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

Indiana (INDIANA P and A SERVICES) - H161A150015 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameIndiana Protection and Advocacy Services
Address4701 N. Keystone Ave.
Address Line 2Suite 222
Zip Code46205
Website Address
TTY 317-722-5563
Toll-free Phone1-800-622-4845
Toll-free TTY1-800-838-1131

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameIndiana Protection and Advocacy Services
Address4701 N. Keystone Ave.
Address Line 2Suite 222
Zip Code46205
E-mail Address
Website Address
Toll-free Phone1-800-622-4845
Toll-free TTY1-800-838-1131

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorCatharine M.Wingard
Person to contact regarding reportCatharine M.Wingard
Contact Person Phone812-343-4765

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program59
2. Information regarding independent living programs0
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
5. Other information provided30
6. Information regarding CAP0
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)89

B. Training Activities

There were three training topics presented this year including services available through the Client Assistance Program (CAP), volunteering, and voting rights. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors specializing in serving clients with visual impairment were provided training about CAP services in accessible format. This will enhance the service delivery to these clients. VR Area Supervisors were also provided with training about CAP so that they can disseminate the information to the many new counselors across the state. One VR office also requested and was trained on the Help America Vote Act and the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access. This information will be disseminated at this local VR office where they regularly register Indiana voters.

Volunteers from a large statewide parent advocacy group received training about individual rights and the services of Indiana Protection and Advocacy, including CAP.

IPAS was also fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as the host city for this year’s National Disability Rights Network national conference and participate in many helpful training sessions specific to our CAP work. IPAS and Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation’s Director of Business and Community Engagement were also presenters at the conference and shared Indiana—specifics on promoting and advocating small business and self employment as viable employment outcomes.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.3
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.182
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.

Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services reached an audience of more than 9500 individuals through outreach efforts across the state. Twenty—nine events were attended by advocates, many of which were held in smaller rural communities. Other unserved/underserved populations included in these outreach activities included individuals residing in state operated facilities, veterans, rural school cooperatives, employees at facility—based work settings, long term care facility residents, and large state conferences attended by individuals from multiple minority communities.

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.

1 webcast presentation 1 podcast presentation 3 advisory boards (attending quarterly meetings)

The Client Assistance Program (CAP) program coordinator continues serving as an advisory member of the Indiana Rehabilitation Services Commission (the Commission) and the Chair of the Policy Oversight and Planning and Evaluation committee. IPAS will also join the Transition Committee as the Commission reviews the changes to services per WIOA. The Commission as well as IPAS provided comment about proposed legislation to promulgate the Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) polices.

CAP is also represented as an advisory member on the Indiana Council on Independent Living (ICOIL). IPAS noted and raised concerns this year about the overall effectiveness of the Council as it appeared that the group was fractured and not moving forward with many of its goals. IPAS contacted Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living. Their representative attended an ICOIL meeting in August and offered several focus areas for ICOIL to be compliant with federal requirements. The newly—organized ICOIL reviewed WIOA highlights as it pertained to independent living services. ICOIL is in the process of reviewing and developing a new State Plan on Independent Living services. IPAS will continue to serve in the capacity of educating policy—makers about disability rights and providing comments to any proposed rules that will affect the lives of people with disabilities.

CAP outreach efforts this year included exhibits and the dissemination of information to the following groups with vested interests in serving individuals with disabilities seeking employment or providers of employment services: — Joining Community Forces, a veteran and military resource network —Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services Counselors and Supervisors —Ball State University Disability and Rehabilitation class —Indiana Blind and Visually Impaired Services Counselors —Volunteer Networking Conference —Traumatic Brain Injury Support Groups As an agency, IPAS’ efforts continue by providing individuals with disabilities and their families with information about their rights, available services, self—advocacy and other general information, including CAP services. This included outreach and education this year to residents at state—operated facilities, multiple disability—focused conferences, the annual Indiana Governor’s Council Conference, and at several large information fairs including the Autism and PATINS Project (Promoting Achievement Through Achievement and Instruction for all Students) Expos.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV2
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals0
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency10592
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.12
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.

External media coverage: Sources and information provided as follows:

Information about Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) was disseminated in a variety of ways this year with the assistance of the newly—formed Communications and Outreach Director and Communications Specialist positions. An IPAS staff attorney was featured in a press release as the recipient of the "Up & Coming Lawyer Award" press release. In June, an Amtrak press release was issued about IPAS surveys of Indiana train stations. Another press release included information about the IPAS Executive Director and Communication Director being on The Arc of Indiana Podcast. In October IPAS announced activities related to the agency’s Election Day monitoring via a press release newsletter. A new publication called "IPAS UPDATE" was forwarded to multiple entities throughout the year with information about IPAS’ new website and new goals for the year. Additional information was disseminated as follows: — IPAS UPDATE asking for help with 2016 Goals and Objectives Survey and Department of Justice (DOJ) press release that featured IPAS —Arc of Indiana newsletter welcomed new Communications Department staff — IPAS Executive Director interviewed by WFYI/Indiana Public Media regarding DOJ Letter of findings. DOJ Letter of Findings press release ran by / / / Mass Transit Infrastructure News / WFIU / WTIU (Indiana Public —IPAS Executive Director and Communication Director were interviewed by Michelle Fischer on A View from My Window podcast. — IPAS Staff Attorney interviewed for an Assistive Technology article in the August issue of Indy’s Child. — Indianapolis Star newspaper reporter interviewed IPAS Executive Director and Director of Legal Services for an upcoming article. — IPAS was consulted for a story regarding post—partum depression in African American women for the Indianapolis Recorder. —Easter Seals Crossroads sent out on its e—blog with Michelle Fischer, host of A View From My Window podcast and wrote on her blog about IPAS.

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)4
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year19
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)23
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.)1
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)8

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor12
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided0
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process6
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category0
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
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
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 Assistance8
2. Investigation/Monitoring1
3. Negotiation3
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution1
5. Administrative / Informal Review0
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing2
7. Legal remedy / Litigation6
8. Total21

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.)

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor8
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)1
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint0
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.2
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP1
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
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.)

Unknown: Client was unresponsive to agency following their initial request for assistance.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual2
2. Application for services completed3
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided3
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party5
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made1
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 181
2. 19 - 240
3. 25 - 406
4. 41 - 649
5. 65 and over7
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)23

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females9
2. Males14
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)23

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)1
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American3
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White19
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury1
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder0
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder1
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)0
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)0
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)0
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy0
13. Deafness2
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)4
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders1
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions0
20. Intellectual Disability1
21. Mental Illness6
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment0
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment2
26. Orthopedic Impairments3
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment1
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)0
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)0
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)23

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR7
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list13
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
5. Transition student/High school student1
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act2

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

Indiana ACLU entered in to a written settlement agreement, on behalf of a class of individuals, with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) in 2014 to assure that the Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services policies and procedures met the requirements of the Administrative Rules and Procedures Act (ARPA). Specifically, FSSA agreed to promulgate its rules. Indiana Protection and Advocacy (IPAS) represented the named plaintiffs in their individual cases and asked the Indiana ACLU to take the lead role in the class action part of the case. A public comment period was announced in 2015 and IPAS submitted written comments. IPAS and the Client Assistance Program (CAP) were notified in October 2015 that Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services rules had been promulgated and adopted into the Indiana Administrative Code. The class action case has now favorably concluded and the named clients have received specific relief in their individual cases.

Indiana CAP also engaged in multiple opportunities to provide public comment to include: written comment on the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, the 2016 Unified State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Department of Workforce Development , Bureau of Rehabilitation Services rule making proposals, Indiana Medicaid Community Integration and Habilitation waiver and the Home and Community—Based waiver services proposed changes, and comments to the federal Internal Revenue Services regarding regulations about ABLE accounts.

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.1
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation

Judicial review of three individual cases resulted in relief to the clients prior to the settlement agreement mentioned above in part due to the Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation rule promulgation process. In one such case, individual advocacy on behalf of one client led to precedent that assisted two other individual IPAS clients as well as others experiencing a similar situation. “Clint,” who was employed as a substitute teacher, was denied hearing aids by Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR). Clint had previously received hearing aids through VR several years ago, but, they had worn out and were no longer functional. Clint could not hear what students were saying, responses to questions in class, conversations with other teachers or administrators, or announcements over the intercom. This made it difficult for him to hear and pass along information to the absent teacher. IPAS represented Clint at a VR hearing. VR applied its replacement hearing aid standards and found that the client did not meet those standards. These standards are much tougher to meet then the standards for obtaining initial hearing aids. IPAS argued that the replacement hearing aid standards add requirements that violate the federal regulations. There is no distinction between replacement and original hearing aids in the federal regulations. Under the regulations, assistive technology, such as hearing aids, are required if they are necessary to achieve an employment outcome. The Administrative Law Judge ruled favorably to our client and found that VR’s replacement policy did violate the federal regulations. Our client has received his hearing aids as a result of IPAS advocacy. Furthermore, other IPAS clients with similar hearing aid issues also had their cases resolved favorably without the need for litigation based on the decision in this case.

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.3
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 agencyIndiana Protection and Advocacy Services
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)

1.) CAP Lead Staff Attorney: —Direct all case management within the Employment team to include the Client Assistance Program. —Represent clients with disabilities who have experienced civil rights violations through administrative and litigation processes —Provide legal direction to advocates. —Design and perform community training to educate community members regarding legal rights and obligations.

2.) CAP Program Coordinator: — Ensure timely federal grant reporting. —Serve as an advisory representative on the Indiana Commission on Rehabilitation Services. —Remain current with all issues impacting CAP. — —Ensure CAP program guidelines are followed. —Assist with report assignments. —Participate in weekly case review committee meetings. — Coordinate with the other program area staff attorneys to develop a yearly strategic plan for the area including: proposed individual advocacy cases and case selection criteria, systemic projects or potential litigation issues, and policy initiatives for presentation to the Executive Director and Legal Director.

3.) CAP Advocate II —Team Leader: Specific duties of this regionally positioned Advocate is to work with individuals with disabilities to redress individual disability rights concerns and promote system change to protect and promote the rights of individuals with disabilities. Essential Duties and Responsibilities: — Serve as a subject—matter expert to the IPAS Employment Team. ——— Provide technical assistance to other team members on advocacy tactics relating to employment. — Perform individual case advocacy as directed by staff attorney. — Assist or manages systemic projects as assigned. — Perform in public speaking for education and training purposes. — Monitor facilities as assigned. — Serve as an advisory member on the Indiana Council on Independent Living as a representative of CAP. — Assist or manages reports from the subject matter group as assigned. — Coordinate with the assigned areas attorney(s) as necessary for advocacy.

4.) CAP Advocate III: Specific duties of this regionally positioned Advocate is to work with individuals with disabilities to redress individual disability rights concerns and promote system change to protect and promote the rights of individuals with disabilities. Essential Duties/Responsibilities: —Investigate alleged civil rights violations against persons with disabilities, in reference issues related to their disabilities —Implement advocacy plans to alleviate rights violations involving persons with disabilities. —Provide information and referral services regarding regional resources. —Serve as an advisory member on the Indiana Brain Injury Association Leadership Board. —Conduct agency outreach activities specifically regarding disability rights.

During the 2015 federal fiscal year, Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) employed 29 staff members. IPAS administers eight federally—funded advocacy programs: Client Assistance Program (CAP), Protection & Advocacy: Assistive Technology (PAAT), Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS), Protection & Advocacy: Developmental Disabilities (PADD), Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI), Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR), Protection & Advocacy: Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI), Protection & Advocacy: Voting Access (PAVA).

The CAP program staff is comprised of the IPAS Employment Team to include the CAP program coordinator, one attorney and two advocates. These staff members also work under the other seven programs as needed. The time reporting system utilized by IPAS requires staff to closely track and report their work activities under each program. Bi—weekly, each staff member accounts for the amount of time worked in each program. This accounting is used to determine the portion of each staff member’s salary and benefits paid by each of the federal programs for that bi—weekly period. This cost allocation approach ensures that each funding source supports only those activities and expenses which are authorized under that source’s legislation and regulations. The number and type of positions are listed here and the “person—years” are summarized below. 1 Executive Director 1 Chief Operating & Information Officer 1 Chief Financial Officer 1 Legal Services Director 1 Director of Communication & Outreach 1 Managing Attorney 4 Staff Attorneys 2 Advocate Supervisors 2 Intake Advocates 10 Advocacy Specialists 1 Communications Specialist 1 Technology Clerk 1 Administrative Assistant 2 Accountants Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person—years Professional Full—time 27 82.09% 22.17 Part—time Vacant Clerical Full—time 2 100% 2 Part—time Vacant

Part VI. Case Examples

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

1.) “Elvis” called and requested that the Client Assistance Program (CAP) review a decision made by Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services that he was not eligible for their services. CAP agreed to review the ineligibility decision in order to determine if it was made in keeping with the Federal Rehabilitation Act. A review of the facts of the case revealed that Elvis was referred to VR and was a first time applicant. He was seeking financial assistance from VR to obtain bilateral hearing aids. He was employed as a delivery driver and reported that he was experiencing problems on the job with not being able to hear when people were talking and in noisy environments. He reported that phone conversations were also difficult. Elvis had been diagnosed with a hearing impairment fifteen years earlier and had purchased his own hearing aids three years ago. The VR counselor determined that, in comparison to a 2011 audiology evaluation, Elvis had experienced an additional four decibel loss in his hearing. The VR counselor concluded that her client did not meet the criteria for replacement hearing aids in that his hearing had not changed more than 10 decibels (per Indiana VR policy and procedure this amount of loss is required before VR will consider replacement), his job duties had not changed and his employer documented that while Elvis was having difficulties hearing, his job was not in jeopardy. VR also stated in the ineligibility determination that Elvis was requesting VR to “replace” his existing hearing aids which was also prohibited by policy. The CAP advocate reviewed all pertinent policy and determined that VR’s decision was not in keeping with the Rehabilitation Act. IPAS offered to represent Elvis at hearing. The hearing officer agreed with IPAS that the client should have been found eligible based on his hearing impairment and while his job may not have been in jeopardy, his employer verified that his hearing loss did cause problems with performing essential job functions. The client had purchased the hearing aids that were no longer working, therefore he was not asking for “replacement” hearing aids. The hearing officer agreed and ordered VR to reassess the eligibility decision. VR later found Elvis eligible for services, determined that he did need new aids, and developed a plan that allowed Elvis to retain employment in his chosen field. As a result of CAP involvement, VR retrained all Rehabilitation Counselor’s for the Deaf (RCD) to address the systemic problem in eligibility determinations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

2.) “Jean” contacted CAP when VR informed her that they would not proceed with a planned home modification due to her mortgage payment being past due. After a thorough fact finding, the advocate concluded that per policy, VR was not allowed to deny services on this basis. CAP agreed to represent Jean through the mediation process. An agreement was reached at a mediation conference which included Jean’s commitment to pay down late fees and her detailed account of her ability to access emergency funds for mortgage payments in the future if needed. This outcome allowed Jean to move forward in her search for employment and to leave and return to her home safely thanks to the necessary physical home modifications and assistive technology that VR agreed to provide.

3.) CAP was contacted by “Howard” who reported that he wanted to work, needed help getting a job, sought and received services from VR but that recently, VR had closed his case. He asked CAP for assistance through the appeal process. The advocate contacted Howard’s VR counselor and learned that VR had not actually closed his case in the database. The counselor explained that he had been on sick leave for an extended amount of time, had not heard from Howard recently, but had not closed the case. The advocate orchestrated a meeting between the counselor and the client to review the client’s employment plan and any problems that had been identified with past services. VR then agreed to keep his current case open. The line of communication was reestablished between the client and his counselor. Howard now has a revised plan that includes services that best meet his needs in order for him to achieve his employment goal. CAP involvement on the VR Commission has provided an opportunity to discuss counselor caseloads and the VR operations staff’s efforts to fill many vacant counselor positions.

4.) “Libby” called CAP after she was told by a VR secretary that she was not eligible for VR services. CAP discovered that she had not been afforded the opportunity to complete an application for services. This was brought to the VR Supervisor’s attention. The advocate reviewed the situation and advocated on Libby’s behalf by assisting her through the VR application process. She now awaits an eligibility determination and she has been informed of the availability of CAP services if needed in the future.


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 OfficialDawn M. Adams
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/21/2015