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

New York (Disability Rights New York) - H161A180065 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights New York (DRNY)
Address725 Broadway
Address Line 2Suite 450
CityAlbany
StateNew York
Zip Code12207
E-mail Addressmail@drny.org
Website Addresshttp://www.drny.org
Phone518-432-7861
TTY 518-512-3448
Toll-free Phone800-993-8982
Toll-free TTY800-993-8982
Fax518-427-6561

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights New York (DRNY)
Address725 Broadway
Address Line 2Suite 450
CityAlbany
Zip Code12207
E-mail Addressmail@drny.org
Website Addresshttp://www.drny.org
Phone518-432-7861
TTY518-512-3448
Toll-free Phone800-993-8982
Toll-free TTY800-993-8982
Fax518-427-6561

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorErica M. Molina, Esq.
Person to contact regarding reportErica M. Molina, Esq.
Contact Person Phone518-432-7861

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program62
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 provided12
6. Information regarding CAP12
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)91

B. Training Activities

**Note** In New York, the state vocational rehabilitation agencies are the New York State Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) and the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB). The former is a general VR agency serving people with all disabilities except blindness, while the latter is a VR agency only serving those who are blind.

DRNY has been successful in conducting several trainings about the CAP program and other Rehabilitation Act-related programs and projects throughout FY 2018. These trainings covered several topics, including two trainings at the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) Annual Conference: one about self-employment, and another about pursuing college and university sponsorship from VR agencies. DRNY also presented a training to NYSCB vocational rehabilitation counselors on engaging family members and significant others in the VR process. DRNY also conducted a CLE panel about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and presented on best practices in the interactive process and requests for reasonable accommodations in employment.

DRNY has also presented on information and resources available through the P&A System and CAP. During these presentations, DRNY’s history and scope of services are explained, and questions from the audience are answered. Trainings have been targeted to community stakeholders who serve people with disabilities. Training audiences have included adults and youth with disabilities; their families; disability advocates; attorneys; and VR and ILC personnel.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.3
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.89
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 FY 2018, DRNY continued its effort in conducting outreach and providing services to individuals in previously unserved or underserved groups. Outreach efforts during the year resulted in reaching a total of 1,927 individuals throughout New York State. Many of these efforts are related to the systemic projects described later in this report.

DRNY continued to target the transition-age population to align with WIOA’s emphasis on pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) planning. DRNY conducted several outreaches, including at school-sponsored transition and college fairs; special needs and family support fairs; and Special Education PTA meetings. DRNY also conducted outreaches at community colleges, State University of New York (SUNY) colleges and universities and New York City University of New York (CUNY) systems. These combined efforts reached almost 750 people.

DRNY also continued its focus of reaching those people with disabilities who work in sheltered workshops at a subminimum wage rate, to align with WIOA’s Section 511. DRNY developed training materials and other resources, and conducted site visits throughout FY 2018. DRNY provided several “Know your Rights” presentations to workers and employers at the workshops regarding VR employment services. DRNY conducted 11 site visits, and presented the training to 833 people. DRNY will continue this project in FY 2019.

DRNY also conducted outreaches to community agencies and their constituents, including conducting outreaches to a stroke survivors’ support group (15 people), at a homeless services agency event (53 people), to a parent-to-parent group (10 people), and at a meeting of 50 Medicaid Service Coordinators (MSCs).

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.

DRNY has worked to make sure that the agency is recognized as a resource for people with disabilities seeking services under the Rehabilitation Act. This includes disseminating brochures and other resources to clients, the public, and stakeholders. DRNY’s information is provided to the public and groups within New York State. DRNY has targeted VR agencies and ILCs to disseminate information; these referral sources have produced many new referrals to DRNY. Referrals also come from stakeholders who participate with DRNY in various state councils, committees, and taskforces. In particular, DRNY is represented on both the ACCES-VR and NYSCB State Rehabilitation Councils. DRNY regularly updates both Councils on its programs; this has resulted in consistent requests for technical assistance, and also in information and referral (I&R) and case service requests.

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 Agency21
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency15750
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.8
6. Other (specify below)1

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)64
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year182
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)246
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.)22
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)60

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information7
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor58
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided170
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process21
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
11
7. Related to independent living services2
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems3
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 Assistance43
2. Investigation/Monitoring85
3. Negotiation71
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution5
5. Administrative / Informal Review7
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing1
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total212

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.)

N/A

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor98
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)26
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual11
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)4
5. Individual chose alternative representation1
6. Individual withdrew complaint37
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.24
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP11
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.)

DRNY represented one individual at an impartial hearing. The client sought reimbursement from ACCES-VR for his college expenses. DRNY was successful in its representation, and proved that ACCES-VR’s denial of college funding was inappropriate, and that the VR counselor did not engage in the IPE development process with the client. The impartial hearing officer awarded the client the full amount of money sought at the hearing, more than $1,200. The client was also invited to pursue college going forward, with ACCES-VR support.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual88
2. Application for services completed12
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation10
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided47
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party32
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office14
8. Alternative resources identified for individual7
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)1

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 186
2. 19 - 2441
3. 25 - 4046
4. 41 - 64140
5. 65 and over13
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)246

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females120
2. Males126
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)246

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)25
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian10
4. Black or African American59
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White136
7. Two or more races9
8. Race/ethnicity unknown7

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury4
2. ADD/ADHD10
3. AIDS/HIV1
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities1
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism4
6. Anxiety Disorder6
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder17
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)2
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)10
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)6
11. Cancer3
12. Cerebral Palsy7
13. Deafness8
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)5
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes1
17. Digestive Disorders2
18. Epilepsy2
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions4
20. Intellectual Disability10
21. Mental Illness57
22. Multiple Sclerosis3
23. Muscular Dystrophy1
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment13
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment11
26. Orthopedic Impairments25
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)25
31. Speech Impairments2
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)2
34. Other Disability4
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)246

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR45
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list197
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living3
5. Transition student/High school student4
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act4

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

ILC Networking & Relationship-Building:

In FY 2018, DRNY began a project with the goal of networking with federally funded ILCs, and to ensure their applicants and clients knew about services available to them. DRNY contacted all federally funded ILCs in New York State. This effort resulted in eight outreach trainings to ILCs across the state. DRNY also established regular office hours at one ILC. DRNY obtained 4 new cases through the project. DRNY will continue to provide trainings and outreaches to ILCs and their clients, and continue to seek additional networking opportunities in FY 2019.

Sub-Minimum Wage Workers:

As detailed above, DRNY targeted outreach and training to workers who receive sub-minimum wages in sheltered workshop settings. DRNY will continue this work in FY 2019.

Transition Population:

DRNY remained focused on its efforts to better serve the Pre-ETS population. DRNY has attended several transition group meetings, transition fairs, and Special Education PTA events to further this goal. This effort resulted in 4 transition-aged youth being served by DRNY.

CAP Program Priorities:

In FY 2018, DRNY developed 14 CAP program priorities. One new priority focuses on serving those who are seeking vocational and trade school training. The other new priority focuses on supporting individuals with accessing their VR case records in an accessible and timely manner. DRNY has been able to focus its resources on certain substantive areas while providing the public with a clear articulation of issues with which DRNY might be able to assist. Priorities are also used to identify and monitor systemic problems. DRNY will use these CAP priorities (copied below) in the coming fiscal year to inform its future advocacy efforts.

Priority I: Advocate for those who are in the process of applying for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services while ensuring the legal standards for findings of eligibility and ineligibility are maintained by the VR agencies, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority II: Advocate for those who are in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) development stage of the VR process in an effort to ensure a timely and suitable employment goal consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of individuals, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority III: Advocate for those who are seeking to establish or reestablish communication and/or a productive working relationship with their vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC), with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority IV: Advocate for the provision of pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) for students with disabilities who require and are eligible or potentially eligible for such services under Section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority V: Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking vocational and/or trade school training in an effort to achieve their IPE goal, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority VI: Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking college and/or graduate school support from their VR agency in an effort to achieve their IPE goal, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority VII: Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking support from their VR agency in their goal of self-employment, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority VIII: Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking transportation and/or vehicle modification assistance from VR agencies in an effort to achieve their IPE goal, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority IX: Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking assistive technology and/or rehabilitative technology in an effort to achieve their IPE goal, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority X: Advocate for those eligible for services under Section 511 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, related to the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority XI: Advocate for those clients and applicants who are seeking support in accessing their VR case records in an accessible and timely manner, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority XII: Advocate for those clients and applicants of federally funded independent living centers (ILCs), with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority XIII: Provide technical assistance and information to those applicants and clients who qualify for services and benefits under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Social Security work incentives such as PASS Plans and Ticket to Work, with particular attention to individuals in underserved populations.

Priority XIV: Conduct an outreach and education campaign to ensure that individuals in underserved and unserved communities throughout New York State understand their rights, know about the Protection & Advocacy system, and can access appropriate Client Assistance Program services.

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

DRNY did not have any systemic litigation activity involving individual representation. Instead, DRNY’s efforts to resolve disputes using alternative methods were very successful. DRNY participated in informal meetings, written and in-person negotiations, administrative reviews, and mediation, to successfully represent its clients. DRNY also was successful representing a client at an ACCES-VR impartial hearing.

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 York
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)

Type of positionFull-time equivalent% of year position filledPerson-years
Professional8.58
Full-time8.58100%8.58
Part-time000
Vacant000
Clerical2.16
Full-time2.1681%1.75
Part-time000
Vacant0.4119%0.38

Professional FTE

DRNY paid 18 professional staff in the 2018 fiscal year from Section 112 funds. Allowing for the timing of hires during the year as well as the percentage of indirect staff time allocated to Section 112 funds the 18 professional EE’s equate to 8.58 FTE. During FY 2018, 100% of the full time professional positions were filled for 12 months equating to 8.58 person years. The vacancies for FY 2018 equate to 0% of the positions unfilled. DRNY did not have any part time professional employees during FY 2018.

Clerical FTE

DRNY paid 15 clerical staff in the 2018 fiscal year from Section 112 funds. Allowing for the timing of hires during the year as well as the percentage of indirect staff time allocated to Section 112 funds the 15 EE’s equate to 2.16 FTE. During FY 2018, 81% of the full time positions were filled for 12 months equating to 1.75 person years. The vacancies for FY 2018 equate to 19% of the positions unfilled which equals .41 FTE’s totaling .38 person years. DRNY did not have any part time clerical employees during FY 2018.

Part VI. Case Examples

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

1. DRNY represented a 51-year-old woman with orthopedic and physical impairments. ACCES-VR had repeatedly delayed making a decision on supporting this client’s self-employment plan toward becoming a beauty product salesperson. DRNY helped this client navigate the self-employment process with ACCES-VR. DRNY’s negotiations with ACCES-VR ultimately resulted in approval of her self-employment plan. ACCES-VR also authorized the purchase of a laptop and more than $8,000 worth of funding toward website development and computer training.

2. DRNY represented a 23-year-old man with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Manifestations of this client’s OCD, noted in a diagnostic vocational evaluation in which he participated, led ACCES-VR to determine he was too severely disabled to benefit from VR services, and closed his case. DRNY represented the client at administrative review, and then at mediation. The meditation resulted in the client receiving a new situational assessment evaluation. Throughout the case, DRNY also assisted the client in developing his self-advocacy skills.

3. DRNY represented a 50-year-old man who requested assistance in determining the status of his case with his local Independent Living Center (ILC). The client reached out to DRNY after several months of lack of communication from his ILC advocate. By working with DRNY, the client was able to successfully reestablish communication with his ILC advocate. DRNY was also able to assess and explain the status of the client’s ILC case, so that he had a better understanding of what services the ILC was providing him.

4. DRNY represented a 66-year-old man with epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and venous insufficiency. Once his venous insufficiency affected his work as a baker, the client approached his vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) with the desire to return to college. The VRC requested additional information as per ACCES-VR’s college policy and procedure. The client timely provided ACCES-VR with all documentation requested. After no contact from the VRC for months, the client inquired on the status of approval for his college funding. The VRC denied support for the man’s education, and did so just before the college semester began. The client’s family paid the cost out-of-pocket so that he would not lose his slot, and the client filed for impartial hearing. DRNY was successful in representing the client, and proved that ACCES-VR’s denial of college funding was inappropriate, and that the VR counselor did not engage in the IPE development process with the client. The impartial hearing officer awarded the client the full amount of money he had paid, $1,239.94.

5. DRNY represented a set of 20-year-old female twins, each with specific learning disabilities. Both clients were attending college and were receiving full college sponsorship from ACCES-VR in 2017. They were then informed that effective fall 2018, they were no longer eligible for full VR funding. ACCES-VR was reducing the amount of college funding because of a change in the 2017 Federal Poverty Guidelines. ACCES-VR determined that their parents’ income exceeded the financial threshold for additional funding. However, DRNY demonstrated that the family’s expenses toward their third child’s college expenses were not being taken into account at all in this formula. DRNY convinced ACCES-VR to have all the family’s educational expenses considered. As a result, ACCES-VR agreed to provide a total of $3,304.62 toward each client’s fall 2018 tuition, and $700 towards their books.

6. DRNY represented a 50-year-old man with PTSD and bipolar disorder. The client was informed by ACCES-VR that it would not support him to work in any human services role due to his criminal background. While in prison, the client developed an interest in human services, and helped secure Narcotics Anonymous meetings for his peers. The client requested an impartial hearing on the denial of a human services goal. DRNY successfully negotiated for the client to be supported with the employment goal of Peer Specialist - Working with Ex-Offenders. DRNY also successfully advocated that ACCES-VR provide travel costs to the client as he seeks internship sites, as required by peer specialist certification guidelines.

7. DRNY represented a 26-year-old woman with specific learning disabilities. ACCES-VR agreed to private college sponsorship for the client, but over a year passed without VR’s funding being paid to the university. DRNY investigated the matter and discovered the delay was rooted in ACCES-VR’s Central Office. As a result of DRNY’s efforts, $38,885 was paid to the private university, relieving any financial burden to the client or her family.

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 OfficialErica M. Molina, Esq.
Title of Designated Agency OfficialCAP Director
Date Signed12/20/2018