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

Utah (DISABILITY LAW CENTER -- THE COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTER) - H161A150045 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Law Center
Address205 North 400 West
Address Line 2
CitySalt Lake City
StateUtah
Zip Code84103
E-mail Addressazahradnikova@disabilitylawcenter.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilitylawcenter.org
Phone801-363-1347
TTY
Toll-free Phone800-662-9080
Toll-free TTY
Fax801-363-1437

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Law Center
Address205 North 400 West
Address Line 2
CitySalt Lake City
Zip Code84103
E-mail Addressazahradnikova@disabilitylawcenter.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilitylawcenter.org
Phone801-363-1347
TTY
Toll-free Phone800-662-9080
Toll-free TTY
Fax801-363-1437

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorLindsay Boerens
Person to contact regarding reportLindsay Boerens
Contact Person Phone801-363-1347

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program50
2. Information regarding independent living programs4
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
5. Other information provided5
6. Information regarding CAP17
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)76

B. Training Activities

Basic Counselor Orientation and Training (BCOT) The DLC presented information on CAP advocacy services to attendees of a week—long training offered to new Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, benefits planners, and vocational technicians at the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation. During FY15, we provided training to 27 new staff about what they can expect when a client contacts CAP, the advocacy process, and common complaints. We also provided information on how we determine our level of involvement in CAP cases.

Disability Resource Centers (DRC) The CAP team is committed to ensuring that students in post—secondary school have access to accommodations that will help them achieve their goals.

In this spirit, we presented information on DLC services — including CAP advocacy — to 50 students and parents affiliated with Brigham Young University’s DRC and Delta Alpha Pi (International Honor Society for Students with Disabilities). Fifteen of the attendees asked specific questions about working, education, transportation, and housing issues.

We also provided information to staff at Bridgerland Applied Technology College in rural Carbon County, UT to talk about how CAP can help students receiving VR services overcome barriers to achieving their employment goals.

Independent Living Centers We recognize the importance of collaborating with our local Independent Living Centers, which provide critical services to individuals with disabilities. During FY15, we met with and provided information about the CAP program and our services to the following ILCs:

Red Rock Center for Independence — St. George, UT — 8 staff Annual ILC Conference attendees — Utah State University, Logan, UT — 20 attendees Active Re—Entry ILC — Carbon County, UT — 20 staff and volunteers

VR District Tour — Order of Selection (OOS) Presentations Following VR’s move to OOS, the CAP team developed a strategy on how to best advocate for VR clients facing issues as the agency transitioned to the new plan. We presented information to each of VR’s nine districts— reaching 170 counselors in rural and urban offices statewide. The tour was hugely successful and provided counselors with the opportunity to share their concerns and fears about moving to the OOS plan. Presentations were conducted at the following VR offices: Northern Utah District — 18 staff in attendance South Valley District — 21 staff in attendance Central District — 17 staff in attendance Davis District — 8 staff in attendance Downtown SLC District — 45 staff in attendance Ogden District — 18 staff in attendance Provo District — 18 staff in attendance Eastern Utah — 10 staff in attendance Southern Utah — 15 staff in attendance

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.3
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.216
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.

During FY15, the DLC set a goal to conduct Latino outreach in rural counties across the state — including Cache, Summit, Millard, and Carbon. We also conducted outreach in Salt Lake, Washington and Tooele counties. We set a goal to increase the number of ethnic and underserved clients by 5% above the number served in 2012 — which was 6.2%. We continue to progress in this goal and will work hard to accomplish the 5% increase by the end of FY16. During FY15, we built relationships with many different Latino organizations — which has helped us gain trust and recognition as a Latino—friendly agency. We plan to continue our presence at organizations such as the Mexican Consulate, Pulso Latino radio show, Voces de la Comunidad, Holy Cross Promortoras, and Comunidades Unidas.

We improved our Latino—focused media efforts in FY15. We had the opportunity to be featured on two Latino radio shows — Pulso Latino and Voces de la Comunidad. We created a Spanish Facebook page that gives us the opportunity to reach the Latino community through social media. We translated all DLC materials and fact sheets in Spanish.

In addition to our Latino outreach focus, the DLC CAP team also chose to focus outreach efforts to specific disability groups who may deal with unique disability—specific employment barriers. The groups identified include people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, blindness and deafness. We met with representative agencies of each identified group to discuss DLC services and how the CAP program can help clients working with VR. We met with the following groups in FY15: Huntsman Cancer Institute Utah AIDS Foundation Epilepsy Alliance of Utah Department of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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.

The DLC published a transition report based on visits to nineteen school transition programs throughout the state. The purpose of the report is to educate the public schools, Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Human Services, legislators, and the public about the current trends in Utah and legal requirements currently in place and required in the future. The report was sent to over 600 individuals from the parties listed above and the story was picked up by the Associated Press, the Salt Lake Tribune, and Channel 2 News.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV25
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals0
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency2450
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.

There were a total of 25 appearances of DLC staff in radio/TV for FY15. There were a total of 65 appearances of DLC issues online and in newspapers for FY15. According to Circulation and Distribution information, our web and newspaper appearances reached at least 8,333,951 unique browsers. We ran two English language radio advertisements and one Spanish language radio advertisement in Southern Utah to promote DLC services.

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)32
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year126
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)158
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.)9
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)21

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information5
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor18
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided95
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process30
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
14
7. Related to independent living services1
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems2
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 Assistance123
2. Investigation/Monitoring5
3. Negotiation12
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution1
5. Administrative / Informal Review2
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing2
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total145

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 favor62
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)44
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual3
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)4
5. Individual chose alternative representation1
6. Individual withdrew complaint25
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 CAP7
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.)

17 individual service requests were closed because we lost contact with the client/client never returned our attempts to contact.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual41
2. Application for services completed3
3. Eligibility determination expedited8
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided7
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party21
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office2
8. Alternative resources identified for individual37
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made9
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 183
2. 19 - 2423
3. 25 - 4054
4. 41 - 6472
5. 65 and over6
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)158

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females67
2. Males91
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)158

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)10
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native1
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American4
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White141
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown2

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury3
2. ADD/ADHD2
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities1
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder4
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder3
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)1
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)3
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)1
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy2
13. Deafness3
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)6
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy1
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions1
20. Intellectual Disability7
21. Mental Illness56
22. Multiple Sclerosis1
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment2
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment5
26. Orthopedic Impairments38
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment1
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)14
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)3
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)158

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR36
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list11
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list111
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living3
5. Transition student/High school student0
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act0

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

Systemic advocacy efforts were increased across the board in FY15 at the Disability Law Center. CAP—related systemic advocacy included the following:

Support for One—time Supplemental Funding for VR During the 2015 legislative session, our Vocational Rehabilitation agency asked the state legislature for one—time supplemental funding of $6.3 million in order to continue serving clients already in plan and receiving services. In an effort to avoid client s having critical services interrupted due to the budget shortfall, CAP advocated for the legislature to approve the one—time funding. The legislature was hesitant to support this request as the reasons behind the shortfall fell on VR’s lack of fiscal oversight. However, the legislature ultimately approved the funding and VR was able to continue providing services to clients in plan.

Vocational Rehabilitation Order of Selection (OOS) For the first time in its history, the Utah Vocational Rehabilitation program implemented an Order of Selection (OOS) plan — closing services to thousands of people with disabilities around the state. As the state’s largest Employment Network, the OOS has had a negative impact on people with disabilities attempting to enter — or re—enter — the workforce. CAP advocates focused advocacy efforts on guiding VR as they developed policies and case management procedures around OOS. We reviewed proposed policies to ensure they were consistent with the legal requirements of the Rehabilitation Act that require individuals with the most significant disabilities to be served first. We advocated for VR to make written communications readable and accessible to clients and applicants. We asked for VR to provide a process in which clients could contest their wait list status if VR had failed to develop employment plans in a timely manner. We continue to monitor VR’s activities as they plan to begin serving clients in the Most Severely Disabled (MSD) category from the wait list in November 2015. ICF/ID Resident Rights to Integrated Employment Options The CAP team started a project to assist individuals with disabilities residing in Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF/ID) in understanding their integrated employment options — with an emphasis on discussing VR services, eligibility criteria, and the application process. This project began after the DLC received feedback that many ICF/ID residents were not aware of VR services, but were excited at the possibility of working in the community. With the assistance of CAP advocates, 30 ICF/ID residents from facilities around the state completed applications for VR services. We will continue this project in FY16 by helping dispel perceived barriers by facility administration and promoting VR services to residents.

Transition Monitoring and Report The DLC conducted an extensive study of 19 transition programs in high schools and post high schools across the state. We looked at the relationship between schools and Vocational Rehabilitation. We summarized our findings in a report that was distributed to every school district and VR office in the state. Our findings showed that some schools had strong working relationships with VR, while others did not even know about VR. We provided examples in the report of successful collaborations between VR and schools — including memorandums of understanding, onsite VR programs and training, and actual internship options within post high school programs. We found that students with the most significant disabilities were often not being provided VR services. In the report we emphasized the impact of the Work Force Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and stressed our desire to see those with the most significant disabilities being evaluated and provided with work experiences. The transition report results are ongoing. We will continue our monitoring efforts by focusing on the schools where we found the most problems. The next phase of this project will begin when the WIOA regulations are implemented in 2016.

WIOA Regulations

The DLC reviewed WIOA’s proposed regulations in the summer of 2015. We provided specific feedback to the U.S. Department of Education on regulations related to coordination with schools, the Client Assistance Program, home and community based service agreements, coordination with employers, trial work experience, order of selection priorities, person—centered planning, and supported employment. Our comments strongly encouraged community integration, collaboration between agencies, and competitive employment for people with disabilities. We look forward to a response to our comments and plan to monitor the implementation at Utah’s Vocational Rehabilitation agency.

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.3
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation

N/A

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 Law Center
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)

1.53 person—years on staff. This includes the following positions and FTE equivalents: Supervising attorney .11 FTE Part—time advocate .25 FTE Part—time advocate .45 FTE Five law clerks totaling .3 FTE Support staff .2 FTE Three intake/Information & Referral Advocates totaling .18 FTE Various contributions from other staff throughout the year .04 FTE

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Under employment/Master’s Degree denial Client is 49 years old and deaf. She has worked for years as an adjunct professor teaching American Sign Language (ASL) at the college level. Due to the nature of being employed as an adjunct professor, the client feels that she has been underemployed. Unlike other professors, adjunct faculty are not guaranteed classes to teach and do not receive benefits. In order to pursue professor positions, the client needs a Master’s degree. When the client asked VR for support, she was denied and proceeded to contact the Client Assistance Program (CAP) for help. After three months of providing supporting evidence and negotiation, VR reversed their decision and provided support for the client to receive her Master’s degree.

Eligibility Client is 43 years old and has mental illness. He contacted CAP after VR found him ineligible for services. The client disagreed with VR’s decision. The client spoke with the CAP advocate and detailed his struggles with mental illness. After working for some months with a construction company, the client began having disability—related complications and his supervisor told him to stop coming to work. VR interpreted this to mean that the client chose to quit his employment. CAP provided VR with information about the client’s disability and clarified what had actually happened at his previous job. VR met with the client again for a new eligibility determination and the client was found eligible for services.

Conflict about Services Client is 44 years old and has mental illness and substance abuse disabilities. Client contacted CAP after VR refused to support client’s request for dentures. The client had attempted to find comparable services/benefits that would cover the dentures without success. VR denied the request and suggested that the client should be able to find employment without dentures. Once CAP got involved, we found evidence that the client had lost employment due to concerns about missing teeth — namely at big box stores — where the client worked in customer service. The client felt that having new dentures would improve on her poor self—esteem and give her confidence. CAP provided information to VR and asked them to reconsider their position. Ultimately, VR agreed to provide the client with dentures if she would engage in continued mental health therapy.

Informed Choice Client is 28 years old and has intellectual disabilities and mental illness. Client had been working with VR and identified an employment objective of working in the field of special education. Client made an informed choice to attend Utah State University (USU) for training. VR was not willing to support this goal and felt the client would be more successful in a program that moved at a slower pace — all due to the perceived limitations of the client’s disability. Client, however, was determined to attend USU and utilized her PELL grant and student loans to cover tuition on her own. Client was very successful at USU. She sought assistance from the university’s Disability Resource Center to get accommodations in class. The client earned a 3.0 GPA and provided VR with a copy of the transcript in hopes of getting support for the next semester. VR continued to deny support for USU. Client contacted CAP who advocated for the client to be able to choose where to go to school. After numerous meetings and communication with VR, our client was able to get support to attend USU. In addition to helping with the cost of tuition, VR also agreed to pay for tutoring and assist with child care costs.

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 OfficialAdina Zahradnikova
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/21/2015