These cases help to reflect CAP’s commitment to advocacy and our role in the vocational rehabilitation process. They also illustrate how CAP’s intervention help to improve communication and collaboration with OVR and clients. The following cases exemplify our ability to provide clarification regarding OVR policy and assist with bringing the client and OVR to a resolution. These interesting cases manifest CAP’s dedication in assisting individuals with disabilities so they can achieve an employment goal.
Case #1: The client contacted CAP because they were being denied financial support to start a small business. The client was very frustrated with the OVR process. CAP opened the case and informed client that we would investigate as to why OVR would not provide funding to start a business. CAP contacted the VR counselor and requested copies of the file. After receiving the files, the file was reviewed, and recommendations were made. CAP discussed and reviewed the Small Business Policy with client. A meeting was set up with the client, VR counselor, supervisor, District Administrator and CAP to address client’s concerns. OVR pointed out in the meeting that the Small Business Policy is for clients who want to start a business and the client already had an established business. OVR further indicated that the guidelines cover expenses for new business start-ups only and that disability related resources would only be used for an existing business. After the meeting, CAP suggested that the client file an appeal for an Informal Administrative Review and sent the appropriate paperwork. CAP reviewed the appeal process with the client and the client filed the appeal. During the appeal process, CAP made recommendations as to why OVR should support funding for starting a small business. OVR conveyed that based on their policy, OVR may assist a client in establishing a small business for the purpose of self-employment so long as it is the most viable opportunity for client to achieve financial independence and will enable the client to meet both ordinary living expenses and ongoing business costs. If the client has the requisite qualifications and experience to succeed in operating a business, OVR may support the establishment of a small business. CAP recommended that OVR provide financial support because client was re-establishing the business due to a disability which occurred after the start of the existing business needing the customer to reevaluate how the business is administered. As a result of CAP intervention, OVR agreed to assist the client with financial support to open a small business. The client now has a fully established business.
Case #2: This case involves a client that requested assistance with home modifications. The client initiated the call to CAP because the initial home modifications that were made were insufficient and created further accessibility issues and OVR was moving too slowly with her home modifications. The client was going round-and-round with OVR for over a year before CAP became involved. CAP gathered information, reviewed several punch lists, assessments, and recommendations submitted by providers. CAP contacted the person responsible for making the decisions immediately to address client’s concerns. CAP set up several meetings with all concerned parties, the client, VR supervisor, District Administrator, and home modification specialist to make sure that all concerned parties were on the same page. CAP explained the client’s circumstances and the hardships that have been placed on the client due to incomplete repairs to her home. CAP held several meetings to discuss all of the client’s concerns regarding home modifications. Both the client and OVR reached an impasse regarding home repairs and CAP advised client of her rights to appeal the decision. Client requested an IAR. With CAP’s intervention, both parties decided to come together and negotiate an agreement without the need for a Informal Administrative Review. Under the terms of the agreement, OVR agreed to make all the necessary repairs to her home.
As illustrated by this case, the client will be able to gain insight regarding challenges that a person with spinal cord injury can face and acquire knowledge about disability rights and strategies for navigating the complex OVR system. These needed home modifications would allow to maintain her employment.
Case #3: This student/individual contacted CAP while an applicant/student and client and mom were having difficulties with applying for services and OVR’s application process. This client is a 10th grader looking for Pre-employment transition services, in addition to wanting to find out about the services they can receive from OVR as a student and as an adult. As part of CAP’s advocacy and guidance, the CAP advocate made this client and the mom aware of the importance of requesting Pre employment transition services. Prior to eligibility in accordance with guidance handed down by OVR regarding the Order of Selection if an individual had not sought Pre-E.T.S. they can be waitlisted.
This client has a neurological disability along with some cognitive and communication issues. As part of CAP’s advocacy, the CAP coordinated a couple meetings with the student and the team to get everyone on the same page and connect support services for this student. CAP explained the various services and options available to the student. Pre employment transition services and OVR’s role in providing these services was also discussed with the student and the mom. In addition, CAP participated in an IEP meeting, which not only helped in detailing possible services the student could receive at school, but the CAP assisted with clarifying the Pre employment transition services they may be able to receive from the school along with the Pre- employment transition services OVR could provide as well, which included group and individual services.
Some of the services CAP provided this student were: information and guidance regarding pre-employment transition services from the school and OVR, options available as a student and as an adult, including choice of providers, and self-advocacy. As a result of CAP’s advocacy, this student had a paid work experience, is more aware of her options and possible transition services and is starting job shadowing soon.
Case#4: The client had questions about OVR services related to continued supported employment services and assistance with needed van modifications so the client can get to work independently. This client has spina bifida and had multiple questions regarding additional job development/job coaching services and OVR’s van modification policy. The client is currently working at a job at which he does not need a standing frame wheelchair and at which he is underemployed based on his abilities and capabilities. However, once his standing frame wheelchair comes in, he will have the capability to perform job tasks of other jobs with the same employer which are more consistent with his skills, abilities, and interests. Although he is currently receiving job coaching services, he has concerns about receiving additional job support services for job development/coaching when he gets his new wheelchair and will then be able to apply for other preferred positions more consistent with his employment goal. The CAP coordinated a conference call with his job coach, his OVR counselor, and her supervisor and the client and his mom and we discussed the client’s concern and went over his interest in other available positions which he would qualify for once he had his standing frame wheelchair. OVR reviewed with us the supported employment policy and the process for receiving additional job development/coaching services. The job coach also had an opportunity to discuss his mastering of his current job and get a better understanding of the supported employment policy and how it pertains to this client.
The client’s other concern was assistance with receiving an explanation of OVR’s van modification policy. Once the client gets his standing frame wheelchair, he will need modifications to the van he is purchasing so he is able to get himself to work independently. However, there was an initial dispute on the type of van modification the client would be provided. As part of CAP’s advocacy, CAP sent a copy of OVR’s van modification policy to the client and his mom, so they were able to get a better understanding of this complicated process and ask more cogent questions about the many steps and specific order of this service. Once again, CAP initiated a conference with the counselor, the van modification supervisor, and the client and his mom so all parties had a chance to ask and answer important questions and the client became more prepared and knowledgeable as he begins this lengthy process and resolved with regards to the needed van modifications.
As a result of CAP advocacy, guidance, and assistance in clarifying related policies, the client and his mom, the job coach and OVR are all working together better. The conference calls and follow-up helped to improve communication and allow everyone to understand the needs of the client so he can be successful in his new position with his new standing frame wheelchair in his new modified van.