services and blind services. Our agency Director serves as the Chair of the Steering Committee for the Disability Coalition, a statewide group of organizations and individuals advocating for persons with disabilities. The Steering Committee includes representation from two of the state’s Independent Living Centers as well as the Governor’s Commission on Disability, the state DD Planning Council, The Arc of New Mexico and DRNM. g. Outreach to unserved/underserved populations: The majority of New Mexicans are probably unserved/underserved since a majority of the state’s population is an ethnic/racial minority, most of the state is comprised of rural/frontier areas, and there are shortages of professional staff in virtually all parts of the state. CAP conducted considerable outreach to persons in rural areas and on Native American pueblos. As shown above, many of the trainings and outreach activities conducted by DRNM were focused on minority communities and areas outside the state’s major urban areas. In the course of the agency’s outreach and training efforts, CAP distributed approximately 2500 CAP brochures. h. Alternatives to Dispute Resolution: N/A i. Systemic Advocacy: 1. NM CAP staff meets with NMDVR Management Staff (Field Operations Directors) and the acting Director on a quarterly basis to discuss areas of service in which CAP and NMDVR can work together to improve services to NM participants. The Director for NMDVR retired so CAP staff have met with the Acting Director and discussed our concerns. CAP staff have also met with the Field Operations Directors who oversee the Area Managers. The focus of discussions included: • Presumptive eligibility requirements and the lack of explanation to SSA Beneficiaries. CAP staff has been working with the Ticket to Work Team and the Benefits Advisors who provide that service through NMDVR to help counselors provide better and more accurate information to SSA Beneficiaries. • Delays in receiving participant records once requested by CAP staff. NM CAP and DVR have agreed to address these issues by having each VR office’s administrative personnel act as the main point of contact when participant records are requested. This resolution worked for a short time and then there were several staff members who retired or moved on to other jobs. We have had to identify new contact staff until the positions are filled. • Financial participation NMDVR came up with a policy that utilized 130% of the federal poverty level to determine an obligation for client financial participation. The formula allows for extra expenses related to a disabling condition or medical expenses. However, many of our clients have debts due to their disability that were incurred when they were unemployed because of their disability. There were also VR counselors that utilized the policy in a way that was not intended. Some counselors would add up the total cost of the IPE and the use the formula for determining the total amount of money that participants had to come up with prior to providing services. This excluded many participants who needed services to maintain their jobs and young persons with disabilities who live with their families. We met NMDVR and also took this issue to the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for discussion and recommendations. This work resulted in a policy change that impacts participants in a positive way. They still look at 130% of the federal poverty level, but they take $5,000 off of the net income prior to determining the required level of financial participation by the client. 2. CAP staff submitted written comments on both the DVR state plan and the Commission for the Blind (CFB) state plan. 3. CAP continues to place an emphasis on monitoring the effects of Order of Selection (OOS) adopted by DVR three years ago and providing feedback to DVR. For the past two years DVR has served all categories and has not had a waiting list. Due to a number of vacant DVR staff positions, there had been reductions in the number of clients served monthly and in the total client service expenditures. Some areas continue to be slower than others improving services due to a continuing lack of staff. The administration of the VR agency has been working closely with the State Personnel Office to fill vacant positions as quickly as possible. However, with the retirement of the Acting Director, some personnel matters are on hold. j. Interesting Cases: Client 1 A 19-year old female client came to DRNM because NMDVR refused to pay tuition for a College Internship Program (CIP) in California. Our client requires basic independent living and foundational job skills in order to participate in the DVR process. After much research, it appeared clear that CIP was the only place she and her family had found where such support is provided. DVR was only willing to send the client somewhere in New Mexico for a traditional job training program. Traditional programs would not benefit this client without the initial focus on life skills that would be provided over a number of years by CIP. DRNM provided the client representation at every level of this process over a number of years. A CAP advocate worked with this client during DVR counselor meetings and a supervisory review. When the supervisory review was not in the client’s favor, the client was represented by a DRNM attorney at the fair hearing. The fair hearing also went against the client, but DRNM felt that our case was strong and we represented the client in an appeal to state district court. Fortunately, our client prevailed in her court appeal. However, disputes arose as to how the court order would be implemented, and the client required further assistance from DRNM. CAP staff represented her in mediation with DVR to resolve these problems. After years of work, all of the issues in this case were resolved in the client’s favor. Pursuant to the court order that was handed down last year and the mediation agreement which was negotiated by DRNM during FY 2014, DVR is now paying tuition and basic living expenses for the client and will continue to do so for the next few years while our client attends and completes this program.

Client 2 This client, a woman who is deaf, graduated from Gallaudet University with a Liberal Arts degree. She decided that she wanted to become an ASL interpreter, after 30 years working as a federal employee. She became a client of NMDVR so that she could attend classes. Her DVR counselor would not accept her goal, under the misapprehension that a person who is deaf cannot be an ASL interpreter. The client came to DRNM for help challenging DVR’s denial. DRNM’s advocate started by researching the profession, contacting the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CDHH) and other resources. We arranged a meeting with the DVR counselor, program director, CDHH staff, the client and our advocate, so that the DVR counselor could learn about the ASL interpreting profession. After that meeting, the counselor approved our client’s employment goal. The DVR counselor then helped our client arrange for on-the-job training at the NM School for the Deaf and Ameri-Corps in Santa Fe, Espanola, and Central NM locations. With DRNM advocacy, DVR further agreed to provide financial Vocational Rehabilitation services for our client to participate in CDI training in workshops within New Mexico. Our client is focusing on the sign language classes in Fall 2014. In the spring she plans to attend workshops or take an online class. In the summer of 2015, DVR and our client will look for intensive two week training. The biggest success for our client was that her counselor was educated about the professional position of a Certified Deaf Interpreter. DVR has experience hiring interpreters to provide communication access between DVR staff and deaf individuals. The concept that a person who is deaf could be certified as an interpreter was beyond their experiential learning. By having the staff from the CDHH explain the role of a deaf interpreter, the DVR counselor and Program Managers expanded their understanding of our client’s informed choice for employment.

Client 3 Our client is a 57 year old woman with multiple physical and respiratory disabilities. She contacted DRNM after running into complications with DVR due to the new policy on Participant Financial Contribution (PFC). Client applied for DVR services so that she could receive some assistance in purchasing tires for her power-assist wheelchair. A fully operational wheelchair is necessary for this CAP client to continue her employment as a teacher. According to the new PFC policy, our client was expected to put $13,000 toward her IPE before DVR could provide any financial assistance. As a person with multiple disabilities and the related high expenses, she could not afford to pay that amount for power assist tires on her own. DRNM attended a Supervisory Review and follow-up meetings with the client and her new counselor. The Program Manager authorized the counselor to use the client’s net pay rather than gross income for the calculation, and worked with the client to identify anything that could be considered a disability related expense. DRNM advocated that expenses such as debt for medical expenses and hospitalizations, dental work, and her gym membership should all count toward this total. Our client gathered her medical expenses for several months in an effort to lower her contribution. After all the records were gathered, DVR calculated her PFC as $2,700. This number was even more manageable because the vendor will allow the client to make monthly payments. DRNM’s advocacy resulted in an IPE for our client that included vehicle repairs, wheelchair repairs, and upgrades (power assist wheels) with minimal PFC.

Client 4 Our client is a 56 year old woman with IGG autoimmune disease, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and anxiety. She is in recovery for alcoholism and substance abuse. She is homeless and has lived in two shelters and with one friend since May 2014. She contacted DRNM because she was unhappy with the services she was receiving from her job developer through DVR. She has been working with DVR for two years and her job developer has yet to find her appropriate work. She also had not heard from her job developer in over six months. She needed a new job developer and assistance with funding for her storage units. DRNM attended two meetings with the client and her DVR counselor. The counselor agreed to update her IPE to include additional funding for job search and development, maintenance for storage, transportation, computer training, and CPR training. Our client agreed with the plan and signed it. A few weeks later, the client said she was happy with her services. She felt she might need additional funding for transportation because she was making several trips into town for job search and classes. The DRNM advocate suggested she log her mileage and submit that record when she asks DVR for additional funds. Due to her domestic violence issues, the client was unable to contact DRNM for over a month. When she was safe she advised DRNM the she was living in a shelter. She explained that she was happy with the services she was receiving from DVR. She has completed her Excel computer classes, is meeting with two new job developers, and has a couple of job interviews coming up.

k. Online information/outreach: DRNM maintains a web site ( that provides information about DRNM and its various programs, including CAP. The CAP program is detailed on the site and the CAP brochure is in electronic format and easily downloadable. The web site also provides news and current events of interest to persons with disabilities in New Mexico. There were a total of 11,624 hits and 32,987 visits to our website in FY 2014.



This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:29-Dec-14
Name of Designated Agency Official:James Jackson
Title of Designated Agency Official:On file