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

Montana (Disability Rights Montana) - H161A180027 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Montana
Address1022 Chestnut Street
Address Line 2
CityHelena
StateMontana
Zip Code59601
E-mail Addressbernie@disabiltiyrightsmt.org
Website Addresshttps://disabilityrightsmt.org
Phone406-449-2344
TTY 406-449-2344
Toll-free Phone800-245-4743
Toll-free TTY800-245-4743
Fax406-449-2418

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights Montana
Address1022 Chestnut Street
Address Line 2
CityHelena
Zip Code59601
E-mail Addressbernie@disabiltiyrightsmt.org
Website Addresshttps://disabilityrightsmt.org
Phone406-449-2344
TTY406-449-2344
Toll-free Phone800-245-4743
Toll-free TTY800-245-4743
Fax406-449-2418

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/Coordinator
Person to contact regarding report
Contact Person Phone

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program11
2. Information regarding independent living programs0
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects1
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA1
5. Other information provided0
6. Information regarding CAP5
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)18

B. Training Activities

The 43 Annual American Indian Council Pow Wow was attended by consumers, parents, pwd, family members and the general public. DRM had a table with an advocate that provided information pamphlets and other information regarding the CAP and other P&A programs. 500+ people

A presentation to the Justice for Ameri Corps was done to educate members about services and progams at DRM. 20+ people

Disability Awareness presentation to Montana Legal Services Association explaining all programs including CAP. 10+ people

Helena Community Advocacy Meeting presented to pwd and family members. Information was given about the CAP program. 5+ people

With the Helena Citizens Council information on all DRM programs was presented to pwd, family members, and the general public. 20+ people

Presentation to the Parents Training Center (PLUK), consumers, pwd, family members, educators and teachers about DRM services including CAP. 100+ people

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.6
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.655
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.

CAP advocate is a member of the Native American Task Force for the State of Montana. She participates on several committees and helps to arrange outreach efforts to reservations and events. The committee was just recently established.

Disability Rights Montana (DRM) developed an electronic survey for input in planning the FY 2018 Priorities and Objectives. The survey was announced in 2 DRM e-newsletters, website, Facebook, and Twitter as well as emailing to individuals and listerservs. The website, Facebook and Twitter all updated at least weekly.

The State of Montana allows agencies to design and sell, through the DMV, license plates as a means to fundraise. DRM has had the license plate for 3 years now.

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.

CAP information brohures were sent out closed VR clients, making sure they were able to contact CAP if they had any issues with VR. An additional 500 brochures were given out at various outreach events.

4 quarterly Disability Rights Montana newsletters were published and sent out to 2,651 people on our mailing list. Each newsletter was also put on the Disability Rights Montana website.

The CAP program also provides a "Red Book", guide to the Vocational Rehabilitation Process, to every new VR client. VR offices give one to each new applicant. Over 2,000 books were given out to VR offices across the state.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV0
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.6
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.

Disability Rights Montana has a very active website with 816,168 hits in FY 2018

Twitter - 4, 868 Followers

Facebook - 2,240 Followers

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)21
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year27
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)48
4. Individuals (from Line A3) who had multiple case files opened/closed this year (In unusual situations, an individual may have more than one case file opened/closed during a fiscal year. This number is not added to the total in Line A3 above.)1
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)15

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information2
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor15
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided24
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
1
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems5
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 Assistance3
2. Investigation/Monitoring0
3. Negotiation9
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution9
5. Administrative / Informal Review13
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total34

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 favor22
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)2
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual2
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)2
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint2
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor3
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- Due to the client's financial situation, she was unable to pay for repairs to her computer that was borrowed from VR. She had the computer fixed by the college that she is attending, IT department. The college would not allow the client to finalize her tuition bill until the repairs were paid for. VR denied the bill stating the client did not request prior approval. CAP was able to get the bill paid for by VR, explaining the client was in her senior year of college and that VR already had a tremendous investment in her tuition with this client. CAP also made sure the client knew that she needed to have prior authorization before VR would pay for anything.

1- VR client recently moved and due to a hearing impairment, he asked VR to text him only because he could not hear his phone ring or get voice messages. When he had moved he neglected to let VR know of his new address, when his mail was forwarded to him he realized VR had closed his case. CAP was able to get his VR case reopened and to make sure that a note was written in his file that he could only receive text messages from now on. CAP also educated the client on making sure he understood that it is his responsibility for giving VR current contact information.

1- VR paid for a client to get his welding certificate, however the client failed one part of the test and VR would not pay for the retake. CAP was able to show that VR already had quite an investment in this client and with him getting his certificate he would be able to work. VR agreed to pay for the retake of the test. Client did pass 2 of the 3 sections that retook and will take that section over again this winter.

1- VR would not pay for the client to travel out of state to take a test because that is the only place the client was able to get test accommodations. CAP was able to show that they needed to do this as an accommodation due to the clients need for extra time. They agreed and paid for the clients, food, gas and lodging to travel out of state to take his test.

1-Client has finished law school and is transioning into work, she wants to do her PASS plan. The town where the client lives had a benefits planner but this service was denied by VR saying there was a person who would do it free of charge. However, that person had a huge caseload and could not get back to the client for weeks. A benefits planner to do a PASS plan was written into this individuals IPE. CAP was able to argue successfully that if a comparable benefit is not readily available to a client then VR needs to provide the service. They paid for the benefits planner to do her PASS plan.

1- Client who lived in a rural area of the state that received a lot of snow during the winter months was unable to get to her mail box and missed a deadline for services with VR. CAP was able to get her back on the waiting list for services.

1-Due to a provider's contract with VR, job coach services were terminated for a young man who had been working with this job coach for over a year. Were able to get services with another provider.

1- After having an Admin Review with VR and client, they agreed to more services and the client failed to follow thru with VR.

1-Worked with a client to get him moved up on the VR waiting list, he failed to follow through in getting new records for VR to prove with his other disabilities he should be moved up a category.

1- Client IPE work goal with VR was secondary school teacher. The educational requirements for employment as a secondary school teacher in Montana, is an undergraduate degree, which the client had. After explaining that CAP could help her change her work goal to support her getting her Master's in English,she failed to follow through with VR.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual3
2. Application for services completed1
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation2
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided6
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party5
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office2
8. Alternative resources identified for individual4
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)10

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 180
2. 19 - 243
3. 25 - 4012
4. 41 - 6430
5. 65 and over3
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)48

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females22
2. Males26
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)48

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 Native9
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American0
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White38
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury4
2. ADD/ADHD0
3. AIDS/HIV0
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)0
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)1
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy0
13. Deafness3
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)1
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions1
20. Intellectual Disability2
21. Mental Illness18
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)0
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)0
34. Other Disability7
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)48

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR40
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list2
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list5
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

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program in Montana had a large turnover of staff due to funding and leadership issues, along with that the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) who also experienced a large turnover of members in 2018. Since the CAP advocate did not receive new member training when she was appointed to the SRC, she insisted that any new members coming on to the Council, be trained so they understand the VR system and their responsibilities as council members. Along with a new Chairperson and CAP, the SRC received new member orientation for the first time ever in the history of the SRC. This was a huge accomplishment and was reported in the Governor’s 2018 report.

CAP advocate was also able to ask the SRC to implement sub-committees on the council and to make sure each member is actively participating on a committee. The sub-committees are: Education and Membership, Planning & Review, Customer Satisfaction and Needs Assessment, and Policy, Procedure, & Personnel Development. CAP advocate is on the Customer Satisfaction and Needs Assessment, and Policy, Procedure, & Personnel Development committees.

Since the Montana VR is in Order Of Selection with all 3 categories closed to new clients, CAP has had many calls regarding clients being taken off the waiting list if they don’t respond to VR in a timely manner. VR sends out letters every 6 months to see if VR clients on the waiting list still want to be on the waiting list. Montana is very rural state and in the winter, mail is often delivered very sporadically in some areas. By the time clients would get notification to call VR their 10 days were up and their case was closed. CAP worked directly with the Acting Director to make sure if someone was on a waiting list, and unforeseen circumstances arose, they would not lose their place on the waiting list. This also goes for active cases being closed through no fault of the 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

N/A

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:N/A

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Montana remains in an Order of Selection of all 3 categories that started in March 2017. The Department of Health and Human Services and VR decided that they would open category 1 50 people at a time on the waiting list. This total OOS has frustrated many VR clients, transitioning youth, and VR employees. Currently VR is down 33 employees and is scheduled to lose more due to retirement. DPHHS also implemented a hiring freeze in FY 17-18 and has recently let VR start hiring more counselors. Currently counselors 100's of miles away must travel weekly to cover offices with no counselors. Recently, at the last State Rehab Council meeting it was shown that VR is finally in the black again, but services are very slow to be restored to people on the waiting list.

The Fort Peck Indian Reservation 121 Tribal VR Program has brought 4 client complaints in the past few months. They are denying client services randomly and with no real reason. They have stated that one lady is too old to work, but in fact works a few days a month for the tribe on a committee. CAP argued they need clear and convincing evidence to be able to show she can't work. The tribe will not send files as requested by CAP, return phone calls, or provide Admin Reviews stating they do not have enough money to hire an ALJ. CAP also reached out to the Native American P&A and talked with their Director for some possible solutions. CAP attorney has tried to contact the tribal attorney, and she will not return phone calls either. This has been an on-going problem for several years with the 121 Tribal VR Director.

A VR client who was going to be a senior in college,contacted CAP from another state saying he had to leave Montana last spring due to him shooting and killing another individual who broke into his home, on the reservation. Although, he was found not to be negligent in the homicide, he was threatened by the victim's family and was advised to leave the state with no contact to anyone by the local county attorney's office. When the client was able to get his mail he found out that VR had closed his case for no contact. CAP was able to meet with the VR Chief of Field Services and explain why the client was out of touch with his counselor for so long. VR agreed to re-open his case and he was able to start school again this fall to finish out his senior year.

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 OfficialDisability Rights Montana
Title of Designated Agency OfficialBernadette Franks-Ongoy, Ex. Director
Date Signed10/31/2018