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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1222

Puerto Rico
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Executive Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico-Office of the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities
PO Box 41309
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San Juan
PR
00940-1309
787-725-2333
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
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Loida E. Oliveras-Gonzalez
787-725-2333
loliveras@dpi.pr.gov
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
68
2
0
3
6
34
113
B. Training Activities
17
371
The trainings provided by CAP program staff to VR consumers, family members, professionals and general public were:

1. What is DPI, ARV and CAP? (Defender of People with Disabilities, Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Client Assistance Program)
2. Reasonable Accommodation for college students
3. Client Assistance Program: services, population(individuals) served, VR applicants and consumers, program jurisdiction.
4.Rights and Responsibilities of VR consumers
5. Assistive Technology

The purpose to train VR applicants, consumers, family members and professionals was to impact and reach a greater number of people with disabilities and VR potential consumers. Among the people impacted during this year trainings were employees of various municipalities in the Metropolitan area (like Cataño, Loiza, Bayamón, Carolina, Dorado), university students, Professors and other professionals, families of individuals with disabilities, community rehabilitation programs that are subsidized through VRA funds. Among the community rehabilitation programs were impacted Sustained Employment Program (P.E.SOS.), NUC University Arecibo's Campus, others.

It is worth mentioning that due to the Covid-19 pandemic the CAP staff could not provide all the propose trainings about the state and federal laws, including the Rehabilitation Act and the services provide by the CAP program in Puerto Rico and the states to the different schools, universities, public and private agencies. The modality of most of the training were virtual through Microsoft Teams or Zoom platforms.

C. Agency Outreach
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the efforts made to bring underserved or underserved communities were carried out through virtual workshops, participation in radio programs, distribution of information through emails and social media. This led to several challenges.

The CAP staff actively participated in the 2021 P&A/CAP Conference offered by the National Disabilities Right Network (NDRN) during may -June 2021 through the NDRN Events App virtual platform.

1.The program distributed educational materials in these activities (outreach efforts trough email). The materials that were distributed were: What is CAP, what is the IPE, and the ARV Consumer Rights and Responsibilities brochure.

2.Media: The CAP staff participate in radio programs at Radio Victoria 840 in Yabucoa. In the Section "Guarantee the Rights of People with Disabilities", radio listeners residents of the East zone of island. The radio-station has reach 42600 people with disabilities, based on census estimates for the population in PR facilitated dissemination with the purpose of expanding knowledge about laws and services available even during the Pandemic and urging people to request them.
The media is a valuable resource that allows people with disabilities to acquire knowledge and skills to defend their rights and to know where to apply for the services they need.

As part of the radio Program the collaboration of non-profit entities, municipalities and others was achieved for the development of the topics of interest for the community. some of the topics presented:
- Services of the Movement for Independent Living Outreach, MAVI as a guest. The organization's services to empower people with disabilities in the face of the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 Pandemic were presented. Promoting access to community services through the use of technology and how to use it.
- Advocacy Protection and Advocacy Services, focusing on the importance of case maturity, information content and documentation to help support disability rights violation cases so that they can be evaluated on their merits and upheld before the appropriate forums.
Vocational Rehabilitation Client Assistance Program, CAP. CAP advocate was interviewed about What is the CAP Program and who does it serve? Status of VRA services in times of Pandemic and technology available to students, important policy measures, What are Assessment and Adjustment Centers/Units, and the continuation of Transition services for the benefit of graduates with disabilities.


3.The Section 105 (b) (1) (A) (iii) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, establish that CAP is part of the members that composed the State Rehabilitation Council. Puerto Rico State Rehabilitation Council: During this fiscal year the Council held six (6) Regular Meetings virtually by the Zoom and Microsoft Team platforms for the following dates:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020, Tuesday, January 12, 2021, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, Tuesday, September 14, 2021

One (1) Extraordinary Meeting was held on Friday, September 10, 2021 with a presentation entitled "Educate yourself and empower yourself on Independent Living and Transition to Adult Life Services" aimed at people with disabilities, family members, professionals and the general public.

Four (4) Meetings were held with the Executive Committee of THE CERPR, of which the CAP representative was part as the Treasurer of the Council. As Treasurer CAP representative was in charge of the Finance Committee which held three (3) Meetings as the Board Finance Committee during the period comprising the federal fiscal year 2020-2021.

D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
3
1
0
47
6
19644
We also have a web page www.dpi.pr.gov that contains information on the services provided. During this fiscal year, we received 19,644 hits.

*The digital newspaper La Isla Oeste in San German includes a column about the CAP Program on Saturday, February 13, 2021, entitled Conoce Como y Donde Buscar Ayuda en Rehabilitación Vocacional (Know How and Where to Seek Help in Vocational Rehabilitation). The CAP Program conducted this Outreach through the media so that applicants and/or consumers of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration acquire the knowledge and skills necessary in the protection and defense of their rights. The CAP Program impacted approximately 72,490 readers of a digital newspaper dedicated to report on issues of interest in the western region of Puerto Rico.
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
N/A
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
19
5
24
3
19
B. Problem areas
0
1
12
4
0
6
5
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
0
2
1
0
2
0
5
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
2
2
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
3
*case not resolve in client's favor.
*ARV services was provide and client obtain an employment. New Counselor assigned.
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
3
9
8
4
0
24
B. Gender
12
12
24
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
23
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
5
0
0
0
0
2
0
1
4
0
1
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
1
1
0
1
1
2
2
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
24
E. Types of Individuals Served
4
0
18
0
0
2
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
1
The Program obtained the collaboration of the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Administration( ARV), obtained documentary evidence to the ARV's "Coronavirus Exposure Control Plan (Covid-19)" was requested and received. The document establishes general preventive measures, administrative controls and controls adopted by the different work and service areas. In addition, the Plan established procedures on Human Resources, Labor Issues and related to materials and equipment available for personal protection. The impact of the activity carried out is 12,561 individual consumers and applicants for ARV services annually in the office surveyed on the regulations.

Regulatory Communication No. 2021-09, dated November 6, 2020; "Protocol for Providing Official Transportation Services to Applicants/Consumers of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration in the Face of the Current Covid-19 Pandemic). Established in detail a procedure for the utilization and provision of official vehicle transportation. On June 10, 2021, the "Update of Preventive Measures to Confront the Emergency caused by Covid-19" was updated to adapt the document to the modifications made by then, in a new Executive Order of the Government. The Protocol detailed in its content the way in which access to the services would be allowed for visitors and for face-to-face visits. On July 9, 2021; it was updated again establishing protocol for vaccinated and non-vaccinated personnel and visitors; on the precautionary measures to be taken. The documentation submitted by the San Juan and Caguas Regions, respectively, demonstrated the measures taken by the Agency.
B. Litigation
0
0
0
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Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Office of the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities
No
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B. Staff Employed
Number of Person-years

Type of position Full-time equivalent % of year position filled Person - years

Professional
Full-time 2 100% 2
Part -time 0 0 0
Vacant 1 0 0
Clerical
Full-time 3 100% 3
Part -time 0 0 0
Vacant 0 0 0

A. PERSONNEL:

All the employees holding the positions listed here are P&A employees who work under fixed hourly rate salary arrangements. Their respective wages are all in compliance with the federal minimum wage provisions contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). They also receive all benefits allowed by applicable federal and state law.
In addition to the wages earned by P&A’s employees, the P&A is also responsible to recognize its employees the following benefits allowed by applicable federal and state law and collective bargaining agreement (applicable to union employees):
* An employer combined contribution for Social Security and Medicare taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) equivalent to 6.20% of employee’s earnings for the Social Security portions, plus 1.45% of employee’s earnings for the Medicare portion, for a total combined of 7.65% of total earnings.
* Worker’s compensation (employers’ contribution of 2.10%) for Puerto Rico State Insurance Fund, pursuant to PR Act No. 45-1935, as amended.
* Employer’s contribution of approximately $150 per month for employees for health insurance.
* Christmas Bonus of $600 per year per employee for non-union employees, pursuant to PR Act. No. 66-2014, as amended, known as Special Act of Fiscal and Operational Sustainability of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
* Military leave of absence with full pay, up to a maximum of 30 days annually, applicable to employees active in the United States Armed Forces, PR National Guard and/or PR State Guard, pursuant to Sec: 231 of Act 62 of June 23, 1969, as amended, (Title 25 Laws of Puerto Rico Annotated section 2082 et seq.), also known as the Puerto Rico Military Code.

B. UTILITIES & RELATED SERVICES
Expenses incurred are necessary to carry out the works tied to the grant project.
Pursuant to its enacting law. P&A has the responsibility to establish and implement support programs, services and benefits they are entitled, and on the requirements, mechanisms, means, resources or procedures to obtain, participate and benefit from them, and assert their rights. In the execution and implementation of the grant project objectives, to incur in costs for telephone services, both for local and long distance communications, is necessary to allow a direct and prompt communication amongst the grant project clientele and P&A officials, as well as amongst P&A central and regional offices employees, and to ensure effective provision of the services tied to the grant project.
Costs incurred for preventive maintenance and/or reparation of P&A fleet motor vehicles (for example, cost incurred in the replacement of tires, purchase of replacement auto parts, changes of oil and filters, and labor) are necessary to keep those vehicles working an operational, improve their life and avoid unplanned maintenance activity, so P&A’s officials may carry out works also tied to the grant project. Such maintenance and/or repair costs incurred prevent P&A necessity of incurring in major costs related to vehicles that might be caused by highway breakdowns, car accidents towing fees, rental car charges, missed work and warranty expiration. They also increase the efficiency of the engines of the vehicles, as well as the operation of the vehicles and therefore, reduce the amount of gasoline needed to be purchased, also reducing vehicle usage costs.

C. TRAVEL, PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, SUPPLIES & OTHER EXPENSES:
Local travel P&A employees is needed to attend meetings, project activities, inspections, mediation meetings, court hearings, site visits, conferences and training events, amongst other activities.
P&A’s employees (union and non-union) are entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in official business within the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico jurisdiction, including for meals, transportation (travel and mileage) and lodging, at the rates established by regulation No. 7501 of May 8th, 2008, of the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury, known as “Regulation No. 31 of travel Expenses”.
* Meals – Breakfast, Lunch and/or meal, depending on the departure and return time of employees from or to their private of official residence.
 Breakfast – Departure time before 6.30 a.m. and Return Time after 8.00 a.m. $4.00
 Lunch – Departure time before 12.00 noon and Return Time after 1.00 p.m. $8.00
 Dinner – Departure time before 6.00 p.m. and Return Time after 7.00 p.m. $9.00
* Transportation (Travel, Public Transportation, Mileage when use of private automobile is authorized, Parking, Taxi, Buses, Tolls, Baggage) – Costs incurred thru the most inexpensive means of transportation available.
In the case of mileage when use of private automobile is authorized, employee is entitle to reimbursement of transportation expenses at a rate of .40¢ per mile (which cover all expenses related with the use of the private automobile, such as garage, gas, lubricants, accessories, repairs, depreciation, insurances and others); employee is entitled to receive an additional amount of .02¢ per mile over the regular rate, if traveling with another agency employee or provider, as well as an additional amount of .02¢ per mile, per each additional person traveling with the employee, over the regular rate; if employee is required to transport government equipment in his/her private automobile, is entitled to receive an additional amount of .02¢ per mile over the regular rate for the first 100 pounds of weight of said government equipment, as well as an additional amount of 0.2¢ per mile over the regular rate for the following 100 pounds or fraction, but in no case the employee will be entitle to receive more than an additional amount of .06¢ per mile over the regular rate, even if the weight of the equipment exceed 300 pounds.
For the calculation of mileage, the P&A has to follow the “Table of Distances between Towns” issued by the Puerto Rico Highway Authority.
* Lodging – Expenses incurred, as evidenced by invoices, receipts or payment evidence. Expenses should not be excessive or extravagant and should be incurred within the reasonable limits of austerity and modesty.
When travel outside of Puerto Rico is required and previous authorization is granted, P&A employees (union and non-union) are entitled to receive an advance of funds to cover for travel expenses or a reimbursement for expenses incurred in official business outside the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, depending on the particular circumstances, including for meals, transportation and lodging, in accordance to Regulation No. 7162 of May 3rd, 2006, of the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury, known as “”Regulation No.38 of Travel to the Exterior”.
* Meals – Breakfast, Lunch and/or meal. If employees has official residence or workplace outside Puerto Rico and is authorized to travel within such jurisdiction for official business, he/she will be entitled to:
 Breakfast – Departure time before 6.30 a.m. and Return Time after 8.00 a.m. $10.00
 Lunch – Departure time before 12.00 noon and Return Time after 1.00 p.m. $14.00.
 Dinner – Departure time before 6.00 p.m. and Return Time after 7.00 p.m. $24.00
If employee has official residence or workplace outside Puerto Rico and is authorized to travel outside such jurisdiction for official business, he/she will be entitled to:
 Breakfast – Departure time before 6.30 a.m. and Return Time after 8.00 a.m. $15.00
 Lunch - Departure time before 12.00 noon Return Time after 1.00 p.m. $20.00
 Dinner – Departure time before 6.00 p.m. and Return Time after 7.00 p.m. $35.00
* Tips for porters a maximum amount of $5.00.
* Tips for maids a maximum amount of $5.00 per night.
* Lodging – Expenses incurred, as evidenced by invoices, receipts or payment evidence. Expenses should not be excessive or extravagant and should be incurred within the reasonable limits of austerity and modesty. If no invoices, receipt or evidence available, the maximum amount will be $50.00 per night.
* Airplane tickets – Coach tickets, unless service to be provided justify other transportation means or if it will be more economical to the P&A to use other mean of transportation instead of waiting for the availability of a ticket in coach. During traveling, the employee is entitled to be reimbursed for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner, according to the applicable rates and depending in the traveling schedule.
* Medical expenses incurred while traveling outside Puerto Rico in official business if evidence is provided that those expenses were incurred as a direct consequence of such travel, as long as such illness or accident is not compensable by means of workmen’s compensation or such expenses are covered by any health plan.

* Reimbursement of rental or purchase costs (the most economical) for special attire needed for official business, presenting the receipt or evidence of payment.

* Reimbursement of charges for long distance or international calls made outside Puerto Rico, directly related to the official business.

* Reimbursement of a maximum amount of $5.00 for telephone calls to their homes, while traveling outside of Puerto Rico in official business.

CATEGORY CURRENT FISCAL YEAR 2021 NEXT FISCAL YEAR 2022
Personnel Services

Regular Positions $ 90,361.49 $ 79,011.72
Social Security $ 6,912.65 $ 6,044.40
Retirement Fund
Workers Compensation $ 1,897.59 $ 1,619.74
Group Health Insurance $ 5,941.26 $ 4,437.00
Drivers Social Security Contribution $ 43.52
Christmas Bonus $1,980.00 $1,836.38
Professional Services $3,912.00 $1,526.20
(Single Audit and other services) $ 1,300.00 $1,300.00
Total Personal Services $112,305.00 $ 92,992.76

Other Operating Expenditures

Travel and Mileage $1,000.00 $ 4,265.00
Insurances
Privatized Services $ 70.00 $ 2,216.50
Printing, parking for employees,postage $ 954.20
Miscellaneous Services
(subscriptions, meals and NDRN fees) $ 1,300.00 $2,826.20
Program Announcements and publication $650.00 $ 2,600.00
Materials (office supplies) $1,040.00
Offices Space Rent $11,765.00 $ 13,000.00
Equipment Purchase $1,560.00
Equipment Rental $ 322.00
Telephone $1,950.00 $ 2,028.00
Repairs and Maintenance (equipment) $ 585.00
Fuel, Maintenance, Repairs (vehicles) $ 130.00 $ 260.00
Training $ 1,840.00 $ 1,053.00
Total Operating Expenditures $ 19,612.00 $ 38,923.84

Indirect Costs

Total Budget $ 131,917.00 $ 131,917.00
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Case Narrative #1: Consumer of the Administration for Vocational Rehabilitation (ARV) since 2003, filed a request for investigation though CAP . Consumer informed the Program that he has encountered problems with ARV for Employment Placement Services and that request be assigned to a counselor. The Client Assistance Program (CAP) oriented the client to her rights and explained the services of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration (VRA). After several procedural steps, including: calls, letters, discussion with his counselor, emails, among others with ARV officials, the following was achieved: the Individualized Plan for Employment (PIPE) was signed and completed by an ARV Supervisor. 2. Services approved in the PIPE: Employment Opportunity Orientation, Job Search Assistance and Counseling. 3. The Vocational Rehabilitation Administration (VRA) assigned counselor for case follow-up and employment services. After this process the consumer informed the CAP that obtain a job. The Client Assistance Program's (CAP) effort is to empower the client with all the information about her rights and to enable her to exercise her own self-defense and to be assertive when making clearer claims for ARV services.

Service Narrative:
CAP Program as requested by a ARV applicant diagnosed with ADD from the west area provide assistance in order to received an evaluation. Applicant allege has been waiting months for an appointment with her assigned Vocational Rehabilitation Administration counselor. Through the CAP program, Applicants and family member were oriented to the services provided by our agency. Communication was sent to the ARV to coordinate an appointment. After the Program intervention client inform that was contacted by ARV and was scheduled the appointment.

Certification
Approved
Loida Enid Oliveras Gonzalez
Acting Executive Director
2021-12-30
OMB Notice

OMB Control Number: 1820-0528, approved for use through 07/31/2023

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 16 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain a benefit (Section 13 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended). Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4537 or email ICDocketMgr@ed.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1820-0528. Note: Please do not return the completed form to this address.