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

Montana (Disability Rights Montana) - H161A170027 - FY2017

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Montana
Address1022 Chestnut Street
Address Line 2
Zip Code59601
Website Address
TTY 406-449-2344
Toll-free Phone800-245-4743
Toll-free TTY800-245-4743

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights Montana
Address1022 Chestnut Street
Address Line 2
Zip Code59601
Website Address
Toll-free Phone800-245-4743
Toll-free TTY800-245-4743

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorBernadette Franks-Ongoy
Person to contact regarding reportKathy Hampton
Contact Person Phone406-449-2344

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program8
2. Information regarding independent living programs0
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
5. Other information provided2
6. Information regarding CAP10
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)20

B. Training Activities

2-1-17 Family Outreach Presentation to their staff about P&A and our programs. Presentation about all of the programs at Disability Rights Montana, explaining what each one did.

2-3-17 PLUK Special Education Training; a training was presented on IDEA and 504 to Parent’s training center, parents, and providers.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.7
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.267
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.

19 - Legislative updates were sent to an average of 650 people. These updates included topics and bills being discussed and voted on at the Legislature during that week. At the end of the Legislative Session, a Wrap Up was provided to the recipients.

CAP brochures were sent out to 6,587 people who had been receiving services with VR, encouraging them to contact CAP if they were having difficulties with VR.

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.

19 weekly - Legislative updates were sent to an average of 650 people. These updates included topics and bills being discussed and voted on at the Legislature during that week. At the end of the Legislative Session, a Wrap Up was provided to the recipients.

CAP brochures were sent out to 6,587 people who had been receiving services with VR, encouraging them to contact CAP if they were having difficulties with VR.

CAP Vocational Rehabilitation Process, red books given to all new VR clients and applicants throughout the state. Over 2000 disseminated.

Disability Rights Montana had 896,258 hits on our website.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV1
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals0
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency2
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.5
6. Other (specify below)3

E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage

Describe the various sources and information disseminated about your agency by an external source.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services gives their clients information about the Client Assistance Program, their rights and how to contact the CAP Program.

Staff attorney was guest on HCTV talking about Special Education, procedures and transition services.

Part II. Individual Case Services

A. Individuals served

An individual is counted only once during a fiscal year. Multiple counts are not permitted for Lines A1-A3.

1. Individuals who are still being served as of October 1 (carryover from prior year)29
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year37
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)66
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.)21

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information1
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor16
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided38
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process2
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 problems9
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 Assistance26
2. Investigation/Monitoring0
3. Negotiation10
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution7
5. Administrative / Informal Review3
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation2
8. Total48

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 favor19
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)7
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual5
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)2
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint12
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor2
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.1
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP0
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Conflict of interest0
12. Other (Please explain below)0

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- VR was appropriate for closing case, client failed her classes and wanted VR to pay for them again.

1- Client wanted VR to purchase him a car, he failed to stay in touch with CAP

4- Client wanted help in going from a lower Priority to a Priority 1 category. They failed to get the medical information needed to help their case.

1- Client did not participate in the VR program, just wanted a job. He passed away.

6- Client failed to stay in touch with CAP.

1- Client's husband accused a doctor that VR sent her to, of malpractice.

1- Explained Order of Selection to VR client.

3- Client failed to stay in touch with VR, then OOS came and they were put on a waiting list.

1- Client was being denied interpretive services, forced to quit job to work with CPS.

1- Client working with a Tribal VR who was not providing Pre-Ets services.

1- Worked with client and VR to provide promissed equipment so client could start his business.

1- Having trouble with VR in providing an interpreter.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual1
2. Application for services completed1
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided0
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party12
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office4
8. Alternative resources identified for individual2
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made1
10. Other (Please explain below)23

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 186
2. 19 - 247
3. 25 - 4016
4. 41 - 6433
5. 65 and over4
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)66

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females34
2. Males32
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)66

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)1
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native8
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American0
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White56
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury6
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder0
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder0
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)0
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)2
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)3
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy0
13. Deafness5
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)3
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions0
20. Intellectual Disability1
21. Mental Illness25
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment0
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment3
26. Orthopedic Impairments8
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)1
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)1
34. Other Disability8
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)66

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR50
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list7
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list6
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
5. Transition student/High school student4
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act1

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program in Montana has largely fallen apart. Due to extreme budget shortfalls and its failure to predict an increase in applications due to its outreach to schools, it was forced to close the last of its categories of eligibility in March of 2017. At the end of the fiscal year, the program had a deficit of $9 million.

As a result of this budget shortfall, the program received intense scrutiny by the Director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, which houses the VR program. For months, every plan amendment or expenditure over $500 had to be individually reviewed by the Director. In the midst of this new review, top level supervisors of the program were placed on administrative leave pending internal investigations.

As members of the VR council, we have insisted upon explanations of the cause of the deficit, as well as information about lapses in service that have occurred with our clients. Although when identified, these problems are fixed, we worry greatly about the large group of clients who have not contacted the CAP and thus have not had advocacy to ensure that they receive the services to which they are entitled. We also worry greatly about attrition on the waiting list for services as the time since the March 2017 closure of all categories stretches on. The Department still has provided no date by which they plan to open any of the categories of eligibility.

1. Number of non-litigation systemic activities not involving individual representation that resulted in the change of one or more policy or practice of an agency.0
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation


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 Montana
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?No
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:NA

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

Provide a description of all CAP positions (duties and person-years)
Type of PositionFTE% of year filledPerson-years

Part VI. Case Examples

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

A Native American client of VR with an open case was required to complete court-mandated Drug Court, to address his alcohol addiction. While he was completing that treament, his case was closed by VR, which claimed that he had failed to move forward. He contacted CAP, which represented him in an administrative review. We argued that his focus on his court mandated treatment was integral to his ultimate success for his work goal. VR reversed its decision and re-opened his case. He is now enrolled in college and doing well in school, His work goal is to get his Master's degree in addiction counseling.

Montana VR is in an Order of Selection in all 3 Priorities. When OOS was implemented it caught a lot of VR recipients off guard and they challenged their case closures. CAP requested many case files to determine whether VR had met their internal timelines for services and had put these clients on waiting lists for services. We found three cases where VR was mistaken and the client should have been found eligible given their timelines.

We also assisted another young man who was enrolled in college with excellent grades. Over the summer, VR alleged that he had failed to stay in contact with VR. When it came time to pay his fall tuition, his VR counselor closed his case. CAP took his appeal and argued successfully that as the client had clearly demonstrated that he would be successful in his goal because of his good grades, it was very likely that he would eventually meet his work goal. The lack of contact was not ideal, but he had complied with every other aspect of his plan. VR re-opened his case and he is scheduled to graduate this Spring.


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 OfficialDisability Rights Montana
Title of Designated Agency OfficialBernadette Franks-Ongoy, Executive Director
Date Signed10/23/2017