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

Pennsylvania (Center for Disability Law and Policy) - H161A160039 - FY2016

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameCenter for Disability Law & Policy
Address1515 Market Street
Address Line 2Suite 1300
Zip Code19102
Website Address
Phone215 557 7112
TTY 215 557 7112
Toll-free Phone1-888-745-2357
Toll-free TTY1-888-745-2357
Fax215 557 7602

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

Address Line 2
Zip Code
E-mail Address
Website Address
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorStephen S. Pennington
Person to contact regarding reportStephen S. Pennington
Contact Person Phone215-564-2363

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program571
2. Information regarding independent living programs86
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA116
5. Other information provided329
6. Information regarding CAP112
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)1,214

B. Training Activities

In fiscal year 2016, it became very clear how significant our steadfast outreach to the VR offices statewide has become and it became evident how much these offices value our relationship as a partner in the process and not as an adversary. Our meeting and training of new staff in addition to our continued relationship building with some of the "veteran" staff members, has reaped many benefits not only for us as advocates but for our clients this year. Our training to VR staff this year truly highlighted CAP’s role in bridging the communication gap between the client and the VR staff. In our trainings, we focused spending time clarifying our role in a client’s case. We focused on this to make both parties aware of their rights and responsibilities and well as relevant law & policy. We also stressed that we are here for the VR staff as well as for the clients. Our message this year resonated within all the VR offices that we strongly encourage calls from VR staff whenever they believe they need some guidance or another pair of ears or eyes for a case. We hired a new advocate in December 2015 and we spent a lot of time training her this year. In training her, we had an opportunity to revisit and refresh ourselves on CAP’s mission. Although we did not make it to all the district offices in 2016, we did visit most of them as we introduced our newest advocate. The CAP staff made an extra effort to build positive rapport with the VR district offices in FY ’16. In December, CAP advocates Margaret McKenna and Julia Blackwell were invited to speak at Philadelphia OVR staff meeting to train their new counselors on cap services and how we can be a resource to them. CAP staff had the opportunity to meet with Harrisburg OVR staff in April. The advocates met with the district administrators and assistant district administrators for both the BVRS and the BBVS offices. CAP had the opportunity to provide training to the BBVS district administrator and assistant district administrator as both were newly appointed and had not worked for BBVS previously. In September, the CAP staff was invited to attended the quarterly district administrator/assistant district administrator meeting in Dubois, PA. Executive Director, Stephen Pennington and advocate, Julia Blackwell attended the meeting to speak about how CAP can assist VR staff. While in Dubois, Stephen and Julia also stopped at the Dubois VR district office.

As part of our outreach efforts to visit district offices, the CAP staff ventured to the western part of the state. Our first stop was a visit to the Washington OVR district office. While at Washington, we introduced the new CAP staff members and we were introduced to both new and existing OVR staff members. We met with the Assistant District Administrator and 2 supervisors. In addition to management, we also met with their Business Service Representative. We talked to the staff about the upcoming changes to WIOA and how they plan to prepare. The Assistant District Administrator informed us that they are ahead of the game and Washington OVR has secured two certified providers for Pre-Employment Transition Services. We also met with the District Administrator and Assistant District Administrator and about 20 staff members at the Pittsburgh OVR office where we also discussed the recent changes regarding transition services. Pittsburgh OVR has the largest staff of any VR office in the state. Pittsburgh OVR serves about 70 school districts throughout the Western part of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh OVR has been reaching out to providers such as Goodwill Industries and ACHIEVA to help them become certified for Pre-Employment Transition Services. We also visited the Pittsburgh BBVS Office where we met with the District Administrator, Assistant District Administrator, and 2 supervisors. They updated us on their involvement with the PA Association for the Blind working with the Center for Independent Living on a grant with the Deaf-Blind population. And finally, CAP Advocates learned exciting news that the Governor instituted an internship program that allows 4 high students to work this summer in the district offices: Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Erie and Pittsburgh. Our last stop was State Representative Dan Miller’s Disability and Mental Health Summit in Pittsburgh as a vendor for the Employment & Transition Resource Fair. Now in its 3rd year, the Summit is a free event for children, youth, families & teachers to attended and learn more about resources and providers for children with disabilities. We were delighted to be one of 62 vendors at the Employment & Transition fair on Friday March 4th. The fair provided us with the opportunity to connect with approximately 300 parents, students and other providers. CAP Advocates, Margaret McKenna, and Lannette Suarez made a planned visit to the Reading Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Each CAP advocate presented to the OVR staff and answered various questions on the scope of CAP services. In addition, CAP Advocate Lannette Suarez provided training to approximately 25 VR staff on self-advocacy, individual advocacy and systemic advocacy. We gave the Reading OVR District Administrator about 200 brochures to be disseminated to their staff members. In the month of June of 2016, CAP Advocates ventured to the Allentown Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. This was a great way to meet staff and reconnect with other staff members. There were about 20 staff members in attendance. Each CAP advocate played a key role and gave a presentation on CAP services and the importance of collaborating with CAP staff. Furthermore, CAP Advocate Lannette Suarez provided a brief training on self-advocacy and individual advocacy. It is extremely important for CAP to continue meeting with VR staff on a consistent basis so that we can develop a good working relationship with VR staff. CAP staff handed out approximately 100 brochures to the DA to be disseminated to the staff members. We also referred the staff to our website and face book page.

As many of the OVR offices had an abundance of newly hired counselors this year, CAP was invited to speak at these offices to train new counselors on CAP’s role in the VR process and how CAP can be a resource to them. Veteran advocate, Margaret McKenna, visited both Norristown and Wilkes-Barre OVR to present to the new counselors. At Norristown OVR she spoke with 10 new staff including 2 interns. At Wilkes-Barre OVR, Margaret again presented on CAP services. CAP staff met with 5 new staff members and spent time talking with more familiar staff, too. Margaret also spent the Early Reach Coordinator (ERC) about her role in transition and how CAP can be a resource to her. While in Wilkes-Barre, Margaret had the opportunity to present to the Wilkes-Barre Consumer Advisory Council (CAC). There were 8 CAC members present and 3 participated by phone. Members on the CAC call were: the local Center for Independent Living, local community college and a local job placement provider. These visits absolutely help in building, nurturing and improving our relationships with VR staff. Staff become more comfortable with CAP advocates, we strengthen our VR connection and in the end clients may have a smoother and more successful experience. A highlight of FY ’16 for the Pennsylvania CAP was being invited by OVR central office staff to present on their “WIOA Wednesday” broadcast. WIOA Wednesday is a weekly tele broadcast that OVR records at chosen district office and it is broadcast to all district offices. Advocates Margaret McKenna, Julia Blackwell, and Lannette Suarez spoke in a question and answer format on the history, services, misconceptions, and our current goals to help VR customers. This outreach was viewed by approximately 500 OVR staff statewide. In August, the CAP advocates were invited to speak at Williamsport OVR to speak to their staff about CAP increased efforts to outreach to the transition population, CAP efforts to gain a better understanding of the new federal regulations by reaching out to a former RSA specialist for training, and how CAP can be a resource to VR counselors who are at a standstill with difficult clients. While out on the road outreaching, the CAP advocates continued their day by stopping at the local Center for Independent Living in Williamsport, PA (Roads to Freedom). CAP advocates met with the director of the CIL to discuss how we can be of assistance to Roads to Freedom. CAP staff also received a tour and discussion of new and existing programs. Advocate Margaret McKenna was excited to be asked once again to be a participant in the BBVS Summer Academy. Margaret provided training and awareness to 30 blind and visually impaired students from across the state. Margaret was one of 13 career panelists and spoke about her own legal blindness and the compensatory strategies, advocacy, determinations she has developed and how she has made good connections within the disability community which all helped her in being the successful passionate advocate she is today.

As part of her training, Margaret spent a lot of time discussing the importance of being your own advocate and some helpful strategies for self-advocating. She also spent time detailing the required components of the Individualized Plan for Employment to these students and how this is the cornerstone of receiving cost services, training on working closely with your BBVS counselor in developing a goal which is consistent with your abilities, capabilities, interests and is available in the labor market She also stressed how important it is for them to make the Office of Disability Services their first contact when selecting a college.

Thanks to CAP Advocate Margaret McKenna’s many transition connections she was invited to the Vanguard School Resource and Transition Fair in October 2016. She had a chance to speak individually with many of the 60-65 students and parents who benefitted from this resource fair. Margaret provided training in self-advocacy, how to receive needed vocational services from OVR with less difficulty, gave students clarification regarding their rights and responsibilities, and a brief tutorial on the development of the students Individualized Plan for Employment.

The 60 parents and students had a lot of questions and were very appreciative to learn some information about what to expect and how to make a smoother "transition" from high school to OVR. The purpose of this training was to help this population become more informed about the OVR process and some tips on how they can have a successful vocational rehabilitation experience which will hopefully enable them to become a productive and independent young adult. This outreach/training also highlights our outreach and services to these underserved populations autism, intellectual disability and speech-language.

In June of 2016, advocate Lannette Suarez was asked to speak at the Education and Employment Fair held at the Carousel House in Fairmount Park. Many providers, families and person with disabilities attended this great affair to obtain information about resources that are available for the disabled. CAP Advocate gave a presentation to about 50 people in the disability community about the role of CAP in the VR system. In addition, Lannette also provided training to about 25 people on self-advocacy and updated them on the increased emphasis of VR providing Pre-Employment Transition Services. After training session, CAP set up an informational table and handed out information to about 200 providers, families and individuals with disabilities.

CAP is very committed to the MS population. As part of the CAP staff, our part time clerical position is an individual with MS and we see first-hand the debilitating effects of this life changing disability. One of our first and probably one of our largest outreach events in the beginning of FY 2016 was CAP hosting an exhibit table and giving a brief presentation/training at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Resource Fair. There were close to 500 registered participants comprised of individuals who have MS, their families and caring supports, and various and many professionals who are committed to helping to improve the quality of life for these challenged individuals. Our training provided awareness of CAP advocacy services when one is attempting to get back into employment and needs some help with communication issues and/or being informed of their rights and responsibilities when seeking or receiving vocational rehabilitation services from OVR. Also for someone who is employed and has recently been diagnosed with MS and is having problems on the job, requesting a work site assessment is an example of a recommendation/ advocacy service CAP can suggest to help the client work with OVR to maintain his employment.

In December 2015, Margaret McKenna was invited to be 1 of 10 speakers at the Disability Rights Network of PA Career Planning Workshop. Margaret presented to about 100 individuals who are or were trying to become an OVR client. Her training highlights were the importance of self-advocacy, the importance of the joint development and components of their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Margaret also discussed the misconception that OVR is "supposed" to find clients jobs. She spent some time trying to dispel this common myth and talked about how the client is their own job seeker and OVR is mandated not to provide jobs but to provide vocational rehabilitation services for eligible individuals who can work and need rehabilitation services to help them prepare for, find and or keep a job that is consistent with their abilities and capabilities. Since they are more informed of the process and what the VR agency can do with their active client participation, Margaret believes this group of individuals can now experience success with OVR.

CAP staff continued to target outreach efforts on the transition population. New to the CAP staff, advocate Julia Blackwell reached out to the OVR Early Reach Coordinators (ERC). CAP believed this was important as the ERC’s are the link between VR and the transition population. Julia spoke to each Early Reach Coordinator to provide them training on CAP services and how CAP can be a resource to them. The ERC’s provided information as to how they were coordinating the Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) in their district offices. This provided CAP with a better understanding of what services VR was providing to transitioning students. Advocate Julia Blackwell also targeted outreach to transition coordinators at school districts around the state. Contacting transition coordinators to give information about CAP and how we can be a resource them as they become more involved with OVR, as Pre-Employment Transition Services are a learning experience for all of us.

Hopefully our above training summaries have made it clear how much emphasis, time and effort the PA CAP puts on their outreach responsibility across the state. We hope it is also clear how much the PA CAP Advocates truly enjoy this part of their role in working at CAP. These positive experiences outreaching to the community help in making us proud of what we do and give us the energy and enthusiasm we need to push forward in 2017 with the goal of making more and more happy faces and being a resource for all individuals with disabilities who value working and just need a listening ear and some clarity as they attempt to receive vocational services from a bureaucratic system.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.23
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.1,819
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.

As part of our underserved outreach this year, Margaret spent time uncovering and reaching out to Muscular Dystrophy associations and groups. This is a particularly underserved population from CAP’s perspective. In FY 2015, we had only 2 active cases with this disabling condition. In FY 2016 some of the outreach contacts we made to reach these individuals include but are not limited to: MDA of Pittsburgh; MDA of Harrisburg; MDA of Allentown; Hershey Medical Center; Good Shepherd Rehabilitation and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In FY 2017 we will reconnect with these places, hopefully have an opportunity to speak/ participate in a training as to have direct interaction with the individuals affected by this crippling condition. As always, we will look to uncover more groups/rehabs that we can outreach across the state that are committed to making the lives of individuals with MD better! Our wish is to make as many people who are or know someone who is trying to become independent and productive aware of our advocacy services.

An underserved group CAP focused on was the blind/visually impaired. Some positive contacts have come from Margaret’s outreaching to all the Pennsylvania Blind Associations (PAB). The PAB was founded in 1910 as the nation’s only statewide private non-profit organization for individuals who are blind/visually impaired. There are 26 member agencies serving 132,000 Pennsylvanians annually providing various services for people who are blind/visually impaired.

Thanks to this outreach effort, Margaret was asked to present and provide training to our local blind association, Associated Services for the Blind (ASB). She provided training on topics such as: timeframe for completion of the IPE, choosing a realistic employment goal consistent with the client’s unique strengths, abilities, capabilities, interests and available in the labor market, a description of the specific rehabilitation services needed to achieve this goal including assistive technology, and the responsibilities of the client and BBVS regarding costs, comparable benefits, etc. There were 25 blind/visually impaired individuals in attendance for this training. Margaret also shared some tips from her personal experience as a BBVS client and how one can do a few proactive things to make the BBVS process a bit smother. Her outreach to this underserved population has really helped in spreading the word about our services and how we can be a fundamental part of their BBVS experience. Margaret is excited to report that she was also invited to present to 3 other blind associations for training in 2017. It is great to fulfill CAP’s mandate to outreach and to enjoy doing it as well. In continuing her efforts to the blind/visually impaired community, Margaret McKenna strategized her outreach to contact all the 27 Blind Associations state-wide. Some of these blind associations are also BBVS providers and in 2017, CAP will be working closely with BBVS offices encouraging them to offer their clients services at the local blind association in their area. This additional choice of provider, will shorten very long waiting lists for services, particularly orientation and mobility training.

Some of the Blind Associations she contacted include but are not limited to: Berks County Blind Association, Bucks County Blind Association, Cambria County Blind Association, Blair/Clearfield Blind Association, Center for Vision Loss, Lehigh County Blind Association, Keystone Blind Association, Montgomery County Blind Association, For Sight Vision, Central Susquehanna Blind Association, North Central Sight Services, Somerset Blind Association, Washington-Greene County Blind Association, Greater Wilkes-Barre Blind Association, South Central Blind Association and the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind, PAB.

In FY 2017 we plan to continue to reconnect with these contacts and research new chapter support groups across the state so more individuals with blindness or visual impairment have a better chance of being independent and successfully employed, a wish that CAP takes pride in helping to come true for these individuals.

As part of CAP’s efforts to become more visible in the community, CAP advocate Lannette Suarez focused on networking to the HIV/AIDS population. She contacted the organizations and mailed out brochures to inform them of CAP and the services that we provide to the disabled. Some of the organizations that were contacted Bebashi, Action Aids, Mazzoni Center and Philadelphia Fight. By reaching out to this unserved group, it will make them more aware of CAP and its role in the VR process.

One of the populations that CAP advocate Lannette Suarez honed in on was the Pulmonary population. CAP Advocate spent a great deal of time enlightening these organizations about CAP and how to navigate the VR process effectively. One such organization that she highlighted was the York Breathers Association. She contacted the organizations by phone and sent brochures about the availability of CAP.

In continuing with CAP’s outreach to underserved populations, Julia Blackwell targeted Autism for her population in FY ’16. Outreaching to all Autism Connection of PA support groups and speaking to each of their group coordinator on how CAP can be a resource to individuals with Autism trying to gain or main competitive integrated employment. Julia was invited to speak at Autism Sharing and Parenting of Philadelphia. Providing training to 50 parents with transitioning age students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Thanks to a great outreach connection CAP advocate, Margaret McKenna has maintained, she was to be both a presenter and host a resource table at The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) Transition and Resource Fair. This event was held at the PSD and had 35 participants as exhibitors. The participants were comprised of providers, advocacy groups, employment and education representatives and OVR. Out of the 35 exhibitors, Margaret was asked to be one of 6 asked to be a presenter in addition to being an exhibitor. Margaret spoke about our services and provided some training on self-advocacy. This presentation was attended by 150 students and parents. Another unserved population the CAP staff focused on outreaching to was the Spina Bifida population. Advocate Margaret McKenna outreached to many Spina Bifida groups across the state including: MOSS Rehabilitation Center Adult Spina Bifida Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Spina Bifida Department, Geisinger Medical Center Spina Bifida Clinic, Shriners Hospital for Children, Erie Spina Bifida Clinic, and Penn State Hershey Medical Center Spina Bifida Services.

We will continue our work to build these relationships and uncover more groups, programs, and organizations that work with this population that we need to educate about our advocacy services for those who are trying to work and become productive members of our society. We are hoping to have more clients who have Spina Bifida as their disabling condition in our case load in FY 2017 because of our increased outreach to this unserved group.

This year we have become more proactive in reaching out to minority groups. CAP Advocate Lannette Suarez attended the International Women’s Tea hosted by the Germantown Deaf Ministry Fellowship. The organization provides self-pride and collaboration and safer and more informed community about services for the deaf. The program was very interesting and was in several languages including four different sign languages in Chinese, Russian, American and Kenyan. It was a great opportunity exchanging information with other providers about CAP services and the important role that CAP plays in the VR system.

Advocate Lannette Suarez, also attended The National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE, Delaware County Chapter) hosted by the Black Student Union at Drexel University. The National Association of Health Service Executives is a non-profit association of Black Health Care Executives founded in 1968 for promoting the advancement and development of Black healthcare leaders and elevating the quality of health care service rendered to minority and under-served communities. The topic was the Mind Matters/Mental Health Panel. It was a panel discussion exploring the disparities in the health care system. The distinguished panel discussed transforming the way health care is delivered locally and nationally to improve the health care outcomes of all under-served and low income communities. This was an amazing experience networking with members of the National Association of Health Service Executives, family members and customers.

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. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV0
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals6
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency13415
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.10
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.

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)70
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year125
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)195
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.)75

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information16
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor98
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided83
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process32
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 problems0
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 Assistance7
2. Investigation/Monitoring33
3. Negotiation75
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution3
5. Administrative / Informal Review1
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing1
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total120

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 favor86
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)13
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual0
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)0
5. Individual chose alternative representation3
6. Individual withdrew complaint11
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.5
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP2
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.)

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual42
2. Application for services completed3
3. Eligibility determination expedited3
4. Individual participated in evaluation8
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided36
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party24
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office3
8. Alternative resources identified for individual1
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 1810
2. 19 - 2441
3. 25 - 4043
4. 41 - 6492
5. 65 and over9
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)195

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females72
2. Males123
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)195

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)12
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American42
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White132
7. Two or more races5
8. Race/ethnicity unknown3

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury12
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities1
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder0
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder27
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)0
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)10
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)9
11. Cancer1
12. Cerebral Palsy2
13. Deafness8
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)5
15. Deaf-Blind1
16. Diabetes2
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy2
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions3
20. Intellectual Disability9
21. Mental Illness45
22. Multiple Sclerosis2
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment5
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment11
26. Orthopedic Impairments11
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)6
31. Speech Impairments1
32. Spina Bifida1
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)3
34. Other Disability1
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)195

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR56
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list4
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list121
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
5. Transition student/High school student21
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

1. CAP facilitated a meeting between OVR management and VR specialists to discuss and plan for the implementation of the final VR regulations. 2. CAP participated in an OVR Supported Employment workgroup to revise its policy to include, among other things, customized employment. 3. CAP met with OVR to discuss the elimination of its policy regarding the reimbursement of VR service monies from customers who recover economic damages from third parties. This policy is being deleted. 4. CAP participated in an OVR workgroup to revise its College Policy to include, among other things, guidelines regarding the waiver of financial tuition and cost limits. 5. CAP and OVR agreed to a policy input process to ensure that CAP is notified of, and has input into all policy issues involving the provision of VR services and the administration of the VR program. 6. CAP provided comments to RSA regarding the proposed VR regulations. 7. CAP provided comments to RSA senior staff in Washington, D.C. regarding the proposed VR regulations. 8. CAP sought clarification from RSA regarding the disparity between the statistics provided to RSA in OVR’s quarterly report and the actual number of applicants and customers closed prior to a successful outcome. CAP met with OVR to discuss the disparity and indicated that it would provide the actual statistics to the SRC and State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation to assist the agency in planning. 9. CAP met with the SRC and OVR to develop a comprehensive accessibility guide for Career Links. 10. CAP met with OVR to address the issue of the Pa. Civil Service Administration’s delay in the provision of reasonable accommodations and its decision to deny testing in certain circumstances to applicant’s for Pa. jobs who are blind and visually impaired. 11. CAP participated in an OVR workgroup to revise its Small Business Policy and streamline the approval process. 12. CAP worked with OVR and the Pa. Department of Human Services to expand the Department’s supported employment waiver policies to include pre-employment services. 13. CAP received clarification from RSA regarding OVR’s ban on the purchase and repair of motor vehicles. CAP is in the process of assisting OVR update its policies to eliminate any such ban. 14. CAP participated in an OVR workgroup to develop a policy regarding pre-employment transition services. 15. CAP worked with OVR to clarify when emergency job coaches are to be provided to VR customers receiving supported employment 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.15
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation


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-other nonprofit agency
2. Name of designate agencyCenter for Disability Law & Policy
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?No
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:not applicable

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

4 full-time professionals - 4 person years

2 part-time, 1 full-time equivalent

1 Director, 3 CAP Advocates, 2 part-time clerical

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Client is a male with a history of mental illness and is eligible for VR services. Client is currently employed as an adjunct professor teaching noncredit classes at a local community college. His goal is to teach credit classes as an adjunct professor. The client reported that his counselor in their communications sounded on board with his goal and that OVR would therefore be able to help fund his training. This client had also been working on his self-advocacy skills with his case manager and thought he was doing a good thing by proactively registering for classes. After he registered, he stated he tried a few times to get back in touch with his counselor to no avail. When the counselor did finally get back to him, the drop add time had passed and the counselor told him OVR had not approved him for training for the Fall ‘15 semester. Counselor then explained the process for OVR to fund college training. When the client tried to register for the Spring semester, he was told he could not do so for he owed the school for the Fall semester and, therefore, couldn’t register for more classes. The client contacted CAP and fortunately the CAP advocate’s good relationship with the OVR office helped in justifying the client’s request and that OVR provide funding for the client’s Fall semester. Although CAP’s recommendation for funding did not fit within OVR’s college policy, CAP was able to show in the counselor’s case notes along with conversations with the client and his case manager and his counselor that there was verbal agreement as to his goal of adjunct professor. The training he is pursuing is required for him to achieve his goal. CAP also had the Dean of the college write a letter documenting the training was required to teach credit courses. As it is not within OVR guidelines to retroactively pay for tuition, this case is a good example of how CAP was able to make a logical and fair argument that an exception needed to be made in this case based on the overall picture and their agreement on his employment goal.

Client is a male with a history of mental illness. Client has been a long-standing client of both OVR and CAP. This client has a history of inappropriate behaviors due to his mental illness. These inappropriate behaviors have continued to get in the way of moving forward with his VR services. After many failed attempts by the client to follow through with recommendations for mental health treatment, OVR closed his case for failure to cooperate. The client stayed away from pursuing VR services for a while only calling periodically for support and VR reinforcing that he need to call when he was truly “ready”. CAP encouraged this client to be consistent with his therapy and try some volunteering, both of which he followed through with. As in this case, after the client removed himself out of the negative cycle that had become routine for him, he was able to calm down and focus on taking care of his mental and physical health. This time of stepping back often leads to being in a better place to pursue OVR services, usually resulting in a more successful outcome. This client had formed a trusting relationship with CAP which helped him listen to our recommendations. He provided a letter from both his psychiatrist and therapist stating he was compliant with treatment and ready to work part-time. He also provided documentation regarding his volunteer efforts. With this information, CAP was able to assist in having his case reopened. CAP worked closely with the District Administrator of this office, whom the CAP advocate had a good connection with. The District Administrator took great effort in hand picking an experienced counselor who worked primarily with individuals with mental health. As positive meetings continuously took place, the client had begun to build trust with OVR staff again. In time, IPE had been developed and agreed upon, regular meetings, support and follow-up emails occurred in a productive and understanding client/counselor relationship. The client was so pleased with this OVR experience he told CAP he no longer needed our advocacy support and would just call periodically to let us know how he was doing. Client is a 20-year-old transition student who is eligible for VR not on a waiting list. Client is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Upon exit of high school, client attended a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. The state VR agency did not pay for this program as he attended the program before state VR agency approved and added CTP programs into the college policy. Client contacted CAP for guidance as to whether state VR agency would pay for him to attend a more comprehensive and well-established CTP program at Millersville University after completing the aforementioned CTP at Arcadia University. VR agency does not have a policy as to whether they will pay for an additional program after one program has been completed. State VR agency took the position that client attending an additional CTP program would be a “duplication of services”. Client and family took the position that client was not ready for competitive integrated employment nor was he ready for traditional college training. Client also took the position that the Millersville University CTP program was in no way comparable to the Arcadia program. As client’s advocate, PA CAP also took the position that the first CTP program was not well-established nor comprehensive enough to fit clients’ needs. Client had appealed the decision to deny the second program based on “duplication of services”. An Informal Administrative Review (IAR) was held with the District Administrator, CAP and, client. CAP contacted the Director of the Millersville CTP program to discuss the marked differences of both programs and speak to the District Administrator at length of how client would benefit from the well-established structure and support of the Millersville CTP program. Result of this case was the first program did not provide client with sufficient training to develop employment skills, stamina to work a full day, and appropriate social interaction skills. A successful result was achieved and VR agency reversed the decision to deny funding.

Client is a 40-year-old with a skeletal impairment and depression. Client is eligible for VR services and not on a waiting list. Client is currently enrolled in an online program for a degree in “Gemology”. Clients degree program requires he travel to California to take lab courses that can only be completed in person. Client contacted CAP per recommendation of his VR counselor. VR counselor had recommended client contact CAP due to management above the counselor informally denying request for VR agency to pay for travel to California. Through advocacy and mediation, CAP was able to get VR agency to pay for client’s trip to California. VR agency justified this by a issuing client a “hardship waiver”, due to clients’ current financial situation and being on Social Security Disability. Client completed lab in California and successfully received his Gemology degree. This case shows the importance of being not only a resource to consumers of VR services, but to VR counselors as well. By being a strong advocate for his client, the VR counselor successfully found a way to obtain VR funding for his client. This case involves a 21-year-old transition student who was diagnosed with ADHD. The client was found eligible for VR services. Clients father contacted CAP regarding concerns that client’s counselor had left OVR and no new counselor had been assigned. With advocacy from CAP, client was assigned a new counselor. Another concern that he expressed was receiving personal work adjustment training for his son at Community Services Group (CSG) bakery. The newly assigned counselor felt that client had transferable skills, therefore did not need additional training. The parent felt that son could benefit from personal work adjustment training to strengthen his skills. Both counselor and father had reached an impasse. Due to CAP’s intervention, OVR agreed to provide funding for client’s training at CSG bakery. All of this was accomplished through a succession of informal telephone dialogues with the OVR counselor. The client is a 32-year-old male who has a history of mental illness and a speech impairment. Client applied for VR services and a psychological evaluation to determine if he was eligible for services was ordered. After an evaluation was completed, no one from VR agency ever contacted him regarding the results of the psychological evaluation. Client did not want to put his schooling on hold so client decided to go to school on his own. While attending school, client repeatedly contacted OVR to obtain information about his case, but was unsuccessful. Thus, client contacted CAP to get some assistance in re-connecting with OVR. Through a series of telephone calls, CAP advocate contacted the supervisor and the case was assigned to a new counselor. CAP advocate informed supervisor that client has called OVR on several occasions about funding his college training, but to no avail. Supervisor contacted client and arranged a feedback session to discuss the results of the psychological evaluation and the next steps. Due to CAP’s intervention, client was assigned to a new counselor and OVR agreed to fund his college training.


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 OfficialStephen S. Pennington
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/28/2016