RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

Alaska (DISABILITY LAW CENTER OF ALASKA) - H240A130002 - FY2013

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Law Center of Alaska
Address3330 Arctic Blvd. 103
Address Line 2
CityAnchorage
StateAlaska
Zip Code99503
E-mail Addressakpa@dlcak.org
Website Addresshttp://www.dlcak.org
Phone907-565-1002
TTY 907-565-1002
Toll-free Phone800-478-1234
Toll-free TTY800-478-1234
Fax907-565-1000
Name of P&A Executive DirectorDavid C. Fleurant
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorDavid C. Fleurant
Person to contact regarding reportDavid C. Fleurant
Contact Person phone907-565-1002
Ext.

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas393
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas254
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)647

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff6
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)73

Training topics in FY13 included: benefits available for transitioning individuals (ages 17-22), strategies for advocacy and access to workplace accommodations and the Ticket to Work and other work incentives, prevention/detection of abuse and neglect; housing rights, special education rights, social security benefits and the administrative appeals process.

As with the last few years, several SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery) trainings were conducted as well. This is a project the Alaska P&A is coordinating with Federal, State, Municipal, and private providers to facilitate the SSI process for the homeless. Through SOAR, providers are trained to properly complete SSI/SSDI applications, which are then flagged and prioritized by the state disability determination service. The Social Security field office designates staff to be available to assist providers who may have questions or need assistance while the application is being completed. By training providers to help their clients through this process-many; many more individuals are receiving much-needed benefits more quickly than if they were going through the applications on their own.

A presentation about the P&A programs and services was made at the Full Lives Conference in Bethel. The conference as a whole in Bethel was attended by 80 people which were a very good turnout. Bethel is a city located near the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, 400 miles west of Anchorage. Accessible only by air and river, Bethel is the main port on the Kuskokwim River and is an administrative and transportation hub for the 56 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. People coming into Bethel for this conference made an investment in time and commitment to learn and network. People attending the conference were service providers in the areas of developmental disabilities, behavioral health, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse/prevention, and senior services; such as case managers, personal care assistants, care coordinators, community advocates, supervisors, and self-advocates.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles0
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website68,841
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated6,369
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

Popular publications created by the Alaska P&A include: Social Security Disability Handbook (with a focus on the appeal process once a person has been denied benefits) Applying for Social Security Benefits in Alaska (focuses on the initial application for benefits and gives helpful suggestions in moving through the process) Prisoner Rights Handbook (Often requested by people with disabilities who are incarcerated or by their family members) And also: Educating Students with Traumatic Brain Injury, Your Mental Health Rights in Alaska, Guardianship in Alaska, and Rights of Persons with Developmental Disabilities.

All of these publications are available at no charge both in printed form and as downloadable PDF’s on our website.

Additionally, in FY13 we revised our “About Our Services” handbook. In the past, this document focused on the P&A’s history, funding sources, and the general services offered. The new version is called “Self-Advocacy Guide & About Our Services” and the updated description reads as follows:

This booklet is meant to serve two purposes. 1. To give you some information on how to best advocate for yourself (or for your friends and family) without the assistance of a professional advocate or attorney. 2. To tell you a little bit about the Disability Law Center and the services we may be able to provide if self-advocacy fails.

This revision was made in response to input from our Intake staff. We can’t serve every caller, but almost everybody appreciates some form of coaching on how to problem-solve. The self-advocacy component of the new booklet helps with that aspect. The last half of the revised booklet gives a better picture of what types of cases we can take, and what services are available through the P&A.

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.

1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)60
2. Additional individuals served during the year33
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)93
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)3

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 43

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility0
2. Employment8
3. Program access1
4. Housing7
5. Government benefits/services58
6. Transportation2
7. Education1
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care8
11. Insurance1
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse3
16. Neglect4
17. Other1

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor23
2. Other representation found1
3. Individual withdrew complaint3
4. Appeals unsuccessful1
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case1
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources3
8. Individual case lacks legal merit14
9. Other4

Please explain

no client cooperation

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy0
2. Short-term assistance32
3. Investigation/monitoring4
4. Negotiation2
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings10
7. Litigation (including class actions)3
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 40
2. 5 - 222
3. 23 - 5964
4. 60 - 6414
5. 65 and over13

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females39
2. Males54

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race4
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native22
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American5
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White56
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown5

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent64
2. Parental or other family home7
3. Community residential home4
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home1
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement1
8. Jail/prison/detention center3
9. Homeless7
10. Other living arrangements3
11. Living arrangements not known2

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment0
2. Deaf/hard of hearing5
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment29
5. Mental illness0
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation2
8. Learning disability1
9. Neurological impairment14
10. Respiratory impairment3
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment9
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment7
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV1
15. Traumatic brain injury3
16. Other disability19

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities1

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes0

Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.

The Alaska P&A, in collaboration with several local and statewide agencies, including the Alaska Statewide Independent Living Council, worked to increase the accessibility of Anchorage’s taxicab system. When this effort began, there were 173 taxicabs in Anchorage and only 6 could loosely be defined as accessible. In the spring of 2013, the city Assembly began discussing significant revisions to the municipal ordinances that regulate the taxicab system in an effort to address a variety of problems, one being the inadequate numbers of accessible cabs. Several draft revisions of the ordinances began circulating, some which specifically addressed the number of accessible cabs and some which did not. Other problems with all of the draft ordinances were the weak enforcement provisions to ensure that accessible cab drivers prioritized individuals that required the accessibility features, the negligible requirements for disability awareness training, and the absence of any standards as to what constituted an accessible cab.

As discussions about the changes to the ordinances were occurring, the Municipality of Anchorage completed a Convenience and Necessity Study that recommended that an additional 25 taxicab permits could be issued to better serve Anchorage residents and visitors. Although the Study did not propose how many of those permits should be for accessible cabs, the P&A and its collaborators wanted as many as possible to be accessible cabs. Unfortunately, only fifteen new permits were issued, and of those, only 5 were for accessible cabs.

Notwithstanding this setback, the P&A and its collaborators sought to improve the language in the proposed ordinances in an effort to ensure that the system, while now only consisting of 11 accessible cabs, was as accessible as possible and in compliance with federal regulations. The Alaska P&A drafted a thorough analysis of the draft ordinance that was used to highlight the shortcomings of the proposal. While not all of the recommendations made by the P&A and its collaborators were adopted, we were successful in securing several important changes to the proposed ordinance. In response to the efforts of the P&A and its collaborators, the Assembly: adopted the ADA standards for accessibility; added a voting member to the Anchorage Transportation Commission with knowledge of the disability community; added as a reporting requirement the reasons for any delays of more than 30 minutes; and adopted ‘people first’ language throughout the ordinance. (This collaborative effort extended into FY14 when the Assembly finally adopted the proposed changes in late November).

*A note on the number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes: We are unable to determine this number because there is no data on the number of people with disabilities in Anchorage who may require the use of an accessible taxi. This number could include people who live here, but don’t have their own private transportation, or people visiting from other places in Alaska or from outside of Alaska.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts1,568
2. Number of individuals named in class actions2

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

Although other grants are the primary source of funding for activity associated with the litigation discussed below, the cases are notable here because the P&A does serve individuals who commonly have several kinds of disabilities, some of which make them PAIR eligible.

Under this objective the Alaska P&A is representing 2 named plaintiffs in a class action, i.e. a lawsuit brought by one or more people on behalf of a large group of others who have a common interest. The class in this case is composed of individuals with a range of disabilities, all of whom had a particular representative payee.

Beginning in 2009/10, the P&A began to receive many complaints about a specific representative payee. (Commonly referred to as a “rep.” payee for short, this is a person who provides financial management of Social Security and SSI payments for people with disabilities who are not capable of managing those funds. Payees are appointed by the Social Security Administration.) The calls we received were coming in both from this rep. payee’s clients and from other service providers who were passing on their concern about possible mishandling of Social Security money by this same payee.

There are steps available to people who have payees to make a complaint and even to request a change of representative payees, and it’s not uncommon for people to be unhappy having a rep. payee at all. It was the volume of these complaints against one woman that raised our concerns. Those concerns turned out to be justified.

It appears that this payee was trying to handle the funds of as many as 300 social security beneficiaries simultaneously. (Although that number is hard to pin down as she confessed to shredding all of her records.) At some point, she just stopped being available to her clients. As rents and utility bills went unpaid, through no fault of their own, her clients were at risk of becoming homeless—a dire fate for anyone, but especially for this vulnerable population, compounded by the very real threat posed by the sometimes harsh weather in Alaska.

Ultimately, Social Security terminated the payee’s status and found new payees for these beneficiaries, but no steps had been taken to recover their misused funds. The Alaska P&A initially requested on behalf of these individuals that the former representative payee pay damages of $500 per violation of state law (in other words, $500 per person that she represented). Ultimately, the matter was settled with the woman agreeing to pay $40,000 to be spread amongst the affected individuals.

The P&A, through its efforts to contact class members, received 66 claim forms from beneficiaries. The court entered judgment consistent with the original settlement amount, approximately $600 per beneficiary, with interest accruing back to November 1, 2012, the date the original settlement payment was due. The P&A will now work to enforce the judgment against the defendants.

In a separate issue, the Alaska P&A filed on its own behalf to challenge the Department of Health and Social Services’ practice of allowing people with disabilities to be held in jails or hospitals for too long once an ex parte order for a psychiatric evaluation has been issued. The Alaska P&A found that some individuals were in jail up to 6 days with no care or treatment while they waited to be transported. The suit requested that evaluations be performed in the nearest community available to the individual. The P&A also sued the state psychiatric hospital for failing to accept individuals with mental illness up to its licensed capacity, creating unnecessary delays in individuals being able to obtain evaluations. While the court deliberated, the State of Alaska agreed to make alternative arrangements for individuals who do not arrive at the evaluation facility within 24 hours from the time they are taken into custody. A temporary restraining order was also issued that requires the State to deliver individuals notice of their rights upon detention. This case is still in the litigation and discovery phase with the case stayed until the Supreme Court decides a related issue. Additionally we filed the amicus brief in a case advocating the same issues as raised in the lawsuit.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

DISABILITY LAW CENTER OF ALASKA FY2013 PAIR PRIORITIES, GOALS, OUTCOME INDICATORS

PRIORITY: ABUSE AND NEGLECT GOAL A: To investigate allegations of abuse (including the use of seclusion and restraint) neglect, and exploitation of individuals with disabilities. ISSUE: Individuals with disabilities have a right to be free from abuse and neglect.

Outcome Indicators: A.1. Investigate 3 reports of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities; A.2. Assess whether, in at least 3 investigations, all federal, state, and local agencies charged with the responsibility of investigating complaints of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities conduct their investigations in a timely, thorough and objective manner; A.3. Establish and maintain contact with residents of assisted living homes, nursing facilities, psychiatric facilities (adult and child), prisons, jails, and in Division of Juvenile Justice facilities, through at least 5 facility visits;

Collaboration: The Alaska P&A has developed and maintained cooperative, complimentary relationships with state agencies that have similar mandates and authority to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect and other complaints filed by or on behalf of individuals with disabilities. In Alaska, those agencies include, but are not limited to: Health Facilities Certification & Licensing (licensing and certifying health facilities as well as assisted living homes); the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman; Adult Protective Services; Medicaid Fraud Unit; and others such as the Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department.

In the past year, these relationships have continued to improve in the areas of communication, sharing of information as allowed and appropriate, and coordinating independent investigations. The Centers for Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) have continued to deny the P&A access to their documentation that is not public information, but P&A staff, through their relationship with the Alaska State Agency, have continued to find other ways to access information needed for the P&A to fulfill its mandates to conduct abuse and neglect investigations. During this past year, requested information from the above agencies and others have been obtained, even when initially denied, through diplomacy and without the need for litigation.

Number of Cases: Under the heading of Abuse and Neglect, the P&A worked on 21 cases or projects in FY13 including monitoring visits, investigations and individual advocacy.

Case Summary demonstrating the impact of the priority: After receiving several complaints about poor living conditions, the Alaska P&A conducted a monitoring visit to a facility that advertises as a “Room and Board” or “Rooming House” and mainly houses individuals who have disabilities. Although the P&A did not identify any immediate health and safety concerns, there were concerns that the facility was not subject to any oversight due to the fact the house was registered as a room and board and therefore was not subject to Alaska Landlord Tenant law or any sort of licensing regulations.

Based on the apparent lack of oversight, the P&A found that residents’ rights were stripped away. For example, the policies and procedures included the following rules: Immediate eviction without notice or refund for a rules violation; Residents cannot have visitors in their rooms; Directing residents to shower at least twice per week; Dictating how residents can dress; Destruction of pornographic material at management’s discretion; and Conditioning residency on regular meetings with counselors

Residents also had their privacy invaded. The lease required the resident to answer the following questions: Do you have a criminal record? What was their offense? Who is their probation officer? Do they have a payee? If they self pay, when do they get their checks? Are they a convicted sex offender? Do they have any health problems management needs to be aware of? Do they have any kind of hepatitis and if so is it being treated? Do they have Aids and if so is it being treated?

Additionally, the resident was required to complete a form that asked for the residents’ birth date, social security number and state identification number. The form also asks the resident about any allergies, a list of medications and the name of the resident’s counselor.

The lease also provided that management would notify a counselor or other necessary entities in the event that the tenant’s behavior showed, in the judgment of management, that tenant may be having problems that may be harmful to him or others, or may be illegal.

In addition, residents prescription medicines were required to be locked up and were distributed twice a day at designated times by the home’s staff. The Alaska P&A contacted the State of Alaska about its concerns and proposed that the Rooming House was actually being operated as an Assisted Living Center and should be operated under those particular regulations. The State disagreed but did believe that some sort of oversight was required over the Rooming House and at the very least needed to be regulated under the Alaska Landlord Tenant Act.

Currently, the Alaska P&A and the State continue to work together to see what classification would be most appropriate for the home and under which regulations the home should be operating.

PRIORITY: OUTREACH

GOAL B: To provide outreach to unserved/underserved individuals with disabilities in Alaska.

ISSUE: Individuals with disabilities who are unaware of their rights can neither exercise those rights, nor protect themselves from rights abuses.

Outcome Indicators: B.1. To conduct 10 outreach, intake, and/or, training events statewide for the purpose of informing people with disabilities of the services available to them through the P&A; B.2. To conduct 4 training events statewide for the purpose of informing people with disabilities of their legal rights and self-advocacy strategies, including information on housing rights & employment rights; B.3. To disseminate to 100 rural clinics information on education rights and appropriate educational programming for students with traumatic brain injury. Collaboration: PAIR, PAIMI and PADD programs work together to conduct outreach to unserved/underserved populations. Such collaboration helps defray the costs of travel in Alaska. Staff also collaborates with other state and local agencies in outreach efforts to the homeless to secure for them any necessary legal assistance.

Number of Cases: There are no specific clients/cases to record under this priority, but specific outcomes for each indicator are listed below.

Case Summary demonstrating the impact of the priority: B.1. During the last year, staff from the Alaska P&A traveled throughout the state and did conduct the 10 trainings planned to let people know about the services offered through the P&A. Areas visited included: Fairbanks, Tok, Juneau, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Kodiak, Dillingham, Kenai/Soldotna, and Anchorage.

Also, a presentation about the P&A programs and services was made at the Full Lives Conference in Bethel. The conference as a whole in Bethel was attended by 80 people which were a very good turnout. Bethel is a city located near the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, 400 miles west of Anchorage. Accessible only by air and river, Bethel is the main port on the Kuskokwim River and is an administrative and transportation hub for the 56 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. People coming into Bethel for this conference made an investment in time and commitment to learn and network. People attending the conference were service providers in the areas of developmental disabilities, behavioral health, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse/prevention, and senior services; such as case managers, personal care assistants, care coordinators, community advocates, supervisors, and self-advocates.

B.2. The Alaska P&A completed 6 trainings statewide to inform people of the legal rights of people with disabilities, and self-advocacy strategies. Areas visited included: Fairbanks, Juneau, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and Anchorage.

B.3. In FY13 the P&A did mail out to over 100 rural health clinics information about the Alaska P&A generally, and also information on education rights and appropriate educational programming for students with traumatic brain injury.

PRIORITY: HOUSING

GOAL C: To advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities for housing and to prevent homelessness.

ISSUE: Being part of the community and living as independently as possible are among the most important values and goals shared by people with disabilities, their families, friends, and advocates. A home of one’s own — either rented or owned -- is the cornerstone of independence for people with disabilities. However, across the nation, individuals with disabilities face a crisis in the availability of decent, safe, affordable, and accessible housing.

Outcome Indicators: C.1. To advocate on behalf of 2 individuals with disabilities who have complaints of Fair Housing Act and other housing rights violations related to the disability, or require assistance in requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Collaboration: Typically, PAIR, PAIMI and PADD work together to help Alaskans with disabilities secure housing or prevent the loss of housing.

Number of Cases: The Alaska P&A had 4 housing cases for a PAIR-eligible individual in FY13, which was two more than anticipated.

Case Summary demonstrating the impact of the priority: The Alaska P&A received a complaint involving an individual who had multiple limitations due to her cardiac condition. The individual resided in an apartment building, where each tenant was assigned a parking spot. The parking spot assigned to the individual with the disability was also identified with handicap designation. Due to her disabilities, the individual required a parking spot relatively close to her unit. The individual did not own a vehicle, and when people came to pick up the individual they were being ticketed for not having a handicap designation. The manager of the unit refused to respond to calls placed by the individual with the disability about this or any other issue.

The Alaska P&A educated the individual about her right to request a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act, and assisted her in writing a letter to the manager. Following receipt of the letter, the manager began a dialogue with the individual to discuss possible ways to accommodate her request.

The P&A continued to provide short-term assistance to this client and she ultimately received her own designated parking spot near her apartment as requested.

PRIORITY: COMMUNITY INTEGRATION

GOAL D: To facilitate the community integration of individuals with disabilities by protecting their rights to receive appropriate supports and services in the most integrated setting.

ISSUE: Under state and federal laws people with disabilities have the right to live in integrated settings in their local communities with the appropriate supports and services. However, many individuals with disabilities who are in both large and small facilities encounter barriers which make it difficult or prevent them from living in an integrated setting. Examples of such barriers include rules and policies that have a disparate impact on individuals with disabilities, the absence of community-based services, and the diversion of scarce resources away from community-based services.

Outcome Indicators: D.1. Advocate for the development and implementation of a comprehensive, effectively working plan for ensuring community-based services for individuals with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead; — 2nd year of 2 year priority D.2. To advocate on behalf of 3 individuals with disabilities who are being denied appropriate community-living and assisted-living options, including elders in need of dementia care; D.3 To assist 2 individuals with disabilities who have been denied access to programs or services, or who have had their rights infringed upon based on disability; D.4. Advocate for systemic reform of the mental health care system within the Department of Corrections to reduce the rate of recidivism of offenders who are also Alaska Mental Health Trust beneficiaries — 2nd year of 2 year priority; D.5. Advocate for mental health evaluations under the civil commitment system to be done as close to the respondents home as possible — 1st year of 2 year priority;

Collaboration: PAIR, PAIMI and PADD work together to assist individuals with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting. P&A staff also collaborates with local independent living centers to help achieve this goal for our clients.

Number of Cases: Under the heading of Community Integration the P&A worked on 6 cases of individual advocacy in FY13.

Case Summary demonstrating the impact of the priority: The Alaska P&A was contacted by an individual with paraplegia who was a patient at Providence Hospital. Prior to hospitalization, he was living in his own apartment with PCA support. He was admitted to the hospital after having taken more of his medications than he should have, and had pressure sores. He contacted us because he wanted to return to his apartment, and hospital staff weren’t assisting or allowing him to go because they believed he was unable to make sound medical decisions for himself. Although guardianship had been threatened, we learned nothing had been filed and there had been no court order to hold the patient. P&A staff was able to convey to the hospital that they had no right to hold him, facilitated him being released, and now he is back in his apartment with supports. He went home on a Friday and contacted us the following week to report having a great weekend back in his home.

PRIORITY: EMPLOYMENT

GOAL E: To advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities who face discrimination in employment.

ISSUE: More than 20 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, many employers have discriminatory practices that adversely affect people with disabilities in hiring, retention, promotion and termination of employment.

Outcome Indicators: E.1. To advocate on behalf of 5 individuals with disabilities threatened with an adverse employment action, such as termination, or denied a reasonable accommodation related to their disabilities;

Collaboration: PAIR, PAIMI and PADD work together to assist individuals with disabilities obtain and/or maintain employment. In many cases the P&A works in collaboration with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Alaska Human Rights Commission.

Number of Cases: The P&A assisted 8 PAIR-eligible individuals with employment issues in FY13.

Case Summary demonstrating the impact of the priority: In one case, the Alaska P&A was contacted by a woman who has various disabilities due to a past stroke. The individual felt her employer had terminated her based on her disability. The individual met with a staff attorney who explained to her how to file a complaint of employment discrimination with the EEOC and assisted her with filling out the paperwork and documenting specific incidents of discrimination that occurred during her employment.

In addition, the P&A provided her with information on Adult Public Assistance, Medicaid, Social Security, and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The woman was able to submit her complaint in a timely manner and left with greater knowledge of resources she could contact for assistance. The individual was to contact the P&A at a later date if she needed further help with her discrimination complaint and possible representation.

PRIORITY: GOVERNMENT BENEFITS

GOAL F: To advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities who seek access to government benefits.

ISSUE: Access to basic individual and community supports through government assistance programs is necessary for people with disabilities before they can consider independent living, continued education and employment. These supports include Social Security programs, Alaska Public Assistance, in-home support services, individualized support from state government and private providers, Medicaid, Medicare, and managed care among others.

Outcome Indicators: F.1. To assist 40 individuals with disabilities to obtain and/or maintain SSI/SSDI and related benefits, such as Adult Public Assistance; F.2. To represent 2 individuals with disabilities to obtain or retain services under Medicaid, Medicaid Waivers, Medicaid’s EPSDT program, or obtain or retain related services such as PCA services; F.3 To advocate on behalf of 20 individuals to ensure that representative payees in charge of Social Security and other public monies for these individuals uses them in accordance with their obligations under state and federal law and that Social Security properly oversees representative payees and investigates allegations of misuse of funds — 2nd year of 2 year priority.

Collaboration: PAIR, PAIMI and PADD work together in assisting clients to acquire benefits and in-home support services Staff also collaborates with other local agencies in outreach efforts to the homeless to secure for them the benefits to which they are entitled.

Number of Cases: In FY13 the Alaska P&A assisted 55 PAIR eligible individuals with Government Benefits issues.

Case Summary demonstrating the impact of the priority: In one case, the P&A was contacted by a man with epilepsy who had been receiving Social Security benefits that allowed him to maintain stable housing and get medical care. He received a notice from SSA informing him that his benefits would be suspended, due to the existence of a probation warrant that was issued several years ago from another state. His benefits were stopped, and the PWD could not pay his bills. The electricity was turned off in his apartment, his phone service was cut off, he could not buy groceries, and he was in jeopardy of losing his rental housing. He tried to contact the court in the other state, as directed by the local SSA office, but got no response.

He then sought assistance from the P&A and we were able to contact the court to determine what type of warrant had been issued and also to attempt to get local appointed counsel to file a motion to quash the warrant. The P&A also spoke with the agency that contracts for public defenders. We discovered that the man was within the class of recipients who should not have had their benefits suspended, under the Martinez case order. Accordingly, the P&A contacted the local SSA representative who is responsible for files that fall under the Martinez order.

The SSA representative made an appointment with the man, and benefits were started again within two weeks. He is now current on his rent and his electricity is back on. The client has been informed by SSA that the underpayment amount is being calculated, and he will receive notice when that is complete. He knows that if there are any problems with SSA about the underpayment, he should contact the P&A again.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

DISABILITY LAW CENTER OF ALASKA FY2014 PAIR PRIORITIES, GOALS, OUTCOME INDICATORS

PRIORITY: ABUSE & NEGLECT Goal A: To investigate allegations of abuse (including the use of seclusion and restraint), neglect, and exploitation of individuals with disabilities. Area(s) of Emphasis: Quality Assurance, Education, Health

Abuse & Neglect Objectives: A.1. Investigate 5 reports of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities; A.2. Assess whether, in at least 5 investigations, all federal, state, and local agencies charged with the responsibility of investigating complaints of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities conduct their investigations in a timely, thorough and objective manner; A.3. Establish and maintain contact with residents of assisted living homes, nursing facilities, psychiatric facilities (adult and child), prisons, jails, and in Division of Juvenile Justice facilities, and sheltered workshops through at least 5 facility visits;

Abuse & Neglect Strategic/Resource Guidance: Complaints alleging the following abuse will be prioritized: suspicious death, seclusion & restraint, eminent threat of harm, sexual misconduct; Complaints originating in facilities with repeated complaints of abuse and neglect will be prioritized; If a complaint of abuse or neglect is being investigated by the police, DLC may delay its own investigation pending the outcome of that investigation; DLC will prioritize monitoring facilities in rural hub communities and those facilities where residents have restricted access to communicating with DLC and other advocacy organizations. When DLC monitors Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Corrections’ facilities it will check for compliance with the requirements under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

PRIORITY: OUTREACH Goal B: To provide outreach to unserved/underserved individuals with disabilities in Alaska. Area(s) of Emphasis: Health, Quality Assurance

Outreach Objectives: B.1. To conduct 6 outreach, intake, and/or, training events statewide for the purpose of informing people with disabilities of the services available to them through the P&A; B.2. To conduct 4 training events statewide for the purpose of informing people with disabilities of their legal rights and self-advocacy strategies; B.3. Disseminate to 100 rural health clinics information on education rights and appropriate educational programming for students with traumatic brain injury.

Outreach Strategic/Resource Guidance: Outreach activities may be suspended when caseloads involving direct legal advocacy exceed manageable resource levels.

PRIORITY: HOUSING Goal C: To advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities for housing and to prevent homelessness. Area(s) of Emphasis: Health, Housing, Quality Assurance, Employment

Housing Objectives: C.1. To advocate on behalf of 2 individuals with disabilities who have complaints of Fair Housing Act and other housing rights violations related to the disability, or require assistance in requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Housing Strategic/Resource Guidance: DLC will prioritize assisting individuals in institutions at risk of losing their community-based housing as a result of institutionalization, but not incarceration.

PRIORITY: COMMUNITY INTEGRATION Goal D: To facilitate the community integration of individuals with disabilities by protecting their rights to receive appropriate supports and services in the most integrated setting. Area(s) of Emphasis: Housing, Quality Assurance, Employment, Recreation

Community Integration Objectives: D.1. To advocate on behalf of 3 individuals with disabilities who are being denied appropriate community-living and assisted-living options, including elders in need of dementia care; D.2. To assist 2 individuals with disabilities who have been denied access to programs or services, or who have had their rights infringed upon based on disability; D.3. Advocate for systemic reform of the mental health care system within the Department of Corrections; 2nd year of 4 year project D.4. Advocate for mental health evaluations under the civil commitment system to be done as close to the respondents home as possible; — 2nd year of 2 year project

Community Integration Strategic/Resource Guidance: n/a

PRIORITY: EMPLOYMENT Goal E: To advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities who face discrimination in employment. Area(s) of Emphasis: Employment

Employment Objectives: E.1. To advocate on behalf of 5 individuals with disabilities threatened with an adverse employment action, such as termination, or denied a reasonable accommodation related to their disabilities, or required to work in segregated settings; E.3 To assist individuals with disabilities learn more about their rights by writing and publishing an employment rights handbook;

Employment Strategic/Resource Guidance: Assisting individuals with employment related matters may not, in all instances, include court or administrative representation (unless individuals qualifies for assistance under PABSS), but may involve the provision of self-advocacy assistance; If a complaint of employment discrimination is being, or should be, investigated by another agency, such as the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, the Alaska State Commission on Human Rights, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, DLC may delay its own assessment and/or make a referral to the appropriate agency.

PRIORITY: GOVERNMENT BENEFITS Goal F: To advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities who seek access to government benefits. Area(s) of Emphasis: Health, Housing

Government Benefits Objectives: F.1. To assist 40 individuals with disabilities to obtain and/or maintain SSI/SSDI and related benefits, such as Adult Public Assistance; F.2. To represent 4 individuals with disabilities to obtain or retain services under Medicaid, Medicaid Waivers, Medicaid’s EPSDT program, or obtain or retain related services such as PCA services.

Government Benefits Strategic/Resource Guidance: Assisting individuals with disabilities obtain social security benefits does not include the initial application process; Assisting individuals with disabilities maintain social security benefits does not include the provision of direct legal assistance for Continuing Disability Reviews; Assisting individuals with disabilities maintain social security benefits does not include the provision of direct legal assistance for overpayment issues unless the individual demonstrates significant cognitive impairments or qualifies for services under the PABSS grant.

Part VI. Narrative

At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

PART VI. NARRATIVE:

A. Sources of funds received and expended: Provide the amount of funds the PAIR program received from each of the sources indicated during the fiscal year covered by this report. In addition, specify the total amount expended, from each of the sources of funds, in providing services to PAIR-eligible individuals. Provide this information even if the PAIR’s only source of funding is the Federal formula grant under section 509 of the Act. The following chart is recommended when providing this information:

Source of Funding Amount Received Amount Spent Federal (section 509) 166,132 94,150 State 0 0 Program income 12,137 12,137 Private 0 0 All other funds 56,539 56,539 Total (from all sources) 234,808 162,826

B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by the report:

Category Prior Fiscal Year Report Fiscal Year Wages/salaries 83,936 80,740 Fringe benefits 39,829 40,854 Materials/supplies 2,843 3,474 Postage 492 479 Telephone 2,359 2,876 Rent 15,756 13,342 Travel 3,084 3,356 Copying 2,427 2,397 Bonding/insurance 1,081 1,055 Equipment 0 0 Legal services 1,000 1,000 Indirect costs 40,339 39,401 Miscellaneous 6,481 6,782 Total Budget 199,627 195,756

C. Description of PAIR staff: Provide a description of the PAIR staff in terms of "person-years" and duties. "Person-years" refer to the actual time that positions (both professional and clerical) were filled during the period covered by this annual report. If a position was filled throughout the year, it counts as one person-year. For those positions that were filled for only a fraction of the year, you will have to calculate the "person-year" for that position by first calculating the "full-time equivalents (FTEs)" for that position. Person-years should be reported for all PAIR personnel whose salaries are paid fully or partially by section 509 funds. Be sure to include an explanation of the number of full-time part-time, and vacant positions.

Executive Director - .02 FTE from this grant. This Anchorage-based position provides overall direction for the PAIR project. The Executive Director is also responsible for the administration of the organization and reports to the Board of Directors.

Legal Director - .11 FTE from this grant. This Anchorage-based position provides day-to-day supervision of Protection and Advocacy services, including both legal and non-legal advocacy. This position reports to the Executive Director.

Staff Attorneys — 0.59 FTE from this grant. These four positions are supervised by the Supervising Attorneys. The Staff Attorneys provide support to the program’s Legal Advocates, as well as providing training and legal assistance to clients.

Legal Advocates — .55 FTE from this grant. These positions provide general agency intake and advocacy services, and are responsible for conducting training and outreach activities. One position (.10) was vacant throughout the year.

Paralegal - .22 FTE from this grant. This Anchorage-based position provides legal and clerical support to the staff attorneys and advocates, primarily with conducting legal research, case file organization and maintenance, and the copying and organization of training materials for education and outreach activities.

Development Coordinator — 0.14 FTE from this grant. This Anchorage-based position has responsibility for the coordination, quality and supervision of outreach services including presentations, training, community awareness education and street outreach. This position reports to the Executive Director.

Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-years Professional Full-time Full-time 1.53 100% 1.53 Part-time 0 0 0 Vacant .10 0% .0 Clerical Full-time 0 0% 0 Part-time 0 0 0 Vacant 0 0 0

Involvement of Advisory Boards

The Alaska P&A does not have an advisory board for the PAIR program.

E. Grievance Filed Under the Grievance Procedure

There was one grievance filed under the PAIR program during the relevant reporting period.

Coordination with the Client Assistance Program and the State Long-Term Care Program.

Beginning in FY12 the CAP is operated by the P&A in Alaska. The P&A works closely with the Long Term Care Ombudsman on issues related to nursing homes and senior citizens.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByKaren Tessandore
TitleDevelopment Coordinator
Signed Date12/19/2013