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

New York (Disability Rights New York) - H161A160065 - FY2016

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)

NameDisability Rights New York (DRNY)
Address725 Broadway
Address Line 2Suite 450
CityAlbany
Zip Code12207
E-mail Addressmail@drny.org
Website Addresshttp://www.drny.org
Phone518-432-7861
TTY518-512-3448
Toll-free Phone800-993-8982
Toll-free TTY800-993-8982
Fax518-427-6561

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) program51
2. Information regarding independent living programs3
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA1
5. Other information provided26
6. Information regarding CAP10
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)91

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 2016. DRNY continues to attend staff meetings at ACCES-VR and NYSCB agency district offices and satellite offices with the goal of educating the attendees about the P&A system, the CAP program, and DRNY’s priorities. The attendees at these meetings have 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 information and resources available through the P&A and CAP system. During these presentations, DRNY’s history and scope of services were explained, and questions from the audience were answered. The audiences at these trainings included adults and youth with disabilities; their families; disability advocates; attorneys; and NYS Department of Labor, VR, and ILC personnel.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.4
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.121
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 continued its tradition of conducting outreach at SRMT’s Annual Disability Awareness Day event, which 220 people attended in FY 2016.

DRNY is represented on both the ACCES-VR and NYSCB State Rehabilitation Councils. DRNY is likewise represented on the Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities. The Council is overseen by the NYS Education Department and its efforts are directly in line with working to increase and improve the opportunities available to the transition-age and postsecondary student population.

DRNY has also been focusing its efforts on those people with disabilities who work in sheltered workshops at a subminimum wage rate. DRNY staff conducted outreach at these workshops and will be organizing further outreach efforts within the agency for FY 2017.

DRNY continued its 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-sponsored transition and college fairs; special needs and family support fairs; and Special Education PTA meetings.

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.

***Note that Items 1 thru 3 directly above are the numbers reported by CAP only. The numbers are higher if all other DRNY programs are taken into account as well.***

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 Agency884
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.9
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)154
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year235
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)389
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.)33
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)93

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information14
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor124
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided203
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process41
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
29
7. Related to independent living services5
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems6
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  2. SSI/SSDI
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
1
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 Assistance112
2. Investigation/Monitoring73
3. Negotiation131
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution8
5. Administrative / Informal Review5
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing1
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total330

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 (one) other: DRNY obtained a successful outcome at mediation, but the client then changed his mind and requested an impartial hearing, against DRNY advice, thus nulling the mediation results.

***Note on Lack of Resources*** Client sought representation at her upcoming impartial hearing. DRNY declined due to lack of staff resources at the time. Short-term technical assistance was provided to the client to help her prepare for her impartial hearing, in the event she chose to pursue it pro se.

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor120
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)51
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual27
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)8
5. Individual chose alternative representation2
6. Individual withdrew complaint54
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.44
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP22
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources1
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.)

4 (four) Other:

----------------

1. DRNY was unable to communicate effectively or productively with the client, who refused to discuss his impartial hearing issues in substance. DRNY was unable to properly assess the matter for potential representation.

2. Client requested that DRNY help close her VR case. It was closed, and DRNY also confirmed her Ticket to Work was unassigned from VR.

3. DRNY agreed to represent the client for an impartial hearing. Before the hearing, DRNY obtained a settlement for him, to which he agreed.

4. The client’s ACCES-VR case was closed and his Ticket to Work was unassigned from the VR agency, as requested.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual128
2. Application for services completed20
3. Eligibility determination expedited4
4. Individual participated in evaluation17
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided63
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party55
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office26
8. Alternative resources identified for individual13
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 188
2. 19 - 2447
3. 25 - 4099
4. 41 - 64215
5. 65 and over20
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)389

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females172
2. Males217
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)389

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)45
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian15
4. Black or African American111
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White196
7. Two or more races13
8. Race/ethnicity unknown7

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury10
2. ADD/ADHD5
3. AIDS/HIV9
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities3
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism1
6. Anxiety Disorder5
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder23
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)4
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)12
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)5
11. Cancer3
12. Cerebral Palsy14
13. Deafness21
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)8
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes4
17. Digestive Disorders1
18. Epilepsy2
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions4
20. Intellectual Disability18
21. Mental Illness106
22. Multiple Sclerosis3
23. Muscular Dystrophy3
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment7
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment15
26. Orthopedic Impairments53
27. Personality Disorders1
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment1
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)37
31. Speech Impairments1
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)6
34. Other Disability4
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)389

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR99
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list291
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living11
5. Transition student/High school student1
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

Sub-Minimum Wage Workers: DRNY continued to perform walkthroughs and outreaches to sheltered workshops into FY 2016. In keeping with WIOA’s amendments to the Rehabilitation Act and its corresponding federal regulations, which became effective in September 2016, DRNY began meeting with VR agencies and also collaborating internally to execute more extensive outreach activity to this population.

State & City Universities: DRNY began an outreach campaign to all Disability Services Offices in the SUNY/CUNY system (comprised of all the NY State- and NYC-run colleges and universities). DRNY has successfully conducted several outreaches to these schools, thus furthering its exposure to youth and the college and university student population, in particular. This endeavor will continue in the coming fiscal year.

Pre-Employment Transition: DRNY has remained focused on its efforts to better serve the pre-employment transition population, in keeping with WIOA’s emphasis on the group. DRNY has attended several transition group meetings, transition fairs, and Special Education PTA events to further this mission. Also, the CAP Director Chairs the Data Collection Committee of the Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities, a group aimed at formally submitting recommendations to the State Education Department and VR agencies on better tracking of the successes of students with disabilities, from primary education, thru the transition period, to employment.

ILC Grievance Policies: DRNY also has reached out to all federally funded ILCs in the state to ensure that their grievance policies contain the most up-to-date information to obtain the CAP services for which an ILC applicant or client may be eligible. This project has a second objective as well, and staff have been able to network with the ILCs around the state, and outreaches by DRNY have been conducted as a result.

Priorities: DRNY developed 12 CAP program priorities to be in effect from FY 2016 thru FY 2018. With these priorities, DRNY has been able to focus its resources on certain substantive areas while providing the public with a clear articulation of issues with which DRNY might be able to assist. They help in identifying and monitoring systemic problems as well. This latest set of priorities include two new priorities added since FY 2015: one pertaining to the (re)establishment of working relationships between VR counselors and their clients, as well as another focusing on those who are paid subminimum wage. DRNY will continue to use these CAP priorities (copied below) 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 to establish or reestablish communication and/or a productive working relationship with their vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC).

Priority IV

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 V

Advocate for the provision of pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities who require and are eligible or potentially eligible for such services under Section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Priority VI

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

Priority VII

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 VIII

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

Priority IX

Advocate for those eligible for services under Section 511 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, related to the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities.

Priority X

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

Priority XI

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 XII

Conduct an outreach and education campaign to ensure that individuals in underserved and unserved communities throughout New York State understand their rights, know about the Protection & Advocacy system, 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.0
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
Professional7.77
Full-time6.9289%6.84
Part-time000
Vacant0.8511%0.85
Clerical0.90
Full-time0.8392%0.83
Part-time000
Vacant0.078%0.07

Professional FTE

DRNY paid 14 professional staff in the 2016 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 14 professional EE’s equate to 7.77 FTE. During FY 2016, 89% of the full time professional positions were filled for 12 months equating to 6.84 person years. The vacancies for FY 2016 equate to 11% of the positions unfilled. DRNY did not have any part time professional employees during FY 2016.

Clerical FTE

DRNY paid 12 clerical staff in the 2016 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 12 EE’s equate to .90 FTE. During FY 2016, 92% of the full time positions were filled for 12 months equating to .83 person years. The vacancies for FY 2016 equate to 8% of the positions unfilled which equals .07 FTE’s totaling .07 person years. DRNY did not have any part time clerical employees during FY 2016.

Part VI. Case Examples

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

***Note*** DRNY’s FY 2015 number reported for individuals who were being served as of September 30, 2015 (reported in FY 2015’s RSA-227 in response II.A.5.) does not match the FY 2016 reported number for individuals still being served as of October 1, 2015 (reported in this report at II.A.1.). This is due to changes during the 2016 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, 2016.***

DRNY represented a 47-year-old man with mental illness. The client had issues in communicating with his VR counselor. As an assistant college professor, he sought financial assistance to attend writing classes so that he could earn tenure at his college. DRNY represented the client in negotiations, after which ACCES-VR agreed to continue his supports through the 2016-2017 academic year. ACCES-VR also agreed to vendorize the client’s chosen vocational training program for academic researchers so he could continue his education and writing skills.

DRNY represented a 27-year-old woman with an eating disorder, learning disorder, and anxiety. She wanted to reestablish communication with her VR counselor and was also seeking assistance in advocating for graduate school sponsorship through ACCES-VR. The client aspired to be a Clinical Psychologist and was a senior in college. ACCES-VR denied the client graduate school support, citing her cognitive and neuropsychological abilities to complete such a program. Another reason for the denial was based upon the client’s lower grades earlier in her academic career, before proper diagnosis and treatments for her disabilities were established. She was a student on the Dean’s List at the time of DRNY’s intervention. DRNY advised the client on self-advocacy skills and negotiated on her behalf with ACCES-VR. She was eventually granted full graduate school sponsorship, including books and tuition.

DRNY represented a 52-year-old man with HIV/AIDS. Before DRNY’s intervention, an initial attempt at an ACCES-VR case, in which nursing training was approved for the client, was unsuccessful. The client was unable to attend his approved training due to personal matters. The client later reapplied for services and was assigned a new counselor. His new counselor insisted that the client was job ready and additional training was not necessary for the client to gain competitive employment. ACCES-VR claimed that his desired IPE goal of Radiology Technician was inappropriate due to physical limitations in his file. The client produced medical records that indicated that he was able to perform all essential duties. DRNY then successfully countered the VR counselor’s assertions that the client pursue the IPE goal of Medical Assistant. The client was finally approved for sponsorship toward his chosen IPE goal. His supports included tuition, books and transportation.

DRNY represented a 72-year-old woman with a vision impairment. The client was working with NYS Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) to obtain employment. However, the client wanted NYSCB to provide her with additional computer training. She thought that learning the computer would help her obtain employment faster. NYSCB concluded that specific computer training was not necessary at the time because the client had yet to reach employment. DRNY advised the client in self-advocacy skills to help her communicate to her job coach her concerns regarding a lack of training. DRNY also assisted the client in formatting a list of disability-related accommodations and training needs the client may self-advocate for once hired. Through learning self-advocacy skills, the client gained self-confidence, which allowed her to communicate with others more freely about her disability.

DRNY represented a 44-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis, heart, and other circulatory conditions. ACCES-VR encouraged the client to seek employment from home due to her disabilities. Before approving an IPE goal of dietician, which would allow her to work outside the home, ACCES-VR wanted the client to demonstrate her ability to work or volunteer for at least 20 hours per week over a period of 2 to 3 months before agreeing to school sponsorship. The client obtained a job through her local gym and achieved this goal, and funding for college was provided for via DRNY’s negotiation on behalf of the client. Also, DRNY worked extensively on finding a solution to the client’s lack of healthcare coverage, which in itself was another barrier to her employment goals. She was in danger of losing her health insurance coverage and losing critical medications. As a result of DRNY negotiation, ACCES-VR provided the funds for her needed medication while she waited for her Medicaid to go into effect. The client is now successfully attending school.

DRNY represented a 41-year-old man with a traumatic brain injury. He was, at the time of DRNY intervention, seeking ACCES-VR’s approval of a small business plan. As a result of many meetings with ACCES-VR and efforts by the client and various potential providers, he decided that a small business venture as a franchise or liquor store owner was not the right IPE goal for him at the time. He opted to turn back to his previous experience in the field of insurance sales. DRNY advocated on behalf of the client and after extensive negotiation, the IPE goal of Supported Employment - Insurance Claims or Processing Clerk was signed and agreed upon. The appropriate job development services were put into place and the client was able to begin moving toward his employment goal.

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 Signed12/22/2016