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

Alaska (STATE OF ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT) - H240A180002 - FY2018

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 areas454
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas178
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)632

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff10
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)278

One of the trainings the Alaska P&A conducted addressed landlord and tenant rights at Access Alaska. Access Alaska is an Independent Living Center working to encourage and promote the integration of people with disabilities into the community of their choice. They facilitate independence by helping individuals identify and obtain services. Our presentation led to a comprehensive discussion of public housing programs and of landlord tenant notices. One can presume the presence of Access employees will ensure the training and information provided will benefit the wider. For further information see Part V. Priorities and Objectives under the Priority OUTREACH.

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 website114,552
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated5,628
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

Our Intake Specialist has continuously reached out to service providers and worked to build up a report with them. The aim is to make our publications and information about the P&A and our services more readily accessible to them and their clients.

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)26
2. Additional individuals served during the year48
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)74
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)1

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 19

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility1
2. Employment12
3. Program access1
4. Housing2
5. Government benefits/services44
6. Transportation0
7. Education3
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care9
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services1
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse0
16. Neglect1
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor24
2. Other representation found3
3. Individual withdrew complaint1
4. Appeals unsuccessful9
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case4
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources3
8. Individual case lacks legal merit9
9. Other0

Please explain

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-advocacy3
2. Short-term assistance41
3. Investigation/monitoring0
4. Negotiation4
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution3
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)4
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 - 225
3. 23 - 5951
4. 60 - 649
5. 65 and over9

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females36
2. Males38

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native10
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American8
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White52
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent56
2. Parental or other family home6
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home0
6. Public institutional living arrangement0
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center7
9. Homeless3
10. Other living arrangements0
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 hearing1
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment11
5. Mental illness1
6. Substance abuse1
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability1
9. Neurological impairment15
10. Respiratory impairment1
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment11
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment18
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV0
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability14

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.

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.

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 FY18 PAIR PRIORITIES, GOALS, OUTCOME INDICATORS ***PRIORITY: ABUSE AND 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 3 reports of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities; A.2. Assess whether, in at least 5 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 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. NUMBER OF CASES: Under the Priority of Abuse and Neglect, the Alaska P&A worked on seven (7) cases or projects in FY18 including investigations and monitoring. This breaks down to one (1) primary investigations, six (6) secondary investigations, and four (4) monitoring visits. In regards to primary investigations we received fewer reports of alleged abuse or neglect than expected. CASE SUMMARY: A.1 PRIMARY INVESTIGATION: No summary is available as the case is still ongoing. A.2 SECONDARY INVESTIGATION: In one case the Alaska P&A was contacted by a man with multiple sclerosis, with complaints that the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) was not providing recommended treatment prescribed by a neurologist. Upon reviewing recommendations provided by Alaska Neurology Center and medical treatment he had been provided by DOC, we believe he was receiving adequate medical care from the DOC. While we understand some of the recommendations were denied, such as an evaluation at the Swedish Neuroscience Center, the man was being closely followed by medical staff and was seen by a neurologist to evaluate him for treatment of multiple sclerosis. Another inmate, with degenerative disk disease contacted us due to the DOC’s refusal to assist with a bilateral hip replacement surgery that was reportedly determined by the Veteran Affairs (VA) to be medically necessary. However, in discussion with the inmate’s primary care physician at Veteran Affairs it was reported that the physician did not believe a bilateral hip replacement was necessary, nor would it address the inmate’s chronic back pain As a result of the records review and discussion with the inmate’s physician, it was decided that the inmate’s request for assistance lacked merit and closed his case. Despite the P&A being unable to assist with the inmate’s complaint, staff was able to educate the Alaska VA physician on legal matters the P&A is able to address, such as assisting inmates with receiving appropriate medical, mental health, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations. In a third case we were contacted by an inmate with arthritis and muscular/skeletal impairments after his accommodations were discontinued by the Department of Corrections. Specifically, the accommodations that the inmate had were a bottom bunk card, bottom tier card, cane and knee brace. After reviewing the records it was determined the inmate’s medical special needs accommodations were discontinued based on a comprehensive exam performed by a DOC practitioner The provider noted that despite the inmate’s complaints about joint and neck pain, pain/stiffness of the back he was able to move all extremities, there was no gross swelling of his joints, and there were no symptoms of abnormal gait, posture, or decreased range of motion. Since it had been over a year since the exam, staff suggested he should submit a request for an updated evaluation. A.3 MONITORING: In FY18 we visited 4 assisted living homes in Anchorage. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, together with the surrounding borough it accounts for more than half of the residents in the state. The Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman and Licensing, provided the Alaska P&A with a list of Assisted Living Homes which it would like our staff to monitor. Two of the homes were under the same ownership and were visited jointly. The two homes have a total of 32 residents. During our visit staff noted concerns regarding bathroom sanitation, lack of resident complaint process, residents’ lack of access to the kitchen between meals, and to snacks, as well as the fact that residents were required to be in their rooms between certain times. Furthermore, the homes were missing correct information to contact the P&A. Staff followed up on their visit with a letter to the state and to the facilities about their concerns. New Concept Assisted Living was also on the list from the State and had 16 residents at the time of the visit. Overall, there were no outstanding concerns. The only disagreeable observation staff made was a bottle of ammonia left in the laundry room within residents’ reach. Impressions and concerns are followed up on in letter to the facility and copied to the State. We also conducted a monitoring visit to Oregon Assisted Living Home (which despite its name is located in Anchorage, Alaska). Overall, there were no outstanding concerns regarding the repair and up-keep in the home. We did notice that the home did not have contact information posted for Adult Protective Services or the P&A. Staff notified Licensing and Certification so the agency is aware of this and during the visit, provided a copy of our information to the staff to post at the home. ***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 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. Conduct 5 training events statewide to inform people with disabilities of their legal rights and self-advocacy strategies. 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 OUTREACH: During FY18, we conducted nine (9) outreach events and educated 246 people about the services available through the P&A. In accordance with the public annual review of the priorities and objectives our resources should primarily be utilized for casework and outreach; training is to be down-prioritized in favor of such work. Conducted outreach events included: The Alaska P&A, like every year, participated in the annual event, Project Homeless Connect. The event invites agencies and organizations in order to facilitate access to services with multiple issues for the homeless population of Anchorage. This year the event was held jointly with Stand Down, a similar event focusing on helping homeless veterans. Over the course of the day staff answered disability-related questions and provided information and referrals to over 30 people regarding a variety of topics. Furthermore, the event resulted in four intakes that were discussed at the next intake meeting. Stand Down later hosted a another event we participated in where we mostly discussed social security issues but also provided information about employment, housing, and other issues. At this event we spoke to around 50 people, which resulted in several intakes which were brought to the next intake meeting. Access Alaska reached out to the Alaska P&A and asked us to present at their staff meeting. Access Alaska is an Independent Living Center working to encourage and promote the integration of people with disabilities into the community of their choice. Staff presented general information about our intake process and organization, as well as provided them with a variety of our publications and handouts. The staff meeting was attended by around 15-20 people in the room, and roughly 10 people called in on video link from other parts of Alaska. Educating the staff will benefit the wider community by ensuring Access Alaska’s clients will be provided accurate information about the Alaska P&A and our services. Every year the Alaska P&A receives an invitation to host a table at the Alaska State Fair. In previous years this expo had a specific focus on working with individuals and families with disabilities The new organizer’s, Connect Mat-Su ambition was to keep that focus while broadening the expo to reach all families who come to the fair. Their goal was to share helpful and diverse information in order to increase the community’s overall health. Our staff interacted with a diverse crowd of around 30 people and brought a wide variety of publications to hand out to fairgoers. The staff not only increased awareness and knowledge of the agency among the fairgoers, but also among the other service providers gathered in the exhibit space. Furthermore, the Alaska P&A was invited by Hope Community Resources to speak at the Disability Pride Celebration event on July 21st. The event was held in honor of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the new inclusive playgrounds in Anchorage. Hope Community Resources is a non-profit organization providing community support to hundreds of individuals and families who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury and mental health challenges. P&A staff spoke about the ADA and what the P&A does. This was also an opportunity for our new Intake Specialist to introduce herself and the agency’s intake procedure to the community. The event was free to the public and held outside on a sunny day; it was very well attended with around 100 diverse visitors. The audience included employees of the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education, and various agencies, including Stone Soup Group, Access Alaska, and more. Our Intake Specialist is continuing our effort to forge connections with local service providers to increase knowledge of the P&A, our intake process and what types of services we provide. This effort is usually a one-on-one exchange between intake professionals which assures more well-informed referrals and a better served community. Additionally, our staff brings our publications and encourages the service provider to ask for more if need be. As a part of this effort we also reached out to YWCA to inform them of our work and encourage them to include disabilities in their Diversity and Inclusion Dialogues series. The other organization we reached out to was Stone Soup Group, which provides information, support, training and resources to assist families caring for children with disabilities. They are staffed almost entirely by parents or family members of children with special needs, and they are the state’s designated Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and the Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F HIC). B.2 TRAININGS: During FY18, we conducted three (3) training events and educated 29 people about legal rights and self-advocacy strategies. Training events included: Access Alaska also asked us to hold a presentation about the Social Security application processes. Their agency does a lot of Social Security applications, but feel at a loss to understand it all. The P&A has the expertise and a history of assisting individuals with applications. Our agency has been focusing on helping with applications to increase the likelihood of initial approval because it is exceptionally hard to win an appeal of a denied Social Security application in Alaska. Staff shared their knowledge and informed the case managers at the center about the process of applying for social security benefits. Furthermore, the Alaska P&A was asked to present, culturally and linguistically accessible information on Miller Trusts to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) Alaska Native Elder Health Advisory Committee (ANEHAC). ANTHC provides health services for Alaska Native people across Alaska. ANEHAC oversee and guide the ANTHC’s Elder Outreach and Long-Term Care program, which focuses on long-term care needs for Alaska Native Elders and keeping Elders as close to home and family as possible. The aim of the presentation was for ANEHAC to be able to know when and how to use a Miller Trust. During the presentation P&A staff was flexible and sensitive to the wishes of their audience which resulted in the presentation being nominally about Miller Trusts and actually a discussion of how to get something out of Medicaid — enrollment, services, and many other issues besides trusts. The audience consisted of 20 people which made for a constructive discussion. Letting the presentation be guided by what the participants wanted ensured that the community was best served and that participants got the most out of the event and walked away well-informed. ***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 FY18. CASE SUMMARY: The Alaska P&A assisted a university student who had been disciplined due to manifestations of her autism. As a result of her autism, the student reacts severely to changes in her routine. On occasions when the dorms lost internet or had unannounced fire drills, the student became very agitated and sought resolution with the students working at the front desk of her dormitory. In her elevated state, she unintentionally appeared threatening to these students. The university responded with disciplinary action baring the student from on campus housing and placing her on probation. Although this action was taken at a hearing in which the university’s Office of Disability Services had a representative present, the representative reportedly made no attempt to advocate for the student. Staff wrote to the Dean of Students requesting an opportunity to appeal and explaining the connection between the actions at issue and the student’s disability. The university agreed to allow the student a right to appeal. Staff then advised the student regarding requesting accommodations in connection to her appeal so that similar confrontations would be less likely in the future. Staff also corresponded with the Office of Disability Services to explain the connection between the student’s actions and her disability. The P&A played an important role in this case. Without staff involvement, the student would have been forced to move off campus and faced the possibility of expulsion. We were able to suggest accommodations that the student had never thought of and also secure an opportunity for her to appeal. In addition, the P&A was able to point out inadequacies on the part of the Office of Disability Services which failed to advocate for the student. As a result, the university is likely to handle similar issues in the future lawfully. In the second, case a woman with an orthopedic disability contacted the Alaska P&A after her request for a reasonable accommodation from her future landlord was rejected and the landlord then refused to rent her the apartment. Even though the residence did not fall under the Fair Housing Act, the woman was still protected from discrimination based on local municipal ordinances. We reviewed past communications between the client and landlord and talked to the client about what accommodation would work for her and what were her rights under the law. Staff then attempted to engage in the interactive process with the landlord and later, the landlord’s attorney. Unfortunately despite multiple efforts, the interactive process was unsuccessful and the landlord refused to rent the woman the apartment. Staff encouraged the woman to file a disability discrimination complaint with the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, which she did. The woman told staff she did would contact them again if she needed assistance with her complaint. Though she did request copies of the letters that were sent by the P&A to the landlord’s attorney, she did not require any more assistance while her case was being investigated. Though the P&A lost contact with the woman prior to knowing whether she was successful in her complaint, the women’s knowledge about her rights under the municipal code were expanded and she gained knowledge on how to file a discrimination complaint with the appropriate agency. In the third case a senior man whom, due to missing extremities uses a wheelchair, contacted the Alaska P&A for assistance after his senior, low income housing provider would not installed automatic doors to the entrance of the building. The doors were too heavy for the man to push himself and if he was able to push them open, they would close too fast for him to get through in his wheelchair. This meant that the door would slam into his wheelchair and his body, leaving him with injuries and costly damage to his chair. Since he was not able to access the outside, he was very isolated in his apartment. At times he was outside trying to get in, he would be stuck in the weather until someone could let him in. Previous requests to management to install the doors went unanswered or were not followed up. After we agreed to look into the issue, staff went to the man’s apartment where they took pictures and video of the man attempting to navigate his way through the doors. With this information, they filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission for housing discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to inaccessibility of the building. A fact finding was held with an investigator of the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission and attorneys representing Volunteers of America, the organization owns and runs the apartment building. Following the fact finding conference, the building management agreed to install automatic doors within the month. A formal agreement with a timeline to install the doors was signed by both parties and the automatic doors were fully installed shortly after. Because of the P&A effort, the man can now leave and enter his building safety whenever he chooses, allowing him independence and freedom. He told the Alaska P&A people now refer to him as “the hero of the building.” ***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 4 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. In FY18 the Alaska P&A also joined the Anchorage mayor’s office and other stakeholders to work on a city-wide initiative is called Vision Zero designed to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero. The agency’s role is to highlight the difficulties and danger faced by people with mobility disabilities, especially during the winter months when they are often forced to travel on busy streets instead of sidewalks. This is a common occurrence in years with significant snowfall because snow removed from city streets is often piled many feet high on sidewalks. Staff has taken public input on this issue, attended Vision Zero meetings and advocated for a different approach to snow removal. Staff will continue to participate in the effort in FY19. NUMBER OF CASES: Under the priority of Community Integration, the P&A worked on 5 cases of individual advocacy in FY18. CASE SUMMARY: The Alaska P&A was contacted by an inmate with mobility impairments with complaints that the Department of Corrections (DOC) refused to provide him with a wheel chair or wheeled walker for ambulation. According to the inmate, he had all of his toes on both feet amputated, which resulted in significant difficulties with walking. Since the man had been incarcerated, it was alleged that he had fallen and injured himself multiple times due to the lack of assistive devices he needed. While we were assessing the inmate’s request for assistance, the inmate was given a 30 day prescription for a wheeled walker. P&A staff decided it was best to wait to close the case assessment until the 30 day prescription expired to see if the DOC would renew the prescription. Staff checked in with the inmate after the 30 day prescription expired to find out if he was still able to access the wheeled walker. The inmate confirmed that his prescription had been renewed and he was actively using the wheeled walker. ***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 4 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 (ASCHR). We collaborated with the ASCHR on one case where a man with deafness contacted the Alaska P&A after his employer did not hire him for another position within the company due to his deafness and refused to consider accommodations. The man contacted the P&A to inquire about his employments rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and possible representation. We agreed to represent him in his complaint of employment discrimination under the ADA filed with ASCHR. The initial investigation found that there was substantial evidence that the employer discriminated against the client. The company was ordered to pay the client back pay and provide training on the ADA to company supervisors. Unfortunately, the conciliation process failed as the company refused to provide training. ASCHR decided to take the case to hearing and represent the complaint. P&A staff represented the man in his personal capacity. We coordinated efforts with the attorney from ASCHR and eventually the employer contacted the Alaska P&A and the attorney for ASCHR with a settlement proposal. Our staff went over the proposal carefully with the client and made sure he understood the settlement and was entering into it willingly. Despite not receiving the accommodations he initially requested the client accepted the settlement proposal. Because of the efforts of the Alaska P&A, the client was vindicated and was given a settlement that allowed him to move on with his life in a better position than he was before. In addition, the P&A’s ties with the staff at ASCHR were also strengthened due to their collaborative efforts. NUMBER OF CASES: The P&A assisted 12 PAIR-eligible individuals with employment issues in FY18. We received more requests for assistance than anticipated, the number we estimate at the beginning of the year is based on prior years and is just that; an estimate. As of yet we do not see this as a shift in trend, but will continue to monitor the development and adjust our numbers if need be. CASE SUMMARY: A 45-year-old woman with a back injury contacted the Alaska P&A seeking representation at a fact finding before the Alaska Equal Rights Commission (“AERC”). The woman had filed a complaint of discrimination against her employer when she was let go following an accommodation request. AERC’s first step in an investigation is to hold a fact finding. Staff explained that the P&A does not normally represent people at the fact finding stage because it is an informal process that does not require an attorney. We adopted this policy because of a lack of resources. Instead, staff explained the strong and weak parts of the woman’s case and drafted a position statement for the woman to file ahead of the fact finding. The position statement outlined the facts and each potential violation of the ADA by the employer. The woman filed her position statement and attended her fact finding on her own. As a result of the work of the P&A the woman is more knowledgeable and therefore a stronger self advocate. In an additional case, a 59-year-old woman with significant back pain and balance issues contacted the Alaska P&A for help securing an accommodation from her employer. The woman worked on the floor of a large department store. A small part of the woman’s job involved using a ladder to put signs up around the store regarding credit options for customers. Putting the signs up required use of a ladder the woman could not use because she was a fall risk. The woman’s employer refused to accommodate her request and informed her she would have to take a lower paid customer service job if she wanted to remain employed. Staff negotiated with the employer and explained that both asking other employees to put the signs up and lowering the signs were viable options for accommodations. The employer was advised that putting the signs up was not an essential function of the woman’s job and that they were required by law to provide these no-cost accommodations unless they could show the requests would pose an undue burden on the employer. Ultimately the employer agreed to provide the accommodations. In the end, the woman decided not to take the accommodations offered. She determined that, even with her requested accommodations, her current job was too hard on her body. The woman decided to look for alternative work where she would sit at a desk. Staff referred the woman to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). However, as a result of our interactions, the employer is now more educated about the ADA which will benefit their employees, present and future. The Alaska P&A was also contacted by the sister of a 51-year-old man recovering from a stroke asking for assistance negotiating his return to work. The man was released by his doctor to perform the office portion of his job but not the more physical components. The man had requested additional unpaid leave as an accommodation but had been unofficially warned his request would likely not be granted. The P&A advised the man and his family regarding the ADA and the concept of an undue burden. As the man’s employer was a fairly large company and the request made was for a time certain, it was unlikely that the request would pose an undue burden. It was therefore unlikely the employer could deny his request. The employer ultimately decided to grant the man’s request for additional time off without pay. The family is now more informed of their rights and stronger advocates as a result of the P&A's involvement. ***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 40 individuals with disabilities to obtain and/or maintain SSI/SSDI and related benefits, such as Adult Public Assistance; F.2. Assist 15 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 to secure these benefits for people to whom they are entitled. NUMBER OF CASES: In FY18 the Alaska P&A assisted 42 PAIR-eligible individuals with Government Benefits issues, 37 individuals under F.1. and 5 under F.2.. We received fewer requests for assistance by PAIR-eligible individuals in this issue area than anticipated. CASE SUMMARY: F.1 SOCIAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE: We had fewer requests for service in this area than anticipated, we are still adjusting our estimates after narrowing the focus of our government benefits work to exclude representation at one particular stage of the SSI/SSDI process: the hearing to appeal initial denials of benefits. During this year we also started a project under a new grant aimed to help with SSI/SSDI applications in a specific geographical area. A few interesting cases from this year include: A case where a 57-year-old woman with congestive heart failure and other circulatory disabilities asked the Alaska P&A for assistance with completing her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application. The P&A assessed her case by gathering and reviewing medical records. The P&A then completed the Social Security application with the client and other forms necessary for the processing of the application. She received a favorable decision. She also received $13,720.00 in back pay and will receive $1,960 a month. We helped a 54-year-old man with digestive and other physical disabilities complete his Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application and he received a favorable decision with $12,426.00 in back pay and will receive $1,053.00 month. Now that his income is secure, he will be able to focus on his health. In a less successful case a 61-year-old female with Lupus, arthritis, anxiety, and depression asked for our assistance and after assessing her case and reviewing medical records the P&A completed the Social Security application and other forms necessary. Unfortunately, she received an unfavorable decision stating that her condition is not severe enough to keep her from working. Staff informed the woman of her choices and routes she could take, as well as how we could help going forward. We sent her a referral list for possible representation if she decides to appeal the decision as well as a referral to Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) for either job re-training and/or placement. Despite not receiving benefits after her application the woman is well-informed going into the future. The Alaska P&A was also approached by a 36-year-old woman with multiple diagnoses about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing preparation. Due to a lack of resources we no longer present clients at this stage in the Social Security process, however we do meet with individuals about to attend their own hearing and we provide them with information of what to expect and general information. The aim is to strengthen the person as a self-advocate by discussing the pros and cons of doing an ALJ hearing versus re-applying, how to prepare for the hearing and what happens at the hearing. F.2 MEDICAID ASSISTANCE: The number of legal advocacy cases projected for the year is an estimate based on prior years. Since some cases take more resources than others, and because the number of requests for assistance that arise in each year are variable, we do not always reach our target. In one of the cases from this year the P&A helped a 51-year old man with multiple sclerosis regain his Personal Care Attendant (PCA) hours. The man is increasingly dependent on his caregivers for daily tasks including bathing, toileting and eating and contacted the P&A after receiving a notice reducing his PCA hours from 21.75 to 11 per week. With so few hours he would no longer be able to live in his apartment and would have to be institutionalized. The P&A entered an appearance to represent the man in his appeal. The parties filed briefs and negotiated in the run up to the impending hearing. Ultimately, the P&A reached an agreement to retain 18 PCA hours per week. This outcome likely would not have been achieved without representation and will allow the man to retain as much independence as possible by keeping him in his own apartment.

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 FY19 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 3 reports of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities. A.2. Assess whether, in at least 5 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 5 facility visits. ***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 10 outreach, intake, and/or, training events statewide to inform people with disabilities of the services available to them through the P&A; (cross-grant) B.2. Conduct 5 training events statewide to inform people with disabilities of their legal rights and self-advocacy strategies; (Grant depends upon the topic of the training, but may be recorded under any, or several of the grants listed above.) Outreach Strategic/Resource Guidance Outreach activities may be suspended when caseloads involving direct legal advocacy exceed manageable resource levels. ***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 4 individuals with disabilities who have been denied access to programs or services, or who have had their rights infringed upon based on disability. ***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 4 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. ***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 40 individuals with disabilities to obtain and/or maintain SSI/SSDI and related benefits, such as Adult Public Assistance. F.2. Assist 10 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.

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: 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) 171,598 171,598 State 0 0 Program income 4,930.00 4,930.000 Private 0 0 All other funds 6,327 6,327 Total (from all sources) 182,855 182,855 B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report Category Prior Fiscal Year Report Fiscal Year Wages/salaries 78,940 58,478 Fringe benefits 35,089 31,834 Materials/supplies 3,525 2,223 Postage 470 381 Telephone 3,525 1,588 Rent 18,531 14,852 Travel 3,133 2,541 Copying 1,958 1,588 Bonding/insurance 862 953 Equipment 0 0 Legal services 1,000 1,000 Indirect costs 42,260 32,891 Miscellaneous 7,765 6,380 Total Budget 197,058 154,709 C. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years): 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 - .01 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 - .12 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 — 0.37 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 — .28 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 - .15 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 — 0.10 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. Database & Grant Specialist — 0.05 FTE from this grant. Under the general direction of the Executive Director, this position is responsible for managing the client database, ensuring program performance reports are completed and submitted in a timely fashion, and assisting with administrative activities. Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-years Professional Full-time Full-time 1.08 100% 1.08 Part-time 0 0 0 Vacant 0 0 0 Clerical Full-time 0 0% 0 Part-time 0 0 0 Vacant 0 0 0 D. Involvement with advisory boards (if any): The Alaska P&A does not have an advisory board for the PAIR program. E. Grievances 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 (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency: Since FY12, the CAP has been 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 assisted living facilities.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByDavid C. Fleurant
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/14/2018