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

New York (Disability Rights New York) - H161A150065 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights New York (DRNY)
Address725 Broadway
Address Line 2Suite 450
CityAlbany
StateNew York
Zip Code12207
E-mail Addressmail@drny.org
Website Addresshttp://www.drny.org
Phone518-432-7861
TTY 518-512-3448
Toll-free Phone800-993-8982
Toll-free TTY800-993-8982
Fax518-427-6561

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/CoordinatorErica M. Molina, Esq.
Person to contact regarding reportErica M. Molina, Esq.
Contact Person Phone518-432-7861

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program63
2. Information regarding independent living programs2
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA4
5. Other information provided35
6. Information regarding CAP13
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)117

B. Training Activities

**Note** Note: In New York, the state vocational rehabilitation agencies are the New York State Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) and the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB). The former is a general VR agency serving people with all disabilities except blindness, while the latter is a VR agency only serving those who are blind.

DRNY has been successful in conducting several trainings about the CAP program and other Rehabilitation Act-related programs and projects throughout FY 2015.

In FY 2015, DRNY made it an agency-wide goal to conduct outreaches and trainings throughout the entire state. This was a goal to which all CAP staff contributed greatly. DRNY conducted trainings at ACCES-VR and NYSCB agency district offices and satellite offices. These trainings were conducted with the goal of educating the attendees about the P&A system, the CAP program, and DRNY’s priorities. The attendees at these VR office-focused trainings included VR counselors, senior VR counselors, directors of counseling, district office managers, and statewide-level VR administrative staff.

DRNY also conducted trainings in other venues. These trainings covered several topics, including training on the ADA and its effect on persons with disabilities in the workplace; ADA-compliant accessibility standards at a law school; pre-employment transition planning and assistive technology services available through VR; self-direction; and the reintegration and employment of persons with disabilities with regard to the Olmstead decision. DRNY collaborated with Cornell University and Albany Law School for some of these trainings. During these presentations, DRNY’s scope of services was explained, and questions from the audience were answered. The audience at these trainings included adults and youth with disabilities; their families; disability advocates; attorneys; law students; and VR and ILC personnel.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.38
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.630
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.

DRNY has made a great effort in conducting outreach and providing services to individuals in previously unserved or underserved groups. These efforts include maintaining and strengthening its relationship with the two tribal VR councils in the state: the Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal VR Program and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) VR Program. DRNY is represented on the Seneca Nation’s Tribal VR Council, which meets about once a month and whose members include ILC and ACCES-VR representatives. DRNY is represented on both the ACCES-VR and NYSCB State Rehabilitation Councils along with the SRMT. DRNY also attended this year’s Disability Awareness Day hosted by the SRMT.

DRNY has conducted extensive outreach to the transition age population in light of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s emphasis on pre-employment transition planning. DRNY conducted several outreaches targeting this population. Such events have been held at school transition fairs; special needs and family support fairs; hospitals; non-profit legal agencies; and Special Education PTA meetings.

DRNY has also focused its efforts to those people with disabilities who work in sheltered workshops at a subminimum wage rate. DRNY staff conducted outreach at these workshops.

DRNY attended the Resource Fair and Educational Conference in the Korean-American Community. Over 50 parents, family members, and people with developmental disabilities attended the Fair and some have contacted DRNY for services.

DRNY also attended NYC’s First Annual Disability Pride Parade, where about 75 people received information. DRNY was also represented at the New York Metro Abilities Expo, at which information about DRNY services was shared with about 100 attendees.

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.

DRNY has worked to make sure that the agency is recognized as a resource for people with disabilities seeking services under the Rehabilitation Act. This includes disseminating brochures and other resources to clients, the public, and stakeholders. DRNY’s Intake Specialists also provide information to the public. DRNY’s information is also provided to the public by VR agencies and ILCs, resulting in many new referrals from these and other organizations.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV2
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals15
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency1
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency1237
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.6
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)185
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year200
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)385
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.)23
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)157

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information15
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor100
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided196
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process54
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
36
7. Related to independent living services1
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems4
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  2. SSI/SSDI
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
1
10. Related to Title I of the ADA2

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 Assistance82
2. Investigation/Monitoring29
3. Negotiation117
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution6
5. Administrative / Informal Review15
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing3
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total252

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 favor117
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)37
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual12
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)6
5. Individual chose alternative representation4
6. Individual withdrew complaint40
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor1
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.20
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP15
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.)

5 Other:

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual71
2. Application for services completed16
3. Eligibility determination expedited4
4. Individual participated in evaluation9
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided59
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party40
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office24
8. Alternative resources identified for individual23
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 186
2. 19 - 2456
3. 25 - 4082
4. 41 - 64220
5. 65 and over21
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)385

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females175
2. Males210
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)385

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)43
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian7
4. Black or African American125
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White173
7. Two or more races16
8. Race/ethnicity unknown18

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury8
2. ADD/ADHD7
3. AIDS/HIV7
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities2
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder2
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder11
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)4
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)19
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)7
11. Cancer3
12. Cerebral Palsy5
13. Deafness16
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)9
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes3
17. Digestive Disorders1
18. Epilepsy2
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions4
20. Intellectual Disability20
21. Mental Illness107
22. Multiple Sclerosis1
23. Muscular Dystrophy1
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment9
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment18
26. Orthopedic Impairments53
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment1
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)38
31. Speech Impairments2
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)11
34. Other Disability14
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)385

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR134
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list255
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living5
5. Transition student/High school student2
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act7

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

Disability Etiquette: DRNY witnessed questionable behavior by an impartial hearing officer (IHO) at one of its recent hearings. DRNY brought this issue to ACCES-VR’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). DRNY recommended that disability etiquette training be provided to all IHOs at their next training. The goal would be for IHOs to achieve an understanding of clients’ disabilities, and how those disabilities may manifest themselves at impartial hearings or otherwise affect the client during the proceedings. DRNY’s recommendation was accepted by ACCES-VR. The agency has planned for disability etiquette training to be provided to IHOs at its upcoming training in 2016.

Pre-Employment Transition: DRNY provided services to the pre-employment transition population. DRNY began creating a Transition Planning Guide that will explain the process and benefits available from various agencies and programs which will assist transition youth and their families in effectively planning for services leading to an ultimate goal of competitive employment.

Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities: In FY 2015, New York State’s Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) made public an agreement with ACCES-VR which effectively excludes individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from receiving VR services. DRNY is continuing to advocate systemically on this matter to ensure that these individuals are not denied the benefits of the VR system.

DRNY developed 10 CAP program priorities for FY 2015, by which the program was able to focus its resources on certain substantive areas while providing the public with a clear articulation of issues DRNY might be able to assist them with. The FY 2015 priorities, copied below, help in identifying and monitoring systemic problems as well. DRNY will use its new CAP priorities in the coming fiscal year to inform its advocacy efforts.

Priority I

Advocate for those who are in the process of applying for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services while ensuring the legal standards for findings of eligibility and ineligibility are maintained by the VR agencies.

Priority II

Advocate for those who are in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) development or implementation stages of the VR process in an effort to ensure a suitable employment goal consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of individuals, as well as timely execution of VR services.

Priority III

Advocate for those who are seeking college and/or graduate school support from their VR agency in an effort to achieve their IPE goal.

Priority IV

Advocate for those students with disabilities who, while still in secondary school programs, require transition planning services in conjunction with an appropriate VR agency.

Priority V

Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking support from their VR agency in their goal of self-employment.

Priority VI

Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking transportation and/or vehicle modification assistance from VR agencies in an effort to achieve their IPE goal.

Priority VII

Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking assistive technology and/or rehabilitative technology in an effort to achieve their IPE goal.

Priority VIII

Advocate for those clients and applicants of federally funded independent living centers.

Priority IX

Provide technical assistance and information to those applicants and clients who qualify for services and benefits under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or Social Security work incentives such as PASS Plans and Ticket to Work.

Priority X

Conduct an outreach and education campaign to ensure that individuals in underserved and unserved communities throughout New York State know about the Protection & Advocacy system, understand their rights, and can access appropriate Client Assistance Program services.

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

DRNY did not have any systemic litigation activity involving individual representation. Instead, DRNY’s efforts to resolve disputes using alternative methods were very successful. DRNY participated in informal meetings, written and in-person negotiations, and mediation, to successfully represent its clients.

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 agencyDisability Rights New York
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 positionFull-time equivalent% of year position filledPerson-years
Professional6.54
Full-time6.54100%6.54
Part-time000
Vacant00%0
Clerical0.82
Full-time0.73489.5%0.657
Part-time000
Vacant0.8610.5%0.009

Professional FTE

DRNY paid 13 professional staff in the 2015 fiscal year from Section 112 funds. Allowing for the timing of hires during the year as well as the percentage of indirect staff time allocated to Section 112 funds the 13 professional EE’s equate to 6.54 FTE. During FY 2015, 100% of the full time professional positions were filled for 12 months equating to 6.54 person years. The vacancies for FY 2015 equate to 0% of the positions unfilled. DRNY did not have any part time Professional employees during FY 2015.

Clerical FTE

DRNY paid 10 clerical staff in the 2015 fiscal year from Section 112 funds. Allowing for the timing of hires during the year as well as the percentage of indirect staff time allocated to Section 112 funds the 10 EE’s equate to .82 FTE. During FY 2015, 89.5% of the full time positions were filled for 12 months equating to .657 person years. The vacancies for FY 2015 equate to 10.5% of the positions unfilled which equals .086 FTE’s totaling .009 person years. DRNY did not have any part time clerical employees during FY 2015.

Part VI. Case Examples

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

***Note*** DRNY’s FY 2014 number reported for individuals who were being served as of October 1, 2014 (reported in FY 2014’s RSA-227 in response I.C.) does not match the FY 2015 reported number for individuals still being served as October 1, 2014 (reported in this report at II.A.1.). This is due to changes during the 2015 fiscal year to certain service requests by which some case services were reclassified as I&Rs, and vice versa, based on activity or outcome. The numbers reported on this report are accurate as of October 1, 2015.***

DRNY represented a 52-year-old man with schizophrenia who sought the approval of an IPE goal as a welder. Our client was seeking financial and other support to achieve this goal. Due to concerns based on his physical and academic abilities, this IPE goal was denied. DRNY represented the client at an administrative review and then at an impartial hearing. At the hearing, DRNY successfully obtained ACCES-VR’s approval to support the IPE goal of “Welder.” VR also agreed to fund the client for the first course in the welding program at his chosen vocational school. Based on his performance in the first course, VR approved the rest of the training. The client began his welding classes in summer 2015, and continues to be successful.

DRNY represented a 70-year-old woman with blindness who was a client of NYSCB and had been a longtime vendor and manager in the agency’s Business Enterprise Program (BEP). Her license to operate any BEP store was revoked due to customer complaints. She sought assistance at an impartial hearing to regain it. Prior to the hearing, DRNY negotiated a settlement for the client which included back payments from the date of revocation, plus interest, as well as a one-time lump-sum payment and standard retirement benefits. The hearing request was withdrawn and the client was very satisfied with the outcome.

DRNY represented a 22-year-old man with intellectual disabilities and speech impairment. He was an ACCES-VR client and requested DRNY’s assistance in having his college tuition support and funding continued. The service had been abruptly discontinued after his GPA fell just below the minimum required by VR policy. DRNY represented the client at his administrative review and argued that ACCES-VR did not discuss with him how to improve his academic performance, nor were available support services such as tutoring explored. As a result of DRNY’s efforts, the agency agreed to support the client in his attendance at college.

DRNY represented a 63-year-old male with mental illness. He sought DRNY’s assistance in having his impartial hearing request accepted by ACCES-VR. In 2012, he had previously been denied a due process hearing regarding a delay in his IPE development. He then requested a new impartial hearing in FY 2015, regarding the same issue of a failure to create an IPE. His hearing request was denied due to the previous finding against the client. DRNY successfully argued that this was a new hearing request regarding a different period of time. ACCES-VR agreed and a new hearing was scheduled.

DRNY represented a 56-year-old woman with mental illness and specific learning disabilities. She sought reassignment to a new VR counselor and also needed assistance in advocating for college funding toward a goal of becoming an early education music teacher. DRNY was able to obtain a new VRC reassignment. DRNY advocated for the provision of tutoring and assistive technology to this client and also provided the client with extensive counseling on self-advocacy and education on her rights with regard to VR. The client is successfully attending school with VR support and is on her way to earning her teaching license.

DRNY represented a 55-year-old man with orthopedic and physical impairments whose case had been closed at ACCES-VR. The client sought assistance from ACCES-VR to become a diamond cutter. The client’s case had been closed due to a lapse in communication with his counselor. DRNY assisted the client in reapplying for VR services and his eligibility determination was expedited. As a result of DRNY’s efforts, he was soon assigned a new VR counselor, with whom he reports having a productive working relationship.

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 OfficialErica M. Molina, Esq.
Title of Designated Agency OfficialCAP Director
Date Signed12/18/2015