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

Utah (DISABILITY LAW CENTER -- THE COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTER) - H161A160045 - FY2016

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

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

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

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

Additional Information

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

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program48
2. Information regarding independent living programs3
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects2
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
5. Other information provided0
6. Information regarding CAP12
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)65

B. Training Activities

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) By rule, the SRC must have a Client Assistance Program (CAP) advocate on its council. During this past year, DLC advocate Evelyn Owen served on the council’s Executive Committee as Treasurer. She attended monthly meetings to provide a voice of advocacy as our state’s Vocational Rehabilitation program adjusts and adapts to major changes in service delivery. During FY16, we provided strong advocacy efforts around how the state moved forward with implementation of the Order of Selection (OOS) plan. We were also asked to provide the council with information on our advocacy efforts, complaint trends, and the steps we take when we open a case. We provided feedback on the state legislature’s proposal to move USOR from the State Office of Education to the Department of Workforce Services. We also assisted the council with updating their bylaws.

Basic Counselor Orientation and Training (BCOT) The DLC presented information on the CAP program to attendees of a week-long mandatory training program for new Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, benefits planners, vocational techs, etc. at the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation. During FY16, 15 new staff learned about how the CAP program can help beneficiaries remove barriers to employment.

Independent Living Centers We recognize the importance of collaborating with our local Independent Living Centers, who provide critical services to individuals with disabilities. During FY16, we met with and provided information about the CAP program to the following ILCs:

Audience Location of staff trained Roads to Independence Ogden, UT 10 Annual ILC Conference attendees Utah State University — Logan, UT 42 Ability First Provo, UT 10 Options for Independence Logan, UT 10

VR ADA Trainings CAP advocates provided training to VR counselors on Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Counselors were provided with information about what is legal during the hiring process and in reasonable accommodation requests. We hope that counselors will be able to help troubleshoot issues that clients may face as they look for employment. This training was provided to the Valley West and Tooele VR offices with 18 attendees present.

USEP ADA Trainings CAP advocates were invited to present information about Title I of the ADA to job coaches and developers as part of the newly mandated A.C.R.E. Employment Specialist training. All job coaches and developers are required to obtain the certification in order to continue providing services. Our advocates presented at five training classes and trained 176 professionals on how to help their clients get reasonable accommodations.

Date Location of staff trained 11/17/2015 St. George, UT 35 1/26/16 Salt Lake City, UT 35 3/29/16 Kaysville, UT 36 5/17/16 Ogden, UT 35

8/2/16 Salt Lake City, UT 35

PARC ADA Training Each year, CAP staff provides training to staff of the Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center (PARC) on Title I of the ADA, with an emphasis on the reasonable accommodation process. PARC is a local employment network that provides a wide array of employment services to individuals with disabilities. PARC has a program called Pathway to Careers that is nationally recognized as a best practice in creating tailored/individualized employment for individuals with intellectual disabilities. We like to support this program by training their staff on the legalities of the ADA and how they can help advocate for their clients to obtain reasonable accommodations when needed. In FY16, we provided this training to 30 staff members.

USOR/CAP Quarterly Meetings The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) meets quarterly with our team to review emerging trends in client service issues, provide feedback on proposed rule changes, and discuss items of mutual interest to our programs. The meetings allow our agencies to foster a positive relationship while addressing systemic issues. These meetings provide a forum for both sides to talk openly about client needs and systemic barriers. Meetings were held five times throughout FY16.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.15
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.341
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 reviewing case numbers from prior years, we noticed a distinct lack of cases from members of particular disability groups — such as people who are blind, individuals fighting cancer, people with AIDS, etc. We chose to direct our outreach efforts to ensure that agencies serving these groups are well aware of our advocacy services — so that they may refer an individual to the DLC for legal help. During FY16, our team met with the following agencies to discuss how we can help remove barriers to employment:

Huntsman Cancer Institute Utah AIDS Foundation Epilepsy Alliance of Utah National Alliance on Mental Illness Department of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing National Federation of the Blind Utah Council for the Blind

Outreach to the blind community This year, we wanted to reach out to the blind community to ensure they are aware of the services of the DLC. We hosted two information tables at events specifically for individuals who are blind. At each event, we provided information about the CAP program and described how we can help with barriers to employment. We attended the National Federation of the Blind’s Annual Convention and the Utah Council for the Blind Conference, where we provided information to 115 attendees.

Work Ability Job Fairs Members of the CAP team operated information tables at two Work Ability Job Fairs held in October 2015 and April 2016. The job fair hosts disability-friendly employers looking to hire individuals with disabilities. The DLC provided information to approximately 75 attendees about how the DLC can advocate to remove employment barriers for CAP-eligible clients.

UCAT Open House We hosted an information table at the Utah Center for Assistive Technology’s (UCAT) Open House event where members of the community are invited to learn about the numerous service providers available to help people with assistive technology needs. This year, we provided information about our services to 30 attendees.

PHP Single Mother’s Seminar We hosted an outreach booth at People Helping People’s Single Mother’s Seminar and provided information about

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.

Social Media The primary social media forum that we use are Facebook and our growing electronic mailing list. This year, we grew our electronic mailing list by 35%. Beginning in FY 2017, we have over 2,000 individuals on the list. We produced or posted 17 employment-related articles via our social media forums.

Newsletters Four newsletters were produced and distributed in FY16. Four articles were dedicated to CAP topics; including information on the state’s move to an Order of Selection and transition-related information for students with disabilities.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV9
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals3
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency24
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.12
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.

Radio/TV Appearances (9) The DLC was mentioned in or participated in interviews that were aired on local TV channels and radio stations. Topics covered include: ending solitary confinement at new state prison, interview on the new Home and Community Based Settings (HCBS) rule, using force on students in the classroom, HCBS Transition Report, and the Fair Housing Program interview.

Website Mentions (51) Our agency was mentioned by external web sources many times throughout the year covering a wide variety of disability-rights topics. Sources the mentioned us online include: Rooted in Rights, Herald Journal, Deseret News, UtahADA25Blog, Salt Lake Tribune, Associated Press, Utah Assistive Technology Program, Utah Public Radio, Law.Utah.Edu, Utah Poverty News, KUER, The Independent, Fox13 News, KRCL, KSL, Positiva Radio, UAD Blog, Law360, NMP Magazine, ACLU Utah, Antibias Law, BYU Universe, HUD, Newswise, Utah.edu, AZOBuild, At the U, Utah Policy, KNRS, KUER, Standard Examiner, and DOJ Press Release.

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)20
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year83
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)103
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.)3
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)15

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information1
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor4
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided56
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process34
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category5
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
4
7. Related to independent living services1
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
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 Assistance80
2. Investigation/Monitoring0
3. Negotiation2
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution1
5. Administrative / Informal Review8
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total91

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 favor61
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)15
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual1
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)1
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint12
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP1
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.)

Six instances where we lost contact with clients

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual21
2. Application for services completed12
3. Eligibility determination expedited7
4. Individual participated in evaluation1
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided7
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party13
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual16
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made6
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 183
2. 19 - 2414
3. 25 - 4036
4. 41 - 6447
5. 65 and over3
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)103

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females34
2. Males69
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)103

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)2
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native1
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American0
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White83
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown3

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury2
2. ADD/ADHD1
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism1
6. Anxiety Disorder2
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder3
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)1
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)3
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)6
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy1
13. Deafness1
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)6
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions1
20. Intellectual Disability11
21. Mental Illness34
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment1
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment3
26. Orthopedic Impairments19
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions1
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)6
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)0
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)103

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR36
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list7
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list58
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living2
5. Transition student/High school student0
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act0

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

ICF/ID Residents Rights to Integrated Employment Options Back in FY15, the CAP team started a project to assist people with intellectual disabilities living in Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF/ID) in understanding their employment rights and options — with an emphasis on discussing VR services, eligibility criteria, and how to submit VR applications. This project began after the DLC received feedback that many ICF/ID residents were not aware of VR services, but were excited about the possibility of working. We continued this project in FY16 with great success. Throughout the year, we visited 18 ICFs/ID and provided information and VR application assistance to residents interested in working. We then submitted the applications to their appropriate local VR offices. We soon learned that some applications were ignored or denied due to the client living in an ICF/ID facility. We worked with USOR administration on this issue and were able to get assurance that all applications from clients living in ICF/IDs would be accepted and fairly considered in the future.

Input on the Unified State Plan to the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) Through public comment, we advocated for specific language to be included in USOR’s Unified State Plan regarding individuals paid at subminimum wage. The language is consistent with WIOA requirements that Vocational Rehabilitation provide individuals being paid a subminimum wage with career counseling and information and referral on an annual basis.

WIOA Fact Sheet A brochure was created outlining WIOA requirements that we intend to take to sheltered workshops as we train and educate individuals on their employment rights.

Sheltered Workshop Monitoring We visited a local sheltered workshop to gauge staff and client reactions to the new WIOA regulations. We quickly discovered that individuals and staff were unclear on how WIOA requirements should be implemented. There were also questions about VR funding streams and which agency is responsible for which costs. Further monitoring and updates will continue in FY17 to ensure that providers are aware of their responsibilities and that clients are provided with information about their employment rights.

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.4
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 Law Center
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?No
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:N/A

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

Full-time Professional FTE 1.02 Part-time Professional FTE .05 Full-time Clerical FTE .13 Part-time Clerical FTE .06 TOTAL FTE 1.26

The numbers above represent time spent on CAP by our supervising attorney, a full-time advocate, a part-time advocate, law clerks, support staff, three intake/information & referral advocates and various contributions from other staff throughout the year.

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Denial of medical services

Client is 58 years old and has a TBI.

Client contacted CAP when VR moved forward with case closure after client had been employed for three months. Prior to the case closure letter, VR had given the client approval for surgery. However, before the surgery could be scheduled VR ran out of funds and had to suspend all paid services while the agency implemented an Order of Selection. When the suspension of paid services was lifted, VR failed to inform our client that she could go ahead and schedule the approved procedure. Client felt that she had simply “fallen through the cracks and been forgotten about.” CAP advocated that since the surgery had already been approved that VR should still support the surgery as a post-employment service. VR agreed. The client received the surgery and is now in better physical condition to continue working.

Denial of medical services

Client is 62 years old and has mental illness and physical disabilities.

Client contacted CAP when VR denied her request for surgery that would alleviate the pain caused by neuroma and plantar fasciitis. Client had pursued several treatment options to deal with the pain associated with plantar fasciitis; all were unsuccessful. Client was informed by her primary care doctor that the only option left was surgery. Due to the constant pain and inability to sleep, the client’s mental health began to decline. Despite providing VR with detailed information on the necessity of the surgery, her request for support was still denied. CAP advocated that our client’s condition was an impediment to employment and was causing her mental health problems to be exacerbated. CAP encouraged client to get a letter from her mental health doctor detailing how the pain caused by neuroma and plantar fasciitis were causing her mental health to decline. After providing the doctor’s letter, VR supported surgery for client.

Denial of housing and tuition assistance

Client is 21 years old and has a neurological disorder and orthopedic impairment.

Client contacted CAP after VR sent a case closure notice letter — stating that VR would no longer be supporting the client with tuition or housing for her college program. The counselor stated that the client was not taking enough credits each semester. VR was aware that the client’s disability had caused her to miss a couple months of school, leaving her unable to take on a full load of classes. Client had instead signed up for independent study courses to make sure she was meeting the minimum credit requirement. VR arbitrarily decided that they would not count the independent study courses as meeting the requirement. CAP advocated for the client by filing for an informal review. Following the review, the Field Service Director reinstated tuition and housing assistance. The client is pleased with the outcome and reports that communication between her and VR has greatly improved following CAP intervention.

Disagreement about employment objective

Client is 56 years old and has an orthopedic/physical impairment.

Client contacted CAP because he felt that VR was pressuring him to choose a vocational objective that he did not want to pursue and the disagreement was causing unnecessary delays in services. CAP facilitated a meeting between the counselor and client to get everyone on the same page. CAP advocated for the client’s choice of pursuing work in the nursing field. VR agreed and approved an IPE with the employment objective of the client’s choice. CAP also successfully advocated for VR to support a restorative services plan to help the client address physical therapy needs.

Denial of support for self-employment

Client is 57 years old and has orthopedic/physical impairments.

Client had been trying to get VR support for a self-employment plan, but felt that he was not making progress because of delays with his counselor. Client had most of what he need to begin earning income with self-employment, but still needed VR support for a few items. CAP attended a meeting at VR with client. CAP advocated for the client’s informed choice of starting a small business. VR agreed to provide client the items he requested. Client reported that once he had all the items he was able to immediately start earning income.

Certification

Reports are to be submitted to RSA within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report. Please be reminded that you can enter data directly into RSA's website via the internet. Information on transmittal of the form is found on pages 19 and 20 of the reporting instructions.

Name of Designated Agency OfficialAdina Zahradnikova
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/19/2016