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

New Mexico (Disability Rights New Mexico) - H161A180032 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights New Mexico
Address3916 Juan Tabo NE
Address Line 2
StateNew Mexico
Zip Code87111
Website Address
TTY 505-256-3100
Toll-free Phone800-432-4682
Toll-free TTY800-432-4682

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

Address Line 2
Zip Code
E-mail Address
Website Address
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorBernadine Chavez
Person to contact regarding reportBernadine Chavez
Contact Person Phone505-256-3100

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program24
2. Information regarding independent living programs3
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA2
5. Other information provided20
6. Information regarding CAP53
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)102

B. Training Activities

CAP staff provided two trainings to 32 new staff persons working for the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (NMDVR) at the Rehabilitation Academy. The training topics included the CAP and other programs at Disability Rights New Mexico. The other topic covered was Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This training also helps to familiarize new VR staff with the requirements of notifying participants about CAP and helps to promote a working relationship in solving issues for participants. DRNM/CAP staff also provided training for the NMDVR staff involved with “job acquisition” training. The topics covered were disability related issues during the job application process, the interviewing process, and requesting a reasonable accommodation for the employee once a job offer is made and accepted. CAP staff also attended the two-day training event and was able to provide NMDVR staff with information on other programs at DRNM, as well as reinforce the importance of CAP in the rehabilitation process. CAP staff presented to a support group of Native American parents with transition age children. We trained on Pre-Employment Transition (PRETS) for individuals preparing for transition. We also had a separate presentation on “School to Jail” pipeline. The training topic covered youth with disabilities who are suspended/expelled and make their way into the juvenile justice system instead of completing their education or going through vocational rehabilitation. Staff provided training on rights and VR services to participants of the ARC Summit on Social Equality. The training focused on "informed choice”, self-determination and self-advocacy and the right to have competitive, integrated employment. DRNM provided training to the Department of Workforce Solutions (Labor) staff on the Rehabilitation Act, VR services, “Disability Awareness”, and also training on ADA and Title I. There were a total of 24 participants. In summary, CAP staff at DRNM conducted a total of 12 trainings with a total of 250 participants. DRNM/CAP also participated in 16 informational fairs in which we distributed CAP brochures and provided information to participants. Of the 16 fairs,5 were targeted outreach to minorities and underserved populations.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.14
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.272
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.

New Mexico is a very rural state with a diverse population. In addition to these factors New Mexico is a very poor state with a high rate of unemployment for New Mexicans with disabilities. The majority of New Mexicans are unserved/underserved. DRNM CAP targets rural and underserved areas to provide training and outreach. Our goal is to inform communities of state vocational rehabilitation services and the possibility of individualized vocational rehabilitation services. We provided training in southern New Mexico to monolingual Spanish speaking VR participants. CAP conducted considerable outreach to persons in rural areas and on Native American pueblos. New Mexico is fortunate to have three 121 programs which we work very closely with.CAP staff focused on minority communities and areas that have few resources, such as public transportation. DRNM/CAP also participated in 16 informational fairs in which we distributed CAP brochures in English and Spanish as well as provided information to participants in both languages. Of the 16 fairs, 8 were targeted outreach to minorities and underserved populations outside the state’s major urban areas. DRNM provided training to Native American families at the EPICS (Educating Parents of Indian Children) conference in Albuquerque. The topics covered were the VR services through the state VR programs as well as the Native American 121 programs, and transition services under the Section 121 programs and state vocational programs including DVR and the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. We also talked about transition services under WIOA. There were 42 participants in the session. CAP staff provided training to the staff and faculty of Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute at their annual Colloquium. There were 52 staff and faculty at this event. The topics covered were vocational rehabilitation and higher education, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and WIOA. Staff provided training on CAP and employment rights to clients of the quarterly job club at the Belen office of NMDVR (in central New Mexico); the club is sponsored by Desert Bloom Rehabilitation. There are 8 to 10 participants each quarter. This is rural area with very limited resources and a lack of accessible transportation.

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 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 Agency500
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.16
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.


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)5
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year22
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)27
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.)27
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)5

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information29
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor11
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided16
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process1
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category7
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 problems0
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
10. Related to Title I of the ADA2

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 Assistance0
2. Investigation/Monitoring0
3. Negotiation0
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution2
5. Administrative / Informal Review0
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total2

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)2
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 representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint2
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 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. Controlling law/policy explained to individual0
2. Application for services completed2
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided13
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party5
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual2
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)0

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 181
2. 19 - 241
3. 25 - 405
4. 41 - 6418
5. 65 and over2
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)27

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females15
2. Males12
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)27

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)9
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American1
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White17
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury1
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)2
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)2
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)2
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy0
13. Deafness2
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)2
15. Deaf-Blind2
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions0
20. Intellectual Disability0
21. Mental Illness7
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment0
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment3
26. Orthopedic Impairments4
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 Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)27

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR24
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list1
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list2
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
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

NM CAP staff meets with NMDVR Management Staff (Field Operations Directors) and the acting Director on a quarterly basis to discuss areas of service in which CAP and NM DVR can work together to improve services for NM participants. NMDVR had hired an agency director, having had an Acting Director for the past 12 years. That Director left the agency within a year. The new “Acting Director” was in place for most of the fiscal year but is not currently serving in that capacity. CAP staff has met with the new “Acting Director” where CAP staff discussed several issues. The most pressing issue is the high turnover rate at the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (NMDVR). Several caseloads are without VR Counselors and other staff are filling in until NMDVR is able to hire new staff to provide those services. Currently the Public Education Department has taken the hiring authority away from NMDVR. CAP is following this very closely to determine if this will have a negative impact on service delivery. The focus of discussion of the quarterly meetings this year included the following issues: 1.) Presumptive eligibility continues to be an issue for beneficiaries. There is still a lack of communication and explanation to SSA Beneficiaries about presumptive eligibility. CAP staff has been working with the Ticket to Work Team and the Benefits Advisors who provide that service through NMDVR to help counselors provide better and more accurate information to SSA beneficiaries. CAP has been working on this issue for the past three years and we have seen some improvement. 2.) Issue with participants who are assigned to caseloads with no counselor. As counselors have left NMDVR there has been a substantial delay in getting either a temporary counselor or a permanent counselor. We had participants who have waited several months before hearing from anyone regarding their services. In most cases the participants either called CAP or called NMDVR directly to find out who would be providing services. NMDVR had a 22% vacancy rate which was among the highest of state agencies. The vacancy rate is now around 12% and temporary counselors have been covering vacant caseloads. 3.) CAP had a couple of cases with NMDVR where services were put on hold since NMDVR did not have a dental consultant. The participants in each case were unable to proceed with their employment efforts until their dental issues were taken care of. The delay was substantial and the CAP had a discussion with the Deputy Director who then instructed the counselors to proceed with the dental services and not delay. 4.) Case closures by NMDVR counselors continue to be obscure and not well explained to the clients. When a case is closed and CAP does a supervisory review or gets the case closure evaluations. This practice has improved this year with the help of administration and better training. We continue to monitor this issue and track problematic areas. 5.) NMDVR implemented a policy eliminating “job developer” for participants unless they meet the criteria for a critical needs assessment. The indivuals cases that CAP took regarding this service were provided with job developers. Other participants receive job development services that are provided in-house by Rehabilitation Techs. CAP continues to debate this policy with NMDVR and we will continue to advocate for job developers as appropriate in the IPE. 6.) In August of this year NMDVR closed all eligibility categories but the first category. The agency did notify CAP a couple of weeks prior to closing the categories. CAP staff provided input and asked for clarification on participants who were in the process of developing an IPE. Some of the complaints we received were that participants were not sent a letter until after the category closures had occurred. CAP continues to work with participants that did not receive services as a result of the order of selection. 7.) CAP staff also asked NMDVR to provide us with the process, policy or procedures for participants who request a reasonable accommodation while receiving services from NMDVR. The agency has responded that they are working on this and we will be provided with that process as soon as it is complete. Meanwhile CAP continues to make the reasonable accommodations part of out advocacy efforts.

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

CAP did not have any fair hearings this year. We were able to resolve issues through advocacy and negotiation.

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 New Mexico
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)

Advocate positions 0.94 FTE Attorney positions 0.24 FTE Support staff 0.27 FTE Supervisory staff 0.25 FTE TOTAL CAP staff 1.7 FTE

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Example 1 The client is an individual with TBI and a spinal cord injury. This client has been a participant of NMDVR for a while and CAP has assisted him with services in the past. He reported that he was having communication problems with his VRC, who he had not heard from in several months. He reported that he needed DVR’s assistance with having a lift installed in his car so that he could more readily transport his scooter. He also stated that DVR’s automobile vendor was unable to meet his needs. He asked for CAP’s assistance in: 1) re-establishing communications with his VRC, and 2) advocating for another automobile vendor to install a lift in to his car. A CAP advocate obtained the client's DVR records from the NMDVR office and noted that the NMDVR counselor had not communicated with the client and had not responded to his requests for some time. The CAP advocate reviewed the DVR file in more detail. In addition to the concerns brought to us, the advocate noted that the VRC had sent a NMDVR closure letter, which our client was not aware of. The end result is that the case was not closed and a new amendment was done that included a new vendor to install the lift on his vehicle for his scooter. The VRC also scheduled several advance appointments to keep the communication going. Example 2 The client's mom contacted DRNM on her behalf because the client was experiencing a delay in services at the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehab (NMDVR). The client also had not met with her Vocational Rehab Counselor (VRC) for several months and needed services added to her Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). Due to CAP involvement, a meeting was set up with the client's new VRC, who was updated with the client's past issues with her previous counselor. CAP staff also attended several meetings with the client and her mom so that the appropriate services Assistive Technology, in the form of an Ipad, and services through Driving to Independence, were added. The client is now receiving the AT and transitional services she requires to find meaningful employment or educational opportunities in the community. Example 3 The client contacted DRNM because she was experiencing a delay in service with her DVR plan. She wanted to attend school abroad, and she felt she had submitted all the information to her VRC that was required to get her plan approved. DRNM evaluated and assessed the case, and found that DVR could not provide funding for portions of the plan that counted as "immigration fees." The client was under the impression that DVR would cover those costs. An advocate from DRNM attended a meeting with the client, her VRC, and the Program Manager, to find out what was still required of the client. The client was made aware of what DVR was required to do to contribute to her plan, and what she still needed to do. The client needed $7,000 to secure her place at the medical school, as well as other immigration fees. When the client had confirmation that she had the necessary funds as approved by the program abroad she was able to proceed with registration for medical school. CAP attended the final meeting with the client and her VRC to negotiate the rest of the services in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The services in the IPE were to the client's satisfaction, and she signed the final draft. Because of CAP involvement, the client is able to pursue her educational endeavors and find meaningful employment. Example 4 The client in this case was a NMDVR Participant located in Albuquerque. The client could not get a response from his VRC and services had been delayed. Over the course of seven months, the CAP advocate on this case provided a number of services to this gentleman, education about his rights and responsibilities as a DVR participant; communication with DVR staff on the client's behalf; re-establishing communications with the client's Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor; and, advocating on the client's behalf in three meetings with DVR staff. Outcome-Communications between the client and VRC were re-established. As a result, the client received from DVR: 1. $4,000 in transportation services. 2. Financial support to take two business and marketing course at UNM Continuing Education. 3. A new iPhone purchased for $800, and two months of voice and data services for that phone.


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 OfficialGary Housepian
Title of Designated Agency OfficialChief Excutive Officer
Date Signed12/11/2018