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

Arizona (Arizona Center for Disability Law) - H161A180002 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameArizona Center for Disability Law
Address5025 East Washington Street
Address Line 2Suite 202
CityPhoenix
StateArizona
Zip Code85034
E-mail Addresscenter@azdisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.azdisabilitylaw.org
Phone602-274-6287
TTY 602-274-6287
Toll-free Phone800-927-2260
Toll-free TTY800-927-2260
Fax602-274-6779

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameArizona Center for Disability Law
Address5025 East Washington Street
Address Line 2Suite 202
CityPhoenix
Zip Code85034
E-mail Addresscenter@azdisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.azdisabilitylaw.org
Phone602-274-6287
TTY602-274-6287
Toll-free Phone800-927-2260
Toll-free TTY800-927-2260
Fax602-274-6779

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJohn Gutierrez
Person to contact regarding reportMichelle Thomas
Contact Person Phone602-274-6287

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program73
2. Information regarding independent living programs6
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA31
5. Other information provided19
6. Information regarding CAP45
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)174

B. Training Activities

1. 10-17-17- Your Rights as an Applicant or Client of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). A. Topics Covered - Vocational Rehabilitation and Client Assistance Program (CAP). B. To educate trainees on ACDL’S Services relating to VR and CAP. C. 25 people attended the training.

2.. 11-15-17 - Accessing Your Community. A. Topics Covered - How to file a notice under the new Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) notification law. B. To educate trainees on AzDA Law and ACDL. C. 40 people attended the training.

3. 11-21-18 - Discussion on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). A. Topics Covered ADA bills in Arizona and Nationwide. B. To educate trainees on the Americans with Disabilities Act. C. 50 people attended.

4. 12-6-17 - Client Assistance Program. A. Topics Covered - Vocational Rehabilitation and Client Assistance Program. B. To educate people on Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL) services including VR and CAP. C. 20 people attended.

5. 2-28-18 - Client Assistance Program. A. Topics Covered - Vocational Rehabilitation and Client Assistance Program. B. To educate people on ACDL services including VR and CAP. C. 12 people attended.

6. 5-19-18 - Your Advocacy Options, How We Can Help. A. Topics Covered Included Disability rights information. B. To educate people on Advocacy and Disability Rights. C. 40 people attended.

7. 7-11-18 - STAT 101. A. Topics Covered - ACDL Services, intake process, common areas of assistance, and resolution methods. B. To educate people on ACDL Services. C. 2 people attended.

8. 7-26-18 - ADA Celebration. A. Topics Covered included - recent legislature developments impacting people with disabilities. B. To educate people about the ADA. C. 110 people attended.

9. 9-8-18 - Strategies for a Successful IEP Meeting. A. Topics Covered included - IDEA and Section 504. B. To educate people on ACDL Services, IDEA, and Sections 504, and transition services. B. To educate people on ACDL services. C. 250 People attended.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.9
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.509
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.

ACDL held the 7th annual African American Conference on Disabilities on February 16, 2018. Written materials on the Client Assistance Program, self-advocacy for VR applicants and clients of VR were available to participants. Staff was also available to answer individual questions. The conference had sessions on Title I of the ADA and Transition Services and was attended by over 350 individuals.

ACDL staff attended the Native American Disability Summit in Ganado, Arizona on February 21, 2018. Ganado is located on the Navajo Nation, which is the largest reservation in the country. This was attended by 100 people from this Native American community. Staff provided information about CAP to individuals at this conference.

ACDL staff attended Rays of Hope, the annual Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Conference on May 8, 2018. ACDL staff provided information to attendees regarding the VR services they may be entitled to and information about their rights as a VR client. The Conference also had VR Counselors who specialize with working with clients with traumatic brain injuries. This conference was attended by approximately 200 people.

ACDL staff did a presentation for students with special needs and their families who are members of a service agency known as Pilot Parents. Many of the students plan to apply for VR services to receive transition and other services necessary to reach an employment goal through the VR program. This training is particularly helpful at this time, now that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has strengthened VR’s requirement to provide transition services to students with disabilities.

ACDL staff provided a presentation at the Latino Disability Summit on September 8, 2018. The Latino Disability Summit is the largest conference of its kind for the Latino community and had over 250 participants this year. ACDL’s presentation included information regarding the VR program, what services are available, and how to file appeals if the services are denied.

ACDL has a wide range of publications and guides. These publications and guides are available to people who contact ACDL for assistance. They help with self-advocacy and to educate people who contact ACDL about multiple topics including vocational rehabilitation, employment, and education. Many guides and publications are available in English, Spanish, and Plain Language.

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 TV2
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals0
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency2051
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.8
6. Other (specify below)0

E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage

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

N/A

Part II. Individual Case Services

A. Individuals served

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

1. Individuals who are still being served as of October 1 (carryover from prior year)42
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year88
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)130
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.)7
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 information2
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor35
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided84
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process4
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category4
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
8
7. Related to independent living services2
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 Assistance98
2. Investigation/Monitoring2
3. Negotiation14
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution3
5. Administrative / Informal Review2
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total119

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 favor79
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)31
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 representation1
6. Individual withdrew complaint3
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor1
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.1
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP1
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources2
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. Controlling law/policy explained to individual33
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited5
4. Individual participated in evaluation2
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided58
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party2
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office6
8. Alternative resources identified for individual11
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made1
10. Other (Please explain below)0

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 185
2. 19 - 2418
3. 25 - 4037
4. 41 - 6462
5. 65 and over8
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)130

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females69
2. Males61
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)130

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)24
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian5
4. Black or African American17
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White79
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury2
2. ADD/ADHD2
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism1
6. Anxiety Disorder3
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder13
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)1
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)7
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)10
11. Cancer1
12. Cerebral Palsy4
13. Deafness8
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)8
15. Deaf-Blind1
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders1
18. Epilepsy1
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions0
20. Intellectual Disability7
21. Mental Illness35
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment3
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment4
26. Orthopedic Impairments11
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)5
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida2
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)0
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)130

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR4
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list5
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list121
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living1
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

ACDL Assisted VR with Appeal Form Revisions

ACDL staff worked with the VR Policy Manager on revisions to their appeal form. ACDL staff reviewed the updated appeals form and recommended the form be simplified because the form contained too many complex words and legal terms. ACDL suggested using plain language with an accompanying handout so the process and rights are clear. It was also recommended that additional language about the Client Assistance Program be added. The VR Policy Manager accepted ACDL’s suggestions and they completed the revisions. The updated appeal form is available and has been distributed.

Client of VR who is Deaf Receives Appropriate Accommodations Through ViewFinder

A blind client was sent to ViewFinder for an eye evaluation. ViewFinder is an agency contracted by VR. The client informed ViewFinder that she was deaf and needed an interpreter. ViewFinder did not provide the requested interpreter so the client canceled the appointment. The client then made another appointment several months later, and again ViewFinder refused to provide the interpreter. The client was in desperate need for glasses, so this time she kept the appointment. The staff from ViewFinder, attempted to communicate with the client by writing notes and the client did not believe this was an effective way to communicate.

Due to the ineffective communication, the glasses received, were not the correct prescription for her vision. ACDL spoke with the VR supervisor regarding this concern. The VR supervisor stated that they could not do anything because ViewFinder is a state contracted agency, and there is not a clause that they will provide accommodations to specific VR clients.

ACDL wrote a letter to the Arizona’s Office of Equal Opportunity. An investigation was conducted and the outcomes were as follows:

1) The State pursued the contract dispute process with the vendor, ViewFinder, through the contract procurement office. ViewFinder has agreed that in the future it will provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for RSA clients who are deaf and use ASL or sign language.

2) The State VR program will modify the form that it uses to make referrals to vendors to identify when a person needs an auxiliary aid or service and make a notation on the revised form at the time of the referral.

3) The State VR system has agreed that, in the future, if a dispute arises between VR and the vendor about whether an auxiliary aid and service is necessary, the state will pay for the auxiliary aid and service and pursue its remedies against the contract provider separately. This will be done to avoid delays in the delivery of services.

In addition, the Office of Equal Opportunity, will improve consistent compliance with accommodations for clients of state VR services, they will be reviewing accommodation requests. Also, they intend to hire an additional ADA coordinator and provide more training to RSA staff, as well as other departments.

Finally, Department of Economic Security (DES) is revising its referral process, and will inform vendors, that if a client requests, an ASL interpreter is required, they will have to provide. Therefore, this issue is not only resolved on behalf of this client, but on behalf of other clients with hearing impairments, that would require eye evaluations.

ACDL Assisted VR with Revising the VR Administrative Code

ACDL staff provided comprehensive comments to Arizona RSA’s proposed changes to the Arizona Administrative Code regarding Vocational Rehabilitation Services. RSA’s proposed changes were not written to maximize access to the widest audience possible. Instead, they used complicated legal terms and format that client advocates and VR counselors would have difficulty understanding. The proposed changes also eliminated important definitions related to vocational rehabilitation services, as well as detailed information on the rehabilitation services available to clients. Instead, the proposed changes focused on service limitations and minimizing client rights. ACDL pointed these concerns out to RSA and provided examples of rules from several states that were comprehensive, accessible, and give the reader relevant information on what services they may receive from VR. ACDL also provided a list of definitions to include in the rules and asked for either the elimination of or specific change to their proposed language that conflicted with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). ACDL also asked that the rules either provide the definition to an exception to policy or contain a separate section on policy exceptions. Arizona RSA has acknowledged receipt of our comments and will soon have a formal public comment period. ACDL will continue to actively participate in the rule making process to ensure all individuals with disabilities understand their rights and receive all services they are entitled to as a VR client.

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.2
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation

ACDL does not have any on-going or completed litigation activities involving individual representation during fiscal year 2018.

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 agencyArizona Center for Disability Law
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)

CAP - PPR Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2018. Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL) attorneys, Chief Executive Officer, J.J. Rico and Legal Director Rose Daly Rooney, provide direct supervision over the CAP program and its staff. Total CAP Attorney time:.13 FTE. CAP Advocates and short term assistance team (STAT) advocates provide assistance to persons with disabilities who are seeking or receiving vocational rehabilitation (VR) services as well as individuals who are receiving services from independent living centers or other Rehabilitation Act funded programs. Total CAP Advocate time: 1.14 FTE. Support Staff provides clerical support to the CAP Advocates and Attorneys. Total CAP Support Staff time: .47 FTE Other CAP staff includes the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Program and Quality Assurance Manager, and Office Manager provide support to the CAP program. The CFO is responsible for budget preparations, day-to-day accounting duties, and the financial reporting requirements for the CAP program. Additionally, the Program and Quality Assurance Manager develops data systems necessary to complete reports for the CAP program, tracks CAP activities, and compiles responses from consumer satisfaction surveys. The Program and Quality Assurance Manager supervises the preparation of the annual CAP Program Performance Report (PPR). ACDL’s Office Manager facilitates the distribution of support services and serves as a liaison to coordinate the workload between attorneys/advocates and support staff. Total CAP for other staff time: .07 FTE.

Part VI. Case Examples

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

The Case of DB

DB is a 17-year-old transition student with Cerebral Palsy who, was seeking VR’s assistance to provide him a driving evaluation to determine if he would be able to drive. DB lives in a rural area where there are no forms of transportation.

VR had instituted a policy stating that they would no longer provide driving evaluations for any clients. ACDL assisted DB with an appeal and advocated on their behalf with VR Administration. ACDL advocated that exceptions must be made to this policy, because there are many clients like DB who need a driving evaluation because of disability related reasons, or the fact that there are no other forms of public transportation because of living in a rural area.

VR Administration reversed the decision of the VR Supervisor and agreed that DB should be provided the driving evaluation. DB did receive a driving evaluation and it was determined that DB could indeed drive. DB is now receiving driving lessons from Driving to Independence, which is being provided through VR.

The Case of KN

KN is a 48-year-old male, with a visual impairment who was seeking VR’s assistance with a Self-Employment Plan. The goal of the self-employment plan is to create web based graphic novels with audio for both the sighted and visually impaired. KN was offering fan art from well-known artists and planned to offer a special class to children called Kids ‘n Komics.

VR denied the plan. ACDL worked with the KN and VR to determine what was needed to make this plan successful and get an approval. KN revised his plan and provided an excellent presentation to VR. VR then approved the plan and agreed to provide him with all the funding he was requesting to start his business. KN is now has his own successful business.

The case of EB

EB is a 36-year old female with physical and psychiatric disabilities. She had previously been a client of VR and had an approved Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) with an employment goal of becoming a dentist. Due to some medical issues that needed to be addressed, EB’s first VR case was closed. By the time she reapplied for VR services, EB had done extensive volunteering at the VA and low-income based dental clinics while improving her functional abilities through medical care, physical therapy and medications. When EB reapplied for services, VR would not approve this same employment goal saying EB could not perform the physical requirements of a dentist. This conclusion was based on VR staff’s observations of EB’s limited physical abilities and the findings of a Functional Capacity Evaluation conducted by a contracted vendor. EB was not provided a choice of evaluator and believed his results were not correct. EB appealed VR’s decision not to support her employment goal of dentistry and requested mediation. ACDL represented EB at mediation where several current reference letters and updated medical reports were presented. The mediation resulted in an agreement for VR to provide EB another Functional Capacity Evaluation by a vendor of her choice. VR reviewed EB’s current reference letters and medical reports, as well as the second Functional Capacity Evaluation results, and agreed to support her goal of in the dental field.

The case of MH

MH is a 19-year-old female with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). She had an approved Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) with the employment goal of becoming a music teacher. VR had agreed to pay her college tuition, on-campus dorm room, and meal plan. When a new counselor and supervisor reviewed her IPE, they reneged on paying for MH’s dorm and meal plan citing their revised Policy Manual that states VR will only pay room and board for students whose residence is more than 50 miles from the school. MH appealed this decision and requested mediation. ACDL represented MH at the mediation and was successful in proving that MH’s case should be granted an exception to policy based on her disability-related needs. MH’s residence is 36 miles from the college she attends. It is not on a public bus route, so she would first need a ride to the nearest bus stop and then travel by bus to the campus. This would take approximately 1 ½ hours each way. During the school week, she has either an evening class or music practice that ends at 9:30 p.m., meaning she would get home around 11:00 p.m. She would then need to leave home around 7:00 a.m. to be on time for her first class. Due to her disability, MH requires additional study and practice time. She has difficulty with time management and tries to follow a strict schedule each day to accomplish all her required school work. Having to spend 3 hours traveling to and from campus would likely cause her to be unsuccessful in completing her course requirements. It would also cause additional stress and anxiety. MH proved to VR that all her time on campus is required for her major and goal of becoming a music teacher. VR agreed to make an exception to policy and is now paying for MH’s dorm room and meal plan.

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 OfficialJ.J. Rico
Title of Designated Agency OfficialChief Executive Officer
Date Signed11/07/2018