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

Alaska (DISABILITY LAW CENTER OF ALASKA) - H240A160002 - FY2016

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
Toll-free Phone800-478-1234
Toll-free TTY
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 areas259
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas102
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)361

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff3
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)31

In FY16 the Alaska P&A was invited to Connolly Square, a subsidized rental property made up of 20 one-bedroom units for seniors 62 and older. The residents there gathered to find out more about the services we offer and we answered many one-to-one questions (mostly about social security) after our presentation. We were also contacted by a medical office in Anchorage with a request to provide their staff training in how to accommodate people with disabilities and overall sensitivity when interviewing people with disabilities (i.e. using people-first language, addressing conversation to the client rather than the interpreter, etc.) People from their satellite offices also called in to attend. Lastly, we visited Bethel, Alaska to co-present a training about the different facets of guardianship with Alaska’s Parent Training and Information Center, Stone Soup Group. To the parents and service providers present we described full, partial, and temporary guardianship, defined the difference between guardianship and conservatorship, talked about what a Guardian cannot decide on behalf of the ward, and discussed alternatives to Guardianship. We also discussed what guardianship can bring to the family dynamic, with a focus on support and safety. And we looked at the process of applying for guardianship and what's to be expected such as court date and the paperwork involved. In FY16 we were also invited to 2 events in Anchorage at which staff members were present all day to hand out publications, answer questions about available services through the P&A, and/or conduct on-site intake. Those events included: * Reducing Recidivism Through Successful Reentry Conference. We participated with 65 other agencies and providers at this annual conference for community providers working with citizens with disabilities returning from incarceration. * Project Homeless Connect, described as a “one-stop event to provide housing, services, and hospitality in a convenient one-stop model directly to people experiencing homelessness in Anchorage.” At these two events, we reached a total of 100 individuals.

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 website86,710
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated6,546
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 * Rights of Persons with Developmental Disabilities * Self-Advocacy Guide & About Our Services. * Service Animals in Public Places * Assistance Animals in Housing * Emotional Support Animals *Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program Reduction/Termination These publications are available at no charge both in printed form and as downloadable PDF’s on our website.

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)52
2. Additional individuals served during the year42
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)94
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 45

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility0
2. Employment5
3. Program access0
4. Housing3
5. Government benefits/services42
6. Transportation0
7. Education11
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care23
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse5
16. Neglect5
17. Other3

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor20
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint1
4. Appeals unsuccessful1
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case11
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources2
8. Individual case lacks legal merit12
9. Other3

Please explain

In one instance, the Alaska P&A was contacted by an individual who had been denied accommodations for his disability by the Department of Corrections (DOC). After reviewing the inmate’s medical and institutional records, we discovered he had not exhausted DOC’s the grievance procedure; until that process was completed, there was no role for the P&A. In another case, the individual was released from prison, which resolved the issue he had been having with DOC. In the last case, the client dropped out of contact with the P&A.

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-advocacy6
2. Short-term assistance25
3. Investigation/monitoring12
4. Negotiation4
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings3
7. Litigation (including class actions)1
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 - 2211
3. 23 - 5961
4. 60 - 6412
5. 65 and over10

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females41
2. Males53

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race3
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native19
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American6
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander2
6. White55
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown7

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent46
2. Parental or other family home12
3. Community residential home6
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home1
6. Public institutional living arrangement0
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center21
9. Homeless5
10. Other living arrangements2
11. Living arrangements not known1

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

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

1. Blind/visual impairment3
2. Deaf/hard of hearing3
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment20
5. Mental illness2
6. Substance abuse1
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability3
9. Neurological impairment8
10. Respiratory impairment3
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment10
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment12
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV1
15. Traumatic brain injury2
16. Other disability26

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities0

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.

Below are descriptions of some of our systemic activities. Neither activity’s success can be quantified by the number of policies/practices changed, nor can we accurately measure the number of individuals potentially impacted by the work. ALASKA’S MEDICAID EXPANSION As was described in the Alaska P&A’s FY15 report, we were working to support Alaska’s Medicaid Expansion. Our Governor had decided to go ahead with the Medicaid expansion, which went into effect September 1, 2015. But our Legislature sued the Governor, whom they believed had acted without authority to do so. We filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief, representing two clients who experience mental illness, supporting the Medicaid expansion. The Anchorage Superior Court judge handling the case ruled in the State’s (and our clients’) favor, and the Legislature failed to put together an appeal, so the expansion remains in place. Several thousand people, many of whom experience mental illness, developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities, have become eligible for Medicaid since the expansion went into effect. ALASKA INTEGRATED EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE (IEI) We continue to focus efforts this year on the Alaska Integrated Employment Initiative, the purpose of which is to prioritize employment as the first and preferred option for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Alaska. A partnership consisting of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services (SDS), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Department of Education and Early Development, Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC a.k.a. the Alaska P&A), the Center for Human Development (CHD), and other community stakeholders, will address barriers and develop replicable, sustainable strategies using a three—pronged approach: 1. Policy development that will focus on implementation of policy at all levels (legislative, regulatory, day—to—day policies and procedures), including obtaining, allocating, or re—allocating resources (people, time, money); 2. Capacity building that will focus on building knowledge, training, consultation and technical assistance, and peer—to—peer learning; and, 3. Resource leveraging that will include pooling of assets and resources, blending and braiding resources, and integrating IEI activities with other priorities and initiatives. In support of this initiative in FY16, the Alaska P&A is conducting a comprehensive review of relevant Federal and State laws that govern the development and implementation of student transition plans. Legal authorities encompassed within the review would include the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 and other provisions of the Rehabilitation Act, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Able Act, provisions of the Social Security Act that promote integrated employment (Medicaid, Ticket to Work, Pass Plans, etc.), Alaska statutes and regulations implementing and complementing these federal laws, and any case law interpreting these authorities. The review will generate a written analysis that will help guide the development of interagency agreements at the state and local level, as well as inform the development of transition activities in students’ Individual Education Plans. Our effort will map the intersection of the eligibility criteria under the numerous laws impacting, either directly or indirectly, transition planning for students. As noted in the last report, this work is regularly influenced by external developments. Most recently, such influence was demonstrated by the joint announcement in August, 2016, by the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor of the publication in the Federal Register of five final rules implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, all with an effective date in September and/or October 2016. Additionally, on September 15, 2016 the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities issued its final report. The primary purpose of the work of the Committee was to address issues, and make recommendations, to improve the employment participation of people with I/DD and others with significant disabilities by ensuring opportunities for competitive integrated employment. Several of the Committee’s recommendations may inform the content and/or direction of DLC’s report, such as: * Calling on Congress to amend the FLSA to allow for a multi-year, well-planned phase out of Section 14(c) * Demonstrating how the waiver of certain requirements in the Ticket to Work program will enable youth receiving Supplemental Security Income/ Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI) to access services across systems that lead to competitive integrated employment * Revisions to federal tax incentives and credits available to employers who hire people with disabilities * Amending the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act (JWOD) to fully align the Act with modern federal disability law and policy goals by reforming the criteria for contract procurement selection and for program eligibility In addition to its review of the body of laws relevant to transition planning, a body which seems to expand every day, the Alaska P&A continues to monitor sheltered workshops in Alaska and is offering training to Tribal VR agencies on transition planning. The omission in WIOA of Tribal VR responsibilities with respect to transition services was a disservice to rural Alaska youth.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts0
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

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.

n/a

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 FY2016 PAIR PRIORITIES, GOALS, OUTCOME INDICATORS Priority: Abuse & Neglect GOAL A: Investigate allegations of abuse (including the use of seclusion and restraint), neglect, and exploitation of individuals with disabilities. ISSUE: People with disabilities have a right to be free from abuse and neglect. OUTCOME INDICATORS: A.1. Investigate 13 reports of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities; A.2. Assess whether, in at least 12 secondary 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 through monitoring 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 4 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. NUMBER OF CASES: Under the heading of Abuse and Neglect, the P&A worked on 27 cases or projects in FY16 including investigations and monitoring. This breaks down to 8 primary investigations, 18 secondary investigations, and 1 monitoring visit. CASE SUMMARY: In FY15 we reported that many of our investigations (at the time, still in progress) were regarding the death of individuals who were in the custody of the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC). In most cases the deaths came to our attention through media reports, from which we could not ascertain whether the individual(s) had disabilities. Because of the high rate of people with disabilities in the prison system, we felt it was incumbent upon the P&A to take a closer look. In many cases, once we obtained records, there was no evidence of a disability about which DOC should have known. In other cases, our access to records was slow because law enforcement had first responsibility and jurisdiction to investigate. Ultimately, we ended up closing the cases in which records were not forthcoming. That decision hinged upon several things, such as: our lack of resources to pursue so many high-level investigations, lack an apparent disability nexus, the number of other agencies actively investigating, and wrongful death charges coming in against DOC. With the amount of public scrutiny on the Department, we felt our limited resources would be best used on other cases. Of the several other non-fatality-related investigations concluded in FY16, no abuse or neglect was substantiated. Monitoring In FY16 we visited Malone Home, an assisted living home (ALH) in Bethel, Alaska for people with disabilities. The ALH was generally clean and orderly, staff members seemed to have good interactions with residents, and medications were appropriately locked as were other hazardous materials. We did find a few areas of concern such as a lack of activities and therapies for residents, lack of pastime activities for residents, and a stale, repetitive menu. Those concerns were shared with the ALH manager and State of Alaska Certification and Licensing for further review. PRIORITY: OUTREACH GOAL B: Provide outreach to unserved/underserved individuals with disabilities in Alaska. ISSUE: People with disabilities who are unaware of their rights can neither exercise those rights, nor protect themselves from rights abuses. OUTCOME INDICATORS: B.1. Conduct 6 outreach, intake, and/or, training events statewide to inform people with disabilities of the services available to them through the P&A; B.2. Conduct 10 training events statewide to inform people with disabilities of their legal rights and self-advocacy strategies; B.3. Disseminate to 100 rural clinics information about the P&A and specifically 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: B.1. During the last year, staff from the Alaska P&A conducted 3 of the planned 6 outreach events to educate people about the services available through the P&A. As with many years, direct client service took precedence. B.2. For the same reason noted above, just 4 of the 10 planned trainings took place under this objective in FY16. B.3. In FY16 we did not mail out information to the rural health clinics. We received input from almost 300 people on our FY16 priorities; keeping our resources focused on direct client service is consistent with this yearly stakeholder feedback. Priority: Housing Goal C: 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. Advocate on behalf of 3 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 served 3 PAIR-eligible individuals with housing complaints in FY16. CASE SUMMARY: The Alaska P&A helped a man being discharged from his nursing home and charged $350,000 for his stay. The man has degenerative knee joints, Degenerative Disk Disease and Cardiovascular Disease. Despite these diagnosis, he is capable of performing almost all of his daily activities on his own and requires no nursing assistance. After living in his nursing home with Medicaid as his funding source for two years, the man was informed he would be discharged and that Medicaid would no longer cover his stay. Within a few months from that notice, his bill grew to $350,000. He contacted the P&A for help. Staff determined that the man was inappropriately admitted to the nursing home. The Department of Licensing is currently investigating the admission. Staff also determined that the notice provided to the man was insufficient. However, by attacking the notice, the nursing home would be prompted to simply provide a corrected 30 day notice. To provide the man more time to find a new place to live, staff negotiated for the man to stay in the home for 60 more days without being charged. In addition, staff was able to have the man’s existing debt of $350,000 discharged because of the insufficient notice the nursing home provided. As the date for discharge approached the man contacted another attorney to try to unwind the settlement agreement. The man is currently attempting to challenge his discharge and remain in the nursing home indefinitely based on the inadequacy of the notice he received. Although the man is apparently unhappy with the terms of his settlement agreement, the P&A’s involvement was important. Staff succeeded in educating the nursing home about proper notice and procedure, confirmed that Licensing was investigating, worked to discharge a sizable debt and attempted to ease the man’s transition out of his nursing home. PRIORITY: COMMUNITY INTEGRATION Goal D: 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. Assist 5 individuals with disabilities who have been denied access to programs or services, or who have had their rights infringed upon based on disability. 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 2 cases of individual advocacy in FY16. CASE SUMMARY: The Alaska P&A helped a couple who both experience deafness secure an interpreter for an upcoming meeting with the IRS. The couple had been in need of an interpreter and struggling with the local IRS branch to try to get one for months when they finally contacted the P&A for help. The couple’s first objective was setting up an interpreter. However, after being repeatedly denied an interpreter, they also wanted to sue the IRS for discrimination. The couple had done research into how to sue government entities. Staff first had to inform the couple that they could not sue the federal government for money damages because suing the federal government is different from suing a local or state government entity. Then staff contacted the Civil Rights Division (CRD) of the IRS regarding the actions of the local branch. Staff worked with the CRD to contact the local branch, inform them that an interpreter must be provided and schedule the interpreter service. As a result, the CRD planned to retrain the local branch regarding accommodations. The P&A played an important role in this case. Without staff involvement it is unlikely an interpreter would have been provided and the couple would have continued to pursue money damages in vain. In addition, the actions of the P&A led to retraining of the local IRS branch — an outcome that will positively impact other people with disabilities throughout the community. PRIORITY: EMPLOYMENT Goal E: Advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities who face discrimination in employment. ISSUE: More than 25 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. 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. 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 State Commission for Human Rights. NUMBER OF CASES: The P&A assisted 5 PAIR-eligible individuals with employment issues in FY16. CASE SUMMARY: The Alaska P&A helped negotiate an employment accommodation option for a woman who was injured on the job and also experiences degenerative physical impairments involving her neck and back. The woman worked as a direct service provider for people that experience disabilities doing things like going on outings together and helping with physical needs. Following an on the job injury, the woman’s doctor placed limits on her abilities that precluded her return to work. When the woman ran out of FMLA leave, she asked for extended leave as an accommodation and contacted the P&A for help. Shortly thereafter, the woman was terminated. Staff contacted the employer and asked that they delay her termination so the parties could discuss other options and accommodations. The woman wanted two accommodations. First, she wanted to return to work with several restrictions including working exclusively with people that required no physical help. If returning to work on these terms was not possible, her second choice was extended unpaid leave. Staff worked toward securing one of these two accommodations but were ultimately unsuccessful. The woman’s restrictions made negotiating her immediate return to work very difficult. The extent of her restrictions meant she was unable to perform the essential functions of her job — a prerequisite to ADA protections. Negotiating for extended leave was also difficult because the woman’s doctor could not provide a date upon which she could return to work with reasonable accommodations — a defining element of ADA leave. Instead, staff secured an accommodation of preferential rehire. With this option the woman could return to her employer in a few months and, if she could demonstrate her ability to perform her job functions with or without an accommodation, she would be preferentially rehired over all other applicants. Against staff’s advice, the woman declined the offer and filed a discrimination complaint. The P&A stepped into this matter in order to provide representation to a person that lacked the resources to find representation on her own. Although the woman did not accept the accommodation that was offered, as a result of the P&A’s involvement, she was able to engage in a meaningful interactive process with her employer. She was also able to make an informed decision, with the benefit of counsel, about filing a complaint. PRIORITY: GOVERNMENT BENEFITS GOAL F: 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. Assist 30 individuals with disabilities to obtain and/or maintain SSI/SSDI and related benefits, such as Adult Public Assistance; F.2. Assist 30 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. 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 FY16 the Alaska P&A assisted 121 PAIR-eligible individuals with Government Benefits issues (88 under F.1. and 33 under F.2.) CASE SUMMARY: F.1. Social Security Assistance In one case, the Alaska P&A successfully represented a 60 year-old man with intellectual disability, liver disease, lumbago and diabetic neuropathy at his Social Security hearing. Although the man had been unable to work for several years, his initial application was unsuccessful. The P&A received a fully favorable decision approving the man for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with a $22,000 back payment. This win was extremely important to the man’s quality of life for two reasons. First, his benefit payments will provide him with some financial stability. Second, as a recipient of SSI, his medical needs are now covered by Medicaid. In another case, a sixty-year-old woman with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma contacted the Alaska P&A after being denied Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The woman had worked most of her life as a house cleaner but due to her cancer treatment, was unable to take care of herself, much less work. The Alaska P&A accepted the woman’s case for representation and worked with her doctors to encourage them to write letters supporting her inability to work and receive benefits which they all agreed to do. In addition, the P&A had the women’s family members write letters describing all the activities the woman used to be able to perform but was now unable because of her cancer. This new opinion based evidence, as well as the P&As representation at the women’s hearing was successful as she was awarded Social Security benefits shortly after her hearing. The PWD was extremely appreciative to the P&A because due to her treatment, she did not have the capability to navigate the appeal process or represent herself in the hearing. She told the P&A that if it were not for them she would not have gone forward with the appeal and therefore would not have ultimately received benefits. After her benefits were awarded, the woman was able to concentrate on her cancer treatment and recovery rather than worry about how she was going to pay the rent. F.2. Medicaid assistance In one case, the Alaska P&A successfully secured necessary personal care attendant (PCA) hours for a 70-year-old Alaska Native woman. The woman uses a wheelchair due to her POTTs Disease (tuberculosis of the spine) and needs supplementary oxygen due to her lung disease (her lungs were damaged when she was caught in a house fire). The woman developed Potts disease as a child and has terrible memories of being institutionalized for the duration of her childhood. As a result she is adamantly opposed to and afraid of moving to an assisted living home. She contacted the P&A after receiving a notice in the mail reducing her PCA hours to 13 per week. With so few hours she would no longer be able to live independently. The P&A represented the woman in her appeal of the decision to reduce her hours. Through mediation the P&A increased the woman’s total hours to 41.5 hours. In another case, the Alaska P&A successfully secured necessary personal care attendant (PCA) hours for a 40-year-old man with quadriplegia who lives in his own apartment. The man is dependent on his PCAs for almost all of his daily tasks including bathing, toileting and eating. He was therefore concerned that he would be institutionalized when he received a notice reducing his PCA hours from 88 hours a week to 53 hours a week. The man attempted to settle the matter on his own with the help of his PCA agency. Mediation broke down when the state refused to allow PCA time for his standing frame because — the state representative insisted - it was not a covered activity. Days after mediation failed, the man received a phone call from the state initiating a telephonic hearing and placing him on the record. The man had not received notice and refused to participate. As a result, his appeal was dismissed. The P&A entered an appearance to represent the man and filed a Statement of Good Cause to have the appeal reinstated. Then, staff filed a brief and negotiated with the State in the run up to the impending hearing. Staff argued that the standing frame should be covered under the activity of “exercise” because the standing frame has the same purpose as exercise — to reduce bone loss and increase strength. Ultimately, the P&A reached an agreement to retain all of the man’s PCA hour less three hours which reflected a difference in one of the man’s prescriptions. This outcome is important because it allows the man to retain as much independence as possible by keeping him in his own apartment. Without the P&A’s representation, his hours would not have been retained because he did not know how to respond to the state’s arguments and did not know how to reinstate his appeal.

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 FY17 PAIR Priorities & Objectives PRIORITY: Abuse & Neglect Goal A: Investigate allegations of abuse (including the use of seclusion and restraint), neglect, and exploitation of individuals with disabilities. Rationale: People with disabilities have a right to be free from abuse and neglect. Objectives: A.1. Investigate 13 reports of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities; A.2. Assess whether, in at least 12 secondary 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 through monitoring 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 4 facility visits. A.4. Successfully exercise our access to internal reports from the Alaska Department of Corrections. Abuse & Neglect Strategic/Resource Guidance *Complaints alleging the following abuse or neglect will be prioritized: death, suicide attempts, serious injury, failure to provide medical or mental health treatment, sexual misconduct, seclusion & restraint; *Complaints originating in facilities with repeated complaints of abuse and neglect will be prioritized; *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: Provide outreach to unserved/underserved individuals with disabilities in Alaska. Rationale: People with disabilities who are unaware of their rights can neither exercise those rights, nor protect themselves from rights abuses. Objectives: B.1. 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; (cross-grant) B.2. Conduct 10 training events statewide to inform people with disabilities of their legal rights and self-advocacy strategies; (cross-grant) B.3. Disseminate to 100 rural clinics information about the P&A and specifically information on education rights and appropriate educational programming for students with traumatic brain injury. (cross-grant and PATBI) Outreach Strategic/Resource Guidance Outreach activities may be suspended when caseloads involving direct legal advocacy exceed manageable resource levels. B1. Outreach, intake and/or training events will include: Information on services available through DLC to clients or potential clients of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation and/or Independent Living Centers; B.2. Self-advocacy trainings will focus on these issues areas: Housing rights related to assistance animals, and Special Education (including available services for individuals ages 17-22 who are transitioning from school, specifically targeting individuals in rural areas with traumatic brain injury); PRIORITY: Housing Goal C: Advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities for housing and to prevent homelessness. Rationale: 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. Objectives: C.1. Advocate on behalf of 3 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. PRIORITY: Community Integration Goal D: Facilitate the community integration of individuals with disabilities by protecting their rights to receive appropriate supports and services in the most integrated setting. Rationale: 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. Objectives: D.1. Assist 5 individuals with disabilities who have been denied access to programs or services, or who have had their rights infringed upon based on disability. Community Integration Strategic/Resource Guidance D.1. includes assistance to individuals in obtaining or maintaining services from Independent Living Center programs. PRIORITY: Employment Goal E: Advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities who face discrimination in employment. Rationale: More than 25 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. Objectives: E.1. 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; Employment Strategic/Resource Guidance Assisting individuals with employment related matters may not, in all instances, include court or administrative representation, 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: Advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities who seek access to government benefits. Rationale: 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. Objectives: F.1. Assist 30 individuals with disabilities to obtain and/or maintain SSI/SSDI and related benefits, such as Adult Public Assistance; F.2. Assist 30 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 n/a

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

A. Sources of funds received and expended: Source of Funding Amount Received Amount Spent Federal (section 509) 242,549 242,549 State 0 0 Program income 2,950 2,950 Private 0 0 All other funds 0 0 Total (from all sources) 245,499 245,499 B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by the report: Category Prior Fiscal Year Report Fiscal Year Wages/salaries 93,736 94,966 Fringe benefits 42,022 46,299 Materials/supplies 4,928 5,403 Postage 603 589 Telephone 2,213 4,421 Rent 15,766 23,218 Travel 3,520 3,930 Copying 2,514 2,456 Bonding/insurance 1,102 1,081 Equipment 0 0 Legal services 1,000 1,000 Indirect costs 46,880 52,862 Miscellaneous 9,501 10,272 Total Budget 223,785 246,497 C. Description of PAIR staff: Executive Director - .03 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 - .21 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 — 0.71 FTE from this grant. These four positions are supervised by the Legal Director. The Staff Attorneys provide support to the program's Legal Advocates, as well as providing training and legal assistance to clients. Legal Advocates — .38 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 - .19 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 — 0.15 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 1.66 100% 1.66 Part-time 0 0 0 Vacant .01 0% .0 Clerical Full-time 0 0% 0 Part-time 0 0 0 Vacant 0 0 0 D. Involvement of Advisory Boards (if any): The Alaska P&A does not have an advisory board for the PAIR program. E. Grievance Filed Under the Grievance Procedure: There was 1 grievance filed under the PAIR program during the relevant reporting period. F. 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 ByDavid C Fleurant
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/23/2016