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

Arizona (Arizona Center for Disability Law) - H161A150002 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameArizona Center for Disability Law
Address5025 East Washington Street
Address Line 2Suite 202
CityPhoenix
StateArizona
Zip Code85034
E-mail Addresscenter@azdisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.azdisabilitylaw.org
Phone602-274-6287
TTY 602-274-6287
Toll-free Phone800-927-2260
Toll-free TTY800-927-2260
Fax602-274-6779

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameArizona Center for Disability Law
Address5025 East Washington Street
Address Line 2Suite 202
CityPhoenix
Zip Code85034
E-mail Addresscenter@azdisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.azdisabilitylaw.org
Phone602-274-6287
TTY602-274-6287
Toll-free Phone800-927-2260
Toll-free TTY800-927-2260
Fax602-274-6779

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJohn Gutierrez
Person to contact regarding reportJohn Gutierrez
Contact Person Phone602-274-6287

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program67
2. Information regarding independent living programs10
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects6
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA41
5. Other information provided15
6. Information regarding CAP61
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)200

B. Training Activities

1. Training March 19, 2015 Title: Client Assistance Program a) Topics Covered: Client Assistance Program, Vocational Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Act 501 b) Purpose of Training: To educate Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors of the CAP program c) Description of Attendees: 20 Participants: 3 individuals with a disability; 17 VR Counselors

2. Training March 25, 2015 Tucson’s Northwest Vocational Rehabilitation Office a) Topics covered: CAP services; ACDL intake procedure; b) Purpose of training: To train new and veteran VR staff on what services ACDL provides applicants and clients of VR. c) Description of Attendees: 11 Participants: VR Supervisor; VR Counselors; VR Rehabilitation Technicians

3. Training March 31, 2015 Title: Your Rights as a VR Client a) Topics Covered: Client Assistance Program; Vocational Rehabilitation; Title I; Rehab Act 501 b) Purpose of Training: To educate VR Applicants and clients of both the CAP Program and Vocational Rehabilitation c) Description of Attendees: 25 Participants: 8 family member or friend of person with disability; 12 individuals with a disability; 2 industry representative or product developer; 2 service providers; 1 State/Local government Agency

4. Training April 9, 2015 Title: Your Rights as a VR Client a) Topics Covered: Accessible Technologies; Vocational Rehabilitation; CAP; HAVA; Rehab Act 501 b) Purpose of Training: To educate VR Applicants and clients of both the CAP Program and Vocational Rehabilitation c) Description of Attendees: 25 Participants: 8 family member or friend of person with disability; 12 individuals with a disability; 2 industry representative or product developer; 2 service providers; 1 State/Local government Agency

5. Training September 15, 2015 Title: VR & Employment Rights for Students with Disabilities and Others a) Topics covered: Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Rights for Students with Disabilities VR Services; Title I ADA b) Purpose: Provide information on VR services and the rights applicants and clients have of those services; Provide information on Title I ADA employment protections to students transitioning out of high school. b) Description of attendees: 30 Participants: Service Providers; School staff; Case managers; VR staff; Students with disabilities; Family members; Individuals with disabilities

6. Training September 23, 2015 Title: Client Assistance Program a) Topics Covered: Title I; Vocational Rehabilitation; CAP; Rehab Act 501 b) Purpose of Training: To educate Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors of the CAP program c) Description of Attendees: 15 Participants: 3 Individuals with a disability; 12 VR Counselors

7. Training September 28, 2015 a) Topics covered: ACDL services to applicants and clients of Vocational Rehabilitation; ACDL services to individuals with barrier to employment issues; ACDL intake process b) Purpose: To train Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) staff and Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWIC) on ACDL’s services to applicants and clients of Vocational Rehabilitation. c) Description of attendees: 12 Participants: Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) staff and Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWIC) who work for Arizona’s Independent Living Centers.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.7
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.138
3. Describe training presented by the staff. Include the following information:
  1. topics covered
  2. purpose of the training
  3. description of the attendees

C. Agency Outreach

Describe the agency's outreach efforts to previously un-served or underserved individuals including minority communities.

This year, CAP attended and provided information at a vendor table at the 4th Annual African American Symposium on Disabilities. Also, a CAP Advocate provided a presentation on VR rights to the AZ Spinal Cord Association, in conjunction with a VR Counselor who specializes in working with clients with spinal cord injuries. CAP Advocate, working with the VR counselor, was able to inform clients with spinal cord injuries of the vast array of services available to clients with this disability.

Short—Team Assistance Team

The Center utilizes a centralized intake system known as Short—Term Assistance Team (STAT). STAT staff initially receives all requests for assistance, including CAP issues. Our STAT is staffed by trained advocates under the direction and supervision of the Information and Referral (I&R) Supervisor and an attorney supervisor. CAP advocates have provided training to STAT staff so they can provide callers with information and referral assistance, a brief service, or short—term technical assistance at the time of their initial call to the Center. Annually, CAP staff conducts training sessions for the STAT to acquaint them with new issues relating to the CAP program which will, in turn, assist them in conducting initial interviews. Once STAT staff has conducted these initial interviews, cases are assigned to CAP staff for further advocacy services.

Center Self—Advocacy Guides

The Center disseminates 19 Self—Advocacy Guides on topics related to vocational rehabilitation rights and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. CAP callers can view or download the guides from the Center’s website. The guides are available on the Center’s website 24 hours a day, seven days a week, thus facilitating outreach to our clients not only in the Phoenix metropolitan area but also in outlying areas. The majority of our callers indicated that they have access to our website and prefer obtaining copies of our materials via the internet rather than through the mail.

The following guides relating to the CAP are available from the Center: — An Overview of the Employment Protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act — How to Enforce Employment Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act — The ADA and the Job Applicant: Recruitment, Applications and Interviews — The ADA and the Reasonable Accommodations — Drug and Alcohol Testing under the Americans with Disabilities Act — The ADA and Medical Examinations — The ADA and Confidentiality of Medical Information — The ADA and Disability—Related Harassment — Summary of Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Eligibility for Services — Summary of Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Evaluations — Summary of Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) — Summary of Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Vocational Rehabilitation Services — Your Appeal Rights for Disputes about Vocational Rehabilitation Services — A Summary of Your Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Assistive Technology and Services

The Center provides guides in alternate formats such as plain language to accommodate our clients who may have cognitive disabilities, have a seventh grade or lower reading level or difficulty with English. The Center has a total of 17 self—advocacy guides written in plain language. The following guides relating to the CAP are listed below:

— How to File a Charge When You’ve Been Treated Unfairly — Making Your Job Work for You — Have You Been Treated Unfairly at Work? — Getting a Job When You Have a Disability — How the ADA Protects Your Medical Information at Work

The Center also has 16 of our guides translated into Spanish. All of our guides are available on our website and in additional alternative formats by request. All of our intake information materials have been translated into Spanish and are available at our conferences, trainings, and on our website. We have also translated surveys, training materials, and grievance procedures into Spanish.

D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency

For each method of dissemination, enter the total number of each method used by your agency during the reporting period to distribute information to the public. For publications/booklets/brochures (item 4), enter the total number of documents produced. Agencies should not include website hits. See instructions for details.

CAP Presentations

1) 21—Oct—14, Booth/Table, ABIL Independent Living Fair, Phoenix, AZ. 50 people attended. 2) 14—Nov—14, Booth/Table, ACES College & Career Fair, Avondale, AZ. 40 people attended. 3) 16—Nov—14, Booth/Table, Disability Connection Fair, Sahuarita, AZ. 30 people attended. 4) 27—Feb—15, Booth/Table, 4th Annual African American Symposium on Disabilities, Phoenix, AZ 220 people attended. 5) 18—Mar—15, Booth/Table, Hopi Nation Awareness Day, Winslow, AZ. 125 people attended. 6) 26—Mar—15, Booth/Table, American Indian Disability Summit, Phoenix, AZ. 150 people attended. 7) 18—Apr—15, Booth/Table, Connecting Tucson — Disability Resource and Transition Expo, Tucson, AZ. 200 people attended. 8) 24—Apr—25, Booth/Table, Health &Wellness Fair, Phoenix, AZ. 80 people attended. 9) 25—Apr—15, Booth/Table, Health & Wellness Fair, Phoenix, AZ. 40 people attended. 10) 7—Jun—15, Booth/Table, Diamondback’s Disability Awareness Day, Phoenix, AZ. 35 people attended. 11) 13—Jul—15, Booth/Table, AT Conference, Scottsdale, AZ. 200 people attended. 12) 30, 31—Jul—15, Booth/Table, 2015 US Autism & Asperger World Conference, Tucson, AZ. 500 people attended. 13) 25—Aug—15, Booth/Table, ADE 15th Annual Transition Conference, Scottsdale, AZ. 250 people attended.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV0
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals0
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency2369
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.13
6. Other (specify below)

E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage

Describe the various sources and information disseminated about your agency by an external source.

N/A

Part II. Individual Case Services

A. Individuals served

An individual is counted only once during a fiscal year. Multiple counts are not permitted for Lines A1-A3.

1. Individuals who are still being served as of October 1 (carryover from prior year)50
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year74
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)124
4. Individuals (from Line A3) 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 A3 above.)7
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)39

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor26
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided85
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process11
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category3
6. Related to IPE development/implementation
  1. Selection of vendors for provision of VR services
  2. Selection of training, post-secondary education
  3. Selection of employment outcome
  4. Transition services
5
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  2. SSI/SSDI
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
0
10. Related to Title I of the ADA0

C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases

(Choose one primary service the CAP provided for each closed case file. There may be more case files than actual individuals served.)

1. Short Term Technical Assistance47
2. Investigation/Monitoring2
3. Negotiation38
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution1
5. Administrative / Informal Review0
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing4
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total92

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.)

N/A

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor56
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)19
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual0
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)5
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint7
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.1
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP2
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources2
11. Conflict of interest0
12. Other (Please explain below)

E. Results achieved for individuals

(Choose one primary outcome for each closed case file. There may be more case files than the total number of individuals served.)

N/A

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual48
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation4
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided18
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party17
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office2
8. Alternative resources identified for individual2
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 182
2. 19 - 2425
3. 25 - 4036
4. 41 - 6431
5. 65 and over30
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)124

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females57
2. Males67
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)124

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)20
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native5
3. Asian2
4. Black or African American23
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White72
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury2
2. ADD/ADHD2
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities1
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder2
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder4
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)1
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)3
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)7
11. Cancer1
12. Cerebral Palsy5
13. Deafness6
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)5
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes1
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy1
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions0
20. Intellectual Disability0
21. Mental Illness46
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy1
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment6
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment11
26. Orthopedic Impairments8
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)8
31. Speech Impairments1
32. Spina Bifida1
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)1
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)124

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR12
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list7
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list106
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living1
5. Transition student/High school student1
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act1

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

VR’s Contracted Evaluators Denying VR Clients’ Services

CAP staff has determined that many contracted evaluators that work with VR clients are making the final decisions on whether VR applicants are found eligible for services and whether clients are to receive specific services. These evaluators provide such services as visual evaluations, psychological evaluations, or evaluations where specific therapies are being requested by clients. It appears that VR Counselors, instead of making their own determination, accept the evaluators’ decisions as the final word; therefore, they deny services in violation of VR policy and the Rehabilitation Act. Some evaluators are also making determinations that clients are not able to work. VR accepts these evaluators’ determinations without providing an appropriate trial work experience to truly determine the capability of a client being able to do any form of work. For example, a Vocational Evaluator used by VR Counselors in Southern Arizona frequently determines applicants to not be eligible for VR services because they are unable to be competitively employed. This evaluator apparently does not understand that there are varied employment options that VR can pursue for their clients, especially under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). There are various other types of job goals for VR clients such as supported employment or customized employment. CAP Advocates have also discovered that the evaluator is utilizing tests that do not accommodate many VR applicants’ disabilities and relies on job descriptions and trends from 1991. CAP staff has shared our concerns about this specific evaluator with RSA Administration. At our request, they reviewed several of the evaluator’s reports and agreed a high number of his reports concluded the applicants could not be competively employed; therefore, would not be good candidates for VR services. RSA Administration also agreed to train its evaluators and consultants on what are allowable employment goals for VR clients. CAP staff continues to monitor reports from this evaluator to determine if there are other clients who have evaluations written that are detrimental and are not this evaluator’s responsibility.

VR Has Hired Many New Counselors With Very Little Knowledge Of The VR Program

During the last three years of the former RSA Administration, this agency lost approximately 150—180 VR Counselors. The current VR Administration continues to deal with the difficult task of having to hire numerous new VR Counselors, many of them not familiar with the VR program. Unfortunately, the new VR Counselors do not have the mentoring component that would help them be trained on how the VR program works. This has led to a myriad of problems with clients not receiving services due to the lack of direction from these VR Counselors and not making appropriate decisions on behalf of the clients and the services they should be receiving. CAP staff has met with RSA Administration and discussed that VR Counselors are not receiving the appropriate training to do their job. RSA Administration agrees and is aware that their new VR Counselors, for the most part, are not experienced. RSA Administration claims they are trying to find effective strategies to best educate and train these Counselors. Also, RSA has hired a person who is a former VR Counselor/Supervisor/Ombudsman of VR to take over RSA’s Training Unit. CAP hopes that this individual will provide the knowledge and information necessary for the new VR Counselors to do their jobs appropriately. CAP has asked to be included in the training curriculum.

Discouraging Applicants From Applying For VR Services This year, CAP Advocates have identified a disturbing trend of both new and veteran VR Counselors discouraging applicants of their basic right to apply for VR services. For example, a VR applicant who is a former nurse had to have his leg amputated due to being diabetic. This applicant can no longer work as a nurse and attempted to apply for VR services. When he mentioned that he would need a prosthetic leg, he was incorrectly informed by the VR Counselor that VR does not provide this type of equipment; therefore, was not allowed to apply for services. Another example is an applicant with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) who met with a VR Counselor for an orientation. During the orientation, the applicant mentioned that her husband worked at a car dealership. The VR Counselor showed her the economic need chart. The applicant said she thought her husband made more money than was allowed to qualify for economic need. At that time, the VR Counselor stopped the orientation and told the applicant that because she claimed she may not meet economic need, she did not need to apply for VR services. The third example is an applicant with Spina Bifida who works at a department store. The applicant was able to obtain a wheelchair through his private insurance. However, this wheelchair requires an elevator seat in order for this client to perform his job. His insurance denied the elevator seat because they do not pay for this type of equipment. Since this applicant is on Social Security, he asked VR for assistance to pay for this seat so he can continue being employed. The VR Counselor incorrectly stated that since the applicant was already working and because VR does not pay for equipment such as elevator seats, he did not qualify for VR services. These are three concerning examples where applicants were not allowed to apply for VR services. All three of these applicants contacted the CAP program for assistance and with CAP advocacy, all were allowed to apply. Not only were they able to apply, but all were made eligible and were able to receive the services they required. CAP Advocates have met with RSA Administration to discuss this troublesome trend of VR Counselors denying applicants the basic right to apply for VR services. RSA Administration stated they would work closely with the different offices to determine why this issue is happening more frequently and would work on finding a resolution so that all applicants are allowed to apply for VR services.

Too Many VR Clients Being Placed in Priority 2

Another systemic issue that CAP staff is closely evaluating is the excessive number of VR clients who, under Arizona RSA’s Order of Selection, are being placed in Priority 2. Especially alarming is that CAP staff has determined that many of these clients have disabilities severe enough to qualify them for Priority 1 placement. One of the issues that CAP staff is learning from clients is that the functional limitations list is not being fully explained to them. Clients not having any knowledge of the VR program are less likely to state that they have functional limitations, be able to explain the severity of their limitations, or what services may assist them with these limitations. VR Counselors then use this limited information to place these clients in Priority 2. The current number of clients in Priority 2 is over 3,500. CAP staff has been working with VR to try to assist VR Counselors to identify not only the disabilities, but the functional limitations and service needs in order to place more clients in Priority 1. Advocates have assisted clients with determining all of their disabilities and obtaining medical documentation of their disabilities. CAP staff also explained the definition of functional limitations and service needs. With the help of the CAP Advocates, many of these clients were able to explain their true number of functional limitations. CAP staff has assisted clients to be placed from Priority 2 to Priority 1 of the Order of Selection. CAP Advocates continue to work with VR staff to inform them of the importance of explaining, not only the client’s disabilities, but to emphasize a fuller explanation of the description of functional limitations so that more clients can be placed in Priority 1.

1. Number of non-litigation systemic activities not involving individual representation that resulted in the change of one or more policy or practice of an agency.4
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation

No systemic litigation activities to report this fiscal year.

1. Total number of CAP cases requiring litigation involving individual representation resulting in, or with the potential for, systemic change.
a. Number of cases requiring litigation involving individual representation filed during fiscal year.0
b. Number of on-going cases pending at start of fiscal year (carryover from prior fiscal year).0
c. Number of cases resolved through litigation during fiscal year.0
2. Describe the agency's on-going and completed systemic litigation activities involving individual representation.

Part V. Agency Information

A. Designated Agency

1. Agency Type (select only one option) External-Protection and Advocacy agency
2. Name of designate agencyArizona Center for Disability Law
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?No
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:N/A

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person Years Professional

Full—time 2.108 100% 2.108

Part—time

Vacant

Total Professional 2.108 100% 2.108

Clerical

Full—time 0.392 100% 0.392

Part—time

Vacant

Total Clerical 0.392 100% 0.392 Total — Professional & Clerical 2.5 100% 2.5

Part VI. Case Examples

Provide some examples of some interesting cases during the past fiscal year.

The Case of A.R.

A.R. is a person with mental illness. A.R. contacted our office because she is a client of VR. VR assisted A.R. to obtain a degree from a School of Cosmetology. However, once A.R. completed her degree, she realized that she only learned to cut female’s hair. A.R. felt that in order to be well rounded and have a better chance of full employment, she would also need to know how to cut men’s hair. A.R. asked VR to assist her to receive additional training to cut men’s hair so she could be fully employable. VR denied her request. A.R. filed for a Fair Hearing. At that time, A.R. met with the CAP Advocate. The CAP Advocate assisted her with preparing her arguments as to why VR should provide her with additional training to cut men’s hair. The CAP advocate learned that A.R.’s husband, who is an undocumented person, was deported to Mexico. This left A.R. alone with a young child. The CAP advocate believed that not only was the issue with being able to cut men’s hair important to this client, but her personal situation provided additional evidence to make this case more compelling on her behalf. A.R. went to her Pre—Hearing Conference and with the assistance of the CAP advocate, was able to have the judge agree with her justification on why she needed to cut men’s hair. A.R. has reported to the advocate that VR was informed by the judge that VR had to provide her with additional training. A.R. is currently attending a Barber School to learn to cut men’s hair; therefore, she will be fully employable.

The Case of J.B.

CAP Advocate assisted JB, who is an 18 year old man who is a person with Autism and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. JB wanted to live in the dorm while attending college in his home town. JB is a client of VR and asked his VR Counselor to pay the room and board costs of the dorm. VR denied this request relying completely on their policy that states VR will not pay for a client to live in a dorm if the school he/she is attending is within commuting distance. An exception to their policy is if the client needs to live in the dorm because of disability—related reasons. VR decided JB had no disability—related reason to live in the dorm. VR did agree to assist JB with tuition, books and supplies, and a bus pass. JB and his parents believed living in the dorm would help JB with interpersonal skills, isolation issues, and study habits. The dorm also provided extended tutoring hours and has a student staff available 24 hours to assist students with issues and problems they may be having. CAP Advocate presented the VR Assistant District Program Manager research on the benefits of dorm—living for students with disabilities, such as those that JB has. JB’s mother also obtained letters from autism/fetal alcohol syndrome experts and high school staff, all of which confirmed that he would benefit from living in the dorm. After the CAP Advocate spoke with the VR Assistant District Program Manager and he reviewed the documentation, he approved room and board for JB. JB is currently mid—way through his first semester of college and is doing well.

The Case of S.N.

S.N. is a female client who was seeking to have VR assist her to become a Registered Nurse (RN). S.N. is a person with mental illness and a severe learning disability. S.N. contacted the CAP because she was having trouble having VR agree to her vocational goal. The CAP Advocate assisted S.N. by attending a meeting on her behalf to discuss with VR what assistance she needed to obtain a degree as a RN. The CAP Advocate assisted S.N. to have VR agree to the vocational goal of nursing and paid for S.N. to attend a private nursing school. The CAP Advocate also assisted S.N. by having VR pay for tutoring to assist her with passing her classes due to the severity of her learning disability. VR paid for a tutor that specialized in assisting nurses to obtain their degree. S.N. was also having problems with her VR Counselor, so the advocate assisted S.N. to have her case transferred to a different VR Counselor. This new VR Counselor assisted S.N. with the services stated above. Also, with the help of the CAP Advocate, this new VR Counselor provided S.N. with a Social Worker to work with her on personal issues. VR also paid for S.N.’s medication for ADHD and paid for an Organizer to help client organize her school and personal information. Finally, VR paid for S.N.’s mileage to all her meetings and doctor’s appointments. S.N. has finished her classes and is currently getting ready to start an internship at a local hospital. S.N. received all the services she was requesting and the CAP Advocate has closed this case successfully.

The case of M.P.

M.P. filed an appeal regarding Vocational Rehabilitation’s (VR) denial of an amendment to her Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) to provide support for a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW). M.P. had been provided with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW). After being in school, M.P. realized that she could go even further and learned that she could achieve her goal of becoming a Medical Social Worker. VR denied this request, so M.P. appealed the denial through Mediation. This Mediation did not result in a resolution; therefore, M.P.’s only choice was to request an Administrative Fair Hearing. The CAP advocate negotiated with staff from RSA Administration and explained the justifications why this client should be provided a Master’s Degree. CAP Advocate explained to VR Administration that when M.P. initially started school M.P. was unsure whether she could succeed in a Social Work Bachelor’s Program. Once M.P. attended school, she was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA. M.P. did so well in fact that she was accepted into ASU’s Advanced Direct Practice Master’s Program. Because of M.P.’s success, she had requested that her IPE be amended to obtain her Master’s Degree. Her VR Counselor supported M.P. and wrote a new IPE, but the Supervisor would not approve it. The new IPE was consistent with M.P.’s strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice, plus there is a new federal policy that encourages qualified individuals to pursue advanced degrees in the medical field. Evidence showed that M.P. would require an MSW for a Medical Social Work position and that with an MSW and the Spanish/English proficiency she possessed, MP would be a stronger, more desirable candidate to obtain employment in this field. CAP Advocate impressed upon VR that M.P. possesses a passion for helping people with disabilities as a Medical Social Worker because of childhood experiences. Between the ages of five and ten, M.P. underwent seven surgeries for her disabilities of Polio and Osteoarthritis. M.P. grew up in Mexico, but all these surgeries were performed in the United States. For financial reasons, M.P. could not be accompanied by a parent or family member when she was hospitalized for these surgeries. The only person who offered M.P. support during these difficult and frightening times was a hospital social worker. M.P. wanted to go into the Medical Social Work field because she wants to offer that same support to others. CAP Advocate advocated with staff from RSA Administration and they agreed to reverse the Supervisor’s denial and MP was provided with support to obtain her Master’s Degree in Social Work. With the CAP Advocate’s assistance, M.P. will be able to work in this field as a Medical Social Worker, make a higher financial amount which she requires because her disabilities are progressive and she will be assisting others who will be enduring the type of hospitalizations she had to deal with for many years.

Certification

Reports are to be submitted to RSA within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report. Please be reminded that you can enter data directly into RSA's website via the internet. Information on transmittal of the form is found on pages 19 and 20 of the reporting instructions.

Name of Designated Agency OfficialArizona Center for Disability Law
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed11/18/2015