Disability Rights intervened on behalf of a 43-year-old female resident of Burlington County diagnosed with physical/orthopedic impairments and a traumatic brain injury secondary to a stroke. The client contacted Disability Rights NJ when the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) determined she was not able to perform competitive integrated employment following a work trial in a community rehabilitation facility. After speaking with DVRS personnel and reviewing documentation, Disability Rights NJ determined that not only was the work trial site selected by DVRS inappropriate based on the client’s work goal, DVRS had not provided the client with any assistive technology to address client’s left side hemiparesis. Disability Rights NJ requested DVRS commission an assistive technology evaluation for the client and provide technology recommended in the assessment. After the client had been provided with appropriate technology, Disability Rights NJ advocated that DVRS schedule a work trial in an appropriate setting based on her employment goal of administrative assistant. With access to appropriate technology, the client successfully completed the work trial. Disability Rights NJ then represented the client with respect to the development of a new IPE that incorporated services consistent with the client’s employment goal, including additional computer software, a Microsoft Office 2019 Master Certification Training, and cognitive therapy.
Disability Rights intervened on behalf of a 41-year-old female resident of Ocean County diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The client, an SSI recipient contacted Disability Rights NJ after being unable to reach agreement with DVRS with respect to the services to be provided. Without the client’s consent, DVRS had closed the client’s case. Disability Rights NJ investigated the facts by speaking with DVRS personnel and by reviewing DVRS documentation. Disability Rights NJ represented the client regarding receipt of appropriate services, including reminding DVRS that as an SSI recipient, the client was not required to financially contribute to the cost of services. DVRS declined to sponsor the client’s master’s degree, but at Disability Rights NJ’s request, agreed to fund several services to help the client maintain employment as a digital and video editor. These services included an assistive technology evaluation to assess the client’s technology needs and a modified vehicle pre-evaluation. Based on the recommendations in the assistive technology evaluation, DVRS agreed to provide the client with a specialized gaming desktop computer and documented this agreement in an IPE. After the client successfully completed the driving pre-evaluation, DVRS approved additional driving instruction hours at the request of the driving evaluator and revised the client’s IPE to include this service. Disability Rights NJ advised the client that as the driving lessons may take several months to complete her case would be closed. However, should the driving evaluator determine she is able to drive a modified vehicle and DVRS denies funding for this service she may contact our agency. Disability Rights NJ also explained that if DVRS approves funding for vehicle modifications but requires that she financially contribute to the cost of these services, she may contact our agency to request assistance.
Disability Rights NJ intervened on behalf of a 62-year-old male resident of Atlantic County diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder, bi-polar and cerebral palsy. The client contacted Disability Rights NJ in December 2019 when DVRS closed his case. Disability Rights NJ has assisted this client regarding receipt DVRS services for several years. This service request concerns the client’s request for DVRS financial sponsorship to continue his education in funeral science and pursue employment in the funeral industry. DVRS had closed his case and did not want to assist the client because of behavior he engaged in and language he used. Disability Rights NJ investigated the clients request for assistance by speaking with DVRS personnel, reviewing DVRS documentation and obtaining updated recommendations from the client’s clinical providers. Based on the facts, Disability Rights NJ represented the client regarding the development of a new IPE in line with the client’s employment goal to work in the funeral industry. The fully executed IPE included the provision of hearing aids, glasses, and supported employment services. Disability Rights NJ also worked with the client and his VR counselor to connect him with a clinical social worker regarding a consultation for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). As the CBT consultation was scheduled after the client’s Disability Rights NJ case was to be closed, the client was provided with advice and counsel regarding access to CBT services, including that should the evaluation recommend the provision of CBT, he should request DVRS amend his IPE to include this service.
Disability Rights NJ intervened on behalf of a 46-year-old female resident of Essex County diagnosed with autoimmune disease, physical/orthopedic impairments, and mental illness. The client, who is an SSI recipient, contacted Disability Rights NJ seeking assistance in obtaining reimbursement from DVRS for tuition and fees paid for a graduate study program at Montclair University, begun in 2015 and completed in 2019, pursuant to an IPE. During the period of enrollment for this program, DVRS failed to pay approximately $17,000 in tuition and related fees, which the client funded using credit cards and student loans. Disability Rights NJ negotiated on the client's behalf with DVRS regarding the reimbursement for tuition and related fees for her graduate study program. Disability Rights NJ was able to secure a $17,420.99 settlement agreement with DVRS on her behalf, with the settlement funds being sent directly to client’s loan provider to be applied to any outstanding balance. Client’s settlement was fully executed on February 17, 2021. Following the execution of the settlement, Disability Rights NJ worked with DVRS and Nelnet federal loan provider, to have Nelnet registered as a vendor with the State of New Jersey to facilitate the payment process. On June 15, 2021, the client advised us that Nelnet had received the funds which had been successfully applied to her student loan account.
Disability Rights NJ intervened on behalf of a 57-year-old female resident of Essex County diagnosed with mental illness. The client contacted Disability Rights NJ for assistance when DVRS denied client’s request to fund a laptop to enable her to complete course work necessary to obtain a GED. In the absence of a computer, the client was completing the GED coursework on her phone. This situation was exacerbated when because of the pandemic, GED classes moved entirely to virtual instruction. Following negotiation, DVRS agreed to fund a laptop for the client and developed an IPE in line with this agreement.
Disability Rights NJ intervened on behalf of a 44-year-old male resident of Essex County diagnosed with keratoconus, a condition that causes significant visual impairment. The client, who receives SSDI was referred to the CAP program as a client of the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) under a prior service request after CBVI failed to pay the full balance of his Fall 2019 and the Spring of 2020 semesters of college. The current service request represents a third case for this client and involves CBVI sponsorship for the Fall of 2020 and the Spring of 2021. In this third service request, Disability Rights NJ advocated on behalf of client with both DVRS and Rutgers, the flagship state university concerning tuition, fees, and room and board for the Fall of 2020. Following Disability Rights NJ advocacy which included obtaining relevant educational records, Rutgers agreed to use NJ CARES funds to pay the entirety of the tuition, fees, and room and board for the Fall of 2020. As a result, client's school balance was reduced to zero, allowing him to graduate in the Spring of 2021. While client initially requested that Disability Rights NJ advocate to CBVI for sponsorship of his Spring 2021 semester to allow him to take the remaining course he needed for a second minor, client ultimately decided graduation would be in his best interests.
Disability Rights NJ intervened on behalf of a 25-year-old male resident of Cape May County diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy, anxiety, OCD, depression, and asthma. by providing advice and counsel regarding client’s rights and legal avenues he could pursue under state and federal discrimination laws concerning a failure to hire claim. Disability Rights NJ collected information regarding the matter and thereafter provided client with information about the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the New Jersey Law against Discrimination; the Division of Civil Rights; and a referral to the local county bar association as well as to the National Employment Lawyer's Association, NJ Chapter. Specifically, the client was provided with background information about these laws, what criteria must apply for the ADA and NJLAD to be implicated, the statute of limitations that apply to discrimination claims, and the procedural prerequisites for filing suit.