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

Tennessee (Disability Rights Tennessee) - H161A160043 - FY2016

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Tennessee
Address2 International Plaza
Address Line 2Suite 825
CityNashville
StateTennessee
Zip Code37217
E-mail Addressgethelp@disabilityrightstn.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightstn.org
Phone615-298-1080
TTY 615-298-1080
Toll-free Phone1-800-342-1660
Toll-free TTY1-800-342-1660
Fax615-298-2046

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights Tennessee
Address2 International Plaza
Address Line 2Suite 825
CityNashville
Zip Code37217
E-mail Addressgethelp@disabilityrightstn.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightstn.org
Phone615-298-1080
TTY615-298-1080
Toll-free Phone1-800-342-1660
Toll-free TTY1-800-342-1660
Fax615-298-2046

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorLisa Primm
Person to contact regarding reportAnna Bass
Contact Person Phone615-298-1080

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program16
2. Information regarding independent living programs1
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
5. Other information provided1
6. Information regarding CAP18
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)36

B. Training Activities

During FY2016, the Client Assistance Program (CAP) provided training on four (4) occasions about the CAP program in order to increase the knowledge and understanding of the role of CAP in working with applicants and clients of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The trainings were provided to a total of 71 individuals, including a small group of individuals at the Chattanooga Autism Center, members of the Scenic City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), VR staff who work with deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired individuals in 24 East Tennessee counties, and to a variety of support coordinators, supervisors, employment specialists, and other personnel with BlueCare Tennessee. The topics covered in the CAP training include a historical overview of CAP, the many ways in which CAP can assist, some of the more frequent issues for which CAP assistance is requested, and how someone can contact CAP in Tennessee. In addition to these training efforts, CAP collaborated on two (2) large training initiatives, the 2016 MegaConference and the Disability Roadshow, both of which focused in part on competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities in Tennessee. The MegaConference is a long standing collaborative effort. In attendance this year were 663 individuals with disabilities, service providers, and family members. The Disability Roadshow, which was a new collaborative effort, allowed Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) to provide training to 152 individuals with disabilities across the state, service providers, family members, policymakers, and community members.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.6
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.886
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.

In FY2016, DRT continued its outreach and collaborative initiatives to enhance provision of services to unserved and underserved populations, including minority communities. In addition to the ongoing collaborations described below, DRT conducted 16 outreach activities to minority groups and organizations that serve immigrant and refugee populations in Tennessee. Also, DRT conducted 27 outreach activities to expand its presence in rural communities that are generally underserved as evidenced by the disparity in resources in these communities across the state. This year DRT reached 734 people through outreaches targeted specifically to residents in rural counties. DRT continued participation in two collaborations, Encuentro Latino and Camino Seguro, which specifically focus on connecting the growing Latino community in Tennessee to available resources and services. Encuentro Latino is a collaboration among service providers that works to enhance information and referral services for the Latino population in Middle Tennessee. Group members meet on a monthly basis to share information as well as coordinate education and outreach efforts. Camino Seguro, an online bilingual database for disability services across the state, continues to be an important resource for the community. There were approximately 4,000 visits to the database and approximately 350 agencies are represented in the database. In addition to the initiatives above, DRT continues to be an active partner in the Multicultural Alliance on Disability (MAD). This is a group of community agencies serving people with disabilities and/or refugees and immigrants. MAD continues to address the following barriers affecting service delivery to people with disabilities from other cultures: language; different cultural beliefs about disability, understanding of the disability system in a new country; eligibility and access to disability services; and transportation. To address these barriers, MAD regularly communicates with agencies and organizations that interact with immigrant and refugee families to share information; address concerns about service delivery that are brought to MAD’s attention; organize and train about the topics listed above with an emphasis on increasing culturally responsive service delivery; plan for policy advocacy to increase awareness of the barriers to disability and related services encountered by minority communities; and explore resources and tools needed to build the capacity of member organizations to conduct outreach to and education of refugee and immigrant clients. By continuing to collaborate with community organizations within and outside the disability community, DRT has increased the avenues through which it addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities from diverse ethnic, racial, and geographic communities. These relationships also help DRT better connect callers with community services and supports when they fall outside current priorities and objectives. The initiatives above directly assist historically unserved and underserved populations address barriers to employment and learn about CAP services within the state.

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.

DRT uses the website to share information with the community about how to access CAP services, understand VR services, and learn self—advocacy strategies when working with Vocational Rehabilitation. DRT’s website was visited 39,448 times with over 244,000 hits in FY2016. DRT’s blog found on the website is another way that DRT communicates resources and information to potential CAP clients. Complimenting DRT’s website activities is the use of social media channels to reach potential CAP clients and others with disabilities. In total, DRT reached 340,621 people through these mediums, which included 1,006 Facebook posts viewed by 261,847 people, and Twitter posts that reached 78,774 people. In FY2016, DRT continued to distribute its electronic newsletter and other email announcements, totaling 40 e—newsletters and announcements which reached 2,645 subscribers. Topics covered included state policy initiatives; changes in VR services and procedures; opportunities for CAP clients to present feedback about VR services to both VR and the SRC; information about available resources including Ticket to Work, assistive technology, social security benefits, and disability etiquette; self—advocacy skills building information; and numerous announcements about opportunities including information on how individuals could provide feedback on CAP/P&A priorities for the upcoming fiscal year and how to participate in the annual Disability Employment Awareness Luncheon.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV4
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals5
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency9
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency3423
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.17
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.

In FY2016, information about DRT and the services provided was included in 164 external sources that reached approximately 1.5 million people. External sources included key print media outlets in Tennessee, which included The Tennessean, Knoxville News Sentinel, Memphis Commercial Appeal, as well as multiple other sources across the US who picked up press wires from the Associated Press. TV and radio stations in Tennessee also covered information about DRT, including News Channel 5, WRFG Memphis, WJHL, and WMOT Radio. Other external sources disseminated DRT information including community partners and other online publications, such as TennesseeWorks and Tennessee Bar Association. Information covered through these mediums included information about DRT services and programs, including CAP services related to vocational rehabilitation, employment efforts, and coverage of relevant client cases and legal work.

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)24
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year47
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)71
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.)4
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 information0
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor22
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided40
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process5
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category1
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
5
7. Related to independent living services2
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
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 Assistance18
2. Investigation/Monitoring10
3. Negotiation21
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution2
5. Administrative / Informal Review1
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing2
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total54

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 favor31
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)1
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual3
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)5
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint9
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor2
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP3
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 individual19
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited3
4. Individual participated in evaluation1
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided19
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party2
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual3
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 180
2. 19 - 2418
3. 25 - 4019
4. 41 - 6430
5. 65 and over4
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)71

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females36
2. Males35
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)71

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)3
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American24
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White43
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury0
2. ADD/ADHD6
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder2
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder6
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)1
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)2
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)9
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy5
13. Deafness0
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)2
15. Deaf-Blind1
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions2
20. Intellectual Disability5
21. Mental Illness13
22. Multiple Sclerosis1
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment2
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment2
26. Orthopedic Impairments5
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)5
31. Speech Impairments1
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)0
34. Other Disability1
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)71

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR5
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list1
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list65
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
5. Transition student/High school student1
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act0

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

I. Systemic Work with Vocational Rehabilitation In Fiscal Year 2016, Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) continued the work involved in its ongoing role on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). The position on the SRC allows DRT to participate in each of its quarterly meetings as well as sit on SRC subcommittees both of which advise Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). The SRC met quarterly during the year in locations across the state and also held conference calls as appropriate to conduct committee business. The CAP representative to the SRC served as the secretary of the Council during FY2016 and was highly involved in the recruitment of new SRC members as well as in the preparation of the VR/SRC Annual Report which was submitted to the Governor and to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) led to changes in the process of planning the details of the administration of the VR program. For this reason, the SRC prepared input into the first edition of VR’s Portion of the Combined State Plan. The SRC is responsible for partnering with VR to conduct the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) every three years and this assessment was completed in FY2016 and finalized for submission to RSA at the end of the fiscal year. The SRC will soon begin planning to make changes to the process of conducting the CSNA to enable data to be gathered throughout the three year cycle rather than only during the year of the CSNA in an effort to better identify the VR service needs of individuals with disabilities across the state of Tennessee. The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) continued to share client success stories with the SRC at each quarterly meeting and provided information regarding new and ongoing programming being implemented to increase employment opportunities for VR clients. The SRC continued its participation in the National Council of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC) this year and the CAP advocate represented the SRC at the annual spring NCSRC conference. SRC members increased their knowledge of the SRC roles and responsibilities when the President of the NCSRC conducted a general training session prior to the summer SRC meeting. The SRC is committed to continuing its collaborative path with DRS to not only improve the VR program for clients in Tennessee but to give them their voice. During FY16, CAP provided input to VR services through committee participation, face-to-face meetings, submission of comments, and attendance at community provider forums. CAP staff met with Cherrell Campbell-Street, Chief Officer of Rehabilitation and Community and Social Services, to discuss systemic issues observed within the Division of Rehabilitation Services. CAP participated in the VR coordinated RSA Roundtable, as well as other discussions regarding revisions to VR services in response to WIOA. To further provide direct input into VR services, CAP staff provided extensive comments to VR and RSA about the VR Services Portion of the Combined State Plan. Additionally, CAP participated in the committee responsible for revisions to VR Policies and Procedures. CAP also routinely participated in quarterly Letter of Agreement Forums which were attended by community providers. II. Other Systemic Employment Activities The Tennessee Employment First Initiative to Expand Community Employment Opportunities for Tennesseans with Disabilities was created by Executive Order of Governor Bill Haslam in 2014 and the Task Force he commissioned outlined their main objectives soon after and have been working under them since. The objectives are to identify state barriers to employment for Tennesseans with disabilities, to eliminate systemic barriers within state government that hinder Tennesseans with disabilities in obtaining integrated and competitive employment, to identify/create areas of collaboration that can facilitate increased integrated and competitive employment, to make Tennessee a model Employment First state, to plan and make recommendations regarding best practice information to stakeholders across the state to eliminate those identified barriers to employment, and to Expand Community Employment Opportunities for Tennesseans with Disabilities. Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) continued activities as a contributor on the Governor’s appointed Employment First Task Force. In this role, DRT worked with Tennessee state agencies including Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Education, Department of Labor, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and Bureau of TennCare. Other individual advocacy groups also sit on the Task Force, such as the ARC of Tennessee and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, as well as key services providers, people with disabilities, and family members. The Task Force met quarterly throughout FY 2016 and in September issued its third annual report to the Governor of Tennessee entitled "Expect Employment." Accomplishments achieved during the third year following the signing of the Executive Order include, i)Identification of employment barriers to employment of individuals with disabilities through processes such as community conversations and surveys of families of individuals with disabilities, (ii)development of recommendations to reduce or eliminate those barriers through updating of policies of several state agencies, (iii)commencement of revision of Medicaid waivers to support employment as a first option, (iv)completion of a Memorandum of Understanding between 5 state agencies to align goals, priorities and resources for transitioning youth, and (v)expansion of a data system to include relevant data from multiple state agencies and their clients. The Task Force expanded the Individual Placement and Supports program to nine community health centers. The Task Force created and implemented a three year strategic workforce development plan and will continue to engage and support Tennessee businesses employing Tennesseans with Disabilities and work to increase the knowledge of individuals with disabilities and their families about the benefits of employment as a life goal. Another ongoing systemic employment project is DRT’s collaboration with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and other TennesseeWorks partners on activities required under the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) Employment Systems Change grant. Specifically, DRT participated in and provided legal support to the Agencies and Policy Makers and Education teams under the grant, which focused on systems change in their respective areas. This change was to achieve the objective of increasing the number of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities that transition to integrated and competitive employment after high school. The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, part of the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, along with 28 partner agencies including DRT, collectively make up the TenneseeWorks Partnership. The Partnership received a 5 year grant from AIDD and FY 2016 was the fourth of the five years under the grant. During this fourth year, DRT researched and drafted a position paper on subminimum wages for persons with disabilities in Tennessee. This paper will be published next fiscal year. In addition, DRT developed and presented a training on hiring persons with disabilities and the new Occupational Diploma. This training was presented in collaboration with the Tennessee Bar Association to attorneys and human resource personnel through a webinar and in person trainings in West and Middle Tennessee. The accomplishments listed above have positioned the TennesseeWorks Partnership for success in its final year. Additionally, DRT again participated in Employment Consortiums across the state, along with representatives from a variety of area agencies who provide services to individuals with disabilities. The Employment Consortiums generally meet on a monthly or quarterly basis to plan activities designed to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and to identify resources and services that can assist individuals with disabilities in accessing employment opportunities. DRT participated in these Employment Consortium meetings across Tennessee’s Grand Regions. The primary focus of each Consortium is to increase the number of individuals with disabilities who are employed in competitive integrated settings. The Consortiums consist of individuals from DRT; the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; the Division of Rehabilitation Services; Impact Centers; the TennesseeWorks Partnership; Workforce Connections; Independent Living Centers; Goodwill Industries; the University of Tennessee Center for Literacy, Education and Employment; Disability Career Centers; employment vendors; and other stakeholders. The Statewide Employment Consortium, which met in Nashville, provided an opportunity for area stakeholders to meet quarterly to discuss ideas for increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The Knoxville Area Employment Consortium (KAEC) sponsored their annual Disability Mentoring Day and Disability Awareness Breakfast during Disability Employment Awareness Month (October) in an effort to highlight the employment of individuals with disabilities. KAEC continued its heavy involvement in the Project SEARCH and Walgreens REDI programs, which are specific initiatives designed to increase competitive employment among Knoxville area individuals with disabilities. The DRT representative on KAEC continued to work closely with Project SEARCH staff to refine the assessment and selection process for potential program participants. KAEC ended the year by sponsoring a job fair in conjunction with a Consortium member agency and welcomed 22 employers to the event. Following the job fair, the employers participated in a training session related to hiring and retaining employees with disabilities. DRT will continue to play an instrumental role in the Consortium meetings to ensure that the focus on competitive employment for individuals with disabilities increases to an even greater degree. III. Other Systemic Efforts Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) was also involved with a variety of other efforts to effectuate systemic change on behalf of Tennesseans with disabilities. One such project involved policy related collaborative efforts between DRT and the Tennessee Disability Coalition (TDC) The project’s objective was to address policy related barriers and the development of appropriate resources. Another way DRT assist with systemic efforts was through legal research. DRT legal staff researched and responded to legislation which they determined had the potential to impact individuals with disabilities, even if such impact was unintended, and responded to that proposed legislation. Responses included the development of information sheets, collaborating with other disability focused organizations, and educating and informing policy makers about the potential implication of proposed legislation. DRT also sits on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) to ensure that the board is aware of the needs of people with disabilities and the issues impacting their lives. Likewise, DRT’s position ensures that TALS and the TALS Board of Directors members assist in disseminating information about people with disabilities and issues impacting their lives to attorneys, organizations, and members of the general public across the state. TALS is a statewide agency that seeks to build partnerships to support the delivery of effective civil legal services for low-income and elderly Tennesseans, including those with disabilities. DRT participated in the Intake Collaboration project which is a collaborative effort between agencies who conduct intake with the objective of the collaboration to create and share a comprehensive list of legal resources and referrals in Tennessee.

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.28
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-Protection and Advocacy agency
2. Name of designate agencyDisability Rights Tennessee
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 Position FTE/ % of year filled/Person—years

Professional 12/100%/12 Full—time 11/100%/11 Part—time 1/100%/1 Vacant 0

Clerical 6/100%/6 Full—time 6/100%/6 Part—time 0 Vacant 0

Part VI. Case Examples

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

1. A 50-year-old Caucasian male who has mental illness contacted Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) and reported that he was experiencing problems communicating with his Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor. He also stated that VR was not consistently providing job placement services and had recently delayed providing mileage reimbursement. DRT assisted our client in being assigned a new VR counselor. Following reassignment, CAP staff met with our client and the new VR counselor to initiate the process of amending his Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to receive job placement services through a new service provider. Within a few months of that amended plan’s development, our client relocated to a different city and DRT contacted the VR Regional Supervisor to assist our client in being assigned to a local VR counselor. Our client states he is able to communicate well with his new counselor. His IPE has now been amended again based on the locality of services. Because of this CAP advocacy, he is scheduled to begin working very soon with the new job placement provider in the city in which he now resides. Additionally, after several months of efforts to obtain the final mileage reimbursement, our client did receive that payment from VR.

2. A 21-year-old African-American male with cerebral palsy contacted DRT because VR was failing to pay our client’s tuition in a timely manner. DRT advocated on our client’s behalf with VR to pay his tuition and other school financial obligations on time per his IPE. At the time of opening, the client was at risk of his class schedule being automatically purged from the school’s enrollment system because the payment was not received on time by the client’s school; additionally, he was not guaranteed a place in the class when the payment was finally received. DRT observed that this VR office had a history of not submitting tuition on time in several instances and requested that VR develop an internal procedure to ensure that a client’s tuition and other school obligations are paid in a timely manner so that class schedules are not unnecessarily impacted. VR complied with DRT’s request to develop this procedure. DRT monitored and confirmed that our client’s recent tuition was paid on time. Because of CAP advocacy, our client’s payment issues are resolved and VR developed an internal procedure to ensure timely payment is made to the educational institution in the future, thus avoiding delays in progression toward employment objectives for VR clients.

3. A 53-year-old African-American female, who has an auto-immune disorder with subsequent orthopedic limitations, contacted DRT when VR reported to her its intention to end her VR services on the basis of her failure to comply with VR requirements. Our client prepared a draft letter to send to VR stating her disagreement with VR’s decision and requested DRT’s review of this letter. DRT reviewed the letter with our client as well as provided suggestions and options for addressing the situation. DRT also reviewed with our client the requirements of a VR student as outlined in the Student Letter of Understanding. DRT further reviewed self-advocacy skills appropriate for use during the remainder of her VR case. Our client prepared a revised letter to VR based on DRT’s guidance and requested assistance from her university program with providing appropriate documentation of course completion to support compliance with all VR requirements. Because of this CAP assistance, VR subsequently retracted its plan to cease our client’s VR services and she will continue to receive VR support toward the pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in social work.

4. A 58-year-old Caucasian female contacted DRT seeking assistance with having cataracts surgery, which she needed to avoid losing her job in a nursing facility. At the time of opening VR had determined that she was ineligible for services based on an eye report submitted by her ophthalmologist that showed her visual acuity to be above low vision standards. The report had been ordered by VR many months prior and no longer accurately reflected the status of her vision because her cataracts had rapidly progressed. DRT requested all records, investigated the issue, and spoke with both the VR counselor and his supervisor who made the ineligibility determination. DRT successfully advocated for VR to order a new eye report, which when completed provided evidence that our client’s vision was squarely within the range set as eligible for VR Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. DRT sought a new determination concerning client’s eligibility as well as the development of an IPE containing an objective of job maintenance and cataract surgery as the main service to be provided. The client was then determined eligible and DRT worked with her counselor to develop the plan. Because of this CAP advocacy, the client has received the cataract removal surgery on both eyes and she has maintained her job. She reports greater independence and quality of life.

5. A 23-year-old Caucasian female who is hard of hearing contacted DRT and reported that VR was attempting to close her case prior to providing a stethoscope she needed for use in conjunction with her hearing aids. VR had reported that they did not have adequate documentation to support the need for the stethoscope and would therefore not provide it for our client. DRT provided her suggestions for working with her audiologist to provide justification to VR for the purchase of the adapted stethoscope. After utilizing the suggestions and self-advocacy information our client obtained through CAP advocacy, she received the needed stethoscope and her audiologist later reported to our client that the payment issue with VR had been resolved. As a result of DRT intervention, our client acquired self-advocacy skills to work with her audiologist to justify the need for a stethoscope which interfaces with her hearing aids for use in her job as a licensed practical nurse.

6. A 56-year-old African-American male with a visual disability and physical orthopedic disability contacted DRT requesting help because VR refused to amend his IPE to name his chosen employment goal as that of chef nor would VR provide him with services to achieve that employment outcome. Our client said that VR had denied the employment goal of chef for him stating that he would not be successful in pursuing this goal due to his visual disability. DRT advocated for our client in an Administrative Review appeal providing information disproving these assumptions about his abilities. VR admitted that a vocational evaluation had not been conducted to determine if this was an appropriate goal for our client prior to their denial, nor had VR ever suggested that such an evaluation may be helpful when determining that a client is unable to meet their goals. The Administrative Review decision was to conduct a vocational evaluation, which was completed and supported our client’s chosen goal of chef. VR then amended our client’s IPE with an employment goal of chef and agreed to provide needed training, assistive technology (AT) equipment, and transportation services. DRT provided follow up advocacy since there were issues in the receipt of the AT equipment, as well as funding issues for our client’s transportation services. Following DRT advocacy services, our client received all services outlined on his IPE. Because of this CAP advocacy and representation at our client’s Administrative Review, our client reported he achieved a 3.0 grade point average for his first term in culinary school and made the Dean’s list.

7. A 53-year-old African-American male diagnosed with mental illness contacted DRT for assistance with the development of an appropriate IPE. At opening, our client reported he had received services under many past IPEs throughout his years as a VR client, but he had never received appropriate support to pursue employment that is comprehensively consistent with not only his interests, but his abilities. He stated that he had previously assented to his VR counselors’ suggested employment objectives despite their being inconsistent with his needs and offering little chance of success for our client. DRT advocated for our client to participate in evaluations. Subsequently, DRT advocated that an employment objective be agreed upon by VR and our client using the information obtained as well as by using appropriate employment counseling. DRT provided in depth self-advocacy skills training for our client as well as information on how and when using these skills would be most effective moving forward. DRT successfully advocated for our client to receive vocational training as a service, namely sponsorship in obtaining an associate’s degree in a field that will allow our client to work from home. Our client states that this is an ideal fit for him. Because of this CAP advocacy, our client is pursuing a career consistent with his informed choice and is better aligned with his needs. He has also received valuable skills which allow him to advocate more successfully for himself now and in the future.

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 OfficialLisa Primm
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/20/2016